Tip of the Week - 2016 04 20: How to do a Great Ad-Lib

Websters dictionary defines ‘ad-lib’ as “to deliver spontaneously,” or “to improvise.” So…what’s the secret to doing a great ad-lib?

One word…preparation!

We see ad-libs on television from reporters and sports presenters. We hear great ad-libs on the radio from people at the scene of an event. They make it seem so easy. It’s because the best ad-libs are well prepared!

Perhaps you are on location, reporting back to the studio about a live promotion, or a public event. Here are some ideas:

One: become familiar with the topic. Speak to the key people, get the important information, and take time to observe what is happening. Write some notes for yourself.

Two: find out how long you will be talking for

Three: decide what information you will include, keeping in mind the needs of your audience and the duration of your ad-lib.

Four: make a list of memory prompters – no more than two of three words each. Make sure you write down things that are hard to remember, like names, numbers, addresses and contact details.

Five: if you are interacting with a host back in the studio, tell them what questions to ask you!

Six: pre-arrange with the studio host what their out cue will be before you start talking, and what your out cue will be at the end of your report (out cue means last words).

Seven: if you have time, do a practice run.

Eight: when your microphone or mobile phone goes live, simply tell the story – and keep an eye on your watch.

Happy Ad-libbing


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: Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

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