How to Write an Impromptu Speech

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Impromptu speeches are some of the hardest to prepare and give, particularly since you generally have little or no time to write a speech or even an outline. Teachers often create assignments that prompt students to speak candidly on a topic in the interest of instructing them to think on their feet. While it's rare that you have time to write an entire impromptu speech, there are tips for outlining and delivering the best speech possible.

  • Index cards or paper (if applicable)
  • Pen

1 Delivering a Great Impromptu Speech

2 Think carefully about the topic

Think carefully about the topic you've been given for your impromptu speech, focusing on what you know about it. If you are allowed to choose your topic, select one that you're fairly familiar with and can speak freely about.

3 Outline the topic

Outline the topic if you have a chance on index cards or a piece of paper. You won't have the opportunity to write an entire speech, so jot down key points. You must prepare quickly, but be calm and take pride in the pieces of information you know. This will give you confidence in your speech delivery. It's a generally good idea to have three key points regarding the topic.

4 Incorporate an intriguing hook

Incorporate an intriguing hook to get listeners interested right off the bat. The hook is one of the most important parts of the speech. Additionally, add humor or brief anecdotes to keep the audience listening, and save your most important point until last to end with a bang.

5 Avoid hackneyed phrases

Avoid hackneyed phrases such as "The topic I am going to speak about is..." or "I really think that..." These types of statements immediately make the audience feel that it's listening to a novice speaker. Instead, strongly assert facts and opinions. If you can think off the bat of an expert who shares your point of view, cite that person in your speech.

6 Finish as strongly as you started

Finish as strongly as you started. Just as your first lines are intended to hook the audience, your final lines are intended to make your message resonate in their heads.

Jordynn McMahon specializes in travel, technology and health articles. She currently works as a marketing specialist in the software industry. McMahon has a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara, as well as an M.A. in English literature and composition from San Jose State University.