As the name implies, a micro presentation is a very brief presentation. Micro presentations lasting under five minutes are useful at business or academic meetings and as an educational assessment tool. Like a longer presentation, the goal is to inform the audience.

Format of a Micro Presentation

A micro presentation may be simply a brief speech or may use visual aids such as slides, computer graphics, or whiteboards with diagrams or lists. The key is distilling information down to its essence, wasting not a word, while maintaining the core elements of any presentation or speech: getting audience attention, explaining a problem or research question, offering solutions or results, and concluding in a way that offers the audience a next step to take.

Academic Uses of Micro Presentations

At Christ University in India, candidates for the MBA program are required to give 90-second micro presentations on topics they have chosen from a list that changes annually; topic areas include sports, tourism, economics, politics, and propositions such as "strategy determines structure" and "stress increases performance." Medical and law students are often required to master effective micro presentation of cases. There's also micro teaching, a teacher education method in which novice educators are videotaped presenting brief segments of material so that they and their instructors can review their technique in detail.

Professional Uses of Micro Presentations

A micro presentation is an effective format at seminars and meetings when there are many presenters with important pieces of information to report. Setting an arbitrary time limit and sticking to it forces people to think through exactly what is most important about what they need to say and the most effective way of saying it. In a professional setting, a micro presentation might include handouts with key points or statistics -- a paper version of the presentation that listeners will be able to use as a reference.

Other Uses of Micro Presentations

Though the term isn't formally used, many occasions in life can be enhanced with micro presentation skills. Giving a speech or a toast at a wedding, saying a few words at a memorial service, answering an open-ended job interview question or asking someone out can all be viewed as micro presentations of a sort: You have a case to make and a brief opportunity to make it, and if you haven't had any practice the very thought may unnerve you. Understanding the basic structure of a micro presentation helps you to organize your thoughts, stay calm and make the most of that opportunity.