Courtesy speeches are many times used as fillers between keynotes. They are effective presentation strategies because it helps chop the entire meeting up into small attention-keeping sessions. There is a fallacy that sometimes erodes the possibilities of this speech which says, “This speech is so short I really cannot deliver any value or impact.” This is simply a reversed way to look at this opportunity!

Approaching a speech that is about five minutes or shorter just has to be compiled from a different vantage point than when preparing a longer one. In fact, a shorter speech should serve to be much more impactful because you get right to the meat of your point, rather than using up precious minutes with filler words as you draw out what you have to say.

In my speaking experience, I was given the responsibility of short five minute-or-less speeches frequently and noticed that I was able to stir emotion and invite people to action in that time period just as much as I was able to do with longer speeches. At one point, I was asked to be part of a group which would have us each deliver a two minute speech regarding our success in business. That’s right! TWO minutes. My initial reaction was that two minutes would barely be enough time to introduce myself and say hello, let alone deliver any kind of meaningful impact.

However, with over a week to prepare, I decided to get to work to ensure that my two minutes would be useful. I understood the value of being asked to present a concept in front of an audience, and that for those two minutes in time, I would be able to help motivate and move people to take action toward achieving their dreams! That is a powerful responsibility, and I knew I wouldn’t want to take it lightly.

Here are three short steps to keep in mind when given an awesome opportunity of delivering a short speech:

1. Even within a few short minutes, you can deliver an impactful message.

Though your time is narrow, respect this opportunity as you would a keynote address. Your feelings behind this speech will make or break your presentation, and if you feel that this is not an important speech, guess what? Your audience will feel that also. Prepare for this speech as you would for any other: in advance, practice out loud, and given the length you should also memorize the words so that you can focus on tonality and gesturing.

2. The basis of every speech should be to move people toward action.

You have a respectful privilege of speaking to an audience and guiding them toward a positive change in their life. Whether you are speaking for business, a club, work, training, spiritual teaching, etc., your words can entertain, bore, or inspire. Start off with a bang and then simmer it down to an inspirational ending. Attention is usually at its peak at the start, and you do not have much time to build up. By being emotionally connected to the message, even your short speech can inspire massive action.

3. Focus your message around one key sentence.

Whether you use a famous quote by someone else or you mold one yourself, choose a sentence that can summarize your message tightly. Start off with that phrase and use the remaining minutes to explain the power behind it and how it can help move your audience closer to their goals. In a short speech, most people will not have time to take notes on the details you present, so by giving them one crucial line, they will be able to have a summarized version of your speech with them, and carry the feelings you delivered.

If you can master the short speech, you will breeze through longer ones. It takes practice and effort to truly delve deeply into a speech that physically only lasts a few minutes but can have an effect on people long after you are off the stage. That is the goal with any speech: deliver impact. By valuing your opportunity, short as it may be, you will deliver quality that cannot be contained in a time frame. That is your ultimate duty as a speaker.

Author's Bio: 

Eneida Pinto is a seasoned leader in the Public Speaking field. She has trained hundreds of people in the art of mastering communication for the masses and continues her own quest for improvement to pass on to others. You can learn more about her and her company’s programs at