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