Off the cuff, what to say at a moment’s notice
Communications Coach Anne Cooper Ready wants you to understand one thing: You must always be prepared to speak at a moment’s notice.
Be it job interviews, elevator pitches, media interviews, product announcements, networking sessions, after-dinner speeches or even arguments, 99% of what we say is impromptu or off the cuff. Anne’s Book serves to provide readers with sufficient strategies, tips and tricks, to enable effective communication in such situations.
The Cs of Communication
Off the Cuff outlines a list of Cs that are essential in communication. I shall highlight some of the more important ones here:
Conversational – The most effective way to introduce your product/service is to refer to it casually when you are having a conversation. The ability to do this naturally comes with practice.
Convincing – A presentation that can appeal to both logic as well as emotions makes it personal and believable.
Confident – I’m sure you have heard this phrase before: “Fake it till you make it!” Your posture, breathing and facial expressions all affect the way you feel. Begin to act confident, you will start to feel it soon enough.
Correct – Get the facts right. Don’t give answers you are not sure about. Remember: Even an expert may not know everything.
Concise – Get your point across the KISS way. Keep It Short and Simple.
The other Cs of communication include Careful, Candid, Cogent, Clear, Compassionate, Cool, Calm and Collected, Compelling, Consistent, Credible, Crisis Conscious, Controversial and Charismatic.
Knowing what to say and how to say it
As mentioned previously, Off the cuff, what to say at a moment’s notice deals with a number of situations where the ability to communicate effectively is essential. Now, I won’t be able to cover everything here so I am just going to focus on one of the most common situations: The Job Interview.
Anne gives plenty of tips on preparing for interviews. While you may not be able to anticipate all the questions that an interviewer is likely to ask, you can still ace an interview by doing your homework (reading the annual report) diligently and preparing for the usual ones (such as “What are some of your strengths and weaknesses?“).
Confidence is crucial here. Never attempt to lie if you do not know the answer. When the interviewer touches on a sensitive topic, address it by bridging it to a related benefit. Always be prepared to ask intelligent questions, to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Do that by listening for interesting facts/opinions that the interviewer shares.
Always remember to leave a good impression, no matter what, even if you know you may not necessarily get the job. Word spreads fast in every industry – you never know who knows whom.
The Next Step
Off the Cuff is a useful book for anyone interested in picking up effective impromptu speaking skills. If you have always wanted to know how to articulate fluently and gracefully in common social situations, the next logical step is obvious:
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