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Mark Twain was the inspiration for this blog when I happened upon his quote: “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”

Exactly! He does have a way with words.

When I read this, I decided to make my next Toastmasters speech about it – for all of my colleagues who believe they lack in some way because they don’t have the “impromptu” part figured out yet.

To prepare for this speech I did some research, and came across an excellent article written by Chris Anderson, curator of TED, about how TED support their speakers.  They don’t choose their speakers based on whether they can come up with a speech on the spot. They choose their speakers based on three things:  the original idea, the story, and the speaker’s passion for their idea.

TED gives a speaker 6 months to prepare a speech, which must be completed a month ahead of time.  A speaker must memorize their speech, completely, before giving it: no scripts or teleprompters allowed.  Mr. Anderson believes that reading from a script or teleprompter disappoints and disengages the audience. Memorizing all of it is the only way.

Not impromptu.

What is impromptu is the idea, and the speaker’s passion. The rest is practice, practice, practice.



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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .


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