Lesson 25º








Flexibility and improvisation

In previous lessons, I have expressed the importance of rehearsing to be able to carry out a perfectly prepared speech and not leave aything to chance.

However, this does not mean that the speaker can not improvise, get away from the script (this will allow the speech to be slightly fresh).

If you can think of new ideas, remember curious anecdotes, etc.

You can try and connect the speech with the ideas expressed by another speaker that was speaking before you.

Sometimes the results will be be like they were planned and the spaker needs to be able to react with agility.

There are situations that you can anticipate and you should already be prepared for.

Preparing additional material just in case in the last moment they tell you that they want you to speek for longer.

Identifying parts of the speech which can be made smaller if, on the contrary they shorten your speech time.

Preparing anecdotes, alternative examples, etc. just in case the speaker before you mentions the ones that you were thinking of using.

If you are going to use visual support material (slides, computer, etc) besides preparing the speech and counting on them, you should also rehearse without any type of support, just in case the projector doesn't work, a computer is not available, etc.

In other occasions, if other unforseen things come up you can solve them as you go along (a coughing attack, constant hiccups, a glass of water that spills onto your notes, etc).

The speaker should react naturally; the audience is understanding and they will understand the situation.

It is sometimes a good idea to turn to your sense of humour to take importance away from what has happened.

It is important that you stay calm and don't get upset (tension is contagious).

Somtimes during the speech something unexpected can come up with forces you to stop momentarily (the microphone doesn't work, an alarm goes off, etc).

The speaker will interrupt his speech until the conditions allow him to follow.

He shouldn't continue in any case as if nothing has happened as this will mean that the audience will miss a part of the speech (besides, the image of the speaker fighting against the elements is somewhat pathetic).

In these situations the speaker should react naturally, interrupting the speech, but not showing irritation.

Whilst the situation continues, try to fill the time with some comments, giving what has happened less importance, telling an anecdote about a similar situation that you have experienced, etc.

If you don't do this then the public will start talking, this will disturb the speaker as he will loose his protagonism and with it the audience's attention.

If ths situation goes on more than expected, the best thing to do is interrupt the event, abandon the stand until the circumstances allow you to continue.

Finally, if you are invited to speak without having anything prepared you can try and be spontaneous, directing a few brief words (welcoming those present, thanking everything for the opportunity to say a few words, make a few comments on the topic and then thank everyone again; the public will not expect anything else).