Impromptu speaking can be enough to frighten even the bravest of souls. If that's you, take heart.
Being asked to speak in public is a HUGE challenge for many.
But being asked to speak spontaneously as well as publicly can put the task firmly in the very-difficult, to-be-avoided-at-all-times-I'd-rather-die category.
Having acknowledged your fear let's KISS it better!
The KISS principle (Keep It Succinct & Simple) will give you a formula applicable to all impromptu speaking occasions.
Asked to give a few words to conclude a business meeting? No problem.
Have to make a presentation on the spur of the moment? Easy.
You're asked for a quick summary of your company's latest developments. Simple.
Whatever the purpose of your impromptu speaking, KISS will serve you well.
Use the time you have between being asked to speak and actually getting to your feet to plan even if it's only a few minutes.
If you're in the middle of a social event or busy meeting find a quieter corner to concentrate.
Jot your notes on whatever is handy - a paper table napkin, the back of envelope...
Select ONE message from your notes to focus on. Write that down and your opening/closing ideas.
Just like any other form of speech you require structure.
You will need an opening, a body and a conclusion.
Sort the body of your speech first using which ever of the impromptu speaking templates below best suits your topic.
Take your focus or main point and expand it using one of these organizers. This will form the body of your speech.
1. PREP (Point, Reason, Example, Point)
Today I am more confident, more vibrant, more alive, more willing to take risks and to learn.
2. Past, Present, Future
3. Cause, Effect, Remedy
4. Before, The Event, The Result
3 more useful impromptu speaking organizers are:
Having planned the body of your speech, now focus on your opening and conclusion.
Take your lead from the impromptu speaking template you've chosen. If, for example,
you've chosen Past, Present, Future you might open with a comment based on
'Thank-you for invitation to speak to you about XXXX. To grasp more firmly the nature of what we are dealing with, I'm going to take you on a journey. Firstly we'll go back in time, then we'll focus on what's happening now and lastly, we'll go forward ...'
To close, summarize your points briefly and if possible, make your final remark the clincher.
From the Panic Department:
And lastly, do remember impromptu speaking, like most skills, improves with practice.
To help you get to where you want
to be -an accomplished impromptu speaking pro - there are 50 impromptu public speaking topics here.
That's enough for hours of practice! Click the link to start right away!
Be kind but disciplined with yourself. If you really want to achieve, you will, but it does mean getting through the initial discomfort of trial and possibly error. Keeping it succinct & simple (KISS) will make a positive difference. Try it and see for yourself. I promise, it is doable!
That's my award for winning the impromptu speaking (table topics) competition between all the Toastmaster clubs in my area - E7.
Easy to learn, easy to practice, and very effective.
The very last words come from Mark Twain, no stranger to the concept of 'pre-planned spontaneity'. Here's his famous 'tongue-in-cheek' quote on the subject:
'It usually takes more than 3 weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.'
Need more help?
You'll find links to pages on how to deliver speeches, essential tips for overcoming anxiety, how to slow your speaking rate, how to develop vocal variety and more on the write-out- loud.com site map .