Better Structure of Impromptu Speech

Thoughtful organisation of a presentation helps you deliver your ideas and main points clearly and concisely. Your audience won’t be confused and you will earn more credibility.

Last weak I introduced you to an impromptu speech. We discussed key principles and basic structure. In this article we are going to take a closer look at the structure of your presentation and we are going to focus how it helps with the delivery. Let’s start with the evidence discussion.

Evidence

The evidence discussion shows a difference between a key idea and a supporting idea. It has to be clear how and why it supports the claim.

Evidence play important part of impromptu speech.

For each of your claims you should

  • state it,
  • explain it,
  • prove it,
  • conclude it.

When stating the claim you just give us the claim. You should speak at slower pace. Also, it is a good idea to make a pause before and after the statement.

Explaining means unpacking the claim. It uses buffering sentences to understand the claim. Give the audience time to process your claim with these sentences. No heavy thinking from the audience should be required.

Proving your claim gives the audience the details of the evidence and how the evidence relate to the claim.

When concluding, walk us out of the point. Reinforce the claim and the relation to the thesis. I recommend to really focus on the relation - it is the most important part of presenting your claim.

It’s good to realize that when you deliver the speech it is not important to know what you are going to say but what you want to achieve. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) memorize all the words. Instead you should to prepare what you want to talk about and how it supports your main thesis.

Introduction

Impromptu speech is a very short one. Why should you bother with an introduction?

First of all, it lets the people know that you already started. You let them know what is the speech about.

The second reason is to build this structure in your muscle memory. It helps you with more advanced and longer speeches.

Open your speech. Don’t start immediately. Stand up. Pause, breathe. Let the people know that you are ready.

State your thesis. Pause before and after the thesis. Every word you say must sound distinctly. Be confident.

Preview the main points. Use the signpost words.

Transition

Transition is part of the speech to demonstrate the distinctness of each point. Basically what you are saying is - I’m done with this point, let’s move to another one.

You help the audience to know where you are. If you brief them with main points, they never get lost. Also, you are giving them a little extra time to process the previous information.

Transition can be one simple sentence. It doesn’t bring new information but it is very important part of a good presentation.

Conclusion

The final part of your speech is the conclusion. You should remind your audience where you’ve been during the presentation.

Review main points and restate the thesis, conclude. Remind the audience the relation between your main points and the thesis.

Last thing to remember - your last line should sound like the last line. Don’t go with the thank you at the end. Let the last line do the work instead.

Structure

Let’s wrap it up and take a look at the whole structure of the speech.

  1. Introduction
    • Open the speech
    • State the thesis
    • Preview both main points
  2. Transition to main point I.
  3. Main Point I.
    • State it
    • Explain it
    • Prove it
    • Conclude it
  4. Transition to main point II.
  5. Main Point II.
    • State it
    • Explain it
    • Prove it
    • Conclude it
  6. Transition to conclusion
  7. Conclusion
    • Restate thesis and main points
    • Conclude the speech

This model is pretty easy to understand and you can learn it very quickly. Use it and use it often. When it gets in your muscle memory you will see that your ideas are transfered to your audience clearly and concisely.

It doesn’t matter if your audience consists of hundreds people in a giant lecture room or just couple of colleagues in a meeting room. Good impromptu speech structure helps you transfer your ideas more effectively and your audience won’t be bored or confused - ever.

photo credit: Bill Selak cc


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