There are four methods of presentation:

  1. The Impromptu Speech
  2. The Memorized Speech
  3. The Manuscript Speech
  4. The Extemporaneous Speech

The Impromptu Speech

This is the speech given off the cuff, that is, with no preparation.


  • Spontaneity
  • No preparation required


  • Result is often rambling and incoherent
  • There may not be enough time available for adequate research or audience analysis

The Memorized Speech

The speech is written out word for word and committed to memory.


  • Permits maximum use of delivery skills


  • Permits little or no adaptation during delivery
  • Recovery is difficult if you make a mistake
  • Speech may sound memorized
  • Time consuming to prepare

The Manuscript Speech

The speech is written out and read from the text.


  • Appropriate when extremely careful wording is required


  • Lacks freshness and spontaneity
  • Difficult to react to audience feedback
  • Speech may sound stilted because of the use of more formal written language

Extemporaneous Speech

An extemporaneous speech is a speech given from notes. It represents a middle course between the memorized speech and the impromptu speech.


  • Nearly as polished as a memorized speech, but more vigorous, flexible and spontaneous
  • Generous eye contact and immediate adaptation to the audience are permitted
  • Takes less time to prepare than a memorized speech


  • Using this method of presentation requires practice


  • For most speaking situations use the extemporaneous method of presentation
  • Avoid impromptu speaking. But learn to cope with the situation if it is thrust on you.
  • Speak from a manuscript when precise wording and exact timing are essential to the situation.
  • Maintain oral style and conversational delivery
  • Memorize a short important speech only on those occasions where holding a manuscript would be out of place.


  • The Speakers Handbook, third edition, Jo Sprague and Douglas Stuart.
  • Principles and Types of Speech Communication, tenth edition, Ehringer, Gronbeck, McKerrow, and Monroe.
  • Confidence in Public Speaking, fifth edition, Paul Nelson and Judy Pearson.