Public Speaking Exercise: Impromptu Story Telling

Public Speaking Exercise: Impromptu Story Telling


This exercise allows delegates to practice speaking in public or in front of a group without the pressure associated with public speaking. The pace of the exercise is very fast and hence delegates do not have enough time to get scared or nervous about speaking in public. Instead, the exercise encourages them to focus entirely on the task which is an impromptu presentation based on a random number of concepts.


Tell a short story lasting no longer than two minutes based on a number of pictures, words and a given numerical value.

What You Need

  • A stack of cards. On each card write a word or a phrase. The choice of these words will dictate the type of results you will get. Select the words based on your specific training needs. You will need about 30 cards.
  • Several printed pictures. As with the cards, the choice will influence the results you get. You will need about 30 pictures.
  • Two dice.


  • Stack the cards and pictures in a way that their content cannot be seen by delegates.
  • Ask for a volunteer to come forward.
  • Ask the person to pick two pictures and two cards from the stacks at random.
  • Ask the person to roll the dice to get a total.
  • Now ask the person to make a short story based on the concepts in the two cards, the two pictures and the total number they got by rolling the dice. The story should not last more than two minutes.
  • After the story is told get others to comment on it and provide feedback on the performance of the presenter.
  • Put the cards and pictures that were used by the volunteer aside so they don’t get mixed up with the remaining stacks.
  • Ask for the next volunteer to go through the same process by picking two new cards, two new pictures and rolling the dice.
  • Continue until all delegates have participated.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes

Activity: (2 min presentation + 1 min feedback) * N = 24 minutes for 8 delegates

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


What did you think of the stories? What did you think of your own impromptu performance? Did you feel nervous for talking in public or were you more concerned with coming up with a story? Did you perform much better than you expected given that you had to make a story on the spot from a random bunch of concepts? How well do you think other performed? Whose performance was your favourite and what did you learn from it?

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