Timings for Your Next Speech


Having 40 minutes of silence to fill with your own voice can be tough, especially when it comes to parsing out what you want to say.

Once you’ve decided whether or not to have a Q&A session, and factored in time for that, you’re still left with a mass of time to fill. We’ve listed our favourite timings for a speech.

10% Introduction

Your introduction should tell your audience why your presentation matters, and what are people going to learn from your speech. It should provide a solid outline of what is to come, without giving all the answers – you need a little intrigue!

25% each on three main arguments.

Whilst it’s not important to get each argument to exactly 25%, you shouldn’t be dedicating 50% of your time to one point at the expense of the other two. Having three main points in your presentation is a great way of styling your speech; The Rule of Three will keep your audience engaged and active. For each point, be sure to follow the PEP approach; make your point, give an example, and then reiterate your point.

5% closing

If you’ve been clear and concise throughout the presentation, the concluding section should be short.  Draw your three main points together and finish the presentation succinctly; there are some great tips for closing your speech here.

10% early finish

Always leave them wanting more is a really common anecdote, and one you should stick to! Finishing 10% earlier than expected with the actual speech means that you have extra time for Q&A if needs be, and if not, everyone gets a few extra minutes of networking.

This means that, for a 20 minute speech, you should have a 2 minute introduction, spend 5 minutes on each of the three arguments, one minute on the conclusion and then end 2 minutes early.

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Ali Coulson

Photo Credit: Daniela Vladimirova via Compfight cc