Impromptu Speaking, part 1
Impromptu speaking is speaking with no preparation. You have to think on your feet and come up with a short speech immediately. This kind of situation can occur in many real settings including in meetings, during job interviews, or during telephone conversations.
It may seem that we can succeed at making impromptu speeches with little practice, but as the great writer, Mark Twain, once wrote, it usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech?! If it takes a professional write more than three weeks, then we can be forgiven if we do not do make perfect impromptu speeches with less than three weeks, or less than three minutes, preparation.
Some general tips for speaking well with little preparation:
Tip 1: Learn how to buy time at the beginning, by either making a comment related to the topic, by asking a question of the audience, or by mentioning various possible items you might talk about
Tip 2: Start with your main point early, then come back to it often during your speech
Tip 3: Start with a strong or surprising statement, then the audience will wonder what is coming next
Tip 4: Try to organize your speech if you can. It's not easy, but your ideas will be remembered better if you can. Here are some ideas:
a) Organize by time first, second, third.
b) Organize by comparing two things.
c) Organize by problem and solution.
Don't just suddenly stop talking. Try to end with a clear conclusion. What do you want the audience to remember? They will usually remember the last thing you tell them. Here are some suggestions:
- Repeat your main point.
- Repeat the solution to a problem.
- Emphasize whatever your choice would be.
Practice is needed, so be sure to go to Toastmasters! Also, which will give you advanced ways to organize an impromptu speech.
In our previous article, we looked at basic ways to organize an impromputu (unprepared) speech. You can quickly organize your thoughts by either a) putting them in chronological (time) order or by b) comparing two possibilities or by c) thinking of a problem and its solution. Here are more advanced ideas. You will need to practice using these, but that is why you should join Toastmasters! You not only need practice in applying these approaches, you also need to practice choosing the best approach to suit your particular message.
One appoach is the Past Present Future (PPF) approach. This seems the same as the chronological method, but it is quite different. The chronological approach can be used in any time frame ? all in the past or all in the future, it doesn't matter. But with the PPF approach, you need to first look at the history of your topic, then describe the current situation, then speculate on the future. This is much more challenging than simply saying first... second... third...but can be quite powerful when used in the right situation, for example when talking about a company or an organization with a long history and bright future, or when talking about an idea that has been used at other time in history.
Another excellent advanced approach is the PREP method. PREP stands for Point, Reason, Example, and Point again. This approach is good when you have one main point you want to emphasize. By giving a reason, you appeal to people's logical left brains. When you give an example, you appeal to their emotional right brains. And when you repeat the point at the end, you help them remember. You can't use this approach when you have more than one idea or solution to consider, but when you only have one idea or solution, try it!
When you are talking about something quite unknown or unfamiliar, a good approach to use is the Possibilities (P) approach. You can start with, one possibility I can think of is... and go from there. If, after you describe the first possibility, you think it's a good one, you can stop there. If you think the first possibility is not the best, you can come up with another idea. Finally, at the end of the speech, you can tell the audience which possibility you prefer.
So, whether you choose PPF, PREP or just plain P method, you can make your point strongly, even without time to prepare.