Learn To Quickly Think On Your Feet

Impromptu Speeches in High School

I will never forget my speech class in high school. You walked in on the first day of class and sat down at your school desk looking up at your speech teacher wondering what lame speeches you would have to give that day. Everyone had to take the class since it was a required course to pass high school and so you could imagine that there was a boredom in the air on the first day.

What the teacher told us next, I will never forget. “Today you will be giving a 1 minute impromptu speech.” We had barely sat down and gotten situated on the first day of class and we were going to give a speech on the first day? Half of us didn’t even know what an impromptu speech was!

“Here’s how it’s going to work. Each of you will have 1 minute to give a speech on a topic that I randomly choose. I will cut you off after 1 minutes for the next person” he explained. Well, there happened to be 45 students in the class and each class was 50 minutes long so just enough time for everyone to go. Secretly, I was hoping there’d be enough retaliation to the idea that class would stall or maybe some mischievous student would pull the fire alarm so we could waste time during a fire drill.

Where I Learned About 3 Points From

Yes, we all survived that first day in speech class. What the teacher went on to demonstrate was how to quickly think on your feet and how to tell a compelling story. One way to structure an impromptu speech was to pick 3 sub topics. Each sub topic would relate back to the main story. Add an introduction and a conclusion and you could write a speech on just about any topic.

The most valuable thing I learned from that class was to quickly come up with a speech on any topic that he picked. This creative exercise forced me to tell stories and relate them to a specific topic. Not only did this improve my communication skills, but it helped me to understand that people like to group things into threes.

Today, whenever I have to think on my feet, I am reminded of that speech class. It never hurts to be able to learn quickly and think on your feet.