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You Can’t Go “Off-Script” Until You Have a Script

Posted on: July 20th, 2016 | by Bill Kenney

Mark Twain famously said, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

Like Twain, most speakers and presenters want to be spontaneous. They want to be that rare charismatic individual who can evolve their message to the mood and interests of the audience in the moment. Truly there is no more powerful form of speaking than extemporaneous speech. Being nimble and adjusting your message and delivery real-time takes considerable experience and skill. Attempting impromptu speech without the needed experience and skill can be disastrous and lead to lost sales, investment, credibility and relationships.

Developing the skill of impromptu speech is complex. A speaker not only needs to be a good communicator but also needs to have domain expertise and be able read their audience and adjust their message dynamically. To be a “good” communicator means that the speaker is unconsciously competent at speaking in public. We all start at conscious competence. Which is to say that, in the beginning, we have to think about and awkwardly execute every step in the process to deliver a modest speech.

Consider a driver who is new to operating a manual transmission car. They first have to learn steps to depress the clutch and move the shifter into position. They do this first with the engine off and the emergency brake on. As they build this skill to reasonable competence, they progress to shifting while the engine is on and then to driving in an empty parking lot and then driving in a quiet neighborhood and so on. By the time they progress to driving on highways or a busy urban setting their skills have evolved to a place where shifting a manual transmission is second nature. In other words, they are unconsciously competent at shifting.

Elevating your team’s ability to respond in the moment to the needs of their audience, requires them first to be a practiced domain speaker.

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Test My Pitch - Private communication skill development platform. Think Toastmasters online. Engage, empower and accelerate your communities communication confidence and competence.

Ask us how we can help you successfully democratize pitch event results in your community. Email or call Bill Kenney today at bkenney@testmypitch.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.