“It usually takes me more than three weeks to write a good impromptu speech.”
Depending on how we view it, it can be a pain or a pleasure!
Giving presentations, giving keynote speeches, leading or facilitating meetings, making company or product pitches, social networking… the possibilities are endless and so are the fears we can have about them.
So what’s the solution?
I know you didn’t really want to hear that answer but you know what?
Public-speaking practice can be fun!
“Fun?” you say. “Are you sure?”
I’ve got an activity that does just that. Let’s even go as far as calling it a game. In fact, you can’t NOT improve at this game.
A game that you play and you can’t lose?
Yes. And all you need are some basic ingredients for the game’s recipe to work:
- A spoonful of curiosity
- A handful of playfulness
- A pinch of humor
- A touch of flexibility
What this recipe will create for you:
- You’ll be able to think better on your feet and handle any topic that comes your way.
- You’ll feel more confident because you’ll see that you have the resources you need to respond to any question.
- You’ll listen to yourself, trust yourself and see the benefit of following your own intuition more.
- You’ll extend your vocabulary on a huge range of topics.
- You’ll improve your ability to get to the point quickly and stay on track.
- You’ll be able to hone your storytelling talents and sculpt a meaningful message from almost anything.
- You’ll find it easier to make your communication and delivery flow.
- You’ll have a toolbox of skills and techniques to create attention-seeking introductions and memorable conclusions.
- You’ll get a better grasp of time.
In short, you’ll become a more confident, memorable and powerful speaker. When you have to do a presentation, lead a meeting or give a speech, you’ll take it in your stride, thanks to the game you’ve played regularly!
Ok, it’s time to tell you what this activity is.
It’s something you do every day without realizing it. It’s called “Improvisation”.
The Improvisation Game
Maybe you’ve never thought about it like this before but whenever you have a conversation, you’re improvising. Because you can never be sure how the discussion will develop or how it will end.
When we’re improvising, we make do with what we have in the moment. We create on the spot. We play.
And, just like the act of improvisation has no end, nor do the topics and activities that are possible to practice it.
A few years ago, I took part in several “Table Topic” exercises (a form of improvisation) at my local Toastmasters’ Association. I won’t hide the fact that I was nervous before getting up in front of everybody but it was worth it to feel the adrenaline and exhilaration after the activity. The result wasn’t perfect by any means, but I had fun, I was spurred on by the encouraging gaze of my listeners and I took up the challenge. And I knew that I’d improve with each session.
It will be the same feeling for you. And you’ll be in the safety of your own home, with a Coach supporting you and giving you feedback and tips.
How to Play
3 simple steps:
- Be fully present – breathe and sink into that spirit of playfulness you had when you were young or when you’re playing games with your children/family.
- Listen to your Coach’s instructions.
- Go with the first thought that comes into your head.
The great thing about improvisation games is that there is no right or wrong answer. Only your answer. So the fear of failing or being judged or looking silly – that we often have when we’re a non-native speaker learning a language – can be removed from the equation.
In these games, you’re encouraged to be different, to not follow the status quo, to laugh, to create emotion, to immerse yourself in the flow.
Depending on the time you have, you’ll be able to edit or elaborate on your ideas and use vocabulary that has been laying in the forgotten corners of your mind. You’ll get a grasp of what is “just enough” detail so that you manage to stay on track and don’t drown your message.
In this light-hearted environment, you’ll get the chance to play around with visual and sensory language. You’ll see how pauses can add dramatic emphasis and enhance the rising and falling tone of your voice.
You see, it’s not about having the right words or never making a grammatical mistake. It’s about using the words that resonate most with you and with your “audience”.
It’s about experimenting with your language.
Like an artist does with their brush or a sculptor with their chisel.
So, want to start creating with me?
Photos courtesy of Unsplash