|Learning Tips 5--Competition 竞赛|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2006/02/24 13:22 新浪英语|
How can I improve my performance on an impromptu speech, especially when time is limited?
Some people are brilliant at making impromptu speeches. It doesn't matter what language they are speaking-- Chinese or English. They seem to be able to "think on their feet" and make remarks that are both substantive and witty.
I must confess that I am not one of those naturally-born speech makers. But there are some strategies that those of us who aren't "born orators" can use:
1) Even in public, it is possible to think and talk at the same time. You have to train yourself to think and talk in a very linear manner; in other words, you say one sentence. Pause. Smile. Then in the pause, quickly think of what you will say next.
2) One trick I use in my extemporaneous remarks is to limit my remarks to 3 main points. Many times, I have zero time to prepare-- not even 5 minutes.
So, for example, if a TV reporter suddenly asked me, "Susan, what do you think about the 2005 Oscar Academy Awards” and I had not prepared, I would first say something positive or neutral to begin with. For example, "This year's Academy Awards are particularly interesting." Then I would say, "There are 3 aspects, really, that I think merit discussion." Then I would quickly try and think of point one, just one point. I would say, "First, it's important to understand that there is more competition than usual this year, so that the competition is very rigorous." Pause. Then quickly think of point 2. "Second, I think it's safe to say that because Ray Charles passed away last year, that the Academy will vote for the movie "Ray" over others, simply to commemorate him." Pause, pause. Smile, smile. Then quickly think of a third point. And the third point has to be funny or witty or important.
"Finally, I think that, like many other competitions, it's important to remember that the films that were nominated were the favorites of the Hollywood crowd-- their political and social preferences. Thus the films that were nominated don't necessarily represent the best artistic values or the best social values. But certainly they are all excellent films, especially in terms of their technical performance."
Are these the points I would have made if I had time to prepare? Probably not. But it doesn't matter. In impromptu speeches, you just need to keep talking, smiling, and tie your points together.
3) For a speech competition, you are usually given 5 or more minutes to prepare. Any time you get makes the task a little easier. You can think about your points in advance. In this situation, your challenge is mainly to find an interesting way to link your points together. That is also a matter of practice and poise.
Watch how people talk and what they say on TV when they are interviewed. How they link thoughts together. Who sounds coherent, who sounds silly. You can learn a lot about impromptu communication, pros and cons, from media figures.
4)Finally, when speaking in a second language in any public forum, it's best to keep your sentences simple. Don't force yourself to use fancy proverbs or search for intellectual allusions. Pretend that you are talking to a friend, not to 5 judges and 500 students. Keep it simple, cite examples that have personal meaning, and speak from the heart.
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