15/20 minute presentation?

I have to write a 15/20 minute presentation for my boss and he is not the type to practise it to see how long it takes! I was thinking that around 1500 words, as he is french so is a little slower reading english. Does that sound about right, or is it not enough?

Question from Tim Camefan. 

Number of words in a presentation

In terms of a presentation then the average tends to be 100 to 150 words per minute – but this is a broad average and does not reflect the way that your boss speaks.

Probably the best effect would be to get your boss to read out a speech – perhaps you could use one of the famous speeches on our website and time how long it takes. You can then work out the speed that he speaks at.

The only thing that this would tend to miss out on is the use of pauses. Pauses can be very powerful. Perhaps for example you could ask the audience a rhetorical question and then wait for an answer. This would all tend to slow down the word count.

Overall somewhere between 1500 and 2000 words should put you in the right area.

Answer thanks to The Presentation Doctor. 

20 minute presentation on any topic

I have been invited for a second interview with a company. I have been asked to prepare a 20 min. presentation on ANY topic. I don’t know what to do. I want to stand out but also want to be professional. Any interesting ideas? Thanks!!

I think you should chose a topic you feel happy with and steer away from anything too contentious, do you perhaps have an interesting hobby you could talk about. Also try and bring a little humour into the presentation.

I suggest you have a look at Essential Presentation Skills, Hints and Tips and the rule of 3 on the website.

Hope it goes well.


15 minute presentation on unknown topic 🙁

15 minute presentation on unknown topic 🙁


I have just been told that I am to do a 15 minute presentation on a topic I will not know until I arrive for the interview, and I will be given only 15 minutes preparation time. How can I make best use of this? More to the point, how can I turn it into my advantage?
Any help would be brilliant.

my advise to you, other than knowing the basics of presenting a topic like starting with a brief introduction then moving smoothly to classifications, types ,etc ending with a summery and conclusion,
I want you to think of several topics and start presenting them either in front of a good friend or video-tape yourself and keep practice until you satisfied
The idea is not the topic itself.. It is how to present
if you know and practice the basic principles of how to present, any topic will be easy
good luck

A few tips

It is always a good idea to have a few quotations handy. Try to search for some websites that you can access on your mobile phone browser or laptop during your preparation time.

Secondly, speaking slowly and clearly is very important – especially since you might be nervous. Talking slowly will actually give you time to think in between and to communicate clearly what you want to say.

Thirdly, try to engage the audience at some point – by either asking questions or be telling a story and by making eye contact . As soon as they buy into your presentation or feel engaged in it, their responses will be encouraging and inspiring for you.

Perhaps you can arrive with a blank template on how you would like to proceed and just fill in the details as you go. Like
1) Introduction and quotation.
2) Some statistics and facts.
3) A story
4) Questions for the audience.
5) More facts and information
6) Conclusion

Good luck!


Published On: 24th Oct 2015

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