Constructing the Two-Minute Speech

Written by Trish Gray

To deliver a speech in two minutes and get the message and information successfully across the speaker must be well prepared and rehearsed.  A lot of information can be delivered in this time frame if thought has been given and succinctly structured.

I believe 80% of any successful presentation is in the preparation.  With careful thought and planning the speaker then knows everything is in place and all he / she has to do then is deliver it.  This strategy reduces the speaker’s nerves and any left over nervous energy can be utilised in giving the presentation energy and excitement with body language soaking up the surplus.  Nervous energy is not a bad thing and can be harnessed and used effectively.

Here are a few tips in constructing a two-minute presentation:

  1. Think ahead about the topics you want to discuss or inform the audience.
  2. List the interest points in priority order.
  3. Structure your talk to include each of them ensuring that each are linked seamlessly.
  4. Each presentation should have a defined opening, a body and an end.
  5. Allow each interest point equal time.  For example if you have three interest points to mention allow each of them say, 30 – 35 seconds.  This leaves a few seconds for your dynamic opening and memorable ending.  In doing this waffle is eliminated and only the good words are delivered.  In fact for a two minute presentation only up to three points should be mentioned.  Any more and justice is not done to any of them, except confusion.
  6. Rehearse the speech out loud.  This is important as:
    1. You get to hear how you sound
    2. You get used to hearing your own voice in a quiet room.
    3. You find out the words that are difficult to get your tongue around
    4. You may want, and probably would, add or subtract words and phrases
      1. You understand timing.
      2. You appreciate structure, pace and phrasing.

Extra points to consider:

  1. Use of humour is always appreciated.
  2. If time allows include short anecdotal stories.
  3. While waiting your turn to speak do some deep breathing.  This puts plenty of air into your lungs for you to draw on and helps prevent a squeaky shaky voice than can often occur when nervous.
  4. Spontaneity.  That is, learn enough of your speech so you can engage the audience better with eye contact and the speech won’t sound read and will appear more sincere.

Don’t:

  1. Leave it until the last minute to prepare your talk.
  2. Wing it as it usually shows inexperience
  3. Apologise for anything, such as;
    1. never done this before
    2. you are nervous

as this uses up precious time.

Remember:

  1. Preparation.  Preparation.  Preparation.
  2. If you prepare well your confidence is increased and your delivery improved.
  3. Even experienced speakers can suffer from butterflies.  The trick is to get them flying in formation.
  4. Timing is important as going over time extends the meeting and could take time off another speaker.
  5. Enjoy delivering your speech

Trish Gray DTM

Toastmasters NZ

21.09.2005

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