Last week I gave a presentation to a group of business professionals at the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Focus On series. The topic was presentation skills. One of my subjects was on speaking extemporaneosly. This is certainly the most common way we speak, whether it’s in business or not.
Do you ever practice speaking off the cuff? You may ask, “How can you practice speaking on something you don’t know that’s coming?” My answer is, especially in business, you often do.
Here’s an example. Suppose you are a sales professional and doing a follow up to your presentation to close a sale. Your prospect may have an objection and you will have to speak well to rebut it. Many sales pros will just try to wing it. That’s a BAD idea.
How many objections can any prospect have – too expensive, don’t trust you, don’t need it, not the decision-maker, need more time…
You can anticipate that any of these might come up. If you plan ahead and practice your responses to any or all of them, you “extemporaneous” response may be exactly what is needed to seal the deal. Remember that rejectiosn are often a form of wanting more information. If you’re not prepared to respond, you may lost the opportunity to do business with that prospect.
You can practice extemporaneous speaking with associates, colleagues, or even your family. Heck, practice on your dog for all I care! The important message is that you can train your mind to think quickly, and you can anticipate responses to specific situations.
If you commit to learning how to speak better off the cuff, you will find yourself more successful in business.