That's how you manage a short presentation in PowerPoint
December 22, 2022

Short Presentation in PowerPoint: How to Win Your Audience over with a 5 Minute / 5 Slide Presentation! -Includes Examples

There are occasions when you only have limited time to give a PowerPoint presentation. This is where knowing how to create and deliver a short PowerPoint presentation is essential. Done right, you really only need a few minutes to deliver your presentation, get your ideas across and achieve your goals.

You may well be thinking, “No!  How can I squash my ideas into that time? Only five minutes?” Actually, it’s easier than you think with the right structure. Here’s how!

Why give a short presentation?

So when might you only have a few minutes to give a presentation? When making the first steps in applying for a job, for example, or when presenting a product or business idea to potential prospects and investors. The length does NOT have to be a disadvantage! A well-put-together short presentation, delivered smartly, can actually engage your audience more than a presentation lasting much longer.

Sure, you can go into more detail in a longer presentation, but it’s often more difficult for your audience to stay focused for the full duration. Scientific studies show that most listeners have trouble maintaining their concentration after just 20 minutes. Haven’t you been there yourself? So why ask your audience to do something you find difficult, unless they’re already on board with your ideas?

Short presentations are actually a great way to present facts, ideas or concepts clearly in only a few minutes. However, take care not to overload them with too much information. It’s important to distill the content of your presentation down to the essentials and key messages.

The purpose of a short presentation is usually to draw your audience’s attention to either you or your product. You don’t get much time to do this, so you need to know how to focus on what’s important. The following tips may help.

Short PowerPoint presentation: set-up and structure

A short presentation should have a clear structure so that the audience can easily grasp and digest the information. So:

Introduction:

A brief explanation of what the presentation will be about.

Main body:

This is the actual content of the presentation. This is where to present the most important information.

Conclusion:

A brief summary of what you covered in the presentation.

Also, keep in mind the order of your slides. The first and last slides are the most important as studies have shown these are what people remember. So make sure that these two slides are particularly engaging and give the audience a good overview of your topic.

The order of the other slides is important too, but not as crucial as the first and last slides. Just play around with the order a bit and find what works best for you.

Make the presentation count

How you design your slides is important here. Create slides that are as clear and professional-looking as possible. Be careful not to put too much text on a slide, and make sure you use a font size that is large enough to be clearly seen by everyone. If you try to put so much text on a slide that you need to make the font too small, you’ll lose your audience’s attention. For tips on choosing the right font, see our “Fonts in PowerPoint” post.

Try using pictures and graphics to make your slides more vivd. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words. Use images to illustrate and support your statements. As well as adding visual interest to your slides, they arouse emotions in the audience, whether they know it or not, which makes you and your presentation topic seem more approachable. Be careful not to place too many images on one slide, though, as this can make it look messy.

Surefire ways to make your short presentation compelling:

short presentation with PowerPoint tips

  • Present no more than three main points. More than this and you’ll lose your audience.

  • Have a clear structure, so your audience always knows where you are and what’s coming next. Getting the structure of the presentation clear in advance really helps. Our article „Preparing a PowerPoint Presentation: 11 Tips”  shows you how to make the best use of your presentation preparation time.
     
  • Make it easy for the audience to follow you. Use clear and simple language and avoid jargon. Smart use of images and graphics will make your content more vivid.

  • Stay positive and confident. Your audience should be reassured that you really know your stuff; how else are they going to take your ideas seriously? Try to avoid coming across as arrogant, though – that automatically puts people off.

  • Maintain eye contact with the audience. This demonstrates interest and appreciation – both important factors in convincing people and thus gaining potential customers.
     
  • Be ready for questions. At the end of your presentation, allow a few minutes for questions and discussion. This gives your audience the opportunity to go into further detail or address other aspects as well. We’ve set out a few tips for including Q&A sessions in our article Prepare for your Q&A in Presentations”.

Short PowerPoint Presentation Example #1: The Five-Minute / Five-Slide Presentation

A classic example here is the five-minute presentation. This is similar to a Pitch-Presentation , but structured slightly differently. Read on to see how.

What does a 5-minute / 5-slide presentation entail?

Imagine you have to present yourself, your company or your product in just a few minutes. You only ever need five slides for this. One way of structuring this, and creating a coherent storyline, would be:

  • Overall idea (1st slide)
    A brief introduction. One slide showing your name might well suffice; you can then briefly describe your field of work or what you do within the company.

  • Introduction (2nd slide)
    Start with a funny story, an anecdote or a quote to attract your audience’s attention. Then briefly address what you will be talking about. This slide can serve as a short introduction to the topic (company, product or service range).

  • Main message (3rd slide)
    Try to illustrate the main point of your presentation with one or two simple graphics or diagrams. Photos related to your content or theme are also very useful here. PowerPoint is brilliant for this.  Aim for as little text as possible, with the visuals doing the work for you.

  • Main concepts (4th slide)
    Underline your main message with three to five essential arguments and present them on a single slide (animated one after the other, if needs be). Remember that people’s attention span drops off sharply after absorbing five ideas.

  • Conclusion (5th slide)
    Keep your conclusion short and end your presentation with a summary of the content and key messages of your presentation. These are, of course, what you want your audience to remember.

TIP:
When preparing your presentation, remember the main question in your audience’s mind: “What’s in it for me?” We’ve covered this in our post about customer benefits. The overriding principle is KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Design and present everything as simply as possible!

Questions and discussion after the presentation:

If you have time, give your audience the opportunity to ask questions after the presentation, or actively try to spark a discussion and then moderate it. Allow about 5-10 minutes for this. If necessary, you can create back-up slides beforehand, to deepen certain sub-areas in case of specific questions. Tips for your Q&A session can be found in our Q&A post.

Less is more

It’s sadly not uncommon to see slides stuffed with far too much information, whether text or images. The presenter certainly meant well, but failed to realise that their audience wouldn’t be able to process and absorb all that information at once. So try to stick to the following when putting your presentation together:

  • Maximum one image per slide
  • Only one topic per slide
  • Minimal text
  • Font size at least 18 point
  • Maximum two fonts; sans serif fonts are more legible
  • Display figures as graphs and diagrams
  • No more than four colors per slide

In a five-minute presentation, you need to get to the point as quickly as possible. So skip the lengthy introductions and aim to grab your audience’s attention right at the start. Try to summarize your presentation as pithily as possible, too, to leave them wanting more.

While presenting, don’t forget to establish eye contact with the audience. Just standing there reading the text of a presentation from the slides is a common mistake, and one which quickly loses an audience’s attention.

Try to speak as fluently and freely as possible, so that you don’t look as though you’re just reading off your content (which can come across as a lack of competence or preparation). Invest enough time in preparing your presentation and practice it in front of an audience of acquaintances or, if needs be, in front of a mirror, until you’ve internalized the content and flow of your presentation.

Coming across as confident is just as important for the success of your presentation as its actual content. Don’t underestimate the influence that body language, speaking speed, gestures and facial expressions have on how the audience perceives your presentation. We go into this in detail in our “body language” post.

Keep your presentation lively by using figures of speech or catchy metaphors at appropriate points. We’ve gone into how (and why) to integrate rhetoric into your presentation in our „Public speeking skills” post. 

Short Presentation PowerPoint Example #2: The Three-Minute Presentation 

short presentation examples

Imagine you only have three minutes. Three minutes in which to tell your audience everything they need to know about your idea, your product and your company. Well, it’s possible with a three-minute presentation! This is exactly what it sounds like: a coherent narrative, or story, in three minutes.

How to get your presentation to the point

The essence of this concept is to answer these three questions “What’s it about?”, “How does it work?” and “What’s in it for me?” in a few short paragraphs, a handful of slides and finally a short, pithy statement. A strong and compelling three-minute presentation will consist of roughly 25 sentences.

Write these down in advance so you have a clear outline in your head, making the presentation lively. Short and snappy is what you’re aiming for. You can get to the meat of your presentation in three minutes; try it!  Even if you have longer to present, it’s a tremendously useful exercise.

“If I’d had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”
Blaise Pascal, mathematician and philosopher 

The above quote is really on point.  It takes time and effort to organize your thoughts into short, coherent sentences, but it’s so worth it. There’s a lot of excess verbiage about, the result of people just writing down whatever comes to mind, however disorganized it is. This has the effect of boring or confusing people, or both.  It really pays to condense your thoughts smartly.

So you need to work out which are your most important points, weigh them against each other, and discard any excess. This is the only way to communicate clearly and concisely.

It’s really useful to have the essentials of what you want to communicate distilled into their bare bones when time is short. If you know exactly what you need to say, you can fit it into whatever time slot you’re given, even if the half hour you’d expected ends up being only five minutes. This is also invaluable if your boss unexpectedly asks you what you’re working on, or if you’re talking to a client and they want a brief overview of your presentation.

Getting your presentation distilled down to three minutes is very advantageous, even if you plan on presenting for longer. Concentrating on the essentials not only shows creativity, but also organizational and communication skills. You’ll have a strong core to your message and won’t need to depend on your presentation slides and charts. 

Storytelling or Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch gets to the heart of your ideas in just a few minutes, and is great for getting someone new to what you’re presenting to want to learn more.

The focus in an elevator pitch is on the positive aspects of your ideas, for example their uniqueness and utility. Of course, the pitch must be delivered persuasively enough for the conversation to continue in a follow-up meeting afterwards!

Storytelling focuses on the story, which pulls the power of emotions into your content, selling them better. So storytelling can also work for a three-minute presentation. Do keep it short and resist going off on tangents, though. We’ve covered all this in our “Storytelling” post.

When you don’t have enough time to present (all) your slides

Even if the time you’re allowed for a presentation is really short (say your customer or client arrives late, then has to leave for another appointment soon), you can still make a strong impression with a three-minute story. It means you always have a plan B up your sleeve.

If you know exactly what you want to communicate, it will be easy to spontaneously adapt it to whatever time limits you are given. This way, many of your slides, diagrams and graphics are an added extra, rather than being something you are lost without.

Short PowerPoint presentations: More examples

Short presentations are an effective way to engage your audience with your idea, offer or brand. They can also be used to draw attention to a specific aspect or trigger an action. Short presentations are often used as presentation teasers to capture the audience’s interest and make them want to learn more.  Examples include:

  • Presenting a new brand or product
  • Presenting a current topic or trend
  • Presenting your company’s successes or growth
  • Presenting your company’s vision or mission statement
  • An informational or educational presentation
  • A scientific topic within your own discipline
  • A research paper, a concept, an innovative project
  • A hot social or political topic
  • A presentation on climate change, migration, globalization, inflation, conflicts
  • A topic from your private life such as a vacation, a special experience or a passion
  • A historical event
  • The history and development of a company you admire
  • An artist whose work you find interesting
  • Your favorite book/movie/musical/etc.

As you can see, the short presentation is ideal for a huge range of topics and occasions. Two examples are introducing a new product or a new service to potential customers.  How to get those into the short presentation format?

Presenting a new product

When introducing a new product, first highlight its key features and benefits. Then explain the different applications of the product and provide examples of them. Finally, you can ask the audience to test the product and give feedback.

Introducing a new service 

present this successfully, start by highlighting the added value and customer benefits. Then explain the different areas of application in more detail and show with concrete examples of where your service can be used meaningfully, and the advantages and results it has led to with your existing clientele.

To sum up: Short PowerPoint presentations – how to effectively use limited time to deliver your presentations in a target-oriented way

short presentation how you do it right

Short presentations are a great way to present and communicate topics to an audience. Why? Because they help the audience grasp the key message of the presentation in the shortest amount of time.

This is especially important when the audience is in the middle of a conference or workshop and has a limited attention span. Presentations are an important means of conveying information to an audience. So follow our tips to make your short presentation the best it can be and achieve your goals.

Got further questions about short PowerPoint presentations, or indeed general questions about PowerPoint? Please don’t hesitate to contact us! Feel free to email us your question at [email protected]. We’re always happy to help!

Looking for professionally designed slide templates to strengthen your short presentation? Have a look around our store! We have a huge range of slides on business topics. Get the best basis for your short presentation today!To the Store

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