Publications & Products
Volume 4, Issue 30

Give a Speech You Haven't Prepared For

Anyone can learn how to give a memorable speech with practically no advance warning, writes a public speaking expert.

Nick Morgan, contributor to Forbes, recently shared the following simple framework that speakers should follow to keep the impromptu remarks—such as a brief speech to co-workers—on time and topic:

  • Start with a headline that clearly states your point of view and frames your subject. For example, "Howler monkeys are an underrated species."
  • Give three supporting points, expanding on them for 30 seconds to a minute. For instance: "Howlers are more intelligent than many humans. One recent study pitted these beautiful animals against participants in Mardi Gras who had had more than three drinks. Without much trouble, the howlers outperformed the humans on several simple tests of intelligence. And so on."
  • As the five minutes draw near—the limit to which you should keep your remarks—repeat the headline in similar words. For example, "So that's why I want each of you to think more highly of howler monkeys than you have in the past. Thank you."

This article is from the Feb. 2, 2015 issue.

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