Blog of Sara Jakša

How To Structure Content In A Improvised Speech

Image the next scene with me. You are invited to the New Year celebration (or any other special occasions). People had already something to drink, some of them are drug. So they ask you to make a speech for this occasion. So what is the reaction? Do you freeze and not know, what to say? Or do you make a good speech, making it on the spot, with confidence? Witch one do you want to be?

There are six basic ways to organize the content.

P.R.E.P.

P.R.E.P. stands for Point, Reason, Example, Point. The structure of P.R.E.P. follows by the order of the characters in the acronym.

The P.R.E.P. speech is starting with the Point, telling the most important point of the speech/the reason for saying the speech/the goal of the speech. It is advised, that is is stated clearly. The next step is Reason. This is the place, where the logic takes over, and the reason for the Point part of the speech is revealed. The number of reasons presented here is largely depended on the time allowed for the speech. In Table Topics, where the speaker have up to 2 minutes, there is usually only time for one reason. In longer speeches, there is time for more. The next part of the speech is Example, where there is an example presented, that support the reason stated in the previous step. Here it is advised, that the story (preferably real one) is used to support the reason and indirectly prove the point. Then the speech is ended again with the Point, where the point, stated on the beginning of the speech is repeated. The end summarises the speech and returned back to the beginning of the speech by proving the point. of this speech.

Comparison strategy

Comparison strategy is the way of making speech, where the comparison of the two sides (positive sides with the negative sides) is followed by the conclusion and the point of the speech. The short explanation of the strategy is: Issue, Pro/Con, Conclusions.

In the Issue step, the who situation/problem/background/solution/... is explained. Here, there is no judging of the situation yet. Just the explanation of the issue, so the listeners understand, what is the speaker talking about. The next step is the Pro/Con step, where the speaker lists all the benefits of the situation/solution, and then all the drawbacks of it. On the end, in the Conclusion step, the speaker talk about his opinion or recommendation.

Timeline

This strategy is most useful on the occasions, where the speech must be given in the honour of a person/couple or similar. The basic strategy is: Past, Present, Future.

The speech is started by going into the Past. Telling stories about the past, or just reminding the people of some interesting titbit, that have happened in the past. The example would be: "I have first really looked at her, after she managed to turn the hair of our schoolteacher blue...". The the speech goes to the Present, where the opinion is stated. The speech concludes with the Future, be stating hopes, wishes, predictions and similar things.

Cause-Effect

The next strategy of talking about something is the one, that I have encountered the most. It is a strategy, that is mostly used to talk/present the problems, but it can be also used to convince somebody into something, if that person things, the problem is important enough. The short strategy is: Cause, Effect, Remedy.

The speech starts by explaining the problem, if the problem is not yet known. If the problem is known by every listener, then this faze can be skipped. Then it goes to the Cause faze, where the speaker presents the causes of the problem, described (or already known). This is the reason behind the problem. The next faze is Effect, where the speaker is talking about, what kind of consequences are there, because of this problem. This is the visible/known results of the problem. The speech is finished by Remedy, where the solution of the problem is presented.

Components

This strategy is about breaking the topic of the speech is a lot of different components, each dealing with different aspect.

The speech is started, by introduction to the subject of speech, then each of the aspects of the subject is presented in order, one after another. The end summarises the whole speech and states the point/conclusion.

The different components could be chosen from the following list (but it is not an exclusive list): political, economical, environmental, religious, moral, ethical, historical, technological, theoretical, practical, social, psychological,...

Questions

This speech strategy is about answering all the Wh- questions about a certain subject (the one the speech is about). The questions are: Who, What, When, Where, Why.

The speech starts by answering the Who and What. Who are the people involved and in what are they involved in. Then the situation is explained in greater detail, by answering the questions When and Where. The question Why is the one finishing the speech, since it usually present the most important information and it makes the most impact. The ends of the speech are also usually the most remembered (along with the very start of the speech).

There might be others, so do not be afraid to experiment with different techniques.