Manage episode 377618934 series 2553835
Suddenly you hear your name being called upon and you are being requested to make a few remarks. Uh oh. No preparation, no warning and no escape. What do you do? Extemporaneous speaking is one of the most difficult tasks for a presenter.
Usually the time between your name being called and you actually being handed the microphone can be counted in milliseconds. By the time you have heaved yourself out of your chair, your brain has well and truly started to panic.
Here are a couple of things we can do in this situation. Firstly, take a realistic look at the task at hand. The length of your talk will not be expected to be long.
Begin by thanking whoever unceremoniously dragged you up the podium for the chance to say a few words. Try and smile at them, through gritted teeth if you have to. You have to say something, so take the occasion and put your comments into some form of context.
You can use the concept of time as your ally. For example, here is where we were, here is where we are today and here is where we are going in the future. This past, present, future construct will work for just about any occasion and any subject. That is the type of ready to go format you need to be able to call upon when you don’t have much preparation time up your sleeve.
Another good construct is macro and micro. Talk about the big picture issues related to the occasion, then talk about some of the micro issues. This is useful for putting the event into a frame you can speak about easily. There is always a big and small picture related to any topic. Again, this construct travels easily across occasions and events.
We can use the weather, the location, the season or the time of the day as a theme. We can put this event into any of those contexts rather easily. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a long presentation.
We can talk about people that everyone would know, who are related to the event. They might be present or absent. We can make a few positive remarks about our host. Then we can thank everyone for their attention, wish them our best and get off the stage.
So always have a couple of simple constructs up your sleeve if you are suddenly asked to speak without warning. Don’t just turn up thinking you can be an audience member and can switch off or these days start immersing yourself in your phone screen. Imagine you were suddenly singled out for action and have your construct ready to go just in case.
You may not be called upon, but everyone around you will be impressed that you could get up there and speak without warning. The degree of difficulty here is triple back flip with pike sort of dimension and everyone knows it. They are all thinking what a nightmare it would have been, had it been them up there in the firing line. You will be surprised how much a difference that little bit of preparation will make to coming across as professional, rather than uming and ahing your way through a total shambles of a talk. Your personal brand will be golden for the sake of a bit of forward planning. Now that would be worth it don’t you think.