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Impromptu Speaking Practice

Steps:

  1. Select a topic
  2. Prepare an outline
  3. Deliver the speech


Select a topic:

Pick a random topic or quotation. You can use the Rate Speeches Impromptu Speech Topic Generator to get random topics; generate three random topics and select one of them, the one you feel most comfortable with, for the impromptu practice.


Prepare an outline:
Allocate a few minutes for preparation. Start the practice with a four-minute preparation time, after a few practice rounds, reduce the preparation time gradually to two minutes. Divide the preparation time into four segments; use a timer to keep track of the time; use each time segment as follows:

Step
With 4-minute
preparation time
With 2-minute
preparation time
What to do
1 60 seconds 30 seconds Choose Main Points
  • Think of three main points related to the topic.
  • Write them down (1-5 words each) on an index card or small sheet of paper. Leave a blank line above the first point and a lank line between main points.
  • Stick to the time limit. When segment time is up, stop and move to the next segment even if you are not done with this one.
2
60 seconds 30 seconds Choose Attention Getter
  • Think of an attention getter to begin the speech with. The attention getter may be an anecdote, fact, statistic, quotation, rhetorical question, etc.
  • Write a few words to describe the attention getter in the top line above the main points.
  • Stick to the time limit. When segment time is up, stop and move to the next segment even if you are not done with this one.
3
60 seconds 30 seconds Choose Closing
  • Think of an closing to end the speech with. The closing may be an anecdote, fact, statistic, quotation, etc. Ideally, the closing reconnects back to the attention getter. For example, the closing may be the ending of the anecdote used in the attention getter, a quotation by the same source used in the attention getter, etc.
  • Write a few words to describe the closing below the main points.
  • Stick to the time limit. When segment time is up, stop and move to the next segment even if you are not done with this one.
4
60 seconds 30 seconds Improve Main Points
  • Refine the main points. Try to find rhyming word pattern for the main points (e.g., socially, politically, economically).
  • Try to think of an example, anecdote, or fact for each main point.
  • Write a few words under each main point to describe the example.
  • Stick to the time limit. When segment time is up, stop and move to the next step even if you are not done.


Deliver the speech:
Deliver the speech. Assume a five-minute speech time. Divide the speech time into five time segments; use a timer to keep track of the time; use each time segment as follows:

Step
With 5-minute
speech time
What to do
1 60 seconds Introduction
  • Position yourself. Walk to and stand in the center of the speaking area. See speech walking pattern below. Do not start speaking immediately. Keep good posture. Pause for about three seconds before speaking. Make eye contact with the audience. For the practice session, you can pretend there is an audience. Set up the room beforehand to make it look like there is an audience. Smile. Begin.
  • Say your introduction, which consists of: attention getter, thesis, and preview. The thesis should be one short sentence that summarizes the entire speech. The preview should be one sentence stating the three main points, ideally in consistent wording pattern.
  • If you are holding an index card that has your preparation notes, hold the index card with the less dominant hand and keep the index card to the side so that it does not become an obstacle or a distraction.
  • Speak with enthusiasm. Make eye contact.
  • Stick to the time limit. At the end of the time allocated for this segment, immediately wrap up, making sure that you have said the thesis and preview.
2
60 seconds
Main Point 1
  • Pause. Move. Walk gracefully several steps to the next location. See speech walking pattern below.
  • Say a transition, such as first, let's start with, beginning with, etc.
  • Say your first main point. Give at least one example, an anecdote, a fact, a personal experience, etc.
  • Stick to the time limit. At the end of the time allocated for this segment, immediately wrap up.
3
60 seconds Main Point 2
  • Pause. Move. Walk gracefully several steps to the next location. See speech walking pattern below.
  • Say a transition, such as second, next, let's discuss the second point, another aspect, etc.
  • Say your second main point. Give at least one example, an anecdote, a fact, a personal experience, etc.
  • Stick to the time limit. At the end of the time allocated for this segment, immediately wrap up.
4
60 seconds Main Point 3
  • Pause. Move. Walk gracefully several steps to the next location. See speech walking pattern below.
  • Say a transition, such as third, lastly, let's discuss the last point, etc.
  • Say your third main point. Give at least one example, an anecdote, a fact, a personal experience, etc.
  • Stick to the time limit. At the end of the time allocated for this segment, immediately wrap up.
5
60 seconds Conclusion
  • Pause. Move. Walk gracefully several steps to the next location. See speech walking pattern below.
  • Say a transition, such as to conclude, in summary, to wrap up, etc.
  • Say your conclusion, which consists of: review and closing. The review should be one sentence stating the main points, ideally in consistent wording pattern.
  • Stick to the time limit. At the end of the time allocated for this segment, immediately wrap up, making sure that you have said the review and closing.
  • Pause. Make eye contact. Smile. Walk away gracefully.


Repeat the practice:
After you finish delivering the impromptu speech, generate another set of three random topics and select one of them to practice again. Keep repeating this process a few times. The more you practice, the better you will get.



For more information about impromptu speaking, see: