The impromptu speech is one of the most fun and valuable experiences for my students! They have some anxiety before it gets started, but always reflect later that these impromptu opportunities are truly the most valuable in terms of real world skills.
The way this assignment is designed focuses on two overall elements of speech, the content and the delivery. By the time students give their first impromptu speech, they have learned the basic elements of a speech, including introductions, conclusions, examples, organization, and vocal and physical variety. The impromptu gives the student the opportunity to be able to orally share something on a given topic with clarity, organization, and effectiveness.
Here’s the flow of the impromptu:
- Take student volunteers.
- Pass around a basket with slips of paper that have a variety of different topic sentences on them. This is really random and I try to make it fun and relevant to the specific group of learners.
- Students choose three slips and decide on one of these.
- Students may spend about 2-3 minutes preparing and then they go live!
- Impromptus are about two minutes long and include the basic elements of the speech as described above.
- The final part that I added last year, which was very effective, is the Peer Feedback portion. Peers from their teams also do a brief ‘Quick Eval’ to give feedback to the presenter.
A peek at the eval used by instructor and peers:
- Content – clear main points, examples, effective first and last sentence, clear organization
- Delivery – vocal and physical variety included
- Comments – details on each of the above