I offered to go on stage at a Toastmasters meeting at the Sheraton Tower to challenge myself in Impromptu Speaking. The Table Topics Master chose a topic for me at random, and I had two minutes to speak about it. This type of communication entails speaking spontaneously and without preparation. About 50 individuals were staring in front of me. A timer in front of me was timing my speech. I started by posing a question. “Let’s see how many of you think you’re a leader, ladies and gentlemen.” If you are a leader, please raise your hand.” About half of the audience raised their hands.
I began by setting an example, describing a project at MBA that I led by demonstrating how I get things done rather than pointing fingers and telling others what to do, blah blah blah… Then I started talking about how to lead by example rather than micromanaging, and so on. Then I realized I’d run out of things to say. I grew concerned as my mind went blank, and I looked at the timer seated right in front of the stage; it’s only thirty seconds had passed. Everyone was gazing at me, and I stared at them silently for what seemed like an eternity, but I couldn’t think of anything to add to my topic. One minute has gone by. Finally, it might be time to start thinking about a satisfying conclusion. Perhaps I might make a rallying cry by reminding everyone that they should strive to be excellent leaders and that they should practice public speaking. That concluded my speech. I had too little to say in one minute and thirty seconds, not even two minutes.
If I could go back in time, I would have done my homework and preparation ahead of time. The topic was completely unexpected, and I had no way of anticipating it. However, if I had a habit of pondering, I could have thought about this topic before. I’d read more books and newspapers and keep a database of information to find reference material quickly. I’d have a diverse range of life experiences from which I could share an intriguing story with others when the occasion arose. Every day, I could write a little more; constant practice would help me improve. Writing is a sort of retention for me, and it also serves as a source of inspiration. If nothing exciting or intriguing happens in daily life, there is nothing new to learn. I learned some speaking principles and structures that I need to recall. Still, the guidelines are already ingrained in my speaking style, including an opening statement, supporting arguments, illustrative examples, and a conclusion that restates what I’m trying to communicate. Maybe then I’d have a lot more to say.
In general, I’d have to work hard and practice as I didn’t want to have too little to say. Spending time gathering ideas, enriching my life, and learning new vocabulary to express myself would be wonderful. It would be enticing to write and talk effectively to make a difference by inspiring others to take action and become great leaders. At first, I would stick to the rules and speak. However, I never considered the restrictions when I first began speaking. I don’t have to stop and think about how to say more, but it’s a habit of mine to master the principles of efficiency in communication until it’s second nature for me to express myself correctly. Putting principles into practice would be challenging for me at first. I persevered and persisted, but I know success is only a matter of time. It is preferable to have more to say than to have nothing to say. There are advantages to being a fluent and articulate speaker over someone who has too little to say because people who can deliver a fantastic speech sound more like leaders. And, because we live in an age of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), I am committed to being a better leader. I appreciate people who can lead and overcome this to make our society better for us and future generations.