Professional life takes a major part in our life. And in our professional life, what we learn most is communication. Still it’s very strange that impromptu speaking has not got its value in effective communication. But if we notice, we would see that 90% of our communication in our office is impromptu speaking.
But why it’s not being valued as it should? Maybe because professionals practice impromptu speaking without realizing it and they are not conscious when they speak impromptu. Thus whenever they are asked to give a speech in front of others, they stumble and create different sounds to fill the gaps between their pondered thoughts and never seem to master impromptu speech.
Impromptu speaking doesn’t have to be that difficult if professionals realize and do deliberate practice. Imagine how do you talk in a professional setting? How do you address your co-workers if you need to in middle of work? Is it not impromptu? Do you feel the need to stumble while you call your co-workers or you explain to your subordinates how to work? No! Then why in a gathering when you are asked to deliver a speech without preparation?
In this article, we will learn the reasons for which you are scared in front of public while giving an impromptu speech and we will also learn how you would be able to master impromptu speaking within few weeks of deliberate practice.
Reasons to fear impromptu speaking
The reasons are applicable to all. We all go through this. Some who do master the following reasons become magnificent in impromptu speaking and rest who don’t, always shiver in the name of giving an impromptu presentation. But let us remind you that impromptu speaking doesn’t need any capacity go master. Anyone can do that. Question is not about capacity. Rather it’s a question of will. If you’re willing, let’s look inside and find out the reasons.
Fear of criticism
Whether we accept or not, we criticize ourselves a lot. Whenever we’re not doing something perfectly, we start criticizing ourselves. And thus our idea of other people remains similar. Thus whenever we are asked to speak in public or we are requested to give an impromptu speech, we shiver at the idea of other people criticizing us, judging us. We don’t want to look so bad. So, we get scared. And if anyone asks us any question in the middle of that impromptu speech, we stumble more that the fear is turning out to be true. We think that people are not accepting our impromptu speech and questioning us. In real terms, there is nothing to fear. We all are unique as human beings, but we all are deeply imperfect and the person who is questioning you during your impromptu speech will shiver with same intensity (if not more) while giving an impromptu speech in front of you and others. Thus accept yourself as you are and then deliver impromptu speech without any fear. If you make mistakes, no issues; you will learn from them as you give more impromptu speech.
No expertise in language
This is not the truth, but still we believe that we don’t have expertise in English or in any language other than our native language. You would understand the difference if one is asked to give an impromptu speech in his native language. He would not only deliver a great impromptu speech, you would also see that the person would feel much comfortable while delivering it. The question still remains why we face issues with impromptu speaking in English or in any other language? The truth is we are not as good in English (for non-native speakers) or any other language as we are in our native language. So, what we need to do? Practice, practice and practice.
We are not ready
As human beings we don’t like to face uncertain situation. The man who is asked to deliver an impromptu speech will deliver much better speech if he is given time to prepare the speech beforehand. Thus whenever he is asked to speak suddenly, he doesn’t know what to do. He feels stuck in that uncertain situation. And thus he is never able to deliver the impromptu speech as promptly as he would if he would have been given enough time beforehand.
We are not good impromptu speakers in front of people who are basically strangers or in front of individuals with whom we never have had much experience communicating. If we are asked to give an impromptu speech in front of our co-workers we will do good, but if the same speech we need to deliver in front of bunch of strangers we feel that the ground has been taken away from our feet.
We think in our native language while giving impromptu speech
This is the biggest problem. The above issues can be handled with deliberate practice. But if this one is not taken care of, we will not be able to become good impromptu speakers. We need to practice to think the language in which we are giving impromptu speech.
Now we would see how you can become a master impromptu speaking. No, you won’t become a superstar in a day or two. We are not offering any quick fixes. Rather you will become good if you decide to act upon the ideas we are presenting here. Let’s get started.
How to become a master in impromptu speaking
These tips will help you deliver impromptu speech in such a way that people would feel that you have already prepared a lot before delivering the speech. Each one of the tips is important. So pay attention and if required, take good notes.
To be a good impromptu speaker, you need to master this approach. Whenever someone asks you to speak, just be ready and start firing. Stand up (if it seems suitable) or sit and start speaking. Don’t worry in which direction you are going. For example, your boss asked you to deliver an impromptu speech on the recent report you have worked on. Instead of waiting for someone to be ready, be ready and introduce yourself, address others, mention the topic of your impromptu speech and get started. The idea is to start with a sentence. That’s it. Simply start and as you go along, you will find direction. And over time, you will learn to adjust your sail instead of getting bothered over impromptu speech. The most dangerous thing to do when you are asked to give an impromptu speech is to allow yourself time to think before you speak. Don’t think. Just fire and yes, then you will be ready to aim.
You know everything gets better with practice. From writing, speaking to travelling and driving. Pick any skill and you need practice. Impromptu speaking is a skill and to develop mastery over this skill you need to practice. But the question is now why you practice, but how you will practice? Practicing impromptu speech is simple. While reading this article, look around. See anything? A table, chair, laptop, mobile, co-worker? Pick a subject from your environment and start speaking on that subject. It can be anything. It can be as silly as the floor of your workplace or as serious as your boss. The idea is to get ready to speak whenever you choose a subject. Don’t stop until 2 minutes is over. If you do it 5 times a day, within 3 months, you would master impromptu speaking and you would not face any issue with it in any situation. To start, make sure no-one knows that you are doing it. So find some time to practice this. You can do it in lunch breaks or in coffee breaks during afternoon time. Practice, practice and practice to get better.
#3. Initiate to speak in front of strangers
Yes, it’s scary, but if your goal is to become good in impromptu speaking, you need to do it anyway. Ask your boss for the opportunity to speak in front of strangers. If you record of speaking in public is not good, your boss may get anxious about giving you the opportunity. But request him to trust you. And practice, practice and practice. Yes, these kinds of speeches would not be impromptu, but you will be able to face your fears while looking into the eyes of the strangers while speaking. Structure your speech in this way – First of all talk about your topic, why you chose this topic and why it’s relevant to this audience and then give an example. Finally end your talk with something that can be taken away by the audience. Use simple words. Don’t use flowery language. Make your sentences short. But moreover understand what audience is here to hear. And once you prepare, practice and deliver the speech, you would feel magnificent. Your inertia about strangers would be gone. And your boss would love you for it.
#4. Think in the language you will deliver the impromptu speech
No, translation doesn’t work if you want to earn fluency. You want to practice thinking in the same language you would deliver your impromptu speech. How would you do that?
- First of all, you need to listen a lot. The language you want to deliver impromptu speech should always be in your mind while delivering. To be able to do that, you need to listen to audiobooks, tapes, watch movies in that language and watch videos and seminars in that language.
- Notice your thoughts. To be able to a great, fluent, impromptu speaker, you need to think thoughts in the language via which you would deliver the impromptu speech. Block off a certain time in a day and practice thinking in that language. Thoughts are nothing more than deteriorated speaking. So actually you’re speaking but no sound is coming out from your mouth while you are thinking thoughts.
- Maintain a journal. Every day write one page of anything in the language you want to give your impromptu speech with. The writing doesn’t need to be full proof or perfect in grammar and punctuation. All you need to think about is speed. The idea is to keep putting down thoughts in the language you want to deliver your impromptu speech with. But later you can go back and check whether there’s any grammatical mistake or not.
#5. Cool shower theory
This may sound odd, but it will help you immensely in your impromptu speaking. All you need to do is to not avoid cool shower while bathing. Whenever you are going for a shower, as immediately as possible, take a cold shower. Don’t give your mind the time to flinch. If you do this long enough, you will be able to develop mental muscles to deal with uncertainties which you will face in impromptu speaking situations. Imagine, what do you do impromptu speech? Out of no-where someone asks you to deliver a speech around a bunch of strangers. Instead of starting to speak, you get panicky and you shiver and are not being able to speak any word. If you take cool shower therapy, it would help you to not get astonished by sudden request and thus you will be able to deliver masterful impromptu speeches which will even stun you at the end.
The tips above will work if you decide to work on them. Question your willingness first before even trying to implement any of the above tips. Do you really want to improve your impromptu speech? Why? If you can answer these two questions, implementing above tips would not be much effort for you. It’s said that when your why is powerful, you can figure out almost any how. So use this guide, think through and jot down ideas that you find relevant. Impromptu speech is one of the best ways to deal with a lot of problems of our lives. It helps us deal with uncertainty, helps build communication skill, makes us more confident in front of strangers, develop our social skills and moreover gives us mastery over ourselves. If you decide to improve your impromptu speech, you not only improves communication, you also improve your life as a whole.