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How to Explain Anything to Anyone Easily: 8 Spontaneous Speaking Structures

How to Explain Anything to Anyone Easily: 8 Spontaneous Speaking Structures

Do you get in your own way during a job interview or while giving a presentation? If so, you might be wondering:

“What can I do to quickly explain something when in the moment?”

Thankfully, there are ways to do this and they are very simple ways. Author of Speaking Up without Freaking Out: 50 Techniques for Confident and Compelling Presenting, Matthew Abrahams informs us, “When you are in a spontaneous speaking situation, you have to do two things simultaneously,”

  1. Figure out what to say.
  2. Figure out how to say it.

Let’s examine 8 spontaneous speaking structures that allow you to become comfortable and respond immediately to any speaking situation.

What are Spontaneous Speaking Structures?

A spontaneous speaking structure is a way to tell a story. It is a way to explain anything quickly by using simple structures to frame a story.

“Structure sets you free.” – Matthew Abrahams

Here’s why structures set you free:

Speaking structures help you explain anything ad lib. They provide an easy way to structure our thinking and prevent us from freezing in the moment.

Abrahams informs us,

“You need to set expectations and structures do that.”

I highly recommend watching the following video (the video is long so I recommend you skip to 41 minutes in where spontaneous speaking structures are discussed in more detail):

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8 Spontaneous Speaking Structures

Let’s now examine 8 spontaneous speaking structures:

1. What? So What? Now What?

    Terry Borton’s Development Framework was constructed in 1970 and is a simple approach involving only three questions: What? So What? Now What? [1] I recently wrote about this framework in Razor-Sharp Thinking: the What-Why Method. This framework provides us a formula for answering questions.

    • What? What happened or what is emerging?
    • So What? Why is it important or what lessons can we learn from it?
    • Now What? What are we going to do next or what should we do moving forward?

    2. Who? Why? What?

    Abrahams provides an easy way for us to use Borton’s Development Framework when introducing someone by simply changing the What to Who.

    • Who? Who they are.
    • Why? Why the person is important.
    • What? What we are going to do next (i.e. listen to their presentation).

    3. Problem/Opportunity – Solution – Benefit

      Another powerful, yet extremely simple technique is the Problem (or Opportunity) – Solution – Benefit structure. Abrahams explains that this is a great technique to use when pitching or persuading someone.

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      • Problem/Opportunity. What do you want to solve or what do you want to capture?
      • Solution. What are the steps to achieve it?
      • Benefit. What is the benefit to their organization?

      4. ADD

      Abrahams illustrates a simple approach to use during a question and answer period of a speech, presentation, or interview.

      • A: Answer questions concisely (condense your information into a few succinct words).
      • D: Detail the answer through an example (illustrate an example through the use of a metaphor or analogy).
      • D: Describe the value of your answer to the asker.

      5. TAKE

      Yet another example of a simple speaking structure offered by Abrahams is TAKE. This is a great approach to use when accepting recognition.

      • T: Thank your audience.
      • A: Acknowledge the award/accomplishment.
      • K: Keep the momentum going.
      • E: End with impact.

      6. 1-3-1 Speech Structure

        The authors of The Secret Memory Booster in Public Speaking offer a powerfully simple approach to learn, remember, and present information using the 1-3-1 approach.

        • 1: Idea The first step is to structure your idea through Prep (get their attention with questions, a story, a quote, or a startling statistic), Promise (specifically the benefits to your audience), and Path (indicate how they will get the promise or preview the main points).
        • 3: Themes or Main Points Next, outline your main points through the use of the following: SHARP, Power Phrase, Reflection, Application, Power Phrase, then Transition. SHARP = Story (anecdote, metaphor, or analogy), Humor, Activity, Reference/Quote, Photo/Prop
        • 1: Conclusion or Call to Action In your conclusion, use the following: Summary (call back to the main points), Q&A, Memorable (tie to the intro).

        7. STAR

          This next technique is perfect to use when answering the typical behavioral interviewing questions asked during a job interview. Behavioral interviewing is an approach used to assess a candidate’s past experience and to judge the response to similar situation on a future job; thus, it is used a predictor of future performance. [2] For example, say you are interviewing for a job and the interviewer asks,

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          “Describe a time when you had to…”

          • Instead of rambling through the question with an incoherent reply, try the STAR technique:
          • S: Situation Detail the background. Provide a context. Where? When?
          • T: Task Describe the challenge and expectations. What needed to be done? Why?
          • A: Action Elaborate your specific action. What did you do? How? What tools did you use?
          • R: Results Explain (quantify) the results: accomplishments, recognition, savings, etc.

          8. What – Why – How Feedback

            Lastly, the perfect structure for growing from feedback is the What – Why – How structure. Pay attention to the feedback you receive (from all around you – people, environment, etc.). Then ask the following:

            • What? What is going on? Which leads to an understanding of the Why.
            • Why? Why is this happening? Which leads us to invent new things (the How).
            • How? How can things get better? This then leads us to change our actions; thus, leading back to the What (for which the cycle never ends).

            By following these 8 simple spontaneous speaking structures, you will find you can easily explain anything off the cuff. Each one of these speaking structures helps you structure your thinking and allows you to respond confidently in any situation.

            They allow you to tell a story, set expectations for your audience, provide you a way to figure out what to say and figure out how to say it. Thus, a spontaneous speaking structure sets you free.

            Featured photo credit: unsplash via unsplash.com

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            Reference

            More by this author

            Dr. Jamie Schwandt

            Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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            Last Updated on September 17, 2019

            10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

            10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

            Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.

            But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.

            Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:

            1. Spend Time with Positive People

            If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.

            Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.

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            2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

            When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.

            Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.

            3. Contribute to the Community

            One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.

            Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.

            4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials

            Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.

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            Some recommendations for you:

            5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts

            You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.

            If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”

            There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.

            6. Establish and Work Toward Goals

            It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.

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            Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.

            7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity

            Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

            For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.

            Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.

            8. Offer Compliments to Others

            Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.

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            9. Create a Daily Gratitude List

            If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.

            Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

            10. Practice Self-Care

            Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.

            Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.

            Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

            More About Staying Positive

            Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com

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