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Impromptu or Extempore Speech Tips & guidelines

( How to give an Impromptu or Extempore Speech )

Toastmaster | Public Speaking | Impromptu Speech | Ice Breaking ( first) Speech| Evaluation

There comes a time in any personís life when heíll have to give an impromptu speech. It may be for anything Ė a friendís bachelor party, a teacher trying to get you to speak up in class, or even in a casual debate. It happens more often than most people would think.


Now the prospect of this may seem frightening to some. You certainly wouldnít want to look like an idiot in front of a group of people. Fortunately, there are ways you can circumvent nerves and avoid stammering like a fool while you find the right words to say. Hereís some advice on how to give a good impromptu speech:

  1. Know your direction. Youíve got to know how you want to deliver your speech before you actually speak. Should you go the serious, awe-inspiring route, or the hysterical, laugh-a-minute path? The best way you can make a decision is to get a quick feel for your audience. What type of people are they? What direction would they most accept? Your speech will be praised significantly more if you speak in a language that works with those listening.
  2. Prepare some backup. It isnít uncommon to forget what you were going to say. What separates a good speech from a disaster is how well you can catch yourself. Itís good to have a backup plan for the times when your mind suddenly blanks. That way, if youíre caught without something to say, you can maneuver yourself out of that situation gracefully instead of gibbering and shaking in a nervous sweat. In serious situations, you can bail yourself out with a polite way of excusing yourself. If youíre going for laughs, itís okay to be candid about your mental block.
  3. Plot a course. Before you speak, try to make a quick mental outline of what you want to say. Some of the worst speeches came out of people who didnít take a moment to organize their thoughts before opening their mouths. Your outline doesnít even have to be in-depth; all you really need is a guide to help keep your thoughts on track.
  4. Keep it short and sweet. Impromptu speeches arenít expected to be long, epic narratives. In fact, the more concise you get, the better. A lot of people tend to hide their nerves and their being unprepared by using a lot of words. The problem is, they tend to miss the point when they do this. Speaking clearly and with as few words as possible shows confidence in your own opinions, and that makes you a much better public speaker than those who just seem to rely on their wide vocabularies.
  5. Watch your words. Lastly, youíve got to listen to yourself. You do not want to say something youíll eventually regret. Some things might be private matters to others in the audience, or certain words can be offensive to others. Even the tone in which you speak affects the reception of your speech. Listen to the words that are coming out of your mouth to make sure youíre saying what you want your audience to hear.

( Courtesy: )


An impromptu speech will unnerve the best public speaker. One of the most daunting experiences a person can face is the request to deliver a speech without notice.

When caught off guard, many people can suffer extreme anxiety about speaking off the cuff. That's why smart people are always prepared.

Teachers will sometime assign impromptu speeches based on homework assignments. While this may seem like a cruel trick from a student's point of view, it is actually great preparation for life.

Adults often find themselves called upon to stand and deliver at social events, business meetings, club meetings, and family gatherings.

What if this happened to you? Would you be prepared?

An Impromtu or Unexpected Speech

Rarely will you be asked to stand and deliver a speech with no warning and no time to organize your thoughts. This would be unusual in the classroom, unless the teacher is attempting to make a point about the importance of preparedness.

Nonetheless, at some point in your life you may be asked to speak without notice. There are a few things you can do to avoid panic and embarrassment.

  1. Grab a pen and a piece of paper, whether it is a napkin, envelope, or the back of a piece of paper you have on hand.


  2. Feel free to acknowledge that you have not prepared for a speech. Do this in a professional way! This should not be an attempt to garner pity, but rather a way to put yourself and your audience at ease. Then, excuse yourself for a moment and take time to jot down a quick outline. Zone out the audience. They will be okay chatting and sipping water for a minute.


  3. Jot down interesting or significant points about your topic, which will be related in some way to the event you're attending. If it is a homework assignment you are addressing, for instance, write down your impression of the assignment or anecdotes about your time spent on it.

    Was it difficult? Why? Did you run into any road blocks during this assignment? Did you have the material you needed? Did your little brother interrupt you several times?

    If you do nothing else, write down an introductory sentence and an ending sentence.

    Your ending line is particularly important. If you can walk away gracefully, your speech will be a success. Keep your zinger for last.


  4. Hijack the topic. Your goal is to deliver a one-sided conversation, off the cuff, so you are in complete control. Relax and make it your own. If you want to make this a funny story about your pesky little brother who always bothers you during homework time, then do it. Everyone will applaud your effort.


  5. Begin with your introductory sentence, elaborate, then start working your way to your ending sentence. Fill in the middle space with as many points as you can, elaborating on each one as you go. Just concentrate on the zinger you've reserved for the end.


  6. As you deliver your speech, concentrate on diction and tone. If you are thinking about this, you are not thinking about the eyes watching you. This really works! Your mind can't think about too many things at once, so think about enunciating your words and controlling your tone, and you'll maintain more control.

What if You Draw A Blank?

If you have time before your speech, create an outline of the major themes or points and commit it to memory with a memorization trick, like an acronym. Don't try to remember the entire speech in detail like this; just remember the order of important points.

If you suddenly lose your train of thought or draw a complete blank, there are a few you can do to keep from panicking.

  1. Pretend like you're pausing on purpose. Walk back and forth slowly, as if you're letting your last point sink in.
  2. There is always a joker or popular person who will stand out in the crowd. Stare at someone like this and try to draw a response from him or her while you think.
  3. If you need more time to think, you may want to ask the audience a question. Have a few prepared ahead, like "Do you have any questions," or "Can everyone hear me okay?"
  4. If you still can't remember what to say, make up a reason to pause the speech. You can say, "I'm sorry, but my throat is very dry. Can I please get a glass of water?" Someone will go to get you a drink, and you will have time to think of two or three points to talk about.

If these tricks don't appeal to you, think of your own. The trick is to have something ready ahead of time.

( Courtesy:


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