Speaking Off The Cuff
The ability to “think and speak” on your feet is a tremendous asset to have in your social, business and everyday life. Speaking of the cuff is a real life skill and one that is used more times that you may think. While being able to give excellent prepared presentations, lectures and keynote presentations is a wonderful skill, many of us fall down when put on the spot. When asked to respond off the cuff or in an impromptu fashion. This can occur in meetings, after presentations, while supervising staff and of course during job interviews. To successfully communicate your ideas in these situations you must be able to organise your thoughts quickly and present them in a clear and logical manner.
There are 8 tools that I use to help me structure a response when asked to speak off the cuff. Each one is applicable at different times and you just need to decide which tool is best suited for the question you have been asked.
1. Describe how the subject affects you personally/what I know about…….
2. Follow the PREP Method:
state your Point of view.
give Reason for point of view.
Explain how point of view came about.
summarise what you said and repeat Point of view.
3. Follow the PPF (Past, Present, and Future) Method:
4. Use the 3 Important Things Method. Start with “There are 3 important things that come to mind about this subject
5 The Pros / Cons Method. Advantages/Disadvantages
6 The PCS (Problem Cause Solution) Method.
7 The 6 Questions Method. Ask yourself:” Who, What, When, Why, Where & How” as you are speaking to jog your memory.
8 Consider how does it affect – yourself – others – global.
From these 8 models, work out which 3 or 4 work best for you and which situations lend themselves to which model. When I am asked for my point of view and I know my response will be unpopular or contentious, or always use the pros and cons approach. This way I can show that i have weighed up both sides of the argument and on the balance have reached my conclusion.