Home Articles VIEWPOINT: MOVIE MAGIC Impromptu speaking with a structure

VIEWPOINT: MOVIE MAGIC Impromptu speaking with a structure

As leaders in business, whether you need to deliver a mini-speech or respond to someone on the cuff in the passageway, your ability to communicate on demand will set you apart from others. Most people shy away from on-the-spot speeches. This is where we can learn something from the movie industry to deliver our movie magic moment.


Every movie follows the same plot. The first 10–20 minutes is dedicated to setting the opening scene. During this time we are introduced to the key characters of the movie, the place, timing and context in which the story will develop. Whether your unprepared speech is 5 minutes or 20 minutes, ensure that you spend around 20% of the total time on contextualising the topic of your speech.


Every movie transitions into a secondary phase that presents a challenge to the leading characters. Therefore, for your impromptu speech, spend about 30% of your time allocation to define the problem. Use facts, statistics, examples, stories, demonstrations, props or physical evidence like photographs, spreadsheets and documentation to clarify why the challenge or obstacle exists. You must elaborate on the impact of the problem and the need to resolving the situation sooner rather than later.


All movies move on to the third phase that is all about finding a solution to the problem. Just as a movie would do, in your mini-speech you should spend the bulk of your time allocation – around 45% – to expand on what is being done to pacify the situation. In this phase, present an option or 2–3 options if relevant, and justify your option/s with relevant facts, statistics, third-party endorsements, testimonials and feedback that could include quotations and cited reference material.


A movie ends with any of the following outcomes: it will make you think differently about a subject matter; it will make you feel emotional; or it will inspire you to take action. Your last 5% of time allocated needs to be dedicated to what you want your audience to think, feel, or take action on.

Author: Dineshrie Pillay CA(SA) is a business owner and public speaker trainer