Two weeks ago, my sister and brother through my mom and dad a party to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. Moments before my siblings and I stood next to each other for a toast that my brother and sister planned to give, my sister asked me if I would give a speech. Before the event I didn’t even know that this was going to take place. Imagine what it might feel like to have a group of people stare at you as though you’re an alien, as they have to listen to your unprepared speech. Thankfully my college public speaking classes came in handy.
During this holiday season you too might have to give an impromptu speech. Below are four ways to get you through those awkward stares from your audience during your unscripted speech.
1. Inform your audience that you were just asked to give a speech on the spot, so it hasn’t been prepared.
2. Quickly think of 1-2 things you would like to highlight during your speech.
3. Make eye contact with the room, but in my case the audience was quite serious, so I looked more at the landscape of the room to gather my thoughts.
4. Use some talking points that you would have discussed with guests, and incorporate it into your speech.
The reality is because this speech is spontaneous you will not have time to think of an introduction, body, and conclusion for your speech. My advice is to highlight a word, phrase, or topic that another speaker has said and draw from it to enhance your speech, and make your point, and close the speech as quickly as possible. Your audience will understand that you have been put on the spot without enough time to really develop a rehearsed speech.
Have you ever given an impromptu speech?