Do you prefer to wing it or do you like a more structured approach when you speak in public? Are you the kind of person who writes it out first or scribbles some notes down and then ‘goes for it?’ Are you the spontaneous type or do you like to be well prepared? I bet you aspire to do a bit of both? You yearn to be spontaneous and yet need some paper. Or, you are well prepared and then try to be spontaneous.

-In improvisation, there are no mistakes- Miles Davis

How to be well prepared but spontaneous? That is the question I get asked a lot. Well, it depends, it depends on the audience, the length of the piece or who it is for. Your experience and how often you speak on the topic is another key factor and then, whether you are being paid to speak…and how much. There are many indices to take into account regarding how much preparation you need. But really, there are no fast rules. Guidelines, yes! Flexible guidelines based on experience and an open-mind set.

One thing is for sure that almost all audiences are unpredictable. It’s true, you cannot guarantee the way they will respond. You just never know how your listener or viewer is going to re-act to your amazing improvised or rehearsed message. It’s a fact, life is unpredictable and so are the receivers of your words. And the thing is, it doesn’t make too much difference if it’s one person or a thousand. The public; those fans, friends and followers of yours, are easily distracted. Your prospective buyer, client, reader, collaborator needs to be captured, engaged and connected to you real fast.

-Improvisation is too good to leave to chance – Paul Simon

However, if you watch and observe closely professional comedians, you must realise that they rehearse big time. The inspirational Jazz musicians have been rehearsing all their lives. In fact, all the great artists that we admire from singers to actors, comedians to TV hosts have vast experience under their T shirts. They have gathered and absorbed super amounts of know-how from repetition and falling over a few trip wires. I do believe that it is from all this accumulative knowledge that we can let go and improvise. Improvising as I see it, is making a decision on the spot with all the experience you have gathered from past successes, failures and everything in between. Then, playing it by ear, winging it or being spontaneous comes naturally!

Here are some top ingredients to make your next speech the best combination of preparation and spontaneity.

1. From the moment you start, engage with your audience or client with a hot hook line. Check out my blog on this topic.

2. Know your topic. Know your stuff inside out and up side down, like it is your sister. Collect some anecdotes, personal ones too.

3. For those Blank Moments. It happens, get over it by having a couple of hot questions in your pocket.

4. Humour is essential on any stage of life. Self depreciating is always popular.

This week, I am shaking things up a little, as I am celebrating 52 weeks of non-stop blogging!
I shall be doing a FB live on Thursday 6th July where I will step deep inside this very topic. Come and join me, ask questions and make comments.

Find me on my FB group page where you can request to join on the link below. Please join me on Thursday 6th July 18.00 CET or 17.00 GMT .

I shall be posting the link onto this page after the event where you can catch the replay.
And here comes the FB live from Thursday 6th July on Wings and Feet!

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