This article was originally published in 2015 and has been completely updated in 2020.
These are a couple of examples of off-the-cuff or impromptu speaking, which happen frequently in our business lives.
Speaking spontaneously is a different skill from prepared speaking. However, this can be just as important as a prepared speech or presentation – possibly even more important.
During your career, senior managers will evaluate your qualities partly on the contribution you make at meetings. If you don’t say anything, especially when others believe you have the knowledge that others should listen to, many people will assume you are short-changing yourself. They will under-estimate your abilities and view you in that light in future. They might think you are an introvert and therefore unlikely to go higher up the ladder of leadership.
With a little preparation and practice, you can overcome the problem of not speaking up. If you handle your communication in those improvised interactions – your confident voice, your conversational tone, your concise answer – you will build trust from others.
Why is off-the-cuff speaking so hard? One major cause of not speaking up is not having enough time to prepare. People don’t necessarily have a framework for handling impromptu speaking, so they simply say whatever is on their mind, for better or worse.
Fortunately, there are frameworks for speaking off the cuff, and you can practice for those situations:
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