Impromptu Speaking Frameworks | Summary and Q&A

September 2, 2014
Stanford Graduate School of Business
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Impromptu Speaking Frameworks

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In this video, the speakers discuss the challenges of impromptu speaking in various situations such as interviews, business meetings, and social settings. They provide frameworks and techniques that can help individuals sound polished and confident even when they haven't had a chance to prepare.

Questions & Answers

Q: How can the STAR framework be used in an interview setting?

The STAR framework stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. When answering a question in an interview, individuals can start by briefly explaining the situation without giving too much detail. Then, they can mention the task at hand and spend the most time on describing their thought process and actions taken. Finally, they can provide a short summary of the result and highlight their contribution to the outcome.

Q: What structure can be used for impromptu speaking in business meetings?

The PREP structure is recommended for impromptu speaking in business meetings. PREP stands for Point, Reason, Example, and Point. Individuals can start with a strong point, support it with a reason, provide a concrete example, and then conclude by restating the point. This structure ensures a balanced presentation that appeals to both logical and emotional listeners.

Q: How can impromptu speaking be approached in social or personal settings?

Telling a story is a effective technique for impromptu speaking in social or personal settings. By engaging the audience with a story, individuals can capture their attention and make the speech more enjoyable. After recounting the story, it is important to explicitly mention the point or lesson it illustrates. Lastly, the speech should finish strong and may include raising a glass or reiterating the main point.

Q: How can these techniques be applied in future scenarios?

The speakers encourage the audience to use these techniques in upcoming scenarios such as job interviews or internships. With practice, individuals can become better at impromptu speaking, sound more prepared, and feel more confident in various situations, including weddings or celebrations.

Q: How does impromptu speaking differ from prepared presentations?

Impromptu speaking requires individuals to think on their feet and respond to unexpected questions or situations. Unlike prepared presentations, impromptu speaking lacks the opportunity for extensive preparation and rehearsing. However, with the help of frameworks like STAR, PREP, and storytelling, individuals can still deliver polished and convincing speeches even in impromptu scenarios.

Q: Why is it important to structure impromptu speeches?

Structuring impromptu speeches helps individuals organize their thoughts and present them in a clear and coherent manner. It allows the audience to follow along and understand the main points being conveyed. Additionally, a structured speech helps individuals appear confident and knowledgeable, even if they haven't had the chance to prepare extensively.

Q: How does using the STAR framework in interviews help the interviewee?

The STAR framework allows interviewees to provide concise and focused answers while ensuring they cover all necessary aspects of the question. By presenting the situation, task, action, and result, interviewees showcase their ability to handle challenges, problem-solve, and achieve positive outcomes. This framework helps interviewees stand out as competent and qualified candidates for the job.

Q: What is the benefit of using the PREP structure in business meetings?

The PREP structure helps individuals present their ideas and opinions in a logical and persuasive manner. By starting with a strong point, supporting it with a reason, and providing a concrete example, individuals can effectively communicate their thoughts and influence decision-making. This structure ensures that both logical and emotional listeners are engaged and receptive to the speaker's message.

Q: How does storytelling enhance impromptu speeches in social settings?

Telling a story in a social setting captures the audience's attention and makes the speech more engaging. It allows individuals to be more comfortable and authentic while speaking, as they recount a familiar and known story. The explicit mentioning of the point or lesson learned from the story helps the audience understand the speaker's message and adds depth to the speech.

Q: Why is it important to finish strong in impromptu speeches?

Finishing strong in an impromptu speech leaves a lasting impact on the audience and reinforces the main point being made. It helps drive home the speaker's message and ensure the audience remembers it. Additionally, finishing strong shows confidence and gives the speech a sense of closure, leaving the audience with a positive impression.


Impromptu speaking can be challenging, but with the right frameworks and techniques, individuals can sound polished and confident even without extensive preparation. The STAR framework helps structure answers in interviews, while the PREP structure is effective for impromptu speeches in business meetings. Storytelling is a powerful tool in social settings, engaging the audience and making the speech more enjoyable. It is important to structure impromptu speeches, finish strong, and practice these techniques for upcoming scenarios such as job interviews and internships.

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