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Impromptu: Leading in the Moment Hardcover – December 11, 2017
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From the Inside Flap
Listen, assess, think, and respond on the fly and be ready to Lead in the Moment
The ability to speak eloquently off the cuff is often thought to be an innate gift. Either you're born with it or you're not. Right? Not according to bestselling leadership author and communications expert, Judith Humphrey. As she shows in this important new book, impromptu speaking is a skill that can be learned.
Anyone who aspires to lead today must be able to communicate effectively and deliver a powerful message on the spot. In today's fast-paced world, audiences expect you to speak authentically and clearly at a moment's notice, without the benefit of a podium or scripted text.
In Impromptu, Humphrey provides clear, actionable guidance to help you influence and inspire as a leader in a broad range of situationsfrom elevator chats and corridor conversations to meetings, job interviews, and networking events.
The book draws upon memorable impromptu moments in history, from the ancient Greeks to today's most successful leaders in business, politics, and entertainment. Impromptu will show you how to:
- Think like an impromptu leader
- Instantly read any audience, of any size, anywhere
- Rapidly collect your thoughts and craft a persuasive message
- "Script" yourself within seconds for any occasion
- Avoid "um's" and "ah's" and find the right words
- Deliver your message with clarity and confidence
- Speak with presence
Why read Impromptu? Because leaders with strong communication skills stand out for their ability to inspire in off-the-cuff exchanges.
No other book unlocks the secrets of successful spontaneity as Impromptu does.
From the Back Cover
ACCLAIM FOR IMPROMPTU
"I have always relished impromptu speakingand in my role as Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations, I have many occasions to speak spontaneously. My work with Judith Humphrey has made my speaking more on point, meaningful, and impactful. Readers of Impromptu will benefit tremendously from this book, which lays out everything necessary to be eloquent off the cuff."
Marc-André Blanchard, Canada's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations
"Short, spontaneous remarks can have a huge impact and Impromptu will help you organize your thoughts and capture the minds of your audience. Judith Humphrey is an authority on the subject and this is a must-read book for anyone, especially for those in leadership roles!"
Tony Arrell, Chairman and CEO, Burgundy Asset Management Ltd.
"If you are meticulous about preparation, as I am, the idea of speaking off the cuff can send shivers down your spine. This book is made for us: read this insightful work to prepare for those high-consequence moments when your response has to be just right."
Paul Vallée, Chairman and CEO, The Pythian Group, Inc.
"I love the premise and promise of this book. Impromptu will enable you to deliver what matters in the moment."
Joe McCormack, Author of Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less
PRAISE FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS
"Ms. Humphrey displays deep expertise and experience in communications leadership."
Rebecca Knight, The Financial Times [review of Taking the Stage]
"Speaking as a Leader has been a valuable go-to resource for our subscribers and I often choose it when asked to suggest a strong leadership communication title."
Sarah T. Dayton, Editor-in-Chief, Soundview
"After reading Speaking as a Leader in two days, I reached out immediately to get Judith in front of my leadership team. This has been the single most impactful read of my career."
Kate Nazar, Vice President, Client Solutions Centre, Sun Life Financial
Top customer reviews
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As in Speaking as a Leader and Taking the Stage, Impromptu clearly presents so much with which we are intimately familiar without articulating it thus encouraging useful application.
Kudos to Humphrey, again!
Milan Somborac DDS
She goes on the point out, "To lead in impromptu situations requires the right mind-set, knowledge of your material, key messages, a sound structure, clear language, and an engaging presence. All this takes preparation. In fact, the word 'impromptu' derives from the Latin word [begin italics] in promptu [end italics] meaning 'in readiness.'"
Long ago, John Hill suggested that public relations should be "truth, well-told." In fact, that should be true of all communications. Humphrey provides an abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that can help almost anyone to communicate much more effectively, even when under severe pressure in high-stakes situations.
These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Humphrey's coverage:
o History's Great Impromptu Speakers Were Made, Not Born (Pages 5-6)
o The Three Reasons for the Rise of Impromptu Speaking (14-21)
o Being Real, Being Trustworthy (29-30)
o Use Your Body -- Listen Physically (45-48)
o Use Your Head -- Listen Mentally (48-51)
o Use Your Heart -- Listen Emotionally (51-54)
o Strategies for Showing Authenticity (56-62)
o Respect Yourself (76-77)
o The Starting Point: Kow Your Stuff (84-86)
o Reading Your Audience -- As You Speak (91-94)
o Characteristics of a Message (105-107)
o Patterns of Organization (113-115)
o Collaborating (132-134)
o Robert Kennedy's Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. (156-157)
o Avoid the Traps (171-174)
o Be Collaborative (191-193)
o Learning to Be "In the Moment" (196-198)
o Pace Yourself (208-209)
o Prepare, Prepare, Prepare (220-221)
In The Book of the Courtier (1528), Baldassare Castiglione introduces the concept of sprezzatura, defined by the author as "a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it." As Humphrey explains "leading in the moment," I was again reminded of that concept." Throughout history, the most effective leaders were well-prepared to cope with unexpected developments, especially crises. They knew what to say and how to say it...they knew what to do and how to do it. They embody grace under duress.
Whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need effective leaders at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. I agree with Judith Humphrey that being well-prepared to speak well in impromptu situations "has become one of the crucial skills that every leader today must master." Just about everything they need to know is provided in this book.