The Art of Impromptu Speaking

IMG_8502In November I was given the precious opportunity to speak to the wonderful women of Brown Girls Lead  at Howard University about impromptu speaking in informal settings. This touched my heart because I was finally being recognized for having a big mouth!   Another thing that filled me with pride is that I was asked to speak that my Alma Mater, Howard University. The very place where I was trained, raised and bred.

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Launched in 2011, Brown Girls Lead is an organization that was created to break the mold and put leadership at the forefront for brown girls in their personal, professional and public lives. The Browns Girls Lead academy is a 7 month mentorship program that enriches it’s students in Personal Empowerment, Professional Enrichment and Public Engagement. The young ladies go through a rigorous application process to be admitted and their ambition is blinding!

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The subject matter of the day was Impromptu Speaking in Informal Settings. Having a big mouth has it’s benefits when pressed to impromptu speak. However, everyone doesn’t have a big mouth like I. Here are some tips  that could help you while networking during events, your workplace or school.

Making Small Talk Count (Impromptu Speaking in Informal Settings)

Preparation

  • Establish Goals While Networking 
    • What do you want out of your networking experience?
    • Who are you looking to connect with?
    • Establish goals and stick to them! Example: Speak to 10 people and hand out 10 business cards at an event.
  • Prepare Before the Event
    • Research the industry or organization before hand if possible.
    • Find commonality.
    • Establish 3 marketable facts about yourself that relate to the event.
  • Have Confidence! 
    • Establish open body language that is open to others
      • Fake it until you make it
    • Think positively! The only thing you have to lose is staying in the same exact place you’re in now .
    • Pump yourself up before the event so you are ready for social interaction. Listen to music that gets you in a positive/ happy mood.

    The Art of Conversation

  • Listen!
    • Fight through your nerves and listen to what the other person is saying. Their responses will determine what should be said next.
  • Have Control of the Conversation 
    • If you feel the other person is taking over the conversation and isn’t allowing you to speak, JUMP IN THERE!
    • Reroute the conversation. “ …..That’s interesting because at my company we do it a similar way”
    • Everyone should get equal time on the playing field.
  • Avoid Asking “What do you do?” (It’s very harsh wording) 
    • Establish a connection by asking “Where do you work?” instead.
    • Further engage them with follow up questions like “How did you get into that line of work?” , “What was it like when you first started in that line of work?”

The 30-Second Elevator Pitch

  • Incorporate 3 things about yourself that market your needs.
    • The pitch should engage the other person
    • Be concise and personable.
    • The pitch is a teaser.
    • Keep body language in mind while reciting memorized material.
  • Common Mistakes 
    • A common mistake is making the pitch all about yourself. You want to incorporate how you would be helpful to that person.
    • Example: Hello. I’m Naila and I’m a beauty guru (wrong)
    • Example: Hello. I’m Naila and I have a show that helps uncover the truth about beauty products (correct)
  • Practice! Practice! Practice! 
    • Practice your speech in the mirror or record yourself speaking!
    • Keep your body language in mind. Make sure you’re not looking up at the sky, which is common when trying to remember information.
    • Speak from your diaphragm!

Never Give Up!

  • Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from taking a chance that have may a positive effect in your future!
  • Prepare, practice, do you best and forget the rest!
  • The best teacher is experience!

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If you would like The Weave Whisperer to speak at your event, please email her at TheWeaveWhisperer@gmail.com
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