5 minute speeches are quite common. You may give them in your workplace, in an educational setting or even for things like weddings or funerals.
Whatever the case, you will likely be asking yourself how many words you would need to write when you’re preparing what you’re going to say.
In short, a 5 minute speech will require 750 words, based on the average talking length.
However, there’s a lot more information we must cover when exploring this topic.
In this guide, we’ve looked at the word length for 5 minute speeches, why it might be the case, and how you should prepare for the speech itself.
So, if you’re looking for guidance on an upcoming speech, read on to learn more.
What Is The Word Count For A 5 Minute Speech?
This is an area that has been explored multiple times over the years.
Academics and public speaking coaches have long researched this to try to help prospective students improve their speeches and presentation skills.
According to publication coaches, the average person will speak between 125 to 150 words each minute. Resultedly, you would cover between 625 to 750 words per minute if you were to write a speech.
In layman’s terms, your average blog post is about 750 words, so you can expect to be able to publicly read out a blog post in 5 minutes.
Of course, this is only an estimate based on the average. Many people will speak much more quickly than others, and some speak much more slowly.
The fact is, the only way you can categorically and conclusively work out how many words you can cover in 5 minutes is by practice and testing yourself.
It’s also important to note that many speeches will not be read out word for word and you may end up going on a tangent, or even answering questions depending on what type of speech you are conducting.
Therefore, even if you can cover 750 words in 5 minutes word for word, you should also account for missing words or adding words to your speech.
How To Deliver The Perfect 5 Minute Speech By Word Count
When it comes to the delivery of a 5 minute speech with a word count, there are various things you need to bear in mind.
Let’s work under the assumption that you can cover 750 words in a five minute speech. You will need to prepare the speech in sections which provide your most salient points.
Let’s look at this in more detail.
As always, your introduction should be the shortest part of your speech and should remain as concise as possible.
If we’re working under the 750 word assumption, your introduction should be between 50 and 100 words maximum.
This will mean that your introduction will take between 30 seconds and 1 minute long when it comes to the timing.
Much like when you’re planning to write a type of essay or even for some fictional works, you will have a clear formatting. Introduction, main body and conclusion (or closing remarks).
The main body is where the majority of your points will be made.
It is irrelevant what you are delivering the speech on, this is where you will provide the most important pieces of information or major talking points.
As a result, the word count will be at its highest in this section. You should aim to write about 600 to 650 words in this section.
Remember, this is the part of your speech that means the most. You should try to remain concise, but also provide the most important information. Do not waffle when it comes to this section.
If you find during practice that your speech is not long enough, always try to put more relevant information into this section. Don’t be tempted to extend or prolong your introduction to account for more minutes.
The same applies to the conclusion – you do not want to overdo those parts of a speech, as the overall meaning will be lost in the main body.
Conclusion (Or Closing Remarks)
This area of your speech is where you will be summarizing your major points and simply reiterating or reminding your audience why you have made your speech, so they remember what the point was.
A good conclusion or closing remarks in a speech will not repeat the same points, but rather act as a way to reinforce the points that were already made.
A conclusion in terms of word count will cover about 50 to 100 words but should not exceed this really.
If you do too many words, you are in danger of repeating points that you have previously made and it will dilute the overall quality of the speech.
Here’s an example from this guide:
“In conclusion, a speech will be about 750 words, split 50, 650, 50 for each section”.
Tips For Delivering A Great Speech
Of course, it’s all well and good having your speech planned in terms of its word count, but you will need to know how to prepare and deliver this speech in the best possible way.
Here are some of the best tips you can try to remember.
Record And Time Yourself
As we mentioned earlier, 750 words is merely going to be a guideline. You will need to practice and will likely be rewriting your speech over and over again.
We recommend writing a 750 word speech and then timing yourself as you deliver it on your own, before you do it for real.
If you find that you are finishing your speech with plenty of time remaining, you will need to put more words into the main body of your speech.
It’s important though that you remain concise and avoid putting points into your speech that are irrelevant or fruitless.
Conversely, if your timer goes off and you have lots more to say, you will need to trim your speech down.
It is often difficult to know what to remove, but we recommend trying to slim your introduction or closing remarks first before looking at what to edit in the main body.
Take Your Time And Relax
It’s common for people to try to rush their speeches because they want to get it done with. This however usually gives off a bad experience for the audience and dilutes your quality.
Take as much time as possible and try to relax. This will improve your delivery and should prevent you from running under your time limit.
It’s important that you don’t pause for too long though, as you may run out of time! The best advice to give here is try to practice your speech as many times as possible before you give it properly.
The Bottom Line
A 5 minute speech is about 750 words based on the average speaking speed. However, the only sure fire way to know how many words you should write is by practicing your speech and timing yourself.