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Types of Speeches: The Impromptu Speech

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If you decide to become a professional speaker or use speaking as an integral part of your marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various types of speeches you might be asked to give. In this series of posts, I’ll give you the basics on a variety of types of presentations you can prepare. At the end of this post, I’ve listed previous articles in this series.


What is an impromptu speech?
An impromptu speech is given with little or no preparation. You might not be aware of it, but you are giving mini impromptu speeches every day! Every time someone asks you a question you weren’t expecting, your answer is an off-the-cuff speech.

Typical situations in which you’ll find yourself giving an impromptu speech include:

  • Job interviews
  • Q&A sessions
  • Meeting someone new
  • Networking opportunities
  • First dates


Can you really prepare for an impromptu speech?
To some degree, yes. More often than not, your impromptu speech is going to be about something you know about or have experience with. So, all you need to do is stay abreast of what you are considered an expert in, so that when called upon to talk about it, you’ll have something to say.

Also, you can give yourself practice opportunities. In Toastmasters, this is what the Table Topics section of the meetings is there to do. If you are not a member of Toastmasters, you can always have your friends help you out by asking you questions that you can practice answering.

Giving an impromptu speech
The first thing you need to do is stay calm and get grounded. Don’t just start talking because someone has asked you a question. Take a moment to give the answer some thought. During this time you can start to organize how you are going to present your answer.

Depending on how long you are expected to speak, you’ll want to give your mini presentation a strong opening, effective body and powerful close.

One way to do this is to couch your answer in “me” or “I” language, such as “I believe …,” “My experience shows …,” or “In my opinion ….” This sets the premise for your impromptu speech.

Next, support your hypothesis with one to three supporting points, depending on your allotted time.

Then close with a brief summary of what you just said and cap it off with a strong statement.

Resources for developing your impromptu speaking skills

Did you miss these?
Here are the previous posts in this “Type of Speeches” series:


The next post in this series is The Acceptance Speech.

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About the author

Carma Spence, is author of Public Speaking Super Powers. She is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Superpowers and turning their knowledge and interests into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Her website is CarmaSpence.com.