Extemporaneous speaking is simply using brief notes to share well-prepared thoughts with an audience. Instead of reading your speech, or giving it from memory, you speak from an outline or a few notes.
Fewer Notes Make You Converse
When using this method of presentation, you carefully select and analyze ideas in advance, without recording them in detail for your speech. You condense your notes so they contain only enough information to remind you of the ideas you want to cover.
When you speak extemporaneously, you talk with your audience. A few moments after you begin, your speech becomes natural, conversational. It reminds your listeners of a conversation they might have with a friend in which the friend does most of the talking. The benefit? They focus on what you’re saying, and not on you. That’s what you want, isn’t it?
It’s difficult to achieve the same effect if you give a memorized speech, or if you read it to the audience. When doing either, conversational tone is absent, and they rightly feel that you’re merely giving a speech rather than conversing with them. Who wants to listen to a speech?
Words Fresh From Your Mind to Theirs
Since you’re not relying on your notes for the actual words you’ll use to express your ideas, your words flow spontaneously from your mind to theirs, with a freshness all the preparation in the world cannot duplicate.
This holds their attention, even if they previously had only a passing interest in your subject. Your sincere interest, enthusiasm, and conversational delivery stimulate their interest and make listening to you a pleasant experience.
Suddenly, You’re Free!
This type of delivery also promotes spontaneous gestures and visual contact with your audience, since your hands, eyes, and mind are not glued to your notes. You’re free to elaborate on or to illustrate points as the mood strikes you. Of course, this freedom is not free.
A good extemporaneous presentation seems to be impromptu, off the cuff, effortless. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Disciplined thought in organizing and preparing your material accounts for this apparent ease, but the excellent results justify the effort. Why not try it?
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