45 Impromptu Speech Topics and Ideas

October 29, 2017 - DOM BARNARD

Impromptu speeches are a great way to practice quick thinking and concise speaking – you usually have only a couple of minutes to prepare a speech lasting around five minutes. Even in this shorter form of speech, you still need to have a structure to what you are saying to ensure your message is understood by everyone.

If you struggle with lack of confidence, practicing with these impromptu speech topics can be a great way to build confidence for all types of speeches and conversations, whether you’re talking to someone at a business networking event or speaking at a wedding.

What is an impromptu speech?

For an impromptu speech, you’ll generally have 1-3 minutes of preparation for a speech lasting 5-8 minutes. Tougher speech events can reduce this preparation time down to 30 seconds and require you to plan your speech mentally, without any paper to write notes on.

Impromptu speech often used at Oxford University debates

Impromptu speeches are often given as part of university and college debates. Oxford Union event shown above.

These types of speeches are usually found in public speaking courses, speaking organisations such as Toastmasters and debating competitions (both professional and student based). They are a great way of testing a range of communication skills, from organisation to clarity to creativity, and are becoming a popular way to practice general public speaking skills.

Tips for picking an impromptu speech topic

Here are some quick tips and considerations for picking an impromptu speech.

  • Pick a topic you are familiar with, have knowledge of and want to talk about. Personal experience on that topic is a bonus as you’ll be able to speak more naturally about it.
  • Your organisational skills will be tested to come up with a powerful introduction and conclusion in your preparation to back up your argument.
  • Pick a topic where the scope is limited (or you can easily limit it) as you’ll only have 5 minutes to discuss it.
  • Your goal is to either inform or persuade your audience so choose a topic that suits these criteria

Impromptu speech topics

There are a huge amount of topic to choose from so we’ve compiled a short list of interesting topics below, some of which will hopefully inspire you or give you talking points you hadn’t previously considered.

  1. A non-biased news site is impossible
  2. The Romain Empire was the most important empire to have existed
  3. Keyboards will be replaced by speech-to-text technology in 10 years
  4. Performance enhancing drugs should be allowed in sport
  5. Colour affects the way people feel
  6. Poor health begins in the mind
  7. Team sports build strong individuals
  8. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  9. Poverty is a state of mind
  10. What characteristics make an ideal villain?
  11. How would you describe an average person?
  12. In what situation is lying a good idea?
  13. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?
  14. Pets are for people who don't have children
  15. Real learning doesn't occur in a classroom
  16. It is better to be influential than rich
  17. Do violent video games contribute to youth violence?
  18. School uniforms removes individuality
  19. Children should not watch television
  20. Art is not important to the future of the human race
  21. Future conflicts will be confined to online hacking
  22. Social customs are a waste of time
  23. My biggest concern for the future is...
  24. Climate change is a natural occurrence
  25. What is the most important skill for starting a business
  26. Space exploration advances the human race
  27. Parents are the most influential factors in our lives
  28. Sports people salaries are justified by viewing figures
  29. Reading fiction is a waste of time
  30. Going to university / college is not necessary anymore
  31. Facebook makes society less happy
  32. Anyone can be a millionaire if they work hard enough
  33. No extra-terrestrial species have found us because…
  34. Translation technology will replace the need to learn a language
  35. Colonizing Mars is necessary to ensure human survival
  36. Presidential / Prime Ministers time in office should be lengthened
  37. Social circles and friends are the most important factors for happiness
  38. Real wealth is not measured in money or possessions
  39. The minimum wage should be doubled
  40. Should adults have the right to carry a concealed handgun?
  41. Is sexual orientation determined at birth?
  42. Junk food's popularity relies on marketing
  43. Both snooker and darts are sports
  44. Being a vegetarian is healthier than eating meat
  45. Renting a house is better than buying

Use any of these topics for your next impromptu speech or just as personal practice to improve your communication skills. You can also try our impromptu image challenge as part of your public speaking course, where you’ll need to talk about a random slide for 30 seconds, for up to 15 slides. It’s another great way to practice quick thinking and creativity.