Tips for handling a daily challenge: Impromptu speaking

Planning an elaborate presentation—clicker and PowerPoint slides at the ready—is one thing; you have time to prepare. Here’s how to be articulate and on point at a moment’s notice.

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You’re sitting in a meeting, and your boss calls on you in front of your colleagues.

Maybe you’re on a call, and your client asks you a crucial question you didn’t anticipate.

These are examples of impromptu speaking, and they happen just about every workday.

Speaking off the cuff is a different kind of skill from prepared speaking. However, it can be just as important as a prepared speech—perhaps even more so.

In many organizations, your higher-ups will assess your leadership readiness based in part on how you speak up during a meeting. When you don’t speak up, many people will assume you have nothing to say. Of course, that’s a false assumption, and for those who prefer not to speak in a meeting, you’re fighting a battle against those assumptions.

The challenge and the rewards

Every day, you can build trust with your colleagues or clients. How you communicate in those impromptu interactions—your confident voice, your conversational tone, your concise answer—builds trust.

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