Oral Communication: How to Deliver an Impromptu Speech

Gaile Teves
| | 3 min read

Oral communication in context is a course requirement among Senior High School students in the Philippines. Aside from the different communication elements, each student will be asked to deliver an impromptu speech. 

We have all been through the nerve-wracking experience of being called by the teacher to explain why your answer is such without any time to prepare. Sometimes our anxiety gets the best of us. We end up choking and delivering a poor presentation.

A good way to prevent this is preparing for the next time you need to say something on the spot.

Speaking is a skill and it isn’t something you’re immediately good at. Like all skills, it has to be practiced and improved for you to be good at it. Also, the more you practice, the next time you’re called on by the teacher to explain something it wouldn’t be as scary and you’re more confident in your impromptu speaking skills.

The most important thing that you need to remember when you need to speak on the spot is to have the basic structure of a speech in your mind. This is how I normally do it for class, pageants or contests:

Basic Impromptu Speech Outline

#1 Give your speech an introduction.

Give a slight background for your topic. Though it is dependent on the amount of time you have to deliver your impromptu speech, around 2-3 sentences should do. Make sure to introduce what you are talking about, any important context that the listeners need to know and the main point or thesis of your speech.

Other tips for your introduction:

  • Use rhetorical questions.
  • Tell a story.
  • Describe a scenario and relate to the topic.

#2 Create arguments or supporting points.

Make sure to state at least three arguments to support your main point. You can explain these arguments as concise or as lengthy as you prefer. However, make sure that your points are clear and understandable.

Always remember to tie whatever evidence you have in your arguments to your stance. And keep in mind how much time you have to deliver your speech.

Other tips for your arguments:

  • Explain causes and effects.
  • Describe possibilities.
  • Use numbers or survey results.

#3 Summarize and conclude your speech

When you finish explaining your arguments, be sure to sum everything up in 1-2 sentences in the simplest way possible. After this recap, there should be a conclusion to what you have said. It can be a call to action for the audience, a quote that strengthens your main idea or anything that you feel is appropriate.

Other tips for your conclusion:

  • Give suggestions.
  • Provide quotations or memorable lines.
  • Encourage your audience to do something new.

Try and practice these steps by looking for some prompts and giving a one or two minute speech. You can do this at least once a week or more. It might feel strange to be talking to yourself but this is a sure way to improve your skills and you’ll notice that you’re getting better and more confident.

You can also try doing this with friends. Practicing will help you enhance your skill to think on your feet for something to say in class or in a professional setting.

Would you like to practice now? Prepare a short impromptu speech for the topics below.

  • The minimum wage should be doubled.
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
  • Parents are the most influential factors in our lives.
  • Facebook makes society less happy.
  • Intelligence is not enough.
  • Advertising targeting children is immoral.
  • Real learning does not occur in the classroom.

Watch: Related Video

How to Start your Presentation: 4 Step Formula for a Killer Intro

Gaile Teves

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