Don't wing it. Always be prepared to deliver an impromptu presentation.
Sometimes you might be asked to deliver comments or a presentation without advance notice. You might be tempted to think on your feet. I strongly suggest that you do not think on your feet. It is easy to get yourself into trouble. Instead always be prepared to speak on very short notice. Impromptu speaking is similar to regular presenting – in that both are based on skill development. The better you know and practice the techniques the more it looks like talent.
Here are some techniques to help you with impromptu speaking.
- Have some favourite stories ready to use at any time.
- Rehearse them well so you can tell them easily.
- Prepare some of your best stories for different time frames, eg a 45-second version and a three minute version.
- Quickly write three points on an index card – then talk about those points.
- Decide on the one thing that you want to get across – and deliver that message.
- Conduct your speech as an interview with yourself.
- Ask rhetorical questions – then answer them.
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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives