I was fortunate to speak yesterday to the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) of South Puget Sound on the topic of the value of powerful presentation skills.

One of the key learning points we discussed was what I call “Extemporaneous Excellence.” I bet 95% or more of our professional and personal conversations during a day are extemporaneous.  Speaking “off the cuff” may seem random, but I submit to you that it can be planned.  Here are three reasons and how you prepare:

1 – If you are entering a situation (like a networking event), you probably know the most common queries.  Things like, “What do you do,” “What brings you here,” and “How’s business,” are perhaps the most common.  If you walk in armed with pithy and provocative responses, you are better able to find potential prospects, gain information you need, or deliver a message.

2 – Have a personal story or two in your back pocket.  Many times a conversation will lead into an opportunity to use a story as a metaphor.  The more stories you have (that are linked as a metaphor to a message), the better prepared you will be to give value.

3 – Practice.  Like Table Topics in Toastmasters, extemporaneous speaking can be learned and practiced.  When you practice, your mind will become sharper and you will be able to more quickly think on your feet.

When you do all three of these things, you are well on your way to “Extemporaneous Excellence!”


(c) 2009 Dan Weedin – All Rights Reserved