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Impromptu Speech: How to Overcome the so-called Stage Fright

Updated on March 11, 2011
Travel Man, together with his co-emcee, hosting a school program last February 24, 2011 (Photo by Ireno Alcala)
Travel Man, together with his co-emcee, hosting a school program last February 24, 2011 (Photo by Ireno Alcala)

 Impromptu speech can make or break a seasoned legislator. Politicians are prolific speakers,, but only a handful or the few select can draw response from the audience without reading his ready-made-speeches. If he or she is truly speaking from the heart and from experience, people will know that a ghost-written speech is not needed.

We always look up to bigwigs in the business, politics and showbiz world. With that kind of admiration, we are akin with the way they express themselves through unrehearsed comments or speeches.

During press meeting or conference, businessmen, public servants or entertainers who are on hot seat will be observed by tri-media on how he or she answered to the questions being fired by the mob.

Not so much with ordinary person for we can understand his/her innuendos when faced with a microphone and big audience who are waiting to hear the talk.

Usually impromptu speeches occur during:

  1. Birthdays - You'll be caught unguarded but it's okay while enjoying your cake slice and ice cream.
  2. Reunions - You can be the man of the hour with all the relatives waiting to hear your voice. Just don't make it croaky. School reunion can mean something if you want to show to your former teachers that you've learned enough for you to be speaking in front of the gathering.
  3. Functions - usually in business sector and politics. Brushing elbows with luminaries during  the occasion and hearing them talk 'wisely' is more advantageous to you who are in other sector, like the media.
  4. Seminars - When clarifying or explaining a certain topic, you can vouch for your expertise on the subject if you deliver it fluently.
  5. Extemporaneous Speech Contest - Usually done during the Language Week in the School (e.g. English Week); the contestant will develop his/her speech  for two minutes or so then deliver it for five minutes.
  6. Campaigns & Rallies - Political rallies, include campaigns and we usually hear political candidates delivering their impromtu speeches and promises. It can also be an activist rally pointing out the importance of the march on the street and their stand on the present controversial issues.

Professionals or not, if you have the guts to stand in front of many people and overcoming stage fright, you can deliver the things you want to say if you believe that you can do it without any hassle.


A barangay captain deliveringan impromptu speech during our CBMS seminar-January 18, 2011 (Photo by Ireno Alcala)
A barangay captain deliveringan impromptu speech during our CBMS seminar-January 18, 2011 (Photo by Ireno Alcala)

Getting out of Stage Fright

Great speeches were delivered by famous people in human history. Aside from their written speeches, Sir Winston Churchill of UK, President Abraham Lincoln of USA, Mahatma Gandhi of India and even our President Ferdinand Marcos were known for their effective and prolific impromtu speeches. I also admired Mother Theresa who devoted her life helping the poor in India. I didn't got the chance to listen on her speeches personally but those canned delivery of memorable impromptu talks made me believe that she was also aprolific speaker.

If they're still living today and I had the chance to interview them, I will ask on how they overcame 'stage fright'.

When I was in high school and a freshman student, I had the chance to speak in front of many student during an extemporaneous contest. I didn't won for my level ( competing with the sophomore, junior and senior levels) but the experience taught me to make good the next time I join the contest.

Here's what I've experienced while on stage:

  1. When we were called, my heart started beating fast.
  2. I experienced the so-called cold feet.
  3. When I got my question on a piece of paper, I started to get weary because I don't know much about the topic.
  4. When I was called to speak, I look at the people in front of me and felt 'frightened'. There's something that churned out in my stomach (must be the acid).
  5. My tongue felt dry. I had to swallow two times to make sure that I still have saliva.
  6. Although I delivered my impromtu speech on time and didn't backled much, I still felt empty because I didn't developed the question well. True enough, I didn't won and placed last for the contest.

Others say that they experienced 'mental block' when starting to speak in front of the audience. Well, it's true. But if you prepared for the occasion, even though you don't have a written speech for you, then you can deliver your speech.

Don't look or make an eye contact with the people. Although, you will look sideways (left and right) and in front of you, just concentrate on what you're saying and you will never be lost. You can also choose a person that you'll make an eye contact with but not all the audience.

The stage is yours, so you can make the most of the setting or the scenario. The audience will love you if you are going to be true to yourself.

Be witty when speaking. Impromptu speech will just take a 5-minute speech or shorter. Or if the audience loves you, you can make it longer. But don't drag them into some boring narratives.

There are lots of books to make a better speaker out of your old self. Reading lots of topics will help you be equipped with knowledge and ideas when caught up in a last-minute speaking opportunity.

It taught me how to connect with a definite audience, age bracket and occasion. Resiliency is a must. That's how you can connect with the party and earn respect when you go down the stage.

Don't worry the stage will not eat you alive. You can be upset at frst, but it will pass if you get acquainted with the public.

Constant exposure to people in all walks of life will make you one of the best impromptu speakers in the local or even national scenes.

How to Do an Impromptu Speech : The Importance of Story in an Impromptu Speech c/o expertvillage


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    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @jimmar: Yes, Sir. I also think like that. I still have my jitters from time to time. But with the expectant look of the audience, I am always inspired to talk with sense.

    • jimmar profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      Good advice. I found that just accepting my nervousness and realizing it will fade after I start, is a big help.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @hannah: Thanks for dropping by. It's too personal to share those tips, but, I had to. It feels great making others feel that they're not only the ones having 'cold feet' on stage whenever impromptu speech is called for.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      thanks for the great tips given............highly appreciating...........

    • Romano Arnesto profile image

      Romano Arnesto 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for opening this topic. From gained experiences and education, you will know how prolific the speaker is by the way he talk and his word usage.

    • earthbound1974 profile image


      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      I used to swallow my word whenever I speak infront of an audience. Slowly I gained my little confidence to be at the podium because of getting used to being a public servant (as brangay treasurer). Thanks for sharing.

    • SandyMcCollum profile image


      7 years ago

      I have a little stage fright from time to time, especially when I was a tour guide.

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @dankendk: You're welcome. I wrote it to share my experience. It's not easy to be there on stage but you should get used to it once you become involved in public service, e.g. politics and media affairs.

    • crystolite profile image


      7 years ago from Houston TX

      It is interesting reading from your article.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      thanks for the tips!


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