We’ve all seen it happen before. Everyone is gathered for a meeting, and out of the blue the leader asks someone to speak. In most cases, the results are less than effective – both for the speaker as well as for the audience.

It’s hard enough to think on your feet not to mention trying to be a great presenter with little or no advance notice. But it doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. Here are four simple steps to pulling off an effective impromptu talk.

  • Think of your main point. Take 30 seconds to identify just one idea you want to share with your audience.
  • Develop one supporting thought. Now consider how you can provide one piece of additional information to help them understand why they should care.
  • Illustrate your idea. Think of a simple way to make your point memorable with a brief story, an example, a statistic or an interesting fact.
  • Close the loop. Go back to your original thought. Pick one sentence to wrap up your comments, and finish with power.

As ironic as it sounds, the key to being an effective impromptu speaker is to be prepared – not on every topic you might be asked to speak about, but on a simple process that helps you organize and deliver your thoughts with professionalism and confidence.

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