The Art of Impromptu Speaking: How to Maximize Your Seven-Minute Speech (Part 2)
Welcome back! In part one of this article, you learned the format of impromptu speaking rounds, saw some example prompts and learned how to choose the one you will speak about. Now let’s look at some useful prepared examples to keep in your “story bank,” and how they can be related to a variety of prompts.
First is the all-time classic movie – “The Lion King.” When speaking on the prompt “Real learning doesn’t happen in the classroom,” you can argue that the best lessons you’ve learned in life are from cartoons, and give an example from “The Lion King,” when Rafiki showed you that by letting go of your past, you can better handle the present. If the prompt is “If I ruled the world...” you can speak about how you would rule like Simba, not excluding anyone from your kingdom, even former enemies. And if your prompt is “Don't worry, be happy,” you can talk about how Timon and Pumbaa help Simba see the fun side of life and forget about his worries. This might sound like:
For instance, take Simba from Lion King. He lost his father and had to run away from home in shame. Three minutes after meeting Timon and Pumbaa, he was already singing “Hakuna Matata” … “it means no worries, for the rest of your days…” The philosophy of not taking life too seriously was the only thing that helped him overcome his troubled past and move on with his life.
You can also use historical events as examples. Think about Stanislav Petrov, a man who was in charge of the anti-missile rocket systems in the USSR during the Cold War between Russia and the US. One day, he saw on the radar many rockets flying from the US towards the USSR. Even though under the rules of his role he was supposed to fire back, he didn’t, because he believed it was a false alarm due to a technical error. He was right. And thanks to his judgment, the world was saved from World War Three and the Cold War stayed cold. You might have the prompt “Peace is possible” and explain how, when individual people use their right judgment, like Stanislav Petrov, peace is possible. On the prompt “The most important life lesson I learned so far...” you can say:
We should not be afraid to question things that seem wrong to us. Stanislav Petrov questioned the functionality of the Soviet radar system, and basically saved the planet and everyone on it. It is because of this attitude that we are able to make good decisions.
The last example for today is the famous Greek myth of Icarus. Icarus and his father were held captive in a tower. His father was able to create two sets of wings from feathers glued together with wax. He taught Icarus how to fly and warned him not to fly too high, which would cause the wax to melt. Unfortunately, when they flew out of the tower towards freedom, Icarus forgot his father's warnings and started flying higher and higher, until the sun melted the wax. His wings dissolved and he fell into the sea and drowned, sparking the idiom "don't fly too close to the sun." Now, you might get a prompt asking “Would you rather be smart or wise?” to which you can answer: “From the myth of Icarus we learn that smart people can fly, but wise people listen to advice that keeps them in the air.” If your prompt is “Discipline is not a dirty word,” you can talk about the importance of balancing freedom and control to save children from crashing down like what happened to Icarus.
Now let’s do a quick recap! Today we covered the basic rules of a new and exciting public speaking format – impromptu speaking. We saw a variety of prompts that might come up in a round and discussed how to maintain a story bank of varied examples that can be linked to many different prompts and make your preparation more efficient and your speeches more interesting. And if you can’t find any good example to relate to a prompt – “Hakuna Matata!” You have two other prompts to choose from.