The top 5 steps for improving your impromptu speaking

In order to master the art of impromptu speaking there are a few key steps that need to be followed and understood. These steps may sound simple, however when performed appropriately they can make impromptu speaking one of your key strengths instead of something to be avoided at all costs. Continue reading below to learn about the key steps to effective impromptu speaking. 

effective speaking

Step 1 Pause and Breathe

Force yourself to pause

This is probably the most important step for effective impromptu speaking. Pausing and ensuring that you take a breath when put on the spot is a great way to allow yourself to think and formulate your response. It is important not to blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind, instead take a few seconds as a pause, take a breathe or two and in that time you should have begun to structure your response. It is vital that you give yourself some time to structure the response so that it doesn’t sound like you have just made it up on the spot (chances are you have! But the audience doesn’t need to know that).

Step 2 Repeat the question

Confirm the question to improve your answer

Repeating the question is another method of allowing yourself time to think about your response and structure it in order to sound as articulate as possible. Repeating the question also allows you to confirm that you are definitely going to address the question. This is a very simple step that is often overlooked. Below is an example that will help to illustrate how repeating the question will help improve your impromptu speaking:

            Speaker 1: “what color is the sky?”

            Speaker 2: “blue!”

This is an extremely simple scenario however it demonstrates the type of response someone may provide to an impromptu or unexpected question. Below is an example of a response that includes the second speaker repeating the question:

            Speaker 1: “what color is the sky?’

            Speaker 2: “what color is the sky? – today the sky appears to be blue, looking at the clouds coming over I don’t think we will have a blue sky for much longer.”

By repeating the question you give yourself time to take in more information and formulate a much more thorough response.

Step 3 Compliment the question

Praise the question and your answer will be better received

Complimenting the question is another great way to give yourself time to formulate and structure your response. Following on with our sky question lets look at how one would compliment the question:

            Speaker 1: “what color is the sky?”

            Speaker 2: “what color is the sky? That is a great question thank you for asking. As you can see the sky is blue, however the clouds appearing to the west would make me believe that it will not remain blue for much longer”.

By complimenting the question you not only give yourself time to formulate your response, you also give the question credibility and praise, which in turn will help to boost the credibility of your response.

Step 4 Delivery is key

Don't rush your response

Delivery is key. You have performed all the right steps to give yourself enough time to formulate and structure a response, now it is time to deliver your response. Don’t get to excited and rush it! The manner in which you deliver your response is almost, if not more important than your actual response. Ensure that you keep your voice even and your body language relaxed (or formal depending on the situation).  

Step 5 Be confident in your response

If you have followed the 4 steps above then be confident in your response. Be confident knowing that you have followed the fundamental steps to optimizing your response. 

Final Comments

The key to impromptu speaking is to give yourself enough time to effectively formulate and structure a response and to deliver the response in a way that makes it appear as if you are not speaking impromptu-ally at all.