Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to give an impromptu speech, but your mind went blank, and you couldn’t think of anything to say? Giving an impromptu speech can be a scary experience that many people dread. However, with a bit of practice and the right techniques, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can learn how to give an impressive impromptu speech at the next wedding or business dinner.
There’s nothing that beats real-life practice, but the following tips can help you become more confident with impromptu speaking.
#1: Keep it simple – Keep it short
Impromptu speeches are not the time to show off your vocabulary or use complex sentences. Keep your message clear and concise. Stick to one or two key points, and make sure you deliver them in a straightforward manner. Don’t worry about being eloquent; focus on being understood.
Besides of keeping your speech simple, try to make it as short as necessary. Spontaneous speeches mean that you and your audience aren’t really prepared for your speech and are being interrupted from doing something entirely different. Maybe they finally want to start enjoying the wedding cake or tell their far-away-living relatives about their last holiday trip.
#2: A strong opening
The first few seconds of your speech are crucial for capturing your audience’s attention and making them want to hear more. You can use a joke, a quote, a personal story, or a surprising fact to grab their attention.
For a wedding scenario, consider starting with a quote from the bride or groom. Alternatively, you could begin with an interesting fact about married life in general. Interesting quotes and facts to open a speech is a good thing to carry around with at all times.
But a strong opening does not get you very far if after that you don’t know where to go with your speech. Here might come in the ending very handy.
#3: Start with the end in mind
Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, found that people remember experiences based on two things: the peak and the end. The peak is the most intense part of the experience, and the end is the last part. This means that if you want your speech to be memorable, you need to make sure that the end is strong.
Knowing in advance how your speech could end gives you also guidance. You have a clear goal and it gives you much more control over your story. It’s a lot harder to get off track when knowing where to go.
But what actually is considered a “strong” ending? The degree of how strong an ending is, is very subjective. I would call a strong ending simply an ending that is considered to be an ending.
Have you found yourself starting to clap, when a performance or a speech wasn’t over yet? Something about the performers’ communication gave you the impression that the performance was finished. It might have been, that the story felt complete, the speaker accidentally said “Thank you” or a too long pause gave a wrong signal. It’s important that we have full control over when and how we want our speech to end.
To not fall into the trap of accidentally closing your speech, here are common ways to end it:
- Call to Action: End the speech by calling on the audience to take action or make a change. This could be a request to support a cause, volunteer, or make a change in their own lives.
- Summary: Summarize the key points of the speech, highlighting the most important ideas and takeaways for the audience.
- Inspirational Quote: End the speech with a powerful quote that summarizes the message of the speech and leaves a lasting impression on the audience.
- Personal Story: Share a personal story or anecdote that relates to the theme of the speech, and use it to drive home the main point or message of the speech.
- Thank You: End the speech with a heartfelt thank you to the audience for their time and attention, and express gratitude for the opportunity to speak to them.
You can read all day long about how to get better impromptu speaking, but you have to practice it. One of the best ways to practice impromptu speaking is to take advantage of everyday situations where you can practice your skills. For example, try telling a story at a dinner party or giving a toast at a friend’s wedding. You can also practice improvisation exercises, such as word association or telling a story based on a random object.
Check out if there are any Toastmasters clubs in your area. Joining these clubs is amazing for getting more comfortable with speaking in front of an audience.
Or try out our free random impromptu speech topic generator called STAGE TOPICS. It challenges you with random topics and a fixed time frame.
The more you practice, the more comfortable and confident you will become with impromptu speaking.
In conclusion, giving impromptu speeches may be stressful, but it’s a skill that can be learned with practice. By keeping your speech simple and short, starting with a strong opening, keeping the end in mind, and practising, you can become more confident and comfortable with impromptu speaking.