Advertising
Advertising

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):

Advertising

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.

      Advertising

      • 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,

          Advertising

          “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

            Advertising

            Reference

            More by this author

            Dr. Jamie Schwandt

            Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

            How to Upgrade Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Smart Choices How to Reprogram Your Brain Like a Computer And Hack Your Habits 5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory 10 Hacks to Increase Your Brain IQ, Focus and Creativity 9 Game Changing Tips on How to Write Goals (and Reach Them!)

            Trending in Smartcut

            1 50 Great People To Follow On LinkedIn, No Matter Your Industry 2 How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret 3 10 Most Successful Entrepreneurs and What We Can Learn from Them 4 What Does Success Look Like? Revealed by 12 Highly Successful People 5 The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on May 21, 2019

            How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

            How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

            For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

            If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

            Example 1

            You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

            You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

            In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

            Example 2

            You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

            People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

            You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

            Example 3

            You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

            Advertising

            The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

            Example 4

            You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

            Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

            If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

            Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

            • Understand your own communication style
            • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
            • Communicate with precision and care
            • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

            1. Understand Your Communication Style

            To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

            In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

            Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

            2. Learn Others Communication Styles

            Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

            Advertising

            If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

            “How do you prefer to receive information?”

            This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

            To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

            3. Exercise Precision and Care

            A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

            On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

            Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

            I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

            I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

            Advertising

            In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

            The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

            Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

            4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

            Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

            In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

            “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

            Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

            Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

            It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

            Advertising

            It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

            It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

            Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

            Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

            The Bottom Line

            When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

            I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

            More Articles About Effective Communication

            Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

            Reference

            Read Next