Getting up on the stage and delivering a talk isn’t everyone’s forte. For many, it’s highly important that they are informed well in advance. This ensures that they can prepare and rehearse numerous times before delivering their speech. However, life isn’t that great that it will always inform you before throwing surprises ! Today was one of those days when I was at the centre of all this. To give a little flash back, I’ve been in a lot of “public facing” roles earlier. And by that I mean, being in the student council is no less – dealing with hangry students and even strict teachers ain’t an easy job. So just a quick write-up on how things unfolded leading to the impromptu speech.
It was one of those days at work when a quarterly meeting was held for our unit. This meant that everyone right from the fresher to the Vice President were present. With a generous dose of company updates along with garnishing of cultural performances and rewards summed up the meeting perfectly. So the meeting starts with some usual number talk about how the organisation has been doing. Then a couple of senior managers were asked to share insights by the Vice President. Things were as usual, until the VP walked up to me and says, “Maharaj, I’ll be calling you next, so be prepared to speak” (Flashback: Had a discussion with him, so he was pretty much aware of Atulmaharaj and Socialmaharaj and hence he decided to call me maharaj) And I was like “What ?!”
Impromptu Speech – a Brain Fade moment ?
Now my heartbeat raced, I was wondering what could I say in front of a couple of hundred people including the who’s who of the organisation ? However, I always like to be in such situations – an open mic. But the way things were unfolding had butterflies in my stomach. Soon I heard, “Now I would like one of you youngsters to take the stage. He’s a polymath, an engineer and a blogger who loves his handlebar, presenting Atulmaharaj” And I was like wow ! This means business.
I grabbed the mic quickly and starting talking about my journey at the organisation. It hardly took a few seconds before I got hold of the mic. Hands started moving and I started walking. This meant, things were pretty much under control. Within no time, I was talking about the blog, and all the other work I do. I even told the gathering to google atulmaharaj for more details 😛 But it was a great moment indeed. A VP trusting you and allowing a fresher to address a gathering isn’t something that happens everyday. So a big shout out to him !
How to tackle Impromptu Speech moments
I’m pretty sure, that each one of you have had such situation at some or the other point in their life. Because as and when you climb the career ladder, more often than not, you will face this. So wondering how to tackle impromptu speech situations ? How to address a gathering and deliver a talk ? Below are few points based on my experience which I think might help you too.
- First things first, always remember that you will NEVER be told to address a gathering suddenly. There will always be a gap to few hours to few minutes. You need to utilise this time efficiently. Prepare an opening based on the audience you are gathering. For instance you could start with an anecdote or a proverb. These are some fool-proof solutions.
- Take a deep breath when your name is called and you are walking up to the stage. I know it sounds too bookish, but trust me it works wonders !
- When on the stage, grab the mic. If you are nervous, always ensure you are standing either behind the dice or holding a mic. This ensures that your shakiness is reduced (at least the audience doesn’t see it) You don’t want people to see that you are nervous because of shaking hands !
- Don’t hurry through your talk, you will eat up words or fumble. Always speak slowly, and take your time. Make up the next sentence in mind while you are on the current one.
- If there are familiar faces in the crowd, maintain eye contact width them. If not, look at people who you think are acknowledging what you are saying. This will definitely be a confidence booster.
[Read: Tips for effective presentation]
Excel your impromptu speech moment
So these were few tips I thought might be useful to you if you land up in such situation. I had a great time today, maybe because I like talking. If you tend to hold yourself back in such moments, don’t. Please go ahead and take those small steps towards becoming a great speaker. It won’t be much time before you would be delivering your talks to hundreds. So if you haven’t already, start working on your communication skills and ensure that you excel such impromptu speech moments !