When You’re on The Spot, Speech Structure Can Save You

Patricia Fripp explains speech structure through Fripp Virtual Training.
Patricia Fripp explains speech structure through Fripp Virtual Training.

You might already know that a successful speech starts with structure, but did you know that speech structure can save you if you find yourself on the spot without time to prepare?

Imagine this scenario… you are a consultant attending a client conference, when an executive notices you in the audience.  She says, “Hi! I didn’t know you were going to be here. We’re 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Would you mind coming up an giving us a quick report on the XYZ project?”

As you make your way to the front, you only have 12 rows to gather your thoughts before you take the stage to deliver 10 minutes’ worth of powerful, persuasive content. This is an important client. You want to do well.

Take a deep breath. Remember, just like a formal presentation, an impromptu talk has a central theme, a premise, and a basis of argument which leads to a conclusion.  Order your thoughts, using this formula as your guide.

You should already be familiar with your premise. For example, as an executive speech coach my premise might be summed up in this way, “Every individual can take his or her presentation skills from good, to great, to awesome… and woo any audience.” Now if you asked me, “Patricia, what are you going to do?” I’d say, “Give you the power to woo any audience.”

Your next logical step is to answer your audience’s unspoken question, “How will you do it?” Now we are into your talking points, which naturally follow your premise in basic speech structure.  Even with an impromptu talk, it is possible to be powerful and persuasive when you:

  • Cite compelling evidence to support your premise
  • Make an emotional connection with your audience
  • Tell a memorable story
  • Employ razor-sharp specificity

If you understand and follow the formula for speech structure, you can handle anything — even at a moment’s notice.

Make a habit of keeping a few opening lines in your back pocket that will work for you in any circumstance. Jerry Lewis said his best ad-libs took eight hours to write; what makes it an ad-lib is the fact that you never quite know when you’re going to use it – so it’s a good idea to have a few of those in your back pocket as well.

Although our presentations and business communications might be tailored to different situations and audiences, the principles remain the same.

An Expert Explains How to Structure Your Presentation,” “Want Your Audiences to Remember What You Say? Learn the Importance of Clear Structure,” and “Everything Starts with Structure – How & Why to Create An Outline for Your Speech” are just three of the complimentary resources on Fripp.com to help you structure your presentations and business communications.

Fripp Virtual TrainingIf you want to become a great speaker easily, conveniently, and quickly, Fripp Virtual Training can help.

“I wanted a super bowl-quality coach, and I was lucky to be introduced to Patricia Fripp. Her help in coaching and scripting was world class. With Patricia Fripp on your team, you can go places.”
– Don Yaeger, Long-Time Associate Editor for Sports Illustrated magazine, Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, New York Times Best-Selling Author

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Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with those who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.