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presentation training Impromptu speaking p22

Managers are often caught by surprise when they are suddenly asked to address a meeting. This can lead to a mental panic in which the mind goes blank.

The trick is to make impromptu speaking as un-impromptu as possible. Be aware of situations in meetings in which you might be asked to speak, and keep in mind, or note down, the key points you would make.

When summoned to speak, take your time. Get slowly to your feet, or if remaining seated clean your spectacles or shuffle your papers slowly. While doing so, think clearly how to construct a brief introduction, which follows the main components of the introduction steps:

TOPIC
WHY ME (if appropriate)
AIM (taking care to include “so that you…”)
HEADINGS

If your aim in speaking is to persuade, the stepping stones fall into place as headings i.e.:

THE PRESENT SITUATION AND WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT
A SUGGESTED SOLUTION
BENEFITS

If your aim is to inform, try to find a logical sequence of headings such as:

PAST
PRESENT
FUTURE

Or

THE NEED FOR CHANGE
WHAT WE DID
THE RESULTS

You will find that mentally preparing an introduction in this way, as a logical series of steps, enables you to create a very clear structure in your head.

When you start to speak, after thanking the person who asked you, present the introduction quite slowly to the group. This will do two things: it will clarify to the group the outline of what you are going to say and why; it will help you visualise the information you are going to give them under each heading.

Impromptu Speaking

Keep your impromptu presentation as brief and succinct as possible, don’t waffle on. If they want more detail they will ask you. Try also to include some anecdotes or examples which bring to life the facts and opinions your are expressing.

Give a brief summary of your main points to conclude and then sit down.

Remember however that impromptu speaking is still a presentation. Your tone of voice and your body language, particularly eye contact, are fundamental in conveying your belief in what you are saying.

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