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English Speaking – Tips for improving public speaking skills | How to handle Impromptu Speech

Suppose you are giving a topic in a class, and ask to speak for 5 mins on that topic. How will you feel? Do you feel butterflies in your stomach? Do you feel that you will be laughing stock among fellow students? Do you get feeling of being dumb?

Don’t worry, you are not alone. These problems are most common among people, especially students.  People often develop cold feet when asked to speak suddenly. If they are prepared, and have good communication skills, then it will of course help them in public speaking. But, as most of students are shy, and do have good speaking skills, they often get feeling of dumbness when asked to speak or present something.

In this article, we will cover public speaking, and share you tips on how to improve your English speaking skills. We will also cover over impromptu speaking, and will cover examples and approaches to deal with public speaking.

What is Public Speaking?

Public speaking means act of speaking face to face to a live audience. You can have prepared speech (or presentation) or impromptu speaking (when you don’t know about the topic in advance).  This includes speaking in a class, auditorium, live show, and webinars. This also covers pre-recording speech by means of technology.

The motive of public speaking can varies from speaking to inform (like in class or office presentation), speaking to persuade (like election speech), speaking to entertain (like stage artist) and speaking to actuate (like motivational speaker)

There are few important elements in public speaking, as listed below

  • Speaker
  • Audience
  • Channel
  • Message
  • Feedback
  • Noise
  • Place and Situation

Tips to improve public speaking skills

Awareness of the topic – Awareness of the topic in advance improves the quality of public speaking by good extent. Speaker will be prepared well in advance, he/she will make notes on key points , and possible questions that audience will ask. Speech will be more focused toward topic.

However, if the topic is not known, then speaker will get difficulty in being focus, and the speech will be mostly general in nature. There are points to deal with impromptu topic, which we will cover in later part of this article.

Timer– Each speaker is given a limited time to speak. So it is important to follow the time limit. People understand that you love to hear your own voice, but since there will be other speaker waiting, or it is limited time session, you need to close the session on time.

Channel – If speaker is speaking in a group, like the group discussion, then speaker will get an idea and key points from fellow people, even if topic is new. Likewise, in online webinar, speaker can take help from online. However, if speaker is speaking on auditorium or in front of class, he/she will not have access to such help. Sometimes, political leaders use teleprompter in such case, to get notes and help for their speech.

Do not bore your audience– You audience might be listening on same topic for last 5 hours, or they are too much bored from last speaker. You need to make them active or get them to listen to your speech. The most important things that you can do are

  1. Use multimedia in presentation
  2. Use humor in your speech. Like telling 1-2 jokes in between
  3. Asking questions to your audience. This will make them active, as they too don’t want to get ashamed in front of others.

See also

How to handle impromptu speech

Suppose you have been suddenly asked to speak on an unknown topic. We will see how you can handle impromptu speaking.

Understand the topic– If you are hearing term for the first time, ask for clarification or explanation. This is very important, as speaking on wrong topic will only lead to embarrassment for you.

Recall – Recall recent information that you have heard on topic. For example, if you are given topic on crypto currency, recall last time you heard or read on this topic. This will help you get some idea and points to speak on the topic.

Associated topic – if you haven’t heard anything on the topic in past, recall most related topic. For example, if you are not aware on anything on crypto currency, most related topics in this case can be financial or banking system, central bank and currency. Build your speech on related topic. In such case, you may need to shorten your speech, and do not want to dive too deep in related topic.

Be calm– The most important point in this to keep calm. Speaker need to keep calm, especially during impromptu speaking in front of large audience.


In this article, we have shared important tips on improving public speaking skills. This article is aimed to all type of audience including school children, college students and adults. If you have doubt or concern, you can get in touch with us. Write to and connect with our counselors for your doubts or if you need help in improving public speaking skills.

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