As a business professional, do you frequently face situations where you need to “say a few words” without time to prepare? It might be a meeting, conference call or request to fill in for another speaker, to name just a few scenarios. For many, these speaking situations can induce more anxiety than making a prepared presentation. As a result, you may find yourself rambling, filling your sentences with “ums” or, in the worst case, completely drawing a blank. When that happens, both your point and your credibility are in jeopardy.
Let’s take a look at the effective strategies that can help you project a confident image and provide coherent content for your speaking engagements.
- How to control or manage it?
When the anxiety symptom appears, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and speak to yourself: “It is normal and natural for everyone to have these.. I have prepared well for the speech and all I need to do is accomplish it.” Hope it will help you to feel better.
- Slow down and listen
We often listen just enough to speak after. It is because our brain starts to think the next words that we should reply as soon as the conversation starts. But as a speaker or presenter, it is our obligation to listen to our audiences well. There is a game called S-P-E-L-L-E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G Y-O-U-S-P-E-L-L-T-O-Y-O-U-R-P-A-R-T-N-E-R help to you slow down and listen.
How to play: Not recommend to play alone, the best is playing with a partner. Talk about something fun that you plan to do today! You as A and your partner as B. A spell to B what he or she going to do today by S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G-I-T. It is okay if you are not a good speller
Lesson from the activity: This activity changes your interaction with the person you interact with because you need to focus and interpret what your partner is saying. So it can help you to respond in a better way. Listen and respond.
Tell a story
This is the most crucial step, you must tell a story. Storytelling is an important part of spontaneous speaking, so you have to practice telling your stories ahead of time. The best way to practice stories is by telling them to your family and friends, not in front of a mirror. Practice telling your stories in different ways: Change the build-up, explore shortening your sentences, and add dialogue and gestures. Note any differences in reactions. You don’t need the storyteller gift; you just need to practice.
How can you frame that message?
Next, choose a familiar structure to organize your thoughts and help others to follow what you’re saying. For example:
- Problem/Solution: State the problem, then present your solution.
- Point/reason/example: State your point, give the reason behind it, and illustrate with an example.
- Theory/practice: State the theory behind your idea or proposal, then explain how it will work in practice.
- BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): State the conclusion or desired end point, then talk about how to get there. For example: “Bottom line: we need to save 10 percent. Let’s talk about how we can do that.”
Think “flow,” not “flawless”
Give your “speaking editor” a rest and focus on letting your thoughts flow. Speaking spontaneously is like walking — you can’t walk standing still. You have to keep going. You have to stay focused. It’s not about finding the perfect words; it’s about engaging and being in the moment.
Once you gain some experience using these structures, it becomes much easier to execute on the spot.
Practice make perfect. If you start to feel comfortable on what you have practicing, that make you an experts to speak spontaneously. Applying the structures help you more focus on the problems and how you going to solve it.
References: source from Youtube, Dec 4, 2014. This video is from the Stanford Graduate School of Business channel. The presenter: Matt Abrahams, lecturer of Stanford Graduate School of Business in collaboration with the Stanford Alumni Association as part of Stanford Reunion Homecoming and the Graduate School of Business Fall Reunion/Alumni Weekend.
VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAnw168huqA