Be Prepared: Keys for Effective Impromtu Speaking

Group of Corporate People Having a Business Conversation

You are in a meeting and your supervisor, without warning, calls on you to spontaneously present information to the group. Do you panic? Do you excuse yourself saying you have an emergency? Do you effortlessly present the information garnering the admiration of your peers?

When going to a meeting always prepare an update. Assume that you will be called upon to speak. The update should summarize progress of a project, problem-solving campaign or departmental goal. As a program manager for a health education organization, I attended all board of director meetings. The deputy director coached me to always be prepared to present information or answer questions regarding my programs. Her coaching helped established me as a skilled professional to the board members. The following keys will also give you an edge when asked to speak off the cuff.

Main point – Stay on topic by addressing the question at hand or by providing the requested information.

Purpose – know what you need to accomplish in the short time. Do you need to persuade, clarify or provide information?

Examples – provide good examples that are topic specific and meet your purpose.

Relate– always relate your conclusion back to your opening statement.

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