How to deliver a 20 minute event Presentation

How to deliver a 20 minute event Presentation

In the business world, there are lots of events and conferences, increasingly in person, but also of course virtual ones.

Organised by event companies, local Chamber of Commerces, companies doing in-house events / conferences, business groups and associations, networking groups and others there are plenty of events and conferences looking for inspiring, impactful and energising 20 minute speakers. 

That speaker could be you. 

If it is what an opportunity that is. 

So why might you be asked? 

You could be an experienced, well known speaker.

Or you could be highly experienced in your field and as such are known for your expertise. 

As such an event or conference organiser thinks it would be a great idea for you to share your knowledge and expertise with their audience.

You might not regard yourself as a professional speaker. There’s a good chance you are not going to be paid megabucks for your 20 minutes,. Indeed you could well be paid nothing at all.

But its not about the money.

Its about the opportunity. 

What you have been offered is a great opportunity to put yourself out there as a knowledgeable expert in front of potentially a new audience, or in the case of an internal event company bosses and those who could influence your career and effectively your promotion prospects.

Delivering a memorable 20 minute presentation could be a game changer – I know because that happened to me. Many years ago I spoke at an in-house UK regional press conference on the benefits of colour advertising in the local press (I did say it was a long time ago). Someone listening decided they needed me to drive their colour ad sales and offered me a big promotion. I didn’t mention I was actually partially colour blind! 

If you get the chance to deliver a 20 minute event presentation then here are 7 steps for you to follow to show you How to deliver a 20 minute event Presentation: 

Step #1 – Find Out 

Find out when and where the event is taking place, the equipment available to presenters, including size of screen, and any microphones. 

Find out who is going to be there, what they are expecting from you, and indeed, what the organiser is expecting from you in terms of content, and if there is any running order that has already been decided. This may not be confirmed until nearer the time, but it is important to know in advance of the day. You don’t want to turn up to suddenly find you are first on and they’ve brought your slot forward so that you’re starting in 10 minutes!

Step #2 Sketch it

This is where you start to sketch out what you’re going to include and also importantly what you are not going to include. 

One of the things that top presenters are very good at is leaving out stuff . When you are an irregular or rare presenter or maybe even a first time presenter there is a danger that you want to include content that you like, content that tells the audience just how much you know.  However if that content is not relevant to your presentation on the day don’t include it. Its hard not to but you have to. 

To help you make sure you deliver the right content for your audience use these 4E’s that any audience wants from any presentation :

Your audience want to be:




and to a degree Entertained.

To engage your audience you need to grab their attention from the get go. So make sure you deliver a presentation start that gives them a reason to listen to the rest of it – you can do this by starting with some sort of headline statement or share a short story that you are familiar with or use a big stat that will grab their attention. In all cases the information needs to be relevant to whatever it is you are presenting on.

Educate your audience by sharing your knowledge and expertise around things that it is highly likely the audience won’t know about. Don’t though give them too much information otherwise it will be too much to take in. Stick to three core messages which form the basis of the information you are sharing.

If your audience are enthused by what they are hearing from you they will be more likely to put into action your tips, advice, ideas so when you are sketching out your content ask yourself ‘Will this excite my audience?, Will this inspire my audience?, Will this motivate my audience?’

Entertaining your audience is about the overall experience your presentation leaves them with. The way they feel about what they have just experienced and how much they have enjoyed it. If humour comes into your presentation great, and if you do something with props or something else that adds a bit more life to it, that’s all part of the entertainment factor.

Step #3 Jog through.

This is where you got an opportunity to check the flow and order of your content and, if you are using them, your slides. The jog through will help you make decisions. Get rid of slides that aren’t relevant and move them if they are in the wrong order. Use the jog through to check that the start is engaging and that you are sharing is clear and understandable. Don’t use jargon! And keep the words on your slides to a minimum. No sentences and no bullet points!

Step #4 – Timed Run

Take this seriously and aim to do it two or three times. If you are going to stand up when you present, then stand up when you practice. You could record it so that you can go back through it and check that you got everything right and that you can tick the boxes on the 4E’s mentioned above for your audience.

Aim to deliver in practice in 80 to 85% of the allocated time so for your 20 minute presentation that means in practice you need to be delivering it in 16 to 17 minutes. Any more and you risk running over time on the day.

Step #5 – Arrive Early

This gives you a chance to check the set up and get a feel for the room. If you are speaking in person, meet and greet the organisers, and some of the early arrival delegates, organise the glass of water you need, set out any notes or materials you’re taking with you. 

The same applies if you are delivering virtually. 

Step #6 – Be the Best of You

This is where you deliver your 20 minute presentation, so go out there and be the best of you for 20 minutes, knowing that you have practised and that you have a very good presentation to share. If you’re feeling a bit nervous that’s a good thing as that will give a bit of an edge in terms of feeling sharp and ready to energise your audience. 

Think enjoy! If you enjoy delivering your presentation your audience will sense that and they will enjoy listening to you. 

Step #7 – Reflect 

After your presentation ask your audience for some feedback and then reflect on how well you thought it went and ask yourself these two questions. ‘Next time what would I do differently?’ and ‘What could I do better?’

I hope this is helpful for you when you have a 20 minute event presentation to deliver. If you need some help I offer shortish Zoom sessions where I will wear the hats of being your coach and your audience and challenge you to be the best of you. 

How to deliver a 20 minute event Presentation is also available as a podcast: ://

To get that ball rolling use this link to book a free 15 minute Zoom call with me so we can discuss what you think you need and you can decide if I’m the right person to help you: