Impromptu speech assignment

I kept the impromptu speeches easy and flexible for students. Each day I pulled a card with a topic and took the first three volunteers (four in a two-day class). I had a mixture of informative and persuasive topics. Students were asked to speak for 1-2 minutes. Often I started with a question, so if “football players” was the topic called I would ask speakers to describe their favorite. Students were awarded the full points for doing the speech.

In addition, I set a catch-up date by which impromptus must be completed. It would be one day (usually right before or after a school break) to catch up on any speeches a student may have missed including impromptus. Anyone who did not need to make up an assignment got this day off with no penalty. Conversely students could wait and do all of the impromptus on that day if they wished.

Here is how the assignment was presented to students:

  • Goal: Impromptu speaking opportunities are very common in educational, social, and workplace settings. Practice with impromptu speaking can significantly improve skills.
  • Requirements: During each class when speeches are not assigned, the instructor will read a randomly selected topic and take three volunteers to speak on that topic. The instructor may also choose to assign a topic from recent news events or on rare occasions may offer impromptu speaking points to volunteers for in-class activities. Time: 1-2 minutes.
  • Grade: 3 impromptus at 5 points each.
  • Recommendations: Take a moment to organize your thoughts. Select topics that are of interest to you and briefly explain your opinions. Students who complete their impromptu speeches before ________ will be able to miss that day’s class without penalty. See impromptu speaking tips at web site.
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About teachingpublicspeaking

I believe public speaking can go from most dreaded class to favorite class. I'm a former public speaking college instructor who spent years seeking out activities, assignments and examples to make the class interactive as well as educational -- they are collected here. I welcome suggestions for additions.

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