Impromptu 101

Reminder that this week begins our journey into Impromptu speaking. While our assignments are a little different than a traditional impromptu, the spirit is still present. You have VERY limited time to select and develop a couple of key points. Further, you have VERY limited time to present those ideas clearly and coherently.

To help you along, remember the central formula for any speaking project.

The INTRODUCTION of a speech is designed to preview your topic and points for the audience. In this section, you grab the audience’s attention, provide a little credibility (why should we trust you?), and then offer a thesis statement. This thesis is like what you’d write for your papers: you tell your audience precisely what you plan to cover and explain in the speech.

The BODY of your presentation develops your key ideas for your audience’s understanding of the speech. You will take the key points you offered during the thesis, then expand upon them. Whereas in the thesis you name your key points, in the speech’s body, you develop them. Provide examples, explanations, definitions, descriptions, etc., to help clarify the concept for your audience.

Part of the body is determining what information is most critical for your audience and the order in which you present that information. For example, you never want fewer than 2 key ideas, and NEVER more than 5 key ideas. This gives your audience a clear pathway to the purpose and scope of your speech. HINT: preview your key points in the order you will develop them.

The CONCLUSION of your speech reviews your key points and summarizes your main idea (thesis). This is the part where you tell your audience what you’ve already told them. For the purpose of this, you will want to recall your thesis statement, then restate it.

Hope this summary helps you as you think more about your impromptu presentations this week!


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