ZIP is coming to a close and I can proudly say this ZIP was a lot more productive than my ZIP last year. This year I was guided by the question of what makes an effective impromptu speech. I focused on learning different techniques and methods and practicing them in front of my peers and family. I was motivated to choose this topic because public speaking has held a big role in my life but I’ve always struggled with impromptu speaking.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to attack this project at first. I knew I wanted to improve my speaking skills, but I had no clue where to start. Going to effective speaking classes helped me find a place to start. There, I was able to learn and practice different techniques in a safe environment. Outside of classes, I did some research on my own time. I interoperated different Toastmasters’ PowerPoints and watched some examples of impromptu speeches on Youtube. Through this, I learned the skill of finding relevant information. I had to fan through lots and lots of different speeches until I found ones that I wanted to emulate. I also worked on some organization skills because I had to make sure all my notes stayed in one folder or notebook and that I only took notes on things that would be relevant to me. These skills not only will help me with ZIP but also as a person.
After a couple days of research and multiple impromptu speeches later, I finally found my speaking technique. I found what works for me. I learned that impromptu speeches don’t have a specific form or method that is applicable to everyone. Although there are templates, it’s important to try it and morph it to fit your speaking style. I found that the key for me is preparation. This sounds redundant because the point of an impromptu speech is to have little time to prepare, but every second count. Whether it’s formatting of how you jot down notes and how it corresponds with the way you recall points or just forming an intro point, body points and conclusion points, the preparation time is the most crucial time; however, if the preparation of your speech is botched or not as well as you’d like it, it can always be covered up with delivery. I’ve learned that 90% of the mistakes I make during a speech, no one notices but me. Confidence and being passionate about the speech you are delivering are two crucial parts of delivery and leading back to my first point, delivery can be refined with preparation.
To demonstrate my learning, to make guides that show the different techniques. While a peer is at my station, I will let them draw an impromptu speech topic and I will have one minute to prepare at 2-3 minute speech. The reason I chose to do this live rather than through a recording is because a large part of impromptu speaking is speaking to a live audience and being able to connect and relate with them. Along with that, I’ll be displaying the notes I took for each speech as they are collected over time.
This relates back to the curricular competency of “use[ing] and experiment[ing] with oral storytelling processes” (BC Curriculum). I display this not only during my live speeches but also in the video clip of three impromptu speeches over time that I will hand into Mr. Morris. The second curricular competency that it touches on is “use[ing] writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create engaging and meaningful literary and informational texts for a variety of purposes and audiences”. Below I have attached photos of notes I took for impromptu speeches that I had to present. The prompt for this one in specific was simply just an introduction speech. Beside it, I’ve attached a photo of some notes I took of other peoples speeches so I could apply them to my own.
Last but not least I also worked on the curricular competency of “transform[ing] ideas and information to create original texts”; however, ‘texts’ in this case is the speech itself. Again, this is demonstrated during my speeches as well as in the video clip I will be handing in. I also asked a couple of friends to help me write prompts that I can use.
As ZIP comes to a close, my question has shifted from what makes an effective impromptu speech to how I can improve my speaking skills. This question is a little more generalized than my original ZIP question, but it motivates me because I constantly want to get better in something I am passionate for.
Here are some sources I used during ZIP that were really helpful!
This website touched a lot more on the actual technique and strategy to use when planning an impromptu speech. The two main strategies it gave me was expressing an opinion or addressing cause and effect. It stated that these two would be more effective because when one is stating an opinion or a chain reaction, the audience can connect to the speaker a little more than just saying facts or rambling.
This link focused on presenting a solution to a problem. Its formatted in a way where its really easy to follow. It discussed a lot of tips and tricks of what you can do if you get stumped. It also covered a lot about the preparation of a speech both mentally and the speech itself. As well as, there were links at the bottom of the website that led me to more in-depth information.
This link gave me a literal overview of what impromptu speaking is. It broke speeches up into two categories abstract and nonabstract conversation. It talked about the dynamic of an impromptu speech and which topic fit best into which scenario. This link also taught me how to identify an error in an impromptu speech and how to improve after identifying them.
This video displayed what in my eyes could be an exceeding expectations speech. There were still some parts where I thought could have been different but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this speech. I used this speech as a reference to a lot of my own learning. I considered the way she formatted her speech and the way she transitioned. This was one of the many impromptu speeches I watched online.
This TED Talk video helped me understand the concept that public speaking is transferring an idea rather than spitting words at people. It focused more on the idea behind the reason to give a speech rather than the actual logistics of giving one. However, I still found this beneficial to my research because it guided me in the right direction of why I should enjoy public speaking.