Off-the-Cuff speaking is something every entrepreneur needs to learn how to do to gain optimal success.
Have you ever found yourself golfing with a friend or a group of strangers and asked to speak about your business?
How about a scheduled luncheon where the featured speaker has canceled at the last minute, and the group invites you to address them about your line of business?
- Has any of these circumstances ever happened to you?
- What did you do?
- How did you do?
- Did you do anything at all?
When asked to speak before even a small gathering of others, many are frozen with fear. “Off-the-cuff” speaking is one of the greatest fears of many professionals.
When given time to prepare, public speaking is petrifying for countless entrepreneurs and professionals, but being asked to speak unprepared gives many digestive discomforts. Unfortunately, the reality of business in the 21st century necessitates one to speak “off-the-cuff.”
Opportunities abound in the unplanned business areas, and those who can seize the moment can gather the spoils.
- What does it take to be a successful “off-the-cuff” speaker?
- What must one do to successfully communicate with business associates or strangers at any given time?
Below you will find six keys to help you flourish as an “Off-the-Cuff” and adaptable speaker.
6 Keys to Becoming a Versatile Speaker
Becoming a versatile speaker is not nearly as complicated as you may think. Many do not realize it, but you are already a versatile speaker.
It began as a child. When cookies were found missing from the cookie jar, you made up a story.
When you were late to English class, you created a narrative that appeased your teacher. You told your parents a fabulous fiction about the causes of your missing curfew; even if it did not work, you still accomplished the task.
So, why not in business?
The great thing is you do not have to manufacture fiction.
You can freely communicate about a subject which occupies the lion share of your time – your business.
You can easily accomplish the art of versatile speaking. Here is how you get the job done.
1. Take a Deep Breath
Before you take off, remember you are human. You do not need to be perfect. So, take a breath. Then, begin slowly. No one expects a perfect stump speech. You are not a politician. You are, however, a business professional. They have asked you because they want to hear from you – this is a sign of respect. And, yes, it might be a test. So what? Pass it on your terms, and take a breath before beginning.
2. Consider the Crowd
To whom are you speaking? Where will you deliver your speech? Addressing a group on the golf course takes on a different flare than a formal lunch table. So, who are these people? Are they:
- Board Members
- Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce Members
Precisely who are you addressing? Your audience is critical as your tone will adjust for the crowd, but the content will largely remain the same.
3. Be Wise with your Words
Word choice is a concern when competitors are present. If no competitors are present, then stick and stay with your enhanced elevator pitch. The elevator pitch is designed for moments just as this. You will have all critical elements in that pitch, and you need only slow down in delivery and enhance it a bit to suit the specific concerns or questions posed to you in this “off-the-cuff” speaking request.
- Start with the problem your business is addressing and solving.
- Share how you are addressing and solving it.
- Use emotional words to intrigue the listening audience.
- Do not move as swiftly as you would with the elevator pitch, but certainly do not go at a snail’s pace.
- Conclude the way you began.
- Invite questions.
4. Trust Yourself
Understand that you are the owner of your business – this is your dream child. You conceived it and have cared for it. You and your team have worked through countless challenges and will continue to do so. There is no better person to speak about the business than you. You do not need to be:
- Eloquent of Speech
- In the body of a supermodel
You need only be you – they want to hear from you. Who else can be trusted enough to convey the business at the spur of the moment? Remember, your company came to you from an idea spawned in the spur of a moment. You can do it, and you will.
5. Start with the Structure
While spontaneity has its place, you can be surprised and prepared. You must always have a well-structured speech ready in the can. How do you think preachers and other religious persons can stand and speak so readily? Even without a manuscript? It’s called a canned speech. Here’s how you do it. You must:
- Begin and end the same way. Start with the ending in mind – this is called framing. Begin with the problem and end with the problem, but solved.
- Apply the hook statement. The hook statement means you should have a statement that has an emotional trigger to it. You want the audience to be emotionally engaged, which means they are interested and invested in what you are saying.
- Advocating your solution. Here’s how your business meets the great problem head-on and satisfies the consumer. Moreover, your business goes one step further with the social cause to which it is dedicated.
- End it the way you began with the solution summarized as the end.
- And you are done. Take questions.
6. Keep it Short
You will have to speak at the spur of a moment – no one expects nor do they way, quite honestly, an hour-long speech. Have a little modesty. Do not deliver your “off-the-cuff” speech in 30 seconds, either. A lot yourself, approximately 7 minutes. You can make 1 to 3-minute adjustments based upon the audience and the location. You never want to appear greedy or desperate. Be calm, relaxed, and collected. It is no “big deal,” and you should behave as such. You’ll have to share your business expertise in a particular area. And always give credit to your team. Your progress is not a solo act. Even if that team is your spouse, children, or friends, let the audience know who is behind you, propelling the business forward.
OTHER HELPFUL HINTS FOR DELIVERING THAT “OFF-THE-CUFF” SPEECH
More information should be available about the gravity of these opportunities. “Off-the-cuff” speeches lead to further meetings, opportunities, and investments into your business and you.
As a budding entrepreneur, these impromptu speeches will gain you respect you would otherwise be unable to obtain in such a short period.
Investors who may not be interested in investing in your business may very well take a liking to you and decide to connect you with other people who can help your business.
Your development as an entrepreneur will help forego some of the pitfalls that may fall subject to and will also place you in circles unavailable to you in the past.
Your entire business network can either change or grow to encompass some of the nation’s greatest thinkers and doers.
Therefore, take the time to practice and prepare for the unforeseen opportunities that await you on the golf course, gym, restaurant, luncheon, or backyard barbeque. Consider doing the following:
- Practice your delivery. Record yourself giving a 5-minute speech about your business. Do you like it? Better yet, ask someone in the industry to review it. Get specific feedback about tone, word choice, and accuracy of information.
- Practice again. That’s right, practice again. Get in the mirror every morning as you prepare for the day and recite your “off-the-cuff” speech. Not so impromptu after all, now is it?
- While driving to your place of business, guess what? Practice again. What if you need to deliver the speech as you drive or ride, for that matter? Opportunities come at any time, and you need to be ready all of the time.
Some people prefer to use another type of structure for “off-the-cuff” speeches when project progress is requested.
Let’s say you have an investor who wants to know how the construct of several assisted living homes is progressing – this is a bit different from the prior requirement to share your business. In this instance, the S.E.E. Structure might be most beneficial.
S for Statement: The statement is simple. “Currently, the assisted living homes are progressing as scheduled. To date, Phase 1 is complete, and Phase 2 is 50% complete.”
E for Evidence: This statement is equally as simple. “As you see here, I have the general contractor send daily pictures of work completed and incomplete. It is essential to know what workflow will look like the following day.”
E for Emotion: This statement draws an emotional connection to the project. “I am delighted with the progress we are making and am excited about the many seniors who will find a new home with us.”
This structure is ideal for progress reporting. It keeps things simple yet informative and time conscious.
Investors will walk away feeling informed both verbally and visually.
Their confidence in you will remain assured, and when a mishap occurs, they will regard it as such – this is not the norm.
LEARN HOW TO PITCH YOUR BUSINESS IDEAS WITH EASE
The ability to comfortably speak about your business impromptu is essential to success. Entrepreneurs must be pliable. They must be able to adapt to circumstances before them without apprehension.
Delivering an “Off-the-Cuff” speech is not a new concept to you.
You’ve been doing it since you were a child. Now, however, the results can be life-changing. Practice your impromptu speech continually so when the opportunity rings, you can sing.
Pitch Masters Academy seeks to provide meaningful content to make the 21st Century Entrepreneur innovative while being an effective communicator.
Experts at Pitch Masters Academy seek to build entrepreneurs who can adapt to present-day conditions without hesitation to reach their goals.
Contact www.PitchMastersAcademy.com today to learn how to leverage your most precious asset – you.