Primary Blog/Communication & Public Speaking/Five Tips to Improve Impromptu Speaking Skills

Five Tips to Improve Impromptu Speaking Skills

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

We’ve all been there before—you’re having an impromptu conversation and there’s just something on the tip of your tongue to say… but you can’t spit it out! Or perhaps you’ve walked away from a conversation thinking, “I didn’t say the right thing” or “I could have said it better” or exclaiming in frustration “Why didn’t I think of saying this in the moment?”. This is such a frustrating experience and one that happens to most of us every once in a while. It can be even more frustrating when it happens in a work context, because you can walk away feeling like you didn’t show your knowledge and expertise in a way that you could have.

The reality is that most of our daily conversations are going to be on-the-spot, impromptu conversations. We rarely get the chance to prepare or write down our thoughts and talking points, or create a script to memorize. Instead, conversations happen in the hallway, via a random phone call, or in spontaneous conversation. Without having the chance to prepare in advance, it’s possible to walk away feeling like you didn’t fully express yourself.

Since impromptu conversations will make up the majority of your speaking opportunities, it’s important to master the art and skill of impromptu speaking so you can convey your thoughts effectively. And to know that you’ve represented yourself well. There are five main tips to practice in order to improve your impromptu speaking skills.

1. Shapeshift and Change Your Posture

If you’ve been struggling to get the right words out, it might be the way you are holding yourself and your posture. When speaking, we use more than just our brain and mouth—your body language, posture, and every part of the body are involved in speaking.

The moment you begin to pay attention to your body language and develop your sensory acuity while being present, you will be able to produce better content and more desirable outcomes with impromptu conversations. Shapeshifting is using your whole body to engage in the conversation. It’s about trying something new so that you will get different results.

For example, if you typically stand with your arms crossed when speaking to someone, try opening up your posture and putting your arms by your side. Or, perhaps you always invite someone to take a seat in your office for a meeting—why not shapeshift and go for a walk while discussing? There are many ways to engage your body and try something new to become a better impromptu speaker.

2. Select the Right Expectations

Our brains are powerful forces that enable us to do difficult things each day. This includes thinking fast and accurately! Although there are other, specific, individual challenges that can also become associated with or underlie the reasons why you may struggle with impromptu speaking, the average brain is fully capable of thinking fast, processing ideas, and speaking fluently.

There are two sides of your brain. One side that is fast and instinctive and the other that is slower and more deliberate.

The quick, instinctive side of your brain is the side that kicks in while you are driving on a long road with no traffic or lights — you’re not even thinking about driving, you’re just doing it. This is the side of your brain that is able to think fast and speak fluently. Select the right expectations for yourself. Despite having trouble with impromptu speaking in the past, you are fully capable of doing this! Channel this innate ability and move forward in confidence.

3. Embrace the Science of Availability

Science has a lot to teach us about the art of communication! The science of availability is the idea that what we expose ourselves to on a regular basis is what we tend to believe is true and relevant in our lives, even if it’s not true. For example, someone who always watches the news might believe that plane crashes happen much more frequently than they actually do because they are always hearing about it.

The way this can be applied to impromptu communication is to become a voracious, life-long learner. Read widely across disciplines, learn for the purpose of mastery, and aim to be become a source of wisdom and understanding. Desire to be quotable.

This will make rarely accessed information and subconscious storage of knowledge accessible to your conscious mind on the spot when you are speaking to someone. If you want the words to come out, they need to be there! By actively absorbing relevant information and knowledge, you are utilizing the science of availability to set yourself up for success in impromptu conversations.

4. Speak in Threes

In this day and age, we consistently receive input in the form of useful information and useless distractions throughout the day. It is challenging to sift through subconscious reservoirs of information to decide what and how much to share in the moment, while carrying on a productive conversation.

Speaking in threes, or choosing three relevant points to say, will relieve some of that mental bandwidth so that you can thoroughly deliver your content impromptu. It could be a list of three steps, pillars or concepts. A bonus tip is to alliterate the three points, where each point begins with the same letter (career, clarity, communication), begins with the same sound (bring hope, be heard, be hired), or ends in the same suffix (understandable, quotable, relatable). Delivering your talking points with alliteration is easier to say and easier to remember for yourself and your audience.

Speaking in threes makes it easier for you to remember what you want to say, while making it easier for the listener to engage and remember what you have shared with them. Simplify your speech and just focus on the three most relevant and interesting points of conversation.

5. Create Structure

Structure allows you to have the freedom to say what you want because it provides clarity. During a conversation, creating a structure helps you determine what to say and how to say it in an effective manner. There are three types of structure:

  • ​Chronological: Talk about the past, present, and future. This focuses the conversation on where you’ve been, where you currently are, and what will happen in the future if you continue on the same path.
  • ​Persuasive: This structure starts with what the current issue at hand is and then what you are suggesting as the solution. The aim is to have the other person consider your solution and come to their own conclusion to agreement.
  • ​Motivation: A motivational structure will start with the issue and then move onto why it’s so important to discuss. It wraps up by asking the questions, “What’s next? What do we do now?”

Whether you realize it or not, every day multiple times a day you enter conversations with no script or prepared notes — just casual, impromptu discussions in work, in our relationships and throughout life. These impromptu conversations are important for your career growth and also to establish yourself as a knowledgeable and skilled leader. So, it’s important to work to improve impromptu conversation skills so that you don’t have those frustrating “on the tip of your tongue” kind of moments!

As a gift to my valuable readers like you, I have created a guide that divulges the top speaker’s success secrets on how to get your message across clearly and confidently on any platform.

Click HERE and get your free gift.

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