!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Lou Hampton's Suggestion for Impromptu Speaking

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Lou Hampton's Suggestion for Impromptu Speaking

If, with little advance notice, you're asked to speak before a group, what to do?

Lou Hampton, a Washington DC-based speech coach and media trainer, offers a four-step method to organize an impromptu presentation.
Hampton's method (here slightly edited) is easy to remember and straightforward to execute:
  1. Think of three questions you are frequently asked about the topic. (Or think of three issues you can talk about, and turn them into questions.)

  2. Open with, "Here are the three questions I'm being asked about [topic]."

  3. Ask yourself the first question and then answer it. Repeat for questions 2 and 3.

  4. Conclude with a call for action ("So what I need from you is..."), or a forward-looking statement (e.g., "So here is what we will be focusing on in the next quarter.")
I've tried this method and been happy with the results. I'd just add that, as always, you need to shape your remarks in a way that suits the particular audience to whom you are speaking. This means, as far as possible, anticipating what will be of relevance to them, choosing stories and language that will resonate with them, and being receptive to their questions and comments.