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 dont 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 just about ZERO preparation time?
Presentation structure is 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 with three areas that you can use quickly (if its relevent) is:-
- what’s the issue?
- how is it affecting things?
- and what is being done about it?
Using the Power of Three is a useful tool as well here – so 3 main points and then if needed break down each of the points into 3.
Another structure you can use for impromptu presentations is:-
Another similar structure is based on:-
- What was it like before
- What was the event
- Whats the result now
Three W’s structure
eg Buying a car What sort should I buy? Which brand should I purchase? Who should I buy it from?
More conventional structure
- 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
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 say 2-3 minutes of preparation time for each one. Then try presenting on each of about 5 minutes. Learn as you go on. Get someone to watch you and then give you some feedback on how it went. Alternatively, try and record yourself on video then watch the video and see how you might improve the next time.