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7 Steps to Impromptu Public Speaking

I think you will agree that most people are fearful of public speaking. There are different types and I personally think the hardest type is stand-up comedy. Therefore I recommend every leader to attend a quality comedy course and perform a 5-10 minute gig. Not so that you can crack a joke at your next AGM in front of the shareholders, (even though a little carefully crafted light humour can be helpful). It is more that once you have managed to remember your act word perfect and perform it to 80 strangers that have paid to be entertained by you, in a location such as the MAC Hexagon theatre, then most other speaking contexts will appear much easier.

The next type of public speaking that is the most challenging is impromptu. You may arrive at an event or at work and for whatever reason someone comes up to you and asks you to say a few words about an individual to a group. May be a team member is leaving the department, or someone has made a particular noteworthy achievement.

You have been given very little time to think it through. Perhaps 15 minutes maximum. So what are you going to do apart from get very nervous?

Wing it? Not advisable because that very rarely pays off.

What if you were to have a 7 step guide to impromptu public speaking? Would that benefit you?

Ok. Here is something I picked up when I was vice-president of Birmingham International Speakers Club. Not sure of the original source. Taking time to think what you are going to say and make some brief notes will prove invaluable:

  1. Prepare.
  2. Pen & Paper. Write your thoughts down onto A6 address card(s).
  3. Find a quiet place to consider and complete the following.
  4. Think of your view/stance/position and then summarise it.
  5. Think of a significant, relevant event (interesting or funny if appropriate) i.e. “I can remember when…”
  6. Think of the potential future for the person and/or organisation.
  7. Make brief notes of points 4, 5 and 6. Then smile, and using your written notes go give a memorable and noteworthy speech!

For lots more useful ideas and suggestions on Public Speaking and Leadership, then visit my Blog at http://www.matthewbroomhead.co.uk/broomhead-blog-posts/

Matthew Broomhead

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