Barbara P
Barbara P

How to Write an Extemporaneous Speech? A Step-by-Step Guide

9 min read

Published on: Mar 8, 2020

Last updated on: Nov 7, 2023

Extemporaneous Speech

Do you have to deliver an extemporaneous speech and don't know where to start? Well, you're in the right place! 

Whether you're a student participating in a debate, or a professional giving an impromptu or extemporaneous speech, this guide will help you write an exceptional speech.

We will not only provide extemporaneous speech definition and examples but also give you professional tips that will help you understand the topic better.

This step-by-step guide will assist you in writing an outstanding extemporaneous speech that captivates your audience. 

So, let’s dive right in!

On This Page

Understanding Extemporaneous Speech

Before we dive into the steps of speech writing, it's essential to understand what is meant by extemporaneous speech and why it matters.

An extemporaneous speech is when you deliver a speech without practicing beforehand. You have to rely on what you know and think quickly. 

An example of an extemporaneous speech situation is when a student is asked to give an impromptu talk on a current news headline in front of the class.

Comparing Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speech

The above definition might make you think that impromptu and extemporaneous speech sound similar. But that is not the case. 

Let’s take a look at the key difference between the two speech types:

  • Impromptu speeches do not allow preparation for the speech and they often lack structure and familiarity. 
  • On the other hand, extemporaneous speeches require a little preparation time, some organization, and familiar topics.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of extemporaneous speech. 

Advantages of Extemporaneous Speech 

  • Enhanced Communication Skills: Improves public speaking, listening, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Confidence Boost: Regular practice instills self-assurance in various speaking situations.
  • Adaptability: Speakers learn to tailor their message to the interests and concerns of different audiences. 
  • Quick Thinking: Extemporaneous speaking sharpens the ability to think quickly and make decisions on the spot.

Disadvantages of Extemporaneous Speech

  • Lack of Preparation: Speakers may deliver incomplete or less coherent presentations due to limited preparation.
  • Potential for Inaccuracy: The absence of time for thorough research can lead to providing inaccurate information.
  • Nervousness: The pressure of impromptu speaking can lead to anxiety and reduced confidence.
  • Time Constraints: Speakers must manage their time effectively to stay within the allotted timeframes, adding to the pressure.

7 Easy Steps to Writing an Extemporaneous Speech 

Let’s take a look at some easy steps to writing an extemporaneous speech that you can follow along:

Step 1 - Research and Gather Information

To write a compelling extemporaneous speech, you must gather relevant information quickly. This step includes:

  • Identifying the Topic or Prompt: Understand the subject or question you'll be speaking about.
  • Finding Reliable Sources: Utilize trustworthy resources to gather facts, statistics, and arguments.

Step 2 - Create an Extemporaneous Speech Outline

An outline will give you a basic blueprint of the speech and can even help you weed out any potential mistakes in the structure or format of the speech

Though the outline can vary depending on the type of speech you are writing, here is a basic outline you can follow:

  1. Introduction: Engage your audience with a captivating start, state your main point, and clarify why your topic matters.
  2. Body Paragraphs: 
  • Main Point 1: Add supporting details, present your first key idea, and back it up with evidence.
  • Main Point 2: Introduces the second key idea, providing supporting evidence.
  • Main Point 3: Add an optional third key idea with supporting details.
  1. Navigating the Conclusion: Recap your main arguments and leave a lasting impression.

Step 3 - Crafting a Strong Introduction 

It is crucial to capture your audience's attention in the introduction and set the tone for your message. 

Here is what you need to keep in mind when writing a speech introduction;

  • Use an attention-grabbing technique to engage your listeners.
  • Formulate a clear and concise thesis statement that clearly states the main point of your speech.
  • Establishing Significance: Explain why the topic is relevant or important.

Step 4 - Developing Compelling Main Points

The main body of your speech should convey your message effectively and coherently. Here are the things you should keep in mind;

  • Identify key ideas and supporting details to determine the main arguments. If possible, try to gather and mention any evidence to back up your arguments. 
  • Make sure that your speech flows logically and smoothly.
  • Use real-life examples, personal stories, and relevant statistics to make your points more compelling and understandable.

Step 5 - Engaging the Audience

Engaging your audience is essential for an effective extemporaneous speech. You can achieve that by maintaining your body language to establish a connection with your listeners.

You should also develop the audience's interests by tailoring your speech to address their concerns and interests.

Step 6 - Handling Transitions

Transitions are essential for keeping your speech coherent and organized. This step includes:

  • Make sure your ideas flow seamlessly in the speech, creating a natural progression.
  • Use words and phrases that act as guideposts for your audience through your speech.
  • Avoid sudden changes in the topic that could leave your listeners confused.

Step 7 - Navigating the Conclusion

Concluding your speech effectively leaves a lasting impression. Here is what you should keep in mind when writing:

  • Recap key points to ensure your audience leaves with a clear understanding of your main arguments. 
  • Make your message resonate with your listeners by delivering a powerful closing statement.
  • Invite questions or comments from your audience to engage them. 

Extemporaneous Speech Topics

Here are some topics for extemporaneous speech that can be used for practice or in various speaking situations:

  • The impact of social media on society.
  • Climate change: What can individuals do to make a difference?
  • The benefits of reading in the digital age.
  • The role of artificial intelligence in the workplace.
  • Should standardized testing be eliminated in education?
  • The challenges of maintaining work-life balance in a fast-paced world.
  • The importance of mental health awareness.
  • The future of renewable energy sources.
  • The effects of globalization on local cultures.
  • Is social media a force for good or harm?
  • Exploring the pros and cons of remote work.
  • The significance of cultural diversity in a globalized world.
  • The ethics of genetic engineering and designer babies.
  • The impact of the gig economy on job security.
  • The role of women in leadership positions.
  • The effects of video games on children's behavior.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of online education.
  • The impact of fast fashion on the environment.
  • The role of government in addressing income inequality.
  • The ethics of animal testing in scientific research.

Expert Tip

Be sure to check out more speech topics to select the one that stands out to you the most.

Extemporaneous Speech Examples

Let’s take a look at an example of an extemporaneous speech situation:

The Impact of Social Media on Modern Society

Ladies and gentlemen, today, I want to talk about a topic that is not only relevant but also deeply integrated into our daily lives: the impact of social media on modern society. In a world where we're constantly connected, it's essential to understand the influence and implications of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on our lives.

First, let's look at the positives. Social media has redefined the way we communicate. It allows us to stay connected with friends and family, no matter where they are in the world. We can share our experiences, photos, and stories instantly. It has even played a significant role in mobilizing social and political movements, creating awareness of issues that might have otherwise been overlooked.

Moreover, social media is a valuable tool for businesses and entrepreneurs. It provides a platform for marketing and brand promotion, reaching a global audience with just a few clicks. The power of influencer marketing and digital advertising can't be underestimated.

However, there's another side to the story. Social media can be addictive, leading to what some call "doomscrolling." Many people find themselves scrolling through their feeds endlessly, which can be detrimental to mental health. The constant comparison and the pressure to present a perfect image of our lives can lead to anxiety and depression.

Moreover, the spread of misinformation and "fake news" on social media has real-world consequences. It can influence elections, create public panic during crises, and perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

In conclusion, social media is a double-edged sword. It has brought the world closer, facilitated communication, and revolutionized the business world. However, it has also raised concerns about mental health, privacy, and the spread of disinformation. As users, we must use social media responsibly, be critical of the content we encounter, and recognize its potential impact on our lives.

The above example of extemporaneous speech addresses the topic of the impact of social media on modern society. It provides a well-structured, balanced, and informative discussion of the subject while maintaining a clear and engaging delivery style.

Here are some more examples to let you have a better understanding of how to write a speech;

Expert Tip

Be sure to check out more speech examples to have a better understanding of structuring and formatting a speech. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Extemporaneous Speech

Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when delivering extemporaneous speeches:

  • Lacking Clarity: Deliver your message clearly and concisely to prevent your audience from becoming perplexed.
  • Overusing Fillers: Repeatedly using fillers like "um" or "uh" can be distracting; practice reducing these verbal crutches.
  • Ignoring Time Constraints: Extemporaneous speeches are typically time-limited; going over your allotted time can disrupt the flow of the event.
  • Monotone Delivery: A lack of vocal variety can make your speech less engaging; vary your tone, pitch, and pace to keep your audience's attention.
  • Lack of Evidence: Backing your points with evidence is crucial; not providing examples, anecdotes, or data can weaken your arguments.
  • Avoiding Controversial Topics: While it's wise to be cautious, completely avoiding controversial subjects can make your speeches less engaging. Instead, learn to navigate these topics with sensitivity and respect.

Tips for Improving Extemporaneous Speech Delivery

Here are some extemporaneous speech tips you can use to improve the delivery of your speech:

  • Know Your Topic: Start by having a solid understanding of your topic. The more you know, the more confident you'll feel when speaking.
  • Speak Clearly and Slowly: Pronounce your words clearly and speak at a moderate pace. Avoid rushing through your speech.
  • Be Mindful of Fillers: Avoid using fillers such as "um," "uh," or "like." Practice eliminating these from your speech.
  • Manage Nervousness: Nervousness is natural. Practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, before speaking to manage anxiety.
  • Gestures and Body Language: Use appropriate gestures and body language to emphasize points and maintain audience interest.
  • Eye Contact: Maintain eye contact with your audience. This creates a sense of connection and engagement.
  • Vocal Variety: Vary your tone, pitch, and volume to keep your audience engaged. Avoid speaking in a monotone voice.

So there you have it!

Mastering the art of writing an extemporaneous speech is a valuable skill that can benefit you in various personal and professional situations. 

By following this step-by-step guide, practicing, and learning from your experiences, you can become a confident and effective extemporaneous speaker.

Don't miss the opportunity to improve your extemporaneous speaking skills. Keep practicing, and soon you'll be delivering impressive speeches on the spot with ease.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the purpose of an extemporaneous speech?

The main purpose of an extemporaneous speech is to help the speakers develop quick thinking skills. Since these speeches allow limited preparation time, the speaker has to think and organize his ideas quickly and on their feet.

 

2. What is the key characteristic of an extemporaneous speech?

The key characteristic of this kind of speech is that the speaker has to synthesize facts obtained from outside sources and mix them with his understanding and personal style to convey the message.

 

3. What are the advantages of extemporaneous speech?

The main advantages of this kind of speech include:

  • The speaker is able to speak in a more conversational tone and style.
  • Budding speakers learn how to think quickly and on their feet.

Besides, it also helps them maintain eye contact with the audience.

4. Is extemporaneous speech formal?

No, this kind of speech is usually informal as the speaker does not have time to memorize everything. However, the speaker is still being judged and, therefore, must follow a structure.

 

5. What is the difference between memorized and extemporaneous speech?

The extemporaneous speech is delivered with minimum preparation and with the help of note cards. A memorized speech is what it says, ‘memorized,’ and it is delivered without the help of cue cards.

 

6. Why is extemporaneous speech the best?

This kind of speech is considered the best because it allows the speakers to maintain eye contact with the audience. This includes both verbal and non-verbal communication, which is important in public speaking

 

Barbara P

WRITTEN BY

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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