Business School | Have a Strategy for Impromptu Speaking

| November 13, 2014

Business School

Harvard Business Review:

A key demand in business is the ability to speak off-the-cuff. Whether it’s giving an unexpected elevator pitch to a potential investor or being asked to quickly defend a proposal to sales, many of us have had to speak with no preparation.

HBR940Next time, don’t panic. The worst business speeches are those that ramble on.

If forced to speak, quickly draft a structure of your main argument on a notecard (or napkin). Jot down an introduction, two or three supporting points, and a conclusion.

Use extra time to fill out any examples or data you want to address. Always state your thesis up front so listeners can easily follow your supporting comments. Focus on key stories and statistics, rather than your delivery. If you know your topic, the words will come. Finally, keep it short. When in doubt, say less.

Adapted from ” 5 Tips for Off-the-Cuff Speaking” by John Coleman.

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