At some stage in your life and/or career, you will be asked to speak ‘off the cuff’, which is a term in English for giving an impromptu speech – saying something with no or little time to prepare.
Each impromptu encounter gives you an opportunity to inspire and influence others at the moment. Whether you are in the elevator, walking down the corridor, in a meeting, or at a conference, obviously, you’ll want to make the most of these situations.
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If you have 3 days, 3 minutes or only just 3 seconds before speaking, here is a strategy you can follow to collect your thoughts and express yourself in a well-structured way when the moment comes for you to speak.
There are 4 steps to follow:
First, engage by linking your speech to the moment. Connect to your audience with a friendly greeting, a reference to a previous discussion or a response to someone’s point.
Second, state your main message. This is your point: a one-sentence statement that is the heart of your perspective on the topic. It can begin with “I believe” or “my view is” or even if you are looking to be more informal, “here’s the thing…”
Third, build your structure. Create a compelling case for your main message with ideally three supporting points. These points should show the reasons or ways you believe your main message to be true.
Fourth, if you can, end your impromptu speech with a call to action. Communicate clearly how you want your message to be acted upon by your audience. If a call to action isn’t appropriate, tell your audience that you believe they are now ‘better informed’ or that you are sure they ‘will now see your point of view’.
Check out this video, ’Clear Communication in the Workplace’ from ‘Communication Coach’ Alex Lyon for more information on how to prepare a well-structured, concise and impactful message. I highly recommend Alex’s YouTube channel.