Article by Ede Ferrari-D' Angelo

Ede Ferrari D' Angelo

Three Keys to an Effective Impromptu Speech

“It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech” Mark Twain

I’m sure that was said with tongue in cheek…Mr. Twain no doubt meant that a good impromptu speech requires the same structure and approach as a prepared speech. The reality is, that we seldom have any time at all to prepare for an impromptu speech.

By definition: the word means unprepared or unscripted, as in Table Topics.

However, a club meeting isn’t the only place where we are called on to deliver an unplanned talk…

· at work- the boss; an employee; an auditor

· at school- when called on in class

· at home- children tend to ask some unexpected questions

I am going to share some ideas for delivering an impromptu speech that will make listeners think you did have more than three weeks to prepare.

Benefits of effective impromptu skills:

· improve the verbal expression of your thoughts

· develop confidence

· think quickly

· develop leadership and communication skills

Three Keys:

· Key #1 The secret to successful impromptu speaking is to talk about your experiences and the things of which you have knowledge.

o The audience can relate more easily to personal topics, some of which they may have experienced.

· Key #2 Successful impromptu speaking requires you to know your natural speaking style.

o Do you have a nice conversational style that puts an audience at ease?

o Perhaps you are able to tell short humorous stories;

o Or, maybe you are able to inspire or motivate people with your words.


o When you begin to speak from your heart…about subjects that you really care about.

· Key #3 is to have structure to your speech, whether it is a two-minute Table Topic, or a 20-minute presentation. You must have the classic opening, body and conclusion.

Here is a useful system for preparing your impromptu speech. PREP

P POINT- “the point I want to make is…”

R REASON- “the reason I say this is…”

E EXAMPLE- “for example”

P POINT- “in summary, my point is…”

To recap_

· Speak about what you know and care about

· Know your natural speaking style

· Always have structure in your speech

o Opening

o Body

o Conclusion

· Try the PREP system to construct your speech

The importance of being able to speak at the drop of the hat can not be overstated. Impromptu speaking requires you to organize your thoughts quickly and to deliver your speech in your own unique style.

We all admire those people who have this wonderful ability. With practice, there is every reason that you too, can give the impression that it took you more than three weeks to prepare your impromptu speech.

Ede Ferrari-D’Angelo, DTM

Toastmasters International

Board of Director 2014-2016