Impromptu Speech Guidelines

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.  Here are some tips to help you given an extempore speech without any hurdles.

  • Know your direction. You’ve got to know how you want to deliver your speech before you actually speak.
  • Decide quickly what your one message will be – Keep in mind you have not been asked to give a speech but to make some impromptu remarks.
  • Start off strong and with confidence – If you at least plan your opening statement, this will get you started on the right foot.
  • Focus on one point – talking in general is an easy task, but becomes tough when you have to talk about a particular topic. Any topic on which you need to talk about would have certain main areas. Understand that you will not be able to cover all the points in a speech, therefore concentrate on a single point and take it forward.
  • Prepare some backup . It isn’t uncommon to forget what you were going to say. What separates a good speech from a disaster is how well you can catch yourself. It’s good to have a backup plan for the times when your mind suddenly blanks.
  • Do not try and memorize what you will say – Trying to memorize will only make you more nervous and you will find yourself thinking more about the words and not about the message.
  • Plot a course. Before you speak, try to make a quick mental outline of what you want to say.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Impromptu speeches aren’t expected to be long, epic narratives. In fact, the more concise you get, the better.
  • Limit your speech to your knowledge – many people tend to talk a little more without having any prior information. Talking for the sake of talking does not yield any results. It is always important that you talk as far as you know correctly about the topic and nothing more.
  • Decide on your transitions from one point to the other – After you have decided on your opening remark or line, come up with a simple transition statement that takes you to your main point.
  • Maintain eye contact with the audience – This is easier to do if you do not write down all kinds of stuff to read. Look down at your next idea or thought and maintain eye contact with your audience and speak from your heart. Focus on communicating TO your audience and not speaking AT the crowd.
  • Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious! Before you present your ideas, think about the aspects of the subject that you find most interesting, and don’t be afraid to let that interest come through in your voice.
  • Use quotes, stories and anecdotes. Along with their obvious entertainment value, quotes and stories can lend authority to your topic and provide concrete examples that people can relate to.
  • Speak with confidence. Deliver your message loud and clear. Maintain eye contact with your listeners. Don’t mumble or slouch.
  • Say you and we, not I and me. Instead of telling people what you want them to do, present ways for them to work together to achieve their goals. Involve listeners in the success of the group.
  • Occasionally Throw in an off-the-cuff remark And add your sense of Humour– Because you want your style to be flexible and seem impromptu, trust your instinct and add a few words which just pop into your head. Keep it conversational and think of the audience as a group of your friends
  • Finally, have a good conclusion – Gracefully just state, “And the last point I would like to make is ….” Focus on opening and closing statements – the opening and closing statements decide on how the audience welcomes your speech. Making an impact which can keep them glued to your speech with your opening statement and remembering your speech by the closing statement is important.

Impromptu speech is better developed by constant practice. Confidence is the key to help you develop this method of communication to a large audience.


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