Public Speaking Delivery Styles

There are four public speaking delivery styles. Each requires different kinds of preparation and speakers present their material in different ways based on each style. Some delivery styles allow speakers to focus on their audience, while others require that speakers focus more on their words.

Extemporaneous Delivery

When speakers use the extemporaneous delivery style, they do not prepare the exact wording of the entire speech ahead of time — although the exact wording of the first few lines and the last few lines may be prepared in advance. A speaker who prepares an extemporaneous speech thoroughly prepares the ideas that he wants to present and then decides the exact way to present them during the speech. Speakers who use this delivery style will often prepare notes or an outline that contains the main ideas of the speech. Speakers can look at these notes periodically during the speech to ensure they cover all of the ideas they want to convey in the speech.

Impromptu Delivery

During impromptu speeches, speakers do not prepare any material in advance. These spur-of-the-moment speeches do not give speakers a chance to choose their words or analyze the subject of the speech which can cause the speakers to repeat themselves or accidentally say something inappropriate. In order to make up for this lack of preparation, someone giving an impromptu speech can focus on one main point and keep the speech short and to the point.

Manuscript Delivery

A speaker uses the manuscript delivery style when she writes an entire speech in advance. Manuscript speeches are useful when speakers need to ensure that the speech does not go over a certain amount of time. Also, speakers who use this delivery style do no have to worry about forgetting the material that they are presenting. However, the manuscript speech delivery style has drawbacks, including reduced eye contact with the audience and difficulty adapting the speech to the audience’s reactions.

Memorized Delivery

When a memorized delivery style is used, the speaker writes out a complete speech manuscript and then commits it to memory word for word. This allows speakers to make eye contact with the audience and concentrate on their nonverbal gestures. However, this speaking style has its challenges, such as the long amount of time it can take to memorize a speech and the possibility that it will be forgotten during the presentation.


  • Speaking with a Purpose; Arthur Koch; 2007
  • Human Communication: The Basic Course; Joseph A. DeVito; 2008
  • Public Speaking: An Audience-Centered Approach; Steven Beebe; 2003
  • Public Speaking: Strategies for Success; David Zarefsky; 2007

About the Author

Charlotte Anne Cox is a freelance writer based in New Jersey. She has been a professional writer since 1994 and has written for numerous publications. She also works as a freelance editor for major publishing houses. She has a degree in English. She likes to write about issues related to crime and forensics.

Photo Credits

  • Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images