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September 7, 2013
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Regie Ford: Impromptu Speaking Part 3-The Close
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As Toastmasters, we are given the opportunity to practice our impromptu speaking skills during the Table Topics portion of our club meetings.  While this is good, it is not, Regie argues, enough.  Like a muscle, the impromptu skill must be practiced.  Put yourself in situations where you must think fast and organize your thoughts on the fly in order to improve.  If necessary, create situations.  Regie shared that he will often pick people or sights he sees when jogging and create impromptu speeches about them in order to practice.

REVIEW:

The opening of an impromptu speech should guide the audience into your answer.  Creatively restating the question can give you time to think.  Try to incorporate information that pulls members of your audience who are auditory (the sound of the room was deafening), visual (the colors of the fruits were like gems, glittering under the sun)  and kinesthetic (I could feel the tickle of the waves as they lapped across my toes).

Think about the what and the why of your answer.  Don’t let the question itself distract you from your answer.  Your what is the information that you want your audience to remember.

What is your favorite food?

In our exercise, we wanted the audience to think about the plight of children who do not have enough to eat.  This is a departure from the expected answer to such a question.

The why of your answer is the motivation for the what.  If we are trying to highlight hunger amongst underprivileged children, then the why may be that we wish the audience to take a particular action, such as giving to a food drive.

CLOSING:

Leave them with something to remember.  If you can develop a catch phrase that can stand as a powerful reminder, a memory book mark for your audience.  Be sure to summarize what you have said in a way that does more than restates the answer.  Give them a call to action or a concluding statement that ties it all together and makes your answer accessible to them.

In the what and why example above, a good closing would involve a call to action that move the audience from awareness to eagerness to help to action.

SUMMARY:

It is possible to deliver eloquent, organized, powerful answers to questions without preparation.  Ironically, the best way to be prepared to answer questions without preparation is to…be prepared.  Practice, practice, practice the skills of organizing your thoughts, engaging the audience and closing with a punch.

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