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Impromptu Speech Topic Analysis and Main Point Selection

Once you have selected or given a topic, decide whether you wish to analyze it informatively or persuasively; i.e., whether to give an informative speech or a persuasive speech. The next step is to decide whether to analyze the topic literally or metaphorically. For example, the topic or "mirrors" may be analyzed literally, dealing with mirrors, or analyzed metaphorically, dealing with mirrors as symbols (e.g., symbols of reality, truth, etc.). Next, you need to decide how to explore the topic as an object (e.g., mirror as used to look at oneself), a process (e.g., how mirrors are made), event (e.g., mirror celebration day), or concept (e.g., how mirrors reflect light), etc. If you are speaking persuasively about the topic, decide your objective: to change the audience's belief about the topic, to change the audience's attitude about the topic, or to ask the audience to act (call-to-action speech).

Choose from any of the following main point organization patterns:

Pattern
Organization
Topical Organize your main points topically (categorically). Each main point is a category or subtopic.
Chronological Organize your main points chronologically, based on time. The chronological organization pattern is useful with speeches that deal with time sequence. Examples include: history events, different eras, past/present/future, etc. The chronological organization pattern is also useful with speeches that deal with processes, such as the steps of how to do something or how something is created. The chronological organization pattern is also useful with speeches that deal with events, especially those involving phases or steps.
Spatial Organize your main points spatially, based on space. The spatial organization pattern is useful with speeches that deal with space use. Examples include space utilization of land, buildings, computer screen layouts, etc. The spatial organization pattern is also useful with speeches that deal with objects, such as different sides or angles of devices.
Problem-cause-solution Organize your speech into three main points: problem, cause, solution.

  • Try to distribute the speech delivery time equally between the introduction, the first main point, the second main point, the third main point, and the conclusion, allocating to each about one fifth of the total speech time, which is about one minute with a five-minute speech.
  • Remember to state clear transitions between main points.
  • Give at least one example in each main point.
  • Move using the speech walking pattern below.
  • Do not apologize for lack of preparation, nervousness, etc.


For more information about impromptu speaking, see: