The Art of Impromptu Speaking
How many times have you walked away from a discussion or an argument and thought, “That’s what I should have said.” Most of our communication is impromptu speaking yet sometimes we struggle to effectively say something specific and constructive in that spur of the moment. If your goal is to communicate successfully with others then you will want to master the art of impromptu speaking.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
* It helps you focus your thinking on a logical and concise answer.
* It helps develop your confidence.
* It makes you more effective in any discussion, debate, argument, or interview.
HOW TO RESPOND TO ALL QUESTIONS
* Listen carefully to the question – you will have a chance to reinforce or correct any key point.
*Pause before you answer – this allows you to organize your thoughts. You also look and sound poised and in control when you deliberate for a few seconds.
* Repeat the question only if you feel this will clarify the question.
* Structure the answer like a mini-speech.
* Stick to the question. If you need to go off on a tangent, to include other information for example, always come back to the question.
HOW TO RESPOND TO DIFFICULT QUESTIONS
A question may be unanswerable because of the kind of question it is – long, complicated, multifaceted or one you just don’t want to answer. So get a better question.
You can do this by:
* Ask to have the question repeated; it now may be shorter or more specific.
* Ask for clarification to make it more understandable.
* Ask a question of your own; you are attempting to clarify a question.
* Respond to one aspect of the question.
TECHNIQUES ON DELIVERY
* Use vocal variety – strategic pauses, strong voice, emphasize keywords, and vary the rate.
* Illustrate your point using a personal story with which your listener can identify.
* Use emotional appeal. The most effective answers are those that reach the heart of the listener.
* Use imagery. We think in pictures, so use descriptive words.
* Past, Present, Future – discuss each topic from each of these viewpoints.
* Point, Reason, Example, Point – give a point of view about the subject in your opening statement. Back it up with a reason explaining why you made that statement. Then follow up with an example or anecdote. Conclude by restating your point.
DO THESE TECHNIQUES WORK?
These techniques need to be practised so they become second nature to you. Toastmasters has a Table Topics session which is designed to provide you with an opportunity to gain experience and polish your impromptu speaking skills. If you master these skills then you will become known as an effective communicator, someone who can be relied upon to come up with the right response in any situation.
~ Tom Wilde is a member of Alpha Toastmasters Club