Learn to speak confidently

Have you ever wondered how some speakers can stand up there in front of hundreds, even thousands, of people and speak informatively or even powerfully with full command of their subject? It might come as no surprise, but there is a style of public speaking that terrifies many people.

But when you see a public speaker speak extemporaneously, it is one of the most relaxed to digest forms of public presentation it is. Now, to drop the fifty-cent word, to speak extemporaneously means to speak without notes. In other words, pure extemporaneous speaking is done entirely without preparation and is done completely “from the hip” so to speak.

However, don’t be deceived by thinking that an amazing speech is rambling and has no structure.

One reason that many very seasoned public speakers go to it is they can capture and hold the outline of their talk in their minds and speak from that outline without the aid of notes. This kind of ability does not just come naturally. To be relaxed enough in front of a crowd to not only speak spontaneously but also to do so while following an outline carried in the mind takes experience and the self-confidence that comes with practice.

Speak with prep

Giving an extemporaneous talk is equivalent to improving in the theatre world. But that doesn’t mean that a speaker who appears to be speaking without preparation is speaking without preparation. Often it means that what you are seeing results from extensive preparation. Many times extemporaneous speaking means that the speaker carefully wrote and prepared that talk to appear to be. Then he or she became so familiar with that outline that someone could deliver completely it without prompting.

Memory and memorization

This is more than just memorization. Memorization implies that we must give the talk word for word as I wrote it and in exact order. A memorized speech would come unraveled if the speaker lost his or her place because of an interruption. But an extemporaneous speaker can be interrupted, take questions, and even scramble that presentation because that level of familiarity with the talk is so complete that he or she lives and breaths what is being presented.

So, is it worth the extra work to learn to speak by “shooting from the hip”? For one, to speak extemporaneously is the pinnacle of public speaking skills. When you see such a speaker on television or in a public setting, it may seem that he or she is making it up on the spot. What you are witnessing is the Oscar level of skill and ability on display in public speaking. Anyone who strives for the best can set speaking as a goal.

And what do all of these have in common?

They will now be much easier for you to recall. So, as long as you can remember how easily and efficiently you create these patterns from now on, remember to speak from your heart, keeping the points to a minimum so that you can be sure you hit them. Most people leave a meeting wishing they had said something to the group when they had not understood it enough at the time they were speaking.

This is why they had no idea what to say. So after this exercise try doing this one small exercise both in front of the mirror and out loud to yourself until you have it down pat:

The sheer number of things you want to communicate might seem overwhelming, but you’ll be glad to discover that there’s a tried and tested technique out there allowing you to memorize the largest numbers of information in the least possible time. As a writer, you can use various techniques to help your memory. For example, if you need to remember names, imagine what they would look like written down. You could arrange them in an imaginary grid of some kind. If you need to remember long series of numbers or dates, try rhyming them or putting them into a familiar saying.


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