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  • Improves confidence and clarity across all types of presentations

  • Trains to interpret ideas and respond quickly

  • Teaches how to appropriately synthesize humour and drama

  • Encourages uniting examples and ideas with a common theme



Impromptu speaking is not only a public speaking category but a life skill. What is often thought of as a daunting task quickly turns into a favourite for many speakers. Furthermore, impromptu speaking helps with all formats of debate and public speaking.


The typical process is as follows. Speakers will first receive three different prompts. The prompts can range from a single word, quotation, aphorism, or phrase. For example, three topics may be (1) windows; (2) “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the word”; (3) the grass is always greener on the other side. The speaker then selects one topic for their speech and has the next 2-5 minutes to gather their thoughts. Generally, the speaker will choose to either speak for, against, or about the topic. Regardless of the stance the speaker takes, consistent and clear organization is always favoured throughout the speech. Luckily, all of this organization can be accomplished during the preparation time. While the preparation time is highly individual, many speakers prepare a 3-pronged approach. Speakers often write down 3 different examples that relate to their topic (common sets include past, present, future, or personal, local, global) and then a final take-away message. Speakers also brainstorm ways how the different examples connect to one another and the general topic. After the preparation time has elapsed, speakers must set their notes aside and deliver their speech. Junior levels speak for 2-3 minutes and senior levels speak for 3-5 minutes.


If a speaker were to choose the prompt “the grass is always greener on the other side” they may begin their speech with a personal example about a time when they were jealous. The speech might then discuss an example of a known individual who used jealousy to fuel innovation. Next, the speech may consider a broader context and examine how free trade requires countries to have a certain amount of jealousy. Finally, the speaker may choose to include a call to action where they implore their audience to be aware of how they respond to jealousy.


As speakers continue with impromptu speaking, they will find their confidence and clarity improving across all areas of public speaking. Additionally, impromptu speaking is a great way for a speaker to develop their individual style. Impromptu speeches lend themselves for speakers to experiment with balancing humour and drama in their presentations. As speakers become more experienced, they will naturally include a variety of personal, historical, and current examples that pertain to their specific topic. Impromptu speaking enables speakers to think quickly and respond with confidence.


At its core, impromptu speaking fosters general communication skills. Practicing quick thinking and expression of ideas helps with everything from class presentations to making new friends. While it can be seen as intimidating at first, impromptu speaking quickly becomes a natural and preferred category for many speakers.

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