A key skill in business is the ability to speak off-the-cuff. Whether it’s giving an unexpected presentation to a potential collaborator or being asked to quickly defend a proposal to another department, many of us have had to speak with no preparation. Next time, don’t panic. Just remember that the worst business speeches are those that are the longest. If you are asked to speak, quickly write your main points on a piece of paper. Your notes should include an introduction, two or three supporting points, and a conclusion. If you have extra time, use it to talk about examples or key data. Always state your thesis clearly and directly so listeners can follow your supporting comments. If you know your topic, the words will come. Finally, keep it short. When in doubt, say less.
*Source: Adapted from Harvard Business School’s Management Tip of the Day.
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