Having to deliver an impromptu presentation in public is the worst-case scenario for many leaders. Being asked to speak publicly can catapult you into a challenging situation to be avoided at all costs. The associated negative possibilities appear weighty – you mumble incoherently, your brain freezes, or you seem to lose all the gravitas. However, these worst-case scenarios happen all the time.
What is Impromptu Speaking?
Impromptu speaking is where a person delivers a speech without any prior preparation on a topic. Impromptu is doing something without prior-preparation. The speech can be on any topic from many possibilities such as an object, quotation, proverb, and one-word abstract, etc.
Impromptu speaking is used in day to day conversations, formal gatherings, social meetings, official conferences. Specific examples include: being asked to give a toast at a company party, introducing yourself at networking events, being asked unexpected questions on a panel, or unexpectedly being pulled into a meeting to give an update.
Why is Impromptu Speaking Important?
Communicating is an integral part of our private and professional lives, and it is essential to learn how to become impressive at impromptu speaking. An excellent impromptu speaker can speak with confidence and ease on the spot on any given topic. On the contrary, most people are wanting in this area.
Not a day can pass without speaking to family, friends, or colleagues. In the corporate world, it becomes more critical to be able to give an impromptu speech as required, as a failure do so will not leave a good impression on your colleagues.
How to Become Impressive at Impromptu Speaking?
The experience of getting up to give a speech you weren’t prepared for can be very frightening at times. Nonetheless, there are some things you can do that can help you deliver an impressive speech no matter the situation you are in and at least survive with minimal embarrassment.
Know your Subject
In the corporate world, it is important to know the subject area that you are talking about. Have a clear message in mind and get focused on conveying the message. Avoid topics you are uninformed or ambivalent about and only talk about what you know. If you are asked to talk about something you are not familiar with, politely decline the request or bring the topic back to something that you know better.
Short and Sweet
Make your speech short and sweet. It is advisable to limit your address to less than two minutes. Even a short address of fewer than 90 seconds or a minute can be perfectly adequate.
Your speech should have a well-rounded sense of structure. Just like any other story, an address should have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
Into the opening of your speech, work a light-hearted reference or a joke to disarm the crowd. A little bit of humor helps in reducing the tension of speaking unexpectedly and cutting through the crowd’s anxiety of anticipating a nervous speaker.
Include in your ending a quick summary of what you have just talked about and you will start to sound more like a pro. Take it to the next level, and add a reference to what you mentioned at the start of the speech, and your audience might even think you have planned and prepared this speech.
Practicing these tips will help you learn with time how to become impressive at impromptu speaking.
Impromptu speaking is a challenge that most people are afraid of and try to avoid at all costs. However, it is a missed opportunity to shine and sparkle in front of your colleagues, friends or family. With a few simple techniques and a little practice, you too can become an impressive Impromptu Speaker.