These moments happen to everyone, though hopefully for most of us, not in front of a national audience. There are only two ways for you to minimize the chances of bungling an impromptu speech and sounding like an idiot.
- Learn everything about EVERYTHING so that you can always sound intelligent, not matter what topic you are asked to speak on.
- Practice impromptu speaking so that you learn the structure of a short speeches, and develop improvisation skills.
The second way is easy. Visit your local Toastmasters club. For decades, Toastmasters International has been helping people develop the very skill of delivering impromptu speeches. In Toastmasters lingo they are referred to as Table Topics, and all over the world, just about every Toastmasters meeting participants are challenged to give 1-2 minute speeches on subjects they know nothing about. More accurately, they don't know what the topic will be until they are already standing at the lectern in front of the audience.
Table Topics often seem intimidating to the uninitiated, but Toastmasters quickly learn that they are one of the best tools to practice your speaking skills. They are fun and often funny too, for both the speaker and the audience.
The absolute best way to improve your confidence and competence in public speaking is to practice in front of a live audience. Toastmasters gives you this opportunity in a supportive atmosphere with no risk of looking like an idiot. Visit your local Toastmasters club to learn more. To find your local club, visit www.toastmasters.org.