Mark Twain once said that it took him three weeks to prepare an impromptu speech. This is a luxury you may not have when someone says, “Could you give us a brief overview of that project your team is handling?”
There are several methods to help you wing an off-the-cuff talk in an organized fashion.
Here are 4 strategies:
1. Past. Present. Future. Begin with a quick overview of what happened in the past as it relates to your topic. Then, state the current situation. Finally, discuss what will or could happen in the future. Then, provide a brief summary.
2. PREP Method. PREP is an acronym for Point. Reason. Example. Point. First, make your point. State your reason for making the point. Give an example that justifies your reason. Finally, drive home the point, linking the conclusion to the opening.
3. Who, What, How, When, Where Method. The name explains it. You state who is involved, what they are doing, how they got involved, when it will happen and where it will happen. Then, summarize.
4. Cause. Effect. Remedy. State what has caused the problem. What effect it is having on the state of things? And, then propose a remedy to the situation.
All of these methods can help you organize your thoughts before you deliver your impromptu remarks. But there are a few more things to remember when you are asked to talk at a moment’s notice.
Take time to collect your thoughts. Focus your thoughts on the topic, and block out any negative thoughts such as being unprepared. Smile. Talk directly to the audience, and adapt your presentation based on audience feedback.
Be brief and to the point. Don’t rush. Keep smiling.
If you use one of these methods and follow these tips, you’ll look like a pro.
If you’re serious about advancing your skills and making an investment in yourself, we invite you to our Excellence in Speaking Institute. Classes are back in person and filling up quickly so don’t delay! Visit this page to read feedback from our graduates about their experiences.