Extemporaneous Speaking will give you a second thought about becoming that professional speaker!
In the pursuit of our goals, it is inevitable that on every path, we will encounter a beast we would rather avoid. I call it a beast. In nice business language, it is called a challenge, and you may have other names for it!
No matter, it is the necessary evil in achieving the goals for which we strive. It is the thing we would rather avoid and still somehow secretly wish to be allowed to reach our target. Everyone has them. For me, it is doing strenuous abdominal training in order to develop a strong enough core to do my dream yoga poses. Or talking French to Parisians with risk of much embarrassment in order to finally someday master a language I adore. And in the pursuit of becoming a professional speaker, it is the thought of extemporaneous speaking on any given topic which I would rather avoid at any cost.
A professional speaker should be able to command an audience of any type and do so with confidence, poise, and fluency and proficiency of the English (or local) language. Speaking on your feet and expressing your thoughts clearly or extemporaneous speaking is a necessary part of becoming a fast thinker and smooth speaker. It is also a necessary portion of every Toastmasters meeting. It is called Table Topics where the person running this part of the meeting presents a question, a comment, or an idea to the participant, on which the participant then needs to eloquently speak for the span of 1 to 2 minutes and use the chosen Word of the Day.
The critical eye is important for self-evaluation. While I may still fear it, I see no reason why I shouldn’t share with you my 7 tips on delivering effective Extemporaneous Speaking:
- Absolutely and positively do not forget to pause, breathe then speak.
- Know what you will say even if milliseconds in advance. Formulate your thoughts, then speak. Try not think and speak simultaneously.
- Command a presence. Find your space, stand tall, smile and feign confidence if you must. No one shall know the difference.
- Use the Word of the Day early in the conversation. Aim for using it in the first 1-2 sentences.
- If you have no idea about the topic, be creative. In Toastmasters, you can definitely make things up so long as you do so eloquently.
- Avoid restarts, filler words, and apologies. Use your words judiciously and with clear enunciation.
- Have fun with it. Enjoy the attention and the opportunity to share your thoughts with an audience large or small.
I think we should find encouragement in the inevitable progress. In all those things we would rather avoid, all of which we are almost always happy to have done after the fact, we can see ourselves closing the gap between us and our worthwhile goals. We realize those are in fact the very things we need the most in order to achieve our goals, and perhaps we can even learn to embrace the beast….for what could be more thrilling in life than sitting on top of your dreams?