ON THE SPOT: Here are ways to not be caught off guard with this type of speech [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
It’s easy to prepare for a speech when you’re informed weeks or months before that you’re going to deliver one.
Research here, research there…
… create an outline of your script…
… and then rehearse your speech or presentation in the days before your actual talk.
Doing these things will help boost your confidence to speak in front of your audience and deliver your message effectively.
But what if you’re asked to give a speech ON THE SPOT due to an emergency or for any other urgent reason?
Now that’s a different story.
Impromptu speaking is a speech that a speaker delivers without predetermination or preparation. In this type of speech, a speaker is only given a topic in the form of a quotation, object, proverb, or one-word abstract.
ON. THE. SPOT.
This is why many speakers find impromptu speeches terrifying―they cannot be rehearsed, studied, or even visualized in advance!
Here’s the thing: Your feelings toward impromptu speeches don’t have to remain like that. As a speaker, you can still ace this type of speech.
Public speaking practitioner, author, and lecturer Janek Tuttar has 5 helpful impromptu speech tips for you to apply even with a short amount of time to prepare:
- Adjust the perspective of your topic when needed.
Impromptu speeches mean you may be asked to talk about topics you’re not confident about.
For example: You’re an expert at statistics, but you’re asked to talk about art. Instead of trying to recall unfamiliar topics at the last moment, approach the topic differently.
Do you have anecdotes about yourself experiencing difficulties while trying to do or study art? If so, ask yourself,
“What lessons have I learned through these difficulties?”
“What are the things that helped me overcome these struggles?”
“What is my overall disposition about this subject?”
… then share your answers to these questions with your audience.
If done right, this will shift the perspective of the speech from something you don’t know to a perspective you’re confident about. This will also enable your listeners to learn something helpful and beneficial from your talk.
- Get straight to the point.
It’s not best practice to start your speech with an excuse such as telling your audience that you’re asked to deliver an impromptu speech and you haven’t prepared well enough.
What that excuse does is make your audience think you or the event organizers fell short in planning. Besides, in many instances, listeners aren’t keeping score of how many hours you put into your presentation—what matters more is your message.
So, get straight to the point and maximize your time presenting all the important information to your audience!
If appropriate, you may also incorporate humor in some parts of your impromptu speech to help you and your listeners relax and lighten the mood.
- Remember this simple structure for impromptu speaking in your mind.
Tuttar says this simple structure is best for impromptu speaking:
Feeling, anecdote, and conclusion.
- FEELING: How do you feel about the subject of the speech?
Tell the audience your personal thoughts about the topic to ease them into the talk.
- ANECDOTE: Do you have any stories to tell?
Your story doesn’t have to be humorous or out of this world. Making a point about your subject by sharing a relevant story works well.
- CONCLUSION: Why does your anecdote matter as you talk about your topic?
After telling your story, share how this relates to your main topic. This is the time to tie your points together and end the talk.
- A Power Pause is effective.
Avoid unnecessary fillers such as “Ah”, “Um”, “Eh”, or “So” during your talk. Instead, take a power pause to sound confident and in control.
Filler words sometimes distract your audience and make it obvious that you are thinking about what to say next.
While it’s true that impromptu speeches force you to think on your feet, you should still make sure to project a confident and credible image as a speaker. This will help keep your listeners hooked on your next statement.
Being brief is especially important in an impromptu speech because you have no time to research about your topic.
Instead of tackling a lot of subtopics in your talk, focus on something you know, keep it on a perspective you’re confident about, then wrap it up.
Unnecessarily trying to prolong your impromptu speech is a sign that you’re blabbering. This could even make your audience feel bored or uninterested.
You don’t want that to happen, do you? So, keep your message substantial yet concise.
Remember: No one complains about a speech being short as long as it’s impactful, interesting, and relevant!
With the help of these impromptu speaking tips, Tuttar encourages you to own the spotlight by utilizing any idea you have to inform and entertain your audience about your topic.
It’s not just about whether or not you have the most colorful vocabulary. Tuttar says it is about:
“… whether or not people understand and remember the information you’re trying to convey.”
An impromptu speech may be hard during the first few tries, but it’s one of the things you should master if you want to improve as a speaker and add more into your skillset.
Avoid panicking when you’re asked to deliver a speech on the spot!
Breathe in, breathe out, and with the help of the tips above, put your best foot forward in front of your audience.
Get on that stage and ace your impromptu speech!
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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