Impromptu speaking tips – speaking off the cuff

Impromptu speaking tips on how to handle off the cuff topics as a speaker

We have to deal with off the cuff questions daily – after presentations, when dating and in most social situations. Learning to think on your feet is a great way to increase your confidence as a speaker. Dealing with off-the-cuff questions can be stressful. Use these off the cuff speaking tips to manage your topic.Impromptu speaking adapt to circumstances

Impromptu speaking skills also help you think on your feet when doing a presentation and you need to adapt to changing circumstances.

Top impromptu speaking tips (always link what you say to the topic):

  1. Use analogies – Analogies are a great way to handle difficult topics. e.g. Using the analogy of overcoming a fear of snakes and relating it to a fear of speaking.
  2. Reframe the question – Change the frame. e.g. when asked about corruption speak about the need for integrity.
  3. Change the angle – If you were a chair, cat, alien how would you view the world/topic.
  4. Create dialogue – Relay a conversation e.g. Last week I was talking to my father, he told me about how he met my mother.
  5. Open with a question or a joke – That topic reminds me of a quote by Albert Einstein “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
  6. Personal mono-drama – Share a personal dramatic story. “Last week on my way home a taxi cut me off and I nearly drove into a tree. To make things worse it was raining …”
  7. Make it ridiculous – It was the biggest fish I had ever seen, it could have swallowed the boat in a single gulp.
  8. Past, present and future – When I was young we only had rotary phones, now we have cell phone, in the future we will probably have implants that share our thoughts.
  9. On the one hand, and the other hand – On the one hand being tall is great as it’s easy to be noticed in a crowd, other other hand seats on planes are torture.
  10. Dramatic story – “It was a dark and stormy night, I was standing alone in the parking lot and …”
  11. Alternate meanings – think of what else the words could mean. Meat (steaks), meet (hi how are you?), meat (hot beefcake)
Impromptu speaking tips – speaking off the cuff
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Richard Riche

Change Communication and Employee Engagement specialist at One Clear Message Consulting
Richard specialises in helping you build real human communication skills. Employee Engagement / Experience, Emotional Intelligence skills, building high performance teams and a great place you want to work. TED style speaking and presentation skills. Training, consulting and coaching.
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