At a recent presentation skills workshop I was asked about speaking impromptu. The question is often asked because we are often called on to share ideas at work, during a conference call, at committee meetings or at friends gatherings. We are often asked to speak ‘off the cuff.’ It would be much easier if we had a formula, or a path to follow.
Well here’s a path to follow. Here’s the simple formula to plug in — past, present, future. Just use that formula and insert the subject matter.
Here’s an example. Let’s use gasoline price as the subject and put it into the formula and see what happens. Here we go.
“In the past, gas was only a dollar a gallon . I didn’t think about it much and it did not have much of an effect on what kind of car I bought. Today, (present) gas prices are hovering around four bucks a gallon and the high cost causes me to curtail trips around the city and it has me thinking of what kind of car to buy. I’m not sure where the prices are going in the future, but I am sure that we will continue to see smaller cars on the road and drivers thinking more economically about the trips they take as the cost of gasoline becomes a bigger share of the budget.”
The formula gives us a path to follow and that is key element of communication. We know where we are going! When we know where we are going during our conversation or presentation we become more comfortable … and comfort shows to the audience. That comfort helps us become more relaxed and in control.
Use the formula next time you are at a loss for words …. it will put you on the right path!