Different situations require different actions. Today we’d like to, once again, discuss public and impromptu speaking in a more specific manner. There are times when you have to speak in public and the topic of discussion is well-known to you. However, you may still feel nervous and lack the self-confidence needed to give a clear and coherent speech. Situations get way more challenging when the topic in hand is something you’re not well aware of.
So, what do you do in the first case and how can you act in the second one? On what other occasions may you have to speak on the spot? Let’s see!
Impromptu speech definition
In general, an impromptu speech is delivered by a person without predetermination or preparation. And it is one of the scariest speaking challenges for most people! The speaker is usually given a topic in the form of a quotation, object, or proverb, and they have to do their best to deliver the long-awaited answers.
Actually, it doesn’t have to be a full speech on its own but can be a combination of answers and short quotations or terms provided during interviews or live discussions broadcasted on TV.
While impromptu speaking may seem intimidating and not as glamorous as a well-prepared speech, it’s an essential skill to master. You may end up in various situations where you’re asked to share a few words. And, yes, you can’t fully prepare yourself for it since you might not have any idea of the topic, but you can still work on improving this skill to make such situations a lot easier and a lot less nerve-racking for yourself.
Impromptu speech examples
Here are some common instances that can encourage an impromptu speech:
- Small talk at networking events or parties
- Exchanging opinions in business meetings
- Weddings and other occasions
- Sharing your experience when you’re leaving an organization
- A speaker goes missing, and you need to substitute him or her at the very last moment
As you can see, an impromptu speech can be as professional as sharing opinions in a meeting or as informal as a toast at a party. Either way, you’re expected to say something smart and meaningful, of course.
Impromptu public speaking tips
Giving an impromptu presentation can become a great opportunity to explore ideas, opinions and perspectives while sharing them with an audience. However, even when the topic is the one that you’re an expert in, delivering your message confidently and drawing the attention of the audience is not an easy task. Don’t worry, we got your back! Here are some tips for unprepared speech that will help you when it finally dawns on you:
- Organize your thoughts
If you’re speaking in front of an audience unprepared, the first thing you should do is to collect and organize your thoughts. When you start making points in your head, you gain clarity and direction regarding your topic. This way you’ll be able to prioritize and filter out unnecessary elements from your speech.
- Go with the flow
While formal situations such as business meetings and conferences may require you to be thoughtful about the information you share, informal situations like parties and gatherings can be candid and light-hearted. It’s best to be as sincere and calm as possible and not force yourself to behave in a certain way. It will help you feel relaxed and use a conversational tone with your audience.
- Share your personal experience
It’s best to focus on yourself and your surroundings. When you speak from personal experience, you’re not only familiar with the topic, but also your preparation of the speech becomes less time-consuming activity. Storytelling is a great way to increase audience engagement. Personal anecdotes and examples can make a huge difference.
- Start a Q&A session
If you’re caught off-guard and unsure about what to say or present, you can start your speech by engaging in a question-and-answer session. An interactive start will not only involve the audience, but will also keep them captivated till the end. This is particularly helpful in situations where a speaker is absent, and you’re filling in for him or her.
The worst-case scenario
Impromptu speech topics can vary. And you absolutely don’t have to be a specialist in every field, it’s just not possible! Nevertheless, talking about a topic you’re not fully aware of is yet another example of extemporaneous speech. And the tips we’ve shared above may not be as helpful in this situation. So what do you do then?
Option 1: Adjust the topic
If the subject is something you don’t know much about, you can try to adjust it a little and change the focus, talking about it from a perspective you feel more confident with.
Option 2: Be straightforward
Admitting you don’t know something or you aren’t prepared well can be a bit embarrassing. But you actually shouldn’t be ashamed of it. Remember, honesty is the best policy! So if you’re not familiar with the topic of discussion, just say it. Do it in a brief and professional manner and avoid futile apologies. In most situations, that’ll be a much better decision, than trying to deceive your audience.
How to get better speaking skills
The best way to improve any skill is practice! And impromptu speaking is not an exception. Regardless, it’s really hard to start practising something that makes you anxious. Most people would rather die than make themselves go on stage and deliver a presentation. So how can you become better at it in this case? It’s pretty simple – find a place where you feel comfortable learning. And that’s exactly what we’re offering.
Join our Impromptu Speaking for Success course and practise in a friendly environment with people who truly understand what you’re going through! You can also join Learn to Speak on the Spot interactive training for free, where you’ll be doing interactive impromptu speech exercises aimed at getting your brain to think fast and apply techniques used by professional public speakers to sound confident and refined in any scenario.
And don’t forget – there’s no better time for self-growth than now! 🙂