Saturday, 25 September 2010

How to Create an Impromptu Presentation

According to Mark Twain it usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech. Most of us however when called on at short notice to give a brief presentation in a meeting (for example) probably don’t even have the luxury of 5 minutes preparation time – let alone 3 weeks! So how can you still deliver a reasonably successful presentation if you’ve got about ZERO Preparation time?

Presentation Structure is the Key

In a situation like this, you need to have some form of standard structures in your head that you can call upon at very short notice.

One example structure that you can use quickly (if it’s relevant) is:-

  1. What’s the issue
  2. How is it affecting things?
  3. And what is being done about it?
Using the Power of Three – so 3 main points and then if needed break down each of the points into 3.

Chronological Structures

Another structure you can use for impromptu presentations is:-

  1. Past
  2. Present
  3. Future
 Another similar structure is based on:-
  1. What was it like before?
  2. What was the event?
  3. What’s the result now?
 The Three 'W's Structure
  1. What?
  2. Which?
  3. Who?
e.g.  Buying a car: What sort should I buy? Which brand should I purchase? From Whom should I buy it?

More Conventional Structure 
  • Introduction
  • Main Body
    • Point 1 – with 3 sub points in support
    • Point 2 –  with 3 sub points in support
    • Point 3 – with 3 sub points in support
  • Conclusion and call to action if relevant
Conclusions
As with most things the more you practise something the better you can become at it. And impromptu speaking is no exception!

Give yourself some topics to speak on and then allow 2-3 minutes of preparation for each one. Then try presenting on each of about 5 minutes. Learn as you go get someone to watch you and give you feedback on how it went. Try it in your POWERtalk club!

Not a member yet?  See the links to clubs in the right-hand panel or ask about starting a club in your area.

Stella Sneddon