Sunday, 14 August 2016 01:20

How do I deliver a good impromptu speech?

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How do I deliver a good impromptu speech. Article by Rae StonehouseFirstly, you need to develop your all-round public speaking skills so that when the opportunity arises, you have the ability and the self-confidence to deliver an impromptu speech. Secondly, you need to say something that is worth your audience’s time to listen to.

Let me clarify impromptu speaking scenarios for anyone reading this response. Here are some examples of impromptu speaking opportunities:

· The scheduled speaker is unavailable

· You are sitting on a panel answering questions from the audience

· You are fielding questions after your own talk

· You are being interviewed on television, radio, webinar, or telephone

· You are invited (at the last moment) to say a few words at a company gathering

· You are asked to provide a brief status report for your project at a department meeting

· You are motivated to join the debate at the parent association meeting for your child’s school

· You decide to give an unplanned toast at an event with family or friends

The gist of impromptu speaking is that you haven’t had the same amount of preparation time as you would for a formalized, prepared speech. At times, it may be a matter of mere minutes.

So assuming that you have the public speaking skills to deliver an impromptu speech, how do we go about crafting one?

Probably, the first task you need to do is ask yourself “Do I know anything about the subject that I am being asked to speak about?” There is an old saying that goes “better to keep your mouth shut and let them think you stupid, then to open it and prove that you are!”

In most cases you are not obligated to speak other than before a judge in a court of a law or perhaps a grand jury. If you do know something about the subject you are asked to speak about, start writing down your ideas on paper. This is a brainstorming technique. The idea here is to generate enough ideas to give you something to work with. Then you would analyze your points to see if there are any natural connections between the points. Themes will likely develop as you drill down. Depending on the amount of time that you have for your impromptu speaking opportunity, you may only have time to expand upon one or two of the themes that developed from brainstorming. The next step would be to add personal examples, stories, quotations and facts to add substance to your presentation.

This all presupposes that you have at least a few minutes to organize your thoughts before delivering your speech. Often you don’t! The same process applies when you don’t have the advance preparation time, except you have to do it in your head. This can be challenging.

Once you have taken stock on what you actually know about the question at hand the next step is to decide on an organizational method i.e. how you will organize your thoughts for delivery.

Here are some organizational strategies to consider. The idea is to practice them in advance of actually needing them, so when the time comes to speak with short notice, you have a variety of tools to choose from.

1. Compare and Contrast Extremes: (Examples Pros vs Cons/ Negative vs Positive) Quickly look at any situation from both sides. Create an argument for both sides. This can naturally lead to helping your audience make a decision and increasing your credibility as a ‘thought leader.’ A conclusion to this strategy is leaving your audience with your recommendations on what choice to make. “Go Ahead Now” versus “Think About It”; “Our side” versus “Their side.” Here’s a question for you to practice: Question: Which are better, cats or dogs as guard animals?

2. PREP: Point, Reason, Example, Point. This strategy may be self-explanatory. It is likely the backbone of any speech that you might deliver. The example section is where your personal stories or anecdotes come in handy.

3. Chronological/Historical (Past, Present & Future) This is a strategy that can quickly be used to deliver an impromptu presentation of most types. “In the past … this was how things were done… currently … here is how we are doing it … but in thefuture I envision …” This strategy helps build your credibility with your audience.

4. Categorical: Oranges, Apples, Bananas, Pineapples; or Triangles, Circles, Squares, Rectangles; or Customers, Managers, Employees, Sales People.

5. Hierarchical: Top, Middle, Bottom

6. Review Options: Option 1, Option 2, Option 3, Recommendation

7. Expanding Radius: Individual, Neighborhood, Community

Here are some more thoughts on impromptu speaking from Sean K. Michael of Velocity VideosVelocity Videos that are worthwhile sharing.

Three Key Ideas:

“I’m content, no matter what!”

Enjoy yourself!

“I can’t fail!”

Three Tips:

Tip One: Less is more.

Tip Two: Start with a question.

Tip Three: Make it personal.

Here are even more impromptu peaking tips & techniques:

· Anticipate situations where you may be called upon to speak.

· Wrap your response around a simple template, or framework.

· Turn your impromptu session into a Q&A session.

· Avoid the tendency to go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on …

So I won’t … much longer. I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend joining your local Toastmasters club to practice and hone your public speaking skills as well as your ability to speak ‘off the cuff.’ After 22 years as a Toastmaster member I have learned that having no knowledge of a subject shouldn’t prevent me from being an expert on the subject. Hmmm…. perhaps I shouldn’t state that publicly :-)

Read 837 times Last modified on Saturday, 15 October 2016 11:44
Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or

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Copyright 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.com

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