Impromptu Speaking

My introductory speech class gave impromptu speeches tonight.  Persuasive speeches where they had to convince us to do something differently.  

Or change our minds about something. 

I gave each one a topic as they volunteered to speak. 

Topics like making Dr. Pepper the official state beverage or buying a ferret for a pet. 

Good solid topics that make you think. 

When they finished I told them turn about was fair play, so they gave me a topic. 

“Convince us to not wear clothes!” one yelled out, and they all got a gleam in their eyes. 

For the first time all night they weren’t ready to bolt out the door. 

Made me think of the first time I ever gave an impromptu speech. 

My friend Carolyn’s mother was the speech coach at our high school, so when the team went to a tournament at our cross-town rival school, they invited me along. 

And entered me in impromptu speaking. 

Had no idea what I was supposed to do. 

“Just get up there and talk, Sally, you can talk about anything,” they all encouraged me. 

The topic I drew in the first round was a question – why do skunks have white stripes? 

I don’t remember anything I said.  Just that I paced back and forth like a caged lion. 

I came in fourth out of six. 

I think five and six didn’t show up. 

But the judge took pity on me and after the round he showed me a simple outline structure with an introduction, body and conclusion.  Told me just to remember the rule of three in giving a good speech. 

And stand still. 

So I did and in the next round I came in second. 

I didn’t break out of the preliminary rounds, but that was okay.  

Something more important happened that day. 

I found something I could do.  

And that’s always a really big deal. 

Especially for a kid. 

In 1994 two of my students on the Cooper High School speech team won first and second in impromptu speaking at the Texas Forensic Association state tournament. You just never know where something that seems so random at the time is going to lead. It helps if you have really talented students, too - congrats, Katie & Jeff!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Kelvin says:

    And you have “impromptu” speaking ever since…..and teaching, and changing student’s lives. What a blessing you have been to so many people… and dearly loved. Some people teach and some people think they teach. Keep up the good work teacher, Mith Gary!

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