Concise Speeches

Writing and delivering a 2-3 minute speech.  Piece of cake you may say … but is it?


The 2-3 minute speech which is called for in some Pathways projects is a great exercise in mastering the art of being concise.  As with all speeches you still need to have a speech arc with a clear beginning, middle and end and make it meaningful to your audience with a call to action so it is a little trickier than it looks at first sight.

I am sure you’ve all heard the Winston Churchill quote. “If I had more time I would have written you a shorter letter”.  How true this is.

In our working lives we are constantly being asked to summarise or provide a one pager instead of a full presentation, so it’s a valuable project.

Yes our evaluation speeches are 2-3 minutes in length and also fit this bill but somehow they are easier to achieve than for a Pathways project.  If you have a meaty topic you wish to communicate, then this project can pose quite a challenge.  It calls for editing, editing, and just a bit more editing.  Once you get into your editing swing, you start realising how many padding words sentences contain when you are trying to minimise the word count.

I recently had to write about my blogging experience in 2-3 minutes.  I had written 8 blogs over a couple months and had learnt a huge amount in the process, but I just couldn’t include everything in my speech.  I had to work out what was essential to a powerful story and what would just take too long to explain.  Whilst my experience of getting banned from Facebook (for no apparent reason) and then eventually clawing myself back in, was part of my blogging journey, and with a bit of work, may have made the audience laugh, I just didn’t have the time to include it.  Facebook was just my teaser tool to direct people to this blog so in my stripping back, unfortunately it ended up on the cutting room floor.

Writing a concise speech is a great skill to learn, helps you ensure you have a strong structure and so is certainly a skill I’ll be practicing more.

Good luck with your next 2-3 minute speech.

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