How to Make a Really Short Presentation.

Quick Flash Public Speaking

How to Make a 10-Minute Presentation
By Sean Buvala

Uh oh! You finally have that chance to speak about a favorite subject but they are only giving you 10 minutes? Do not panic. You can do this.

1. Establish Your Goal

In a short presentation, you must be completely sure of your speaking goal. What do you want your audience to learn or do because of your speech? In ten minutes, you do not have time to present anything more than a single idea or concept. For example, “I will share three benefits of volunteering at XYZ Animal Shelter that will motivate people to attend our next volunteer orientation.”

2. Find a Good Story That Illustrates Your Goal

There are varieties of ways to gather stories. Ask around for others to share stories. Ask questions such as “Can you think of a time when a volunteer had a personal benefit of volunteering at the shelter?” Maybe someone might share a memory with you such as the story of a volunteer who used her emergency animal first-aid training on her own pet at home, saving the life of that pet.

In a ten-minute speech, I would let this story take up to four minutes. Start your story with a strong statement such as, “Dorothy thought she was volunteering at XYZ Shelter to help everyone else’s animals but she was surprised how her volunteer experience helped her to save the life of her own pet.”

3. Create Your “Call to Action”

At the end of your presentation, you will give your audience a “call to action” asking them to respond to your talk. For example, “In my opening story, I told you how one person experienced the surprise benefits of volunteering. I have also shared two other benefits of volunteering. Our volunteer orientation begins next Saturday. Would you please fill out the volunteer forms I have placed on your tables?”

4. Outline Your Presentation

Write the outline of your speech. At the top of the page, list your goal. Next, list the story you want to tell. List your remaining points in simple bullet points. Stay focused on your goal. Let the powerful image of your opening story carry the bulk of your message. Finally, at the bottom of the page, write out your closing “call to action.”

5. Practice Your Presentation

Use a video and/or audio recorder as you practice. Review these recordings as you practice. Be neither too unhappy nor too easy on yourself. Strive for honesty as you watch yourself speak. Rehearse enough so that you can present without notes. A ten-minute speech should not always require notes.

6. Get Feedback

Share your presentation with a trusted friend or peer. Ask them for honest feedback including what they like and what they would change. Incorporate their comments into your style. Repeat the process.

7. Start Your Presentation with Confidence

Arrive at your venue with enough advance time to place any handouts on the participants’ tables and test the microphone before beginning.

When it is time to speak, skip the warm-fuzzy words such as “happy to be here.” Start with the strong opening statement from your story. Move confidently through your mental outline that you have practiced. Keep breathing and keep good eye contact with your audience.

If an audience member wants to ask a question, take a quick moment to say, “I want to respect your time and only take the few minutes I was given today. I will be happy to answer questions afterwards.”

8. Move Away from the Front of the Room

When you have finished, move away from the speaking location. Go stand by your table with more information about your subject. It would be good if you will have handouts or flyers for your topic. Give people a chance to thank you and talk to you more about your theme.

Sean Buvala is a professional speaker, trainer and storyteller. Presenting since 1986, he has helped thousands of people learn to enjoy public speaking. Visit his website at You can learn more about his storytelling techniques training from his workbook on sale at He lives in Arizona where his wife says he is a great cook.

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2 comments on “How to Make a Really Short Presentation.
  1. Perfect timing I’m doing my annual coaching of public speaking with high school students in a ” Big Picture” school. I plan to encourage them to look on line for tips and help to integrate their web research with their presentation. I will send them to look at this article ( I also will repost it to my blog ) then they can find another on their own.

    • SeanTells says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Yes, you can repost it but be sure you link back to this page where you found it. Thanks!!

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