Caleb S.
Caleb S.

The Art of Extemporaneous Speech: Mastering the Unexpected

8 min read

Published on: Apr 14, 2022

Last updated on: Mar 25, 2024

Extemporaneous Speech

Public speaking can be intimidating, especially when you're asked to deliver a speech on the spot. The fear of stumbling over words or losing track of thoughts can cripple even the most confident individuals.

However, there is a powerful technique that can help you overcome these challenges and deliver compelling speeches with ease. It's called Extemporaneous Speaking.

But don't worry, we have got you covered!

In this blog, we will explore the art of extemporaneous speaking. We will provide you with valuable insights, techniques, and tips to master this skill. 

Whether you're a student, or someone who simply wants to improve their speaking abilities, this guide is here to help.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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Extemporaneous Speech Definition

Extemporaneous speech, also known as impromptu speaking, is a form of public speaking. It requires delivering a speech on a given topic without prior preparation. 

Unlike prepared speeches, extemporaneous speaking tests an individual's ability to think on their feet. They have to present coherent arguments or ideas in a spontaneous manner.

Speakers are typically provided with a topic and given a short amount of time to gather their thoughts before delivering the speech.

This style of speaking is often seen in various settings. This includes competitions, debates, or classrooms.

What are the Elements of an Effective Extemporaneous Speech?

An effective extemporaneous speech incorporates several key elements that contribute to its overall impact and success. Let's explore these elements in detail for this particular type of speech:

Clear Introduction

Begin your speech with a concise and attention-grabbing introduction. Clearly state the topic or question at hand and provide a brief overview of what you'll be discussing. Engage the audience from the start to capture their interest.

Well-Structured Content

Organize your speech into a logical structure that flows smoothly. Use a combination of main points and supporting details to build a coherent and persuasive argument. Consider using techniques like the problem-solution approach, cause-effect analysis, or chronological order, depending on the nature of your topic.

Engaging Delivery

Deliver your speech with energy, confidence, and enthusiasm. Maintain eye contact with the audience, use appropriate gestures and body language, and vary your tone of voice. Aim for a conversational style that connects with your audience on a personal level.

Supporting Evidence

Back up your arguments with relevant and credible evidence. Incorporate statistics, facts, examples, and anecdotes to strengthen your points and provide a deeper understanding of the topic. Use sources such as reputable studies, expert opinions, or real-life experiences to lend credibility to your speech.

Effective Conclusion

End your speech with a memorable conclusion that summarizes your main points and reinforces your thesis statement. Leave the audience with a lasting impression or a call to action, encouraging them to reflect on your speech.


Extemporaneous speaking requires the ability to adapt to unexpected situations or changes in the speaking environment. Be flexible and prepared to adjust your speech as necessary. This may involve addressing counter arguments, responding to audience questions, or incorporating new information that arises during your speech.

How To Deliver An Extemporaneous Speech?

Delivering an extemporaneous speech requires a combination of preparation, confidence, and adaptability. Here are some key tips to help you deliver an effective extemporaneous speech:

Familiarize Yourself with the Topic

Take time to understand the topic or question you'll be speaking about. Research and gather relevant information to develop a solid understanding of the subject matter. This knowledge will give you a foundation to draw upon during your speech.

Structure Your Speech

Create a basic structure for your speech with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Clearly define the main points or arguments you want to address. Organize your supporting ideas in a logical sequence, ensuring a smooth flow from one point to another.

Use Prompts and Keywords

Instead of memorizing your entire speech, use prompts and keywords to guide you through each section. Create cue cards or outline key points on a notecard. This will help jog your memory and keep your speech on track without sounding overly rehearsed.

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Speak Naturally

Avoid sounding robotic or overly scripted. Aim for a conversational tone that reflects your personality and allows you to connect with the audience. Be mindful of your pacing and avoid rushing through your speech. Speak clearly and enunciate your words to ensure clarity.

Use Visual Aids (if available)

If visual aids such as slides or props are available, utilize them to enhance your speech. Visual aids can provide additional support to your main points and make your presentation more engaging. However, be careful not to rely too heavily on them and maintain the focus on your spoken words.

Handle Nervousness

Feeling nervous is natural, but try to manage your nerves by taking deep breaths and maintaining a positive mindset. Remind yourself of your preparation and expertise on the topic. Channel your nervous energy into enthusiasm and passion for your subject.

Practice Active Listening

During your speech, pay attention to the audience's reactions and engagement. Stay alert to any cues or questions they may have. Adjust your delivery based on their responses, such as slowing down or elaborating on certain points to ensure comprehension.

Be Flexible and Adaptable

Extemporaneous speaking requires adaptability. Be prepared to adjust your speech if needed, such as addressing unexpected questions or incorporating new information. Stay composed and respond thoughtfully to any challenges that may arise.

Seek Feedback and Learn

After delivering your extemporaneous speech, seek feedback from others, such as colleagues, mentors, or trusted individuals. Assess areas of improvement, such as clarity, structure, or delivery. Use the feedback to enhance your skills for future extemporaneous speaking engagements.

How to Make Extemporaneous Speech?

When it comes to writing an extemporaneous speech, the goal is to strike a balance between preparation and spontaneity. A few steps can be followed to write a great extemporaneous speech. 

1. Select a Topic

The very first step is selecting a topic. A wise choice would include a topic that you are familiar with. It will take you less time to brainstorm ideas and plan your speech. Take a few minutes to brainstorm all the information you have on the subject. 

2. Create an Outline

Draft a quick outline for your speech. It should have a few lines for your introduction, something that the audience can relate to or will find funny, or a question that will alert the audience. Here is a sample outline for you to get a better idea.

3. Begin with the Body Paragraphs

After the outline, start working on your body paragraphs. Keep in mind that you do not have a lot of time to write and practice your speech. So make sure that the body paragraph should have a few key points only. 

4. Give Examples to Support Your Stance

Continue with your main points by giving some examples. Examples help the audience understand your topic better. It also makes them curious so they might have some questions at the end. 

5. Draft a Brief Conclusion

Write your conclusion, but make it very short. If your conclusion is too long it will be redundant for the audience. 

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Extemporaneous Speech Examples

If you are still struggling to understand how to deliver an extemporaneous speech or how to write it time efficiently, check out these examples mentioned below:

Extemporaneous Speech Topics

When it comes to extemporaneous speech topics, the possibilities are vast. Here are some engaging and thought-provoking topic ideas to inspire your impromptu speeches:

  • Why do I love playing volleyball?
  • When will I become a millionaire?
  • Why is Playstation better than Xbox?
  • The best songwriter is -fill a name-
  • Gays don’t have equal rights, is it true?
  • Political instability in my country is due to?
  • Why is facebook’s popularity falling down so quickly?
  • Why are illegal immigrants not given rights?
  • Are internet crime and piracy penalized?
  • Stopping the war in Afghanistan is important

These are just some of the many extemp speech topics that you can choose from. Feel free to mold these topics according to your knowledge. 

Expert Tip

If you need more interesting topics, check out our blog on the best Impromptu speech topics for public speaking.

Expert Tips For Delivering An Extemporaneous Speech 

Here are some brief tips to help you deliver an extemporaneous speech with confidence and impact:

Know your Audience: Tailor your speech to the specific audience you are addressing to ensure relevance and engagement.

  • Practice Impromptu Speaking: Regularly engage in impromptu speaking exercises to sharpen your ability to think on your feet and articulate your thoughts effectively.
  • Use Effective Body Language: Use gestures, facial expressions, and body movements to enhance your message and connect with the audience.
  • Emphasize Key Points: Highlight important ideas through vocal emphasis, pauses, or repetition to ensure they resonate with your audience.
  • Maintain a Steady Pace: Speak at a moderate pace to allow your audience to follow your ideas without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
  • Use Storytelling Techniques: Incorporate anecdotes or stories to make your speech more relatable, memorable, and engaging.
  • Be Concise: Keep your ideas succinct and to the point. Avoid unnecessary tangents or rambling, as it can dilute the impact of your speech.
  • Practice Active Listening: Pay attention to your audience's reactions and adapt your speech accordingly. Respond to their cues, questions, or feedback to maintain a dynamic and interactive presentation.
  • Maintain a Positive Attitude: Approach your extemporaneous speech with a positive mindset. Embrace the challenge, believe in your abilities, and exude confidence in your delivery.

Remember, practice is key to improving your extemporaneous speaking skills. 

In conclusion, extemporaneous speaking is a valuable skill that can elevate your public speaking abilities to new heights. 

By mastering the art of impromptu speeches, you can deliver compelling presentations in any situation. 

Embrace opportunities to practice extemporaneous speaking, whether it's in classrooms, competitions, or professional settings. 

The more you engage in impromptu speaking, the more confident and adept you will become. You can try our AI essay writing tools to generate unique speeches and practice!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long is an extemporaneous speech?

The length of an extemporaneous speech can vary depending on the specific context or requirements. In general, extemporaneous speeches are typically shorter than prepared or formal speeches. They often range from 5 to 7 minutes, but can sometimes be as short as 3 minutes or extend up to 10 minutes. 

What is the difference between impromptu and extemporaneous speech?

The main difference between impromptu and extemporaneous speech is in the level of preparation. Impromptu speeches are delivered on the spot without prior planning or preparation. On the other hand, extemporaneous speeches involve some level of preparation, research, and organization before delivering the speech.

What are two qualities that make up an extemporaneous speech?

Two qualities that make up an extemporaneous speech are spontaneity and organization. Spontaneity refers to the ability to think and speak on the spot.

Organization involves structuring the speech with a clear outline, and cohesive content, ensuring that ideas are effectively communicated.

Caleb S.


Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

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