2013 07 24 impromptu speech 1

Impromptu speeches are scary. Even the pros think so. At Chico State, part of the requirements in CMST 131 is doing an impromptu speech. In fact, it’s your final. But with these 5 tips, you will be acing your impromptu speech in no time. Impromptu speeches are only scary in theory, once you get up on stage, it’s just like any other speech.

1. Practice

This may seem brain-dead, but the best thing you can do to be ready for impromptu speeches is to practice giving them. Click here to see the impromptu quotes that have been given in past competitions. Select one at random and write a speech for it. The only way to get better at something is to do it a lot.

2. Have a Few Stories or Ideas Prepped

This tip may seem counterintuitive at first, but it is something that can really useful in impromptu speeches. Using a topic with a general idea that is really vague and can be applied to anything, will put some arrows in your example quiver when you’re heading into your impromptu speech. A good example of this is Disney movies. They usually have a general theme of perseverance and that friendship and love will win in the end. These examples can be slightly shaped to fit any message you really need it to.

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3. Don’t worry about time while writing

Again, this may seem counter-intuitive, but when writing your speech, typically you are given 2-3 minutes to prep, depending on TA and Professor. The best advice is to be aware of how much time it will take you to prep, without actually looking at the physical time. Looking at how many seconds have passed will only stress you out, and make it more difficult to think.

4. Take a Deep Breath

Studies show that taking a deep breath and making sure you simply have enough air in your lungs is a great way to start a speech. It warns your body that something is about to happen, so you are not caught off guard mid-breath. It is a great way to make sure your enunciation is perfect, and it will help calm you down.

5. Don’t say “Um”

The best advice for saying “um”, and it’s something that everyone does quite often, is to simply cough and clear your throat. Saying “um” makes it sound like you aren’t ready for your speech, and we all know you are super prepared because you are reading this article. Just cough, or do a little throat clear and you will sound more professional as well as prepared. Plus, if you are struggling to meet the time requirement, coughing and clearing your throat can be an easy 1-2 seconds onto your time. Or, if you don’t want to cough or clear your throat to many times, just pause. You can’t say “um” if you aren’t talking.

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While the idea of an impromptu speech final sounds terrifying, you are now well-armed with the knowledge on how to succeed and ace that impromptu speech, they don’t seem so bad. Impromptu speeches are only as scary as you allow it to be! Simply following these five tips will guarantee you an A on the CMST 131 final.


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Randy Richard

I am an English Studies Major at CSU Chico, I hope to minor in creative writing as well.


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