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How To Make an Impromptu Speech

You were sure you weren't going to win, so you don't have anything prepared. Congratulations! Now get up and say something.


  • Step 1: Avoid stumbling and never say "I believe" or "I guess." Use logical sentences instead of fragments.
  • TIP: Check out wedding speeches on line to make sure you’re ready for a toast if the best man gets cold feet.
  • Step 2: Summarize and restate. Try a closing that contains an emotional heft or a good punch line, but ties things up.
  • FACT: The Gettysburg address comprises approximately 270 words, much less than one typewritten page.
  • Step 3: Tell illustrative stories to be more conversational without digressing. Use the stories as proofs or supporting statements for the main point, as you might in a debate.
  • Step 4: State the point so that it’s easy to grasp, and don’t second guess yourself. Trust your instincts and stay on message.
  • Step 5: Buy some time and get a moment to organize yourself mentally. Establish a couple of main points and plan to cover the past, the present, the future, and current assumptions in the field.
  • Step 6: Jot notes to avoid wandering, and have a short outline. Don’t assume you can take liberties, especially if you have their attention.
  • TIP: Do not apologize, excuse, or blame anyone for the inconvenience. Be honored and act like you know they made the right choice.
  • Step 7: Prepare yourself for impromptu discourse by reading on a variety of subjects.

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