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How to Speak Extemporaneously

Last Updated: September 15, 2021

This article was co-authored by Lynn Kirkham . Lynn Kirkham is a Professional Public Speaker and Founder of Yes You Can Speak, a San Francisco Bay Area-based public speaking educational business empowering thousands of professionals to take command of whatever stage they've been given - from job interviews, boardroom talks to TEDx and large conference platforms. Lynn was chosen as the official TEDx Berkeley speaker coach for the last four years and has worked with executives at Google, Facebook, Intuit, Genentech, Intel, VMware, and others. This article has been viewed 57,753 times.

Extemporaneous speaking, also known as "Extemp", is a competitive speech event usually found in high school and university settings. It is a way of testing one's "on-your-feet" thinking and delivery skills. Students must speak about a current topic that has been chosen half an hour before appearing before the audience to discuss the topic. Usually articles will be left in the preparation room, to enable the speaker to draw additional information in putting the speech together. Extemporaneous speaking is generally divided into the two categories: US and International.

Step 1 Go into the draw room.

Expert Q&A

Lynn Kirkham

  • Smile. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Look sharp. Wear a suit or other nice outfit. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • A great way to practice is to draw topics out of a bin and have someone watch and time you. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Going overtime on a speech will cause you to lose points. Thanks Helpful 16 Not Helpful 3
  • Remember: do not rely on a note card. Many meets (including sectionals, state, and national) do not allow you to use one during your speech. Those that do allow a note card allow a maximum of 50 words on your note card. Some judges will even ask to see your note card and will count the number of words, although this is rare. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • No electronic devices are allowed in the prep room at most competitions. Check your state rule books, some allow for computers with stored files, as long as they are dissociated from any wifi or internet access. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Make sure to rid your file box of illegal materials (previous outlines, uncopyrighted sources, tip sheets, etc) before entering the prep room. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • Watch out for bad judges, and report any improper etiquette or behaviors to your tab room. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

Things You'll Need

  • A suit. For girls, this can be a skirt, nice shirt and blazer, or set with pants. Heels help put together an outfit but make sure they're comfortable enough to be walking in all day.
  • Note card (optional)
  • Draw room (where you draw the question)

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  • ↑ https://www.speechanddebate.org/wp-content/uploads/Extemporaneous-Speaking-Textbook.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.uiltexas.org/files/academics/2019-20ExtempV2.pdf
  • ↑ https://www.ffa.org/participate/ldes/extemporaneous-public-speaking/

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Speech Writing

Extemporaneous Speech

Barbara P

How to Write an Extemporaneous Speech? A Step-by-Step Guide

Published on: Mar 8, 2020

Last updated on: Nov 7, 2023

Extemporaneous Speech

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Do you have to deliver an extemporaneous speech and don't know where to start? Well, you're in the right place! 

Whether you're a student participating in a debate, or a professional giving an impromptu or extemporaneous speech, this guide will help you write an exceptional speech.

We will not only provide extemporaneous speech definition and examples but also give you professional tips that will help you understand the topic better.

This step-by-step guide will assist you in writing an outstanding extemporaneous speech that captivates your audience. 

So, let’s dive right in!

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Understanding Extemporaneous Speech

Before we dive into the steps of speech writing , it's essential to understand what is meant by extemporaneous speech and why it matters.

An extemporaneous speech is when you deliver a speech without practicing beforehand. You have to rely on what you know and think quickly. 

An example of an extemporaneous speech situation is when a student is asked to give an impromptu talk on a current news headline in front of the class.

Comparing Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speech

The above definition might make you think that impromptu and extemporaneous speech sound similar. But that is not the case. 

Let’s take a look at the key difference between the two speech types:

  • Impromptu speeches do not allow preparation for the speech and they often lack structure and familiarity. 
  • On the other hand, extemporaneous speeches require a little preparation time, some organization, and familiar topics.

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of extemporaneous speech. 

Advantages of Extemporaneous Speech 

  • Enhanced Communication Skills: Improves public speaking, listening, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Confidence Boost: Regular practice instills self-assurance in various speaking situations.
  • Adaptability: Speakers learn to tailor their message to the interests and concerns of different audiences. 
  • Quick Thinking: Extemporaneous speaking sharpens the ability to think quickly and make decisions on the spot.

Disadvantages of Extemporaneous Speech

  • Lack of Preparation: Speakers may deliver incomplete or less coherent presentations due to limited preparation.
  • Potential for Inaccuracy: The absence of time for thorough research can lead to providing inaccurate information.
  • Nervousness: The pressure of impromptu speaking can lead to anxiety and reduced confidence.
  • Time Constraints: Speakers must manage their time effectively to stay within the allotted timeframes, adding to the pressure.

7 Easy Steps to Writing an Extemporaneous Speech 

Let’s take a look at some easy steps to writing an extemporaneous speech that you can follow along:

Step 1 - Research and Gather Information

To write a compelling extemporaneous speech, you must gather relevant information quickly. This step includes:

  • Identifying the Topic or Prompt: Understand the subject or question you'll be speaking about.
  • Finding Reliable Sources: Utilize trustworthy resources to gather facts, statistics, and arguments.

Step 2 - Create an Extemporaneous Speech Outline

An outline will give you a basic blueprint of the speech and can even help you weed out any potential mistakes in the structure or format of the speech . 

Though the outline can vary depending on the type of speech you are writing, here is a basic outline you can follow:

  • Introduction: Engage your audience with a captivating start, state your main point, and clarify why your topic matters.
  • Body Paragraphs: 
  • Main Point 1: Add supporting details, present your first key idea, and back it up with evidence.
  • Main Point 2: Introduces the second key idea, providing supporting evidence.
  • Main Point 3: Add an optional third key idea with supporting details.
  • Navigating the Conclusion: Recap your main arguments and leave a lasting impression.

Step 3 - Crafting a Strong Introduction 

It is crucial to capture your audience's attention in the introduction and set the tone for your message. 

Here is what you need to keep in mind when writing a speech introduction ;

  • Use an attention-grabbing technique to engage your listeners.
  • Formulate a clear and concise thesis statement that clearly states the main point of your speech.
  • Establishing Significance: Explain why the topic is relevant or important.

Step 4 - Developing Compelling Main Points

The main body of your speech should convey your message effectively and coherently. Here are the things you should keep in mind;

  • Identify key ideas and supporting details to determine the main arguments. If possible, try to gather and mention any evidence to back up your arguments. 
  • Make sure that your speech flows logically and smoothly.
  • Use real-life examples, personal stories, and relevant statistics to make your points more compelling and understandable.

Step 5 - Engaging the Audience

Engaging your audience is essential for an effective extemporaneous speech. You can achieve that by maintaining your body language to establish a connection with your listeners.

You should also develop the audience's interests by tailoring your speech to address their concerns and interests.

Step 6 - Handling Transitions

Transitions are essential for keeping your speech coherent and organized. This step includes:

  • Make sure your ideas flow seamlessly in the speech, creating a natural progression.
  • Use words and phrases that act as guideposts for your audience through your speech.
  • Avoid sudden changes in the topic that could leave your listeners confused.

Step 7 - Navigating the Conclusion

Concluding your speech effectively leaves a lasting impression. Here is what you should keep in mind when writing:

  • Recap key points to ensure your audience leaves with a clear understanding of your main arguments. 
  • Make your message resonate with your listeners by delivering a powerful closing statement.
  • Invite questions or comments from your audience to engage them. 

Extemporaneous Speech Topics

Here are some topics for extemporaneous speech that can be used for practice or in various speaking situations:

  • The impact of social media on society.
  • Climate change: What can individuals do to make a difference?
  • The benefits of reading in the digital age.
  • The role of artificial intelligence in the workplace.
  • Should standardized testing be eliminated in education?
  • The challenges of maintaining work-life balance in a fast-paced world.
  • The importance of mental health awareness.
  • The future of renewable energy sources.
  • The effects of globalization on local cultures.
  • Is social media a force for good or harm?
  • Exploring the pros and cons of remote work.
  • The significance of cultural diversity in a globalized world.
  • The ethics of genetic engineering and designer babies.
  • The impact of the gig economy on job security.
  • The role of women in leadership positions.
  • The effects of video games on children's behavior.
  • The benefits and drawbacks of online education.
  • The impact of fast fashion on the environment.
  • The role of government in addressing income inequality.
  • The ethics of animal testing in scientific research.

Be sure to check out more speech topics to select the one that stands out to you the most.

Extemporaneous Speech Examples

Let’s take a look at an example of an extemporaneous speech situation:

The above example of extemporaneous speech addresses the topic of the impact of social media on modern society. It provides a well-structured, balanced, and informative discussion of the subject while maintaining a clear and engaging delivery style.

Here are some more examples to let you have a better understanding of how to write a speech;

Extemporaneous Speech Example

Extemporaneous Speech Example for Students

Extemporaneous Speech Example About Life

Extemporaneous Speech Example About Education

Be sure to check out more speech examples to have a better understanding of structuring and formatting a speech. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Extemporaneous Speech

Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when delivering extemporaneous speeches:

  • Lacking Clarity: Deliver your message clearly and concisely to prevent your audience from becoming perplexed.
  • Overusing Fillers: Repeatedly using fillers like "um" or "uh" can be distracting; practice reducing these verbal crutches.
  • Ignoring Time Constraints: Extemporaneous speeches are typically time-limited; going over your allotted time can disrupt the flow of the event.
  • Monotone Delivery: A lack of vocal variety can make your speech less engaging; vary your tone, pitch, and pace to keep your audience's attention.
  • Lack of Evidence: Backing your points with evidence is crucial; not providing examples, anecdotes, or data can weaken your arguments.
  • Avoiding Controversial Topics: While it's wise to be cautious, completely avoiding controversial subjects can make your speeches less engaging. Instead, learn to navigate these topics with sensitivity and respect.

Tips for Improving Extemporaneous Speech Delivery

Here are some extemporaneous speech tips you can use to improve the delivery of your speech:

  • Know Your Topic: Start by having a solid understanding of your topic. The more you know, the more confident you'll feel when speaking.
  • Speak Clearly and Slowly: Pronounce your words clearly and speak at a moderate pace. Avoid rushing through your speech.
  • Be Mindful of Fillers: Avoid using fillers such as "um," "uh," or "like." Practice eliminating these from your speech.
  • Manage Nervousness: Nervousness is natural. Practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, before speaking to manage anxiety.
  • Gestures and Body Language: Use appropriate gestures and body language to emphasize points and maintain audience interest.
  • Eye Contact: Maintain eye contact with your audience. This creates a sense of connection and engagement.
  • Vocal Variety: Vary your tone, pitch, and volume to keep your audience engaged. Avoid speaking in a monotone voice.

So there you have it!

Mastering the art of writing an extemporaneous speech is a valuable skill that can benefit you in various personal and professional situations. 

By following this step-by-step guide, practicing, and learning from your experiences, you can become a confident and effective extemporaneous speaker.

Don't miss the opportunity to improve your extemporaneous speaking skills. Keep practicing, and soon you'll be delivering impressive speeches on the spot with ease.

In case you're looking for someone to assist you with " help me write my essay " worries, contact us!

Our professional essay writers at MyPerfectWords.com are ready to partner with you to create an awesome public speaking experience.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. what is the purpose of an extemporaneous speech.

The main purpose of an extemporaneous speech is to help the speakers develop quick thinking skills. Since these speeches allow limited preparation time, the speaker has to think and organize his ideas quickly and on their feet.

2. What is the key characteristic of an extemporaneous speech?

The key characteristic of this kind of speech is that the speaker has to synthesize facts obtained from outside sources and mix them with his understanding and personal style to convey the message.

3. What are the advantages of extemporaneous speech?

The main advantages of this kind of speech include:

  • The speaker is able to speak in a more conversational tone and style.
  • Budding speakers learn how to think quickly and on their feet.

Besides, it also helps them maintain eye contact with the audience.

4. Is extemporaneous speech formal?

No, this kind of speech is usually informal as the speaker does not have time to memorize everything. However, the speaker is still being judged and, therefore, must follow a structure.

5. What is the difference between memorized and extemporaneous speech?

The extemporaneous speech is delivered with minimum preparation and with the help of note cards. A memorized speech is what it says, ‘memorized,’ and it is delivered without the help of cue cards.

6. Why is extemporaneous speech the best?

This kind of speech is considered the best because it allows the speakers to maintain eye contact with the audience. This includes both verbal and non-verbal communication, which is important in public speaking

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Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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Top 5 Extemp Tips

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Public speaking can be intimidating, especially when you're asked to deliver a speech on the spot. The fear of stumbling over words or losing track of thoughts can cripple even the most confident individuals.

However, there is a powerful technique that can help you overcome these challenges and deliver compelling speeches with ease. It's called Extemporaneous Speaking.

But don't worry, we have got you covered!

In this blog, we will explore the art of extemporaneous speaking. We will provide you with valuable insights, techniques, and tips to master this skill. 

Whether you're a student, or someone who simply wants to improve their speaking abilities, this guide is here to help.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

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Extemporaneous Speech Definition

Extemporaneous speech, also known as impromptu speaking, is a form of public speaking. It requires delivering a speech on a given topic without prior preparation. 

Unlike prepared speeches, extemporaneous speaking tests an individual's ability to think on their feet. They have to present coherent arguments or ideas in a spontaneous manner.

Speakers are typically provided with a topic and given a short amount of time to gather their thoughts before delivering the speech.

This style of speaking is often seen in various settings. This includes competitions, debates, or classrooms.

What are the Elements of an Effective Extemporaneous Speech?

An effective extemporaneous speech incorporates several key elements that contribute to its overall impact and success. Let's explore these elements in detail for this particular type of speech :

Clear Introduction

Begin your speech with a concise and attention-grabbing introduction. Clearly state the topic or question at hand and provide a brief overview of what you'll be discussing. Engage the audience from the start to capture their interest.

Well-Structured Content

Organize your speech into a logical structure that flows smoothly. Use a combination of main points and supporting details to build a coherent and persuasive argument. Consider using techniques like the problem-solution approach, cause-effect analysis, or chronological order, depending on the nature of your topic.

Engaging Delivery

Deliver your speech with energy, confidence, and enthusiasm. Maintain eye contact with the audience, use appropriate gestures and body language, and vary your tone of voice. Aim for a conversational style that connects with your audience on a personal level.

Supporting Evidence

Back up your arguments with relevant and credible evidence. Incorporate statistics, facts, examples, and anecdotes to strengthen your points and provide a deeper understanding of the topic. Use sources such as reputable studies, expert opinions, or real-life experiences to lend credibility to your speech.

Effective Conclusion

End your speech with a memorable conclusion that summarizes your main points and reinforces your thesis statement. Leave the audience with a lasting impression or a call to action, encouraging them to reflect on your speech.


Extemporaneous speaking requires the ability to adapt to unexpected situations or changes in the speaking environment. Be flexible and prepared to adjust your speech as necessary. This may involve addressing counter arguments, responding to audience questions, or incorporating new information that arises during your speech.

How To Deliver An Extemporaneous Speech?

Delivering an extemporaneous speech requires a combination of preparation, confidence, and adaptability. Here are some key tips to help you deliver an effective extemporaneous speech:

Familiarize Yourself with the Topic

Take time to understand the topic or question you'll be speaking about. Research and gather relevant information to develop a solid understanding of the subject matter. This knowledge will give you a foundation to draw upon during your speech.

Structure Your Speech

Create a basic structure for your speech with an introduction, body, and conclusion. Clearly define the main points or arguments you want to address. Organize your supporting ideas in a logical sequence, ensuring a smooth flow from one point to another.

Use Prompts and Keywords

Instead of memorizing your entire speech, use prompts and keywords to guide you through each section. Create cue cards or outline key points on a notecard. This will help jog your memory and keep your speech on track without sounding overly rehearsed.

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Speak Naturally

Avoid sounding robotic or overly scripted. Aim for a conversational tone that reflects your personality and allows you to connect with the audience. Be mindful of your pacing and avoid rushing through your speech. Speak clearly and enunciate your words to ensure clarity.

Use Visual Aids (if available)

If visual aids such as slides or props are available, utilize them to enhance your speech. Visual aids can provide additional support to your main points and make your presentation more engaging. However, be careful not to rely too heavily on them and maintain the focus on your spoken words.

Handle Nervousness

Feeling nervous is natural, but try to manage your nerves by taking deep breaths and maintaining a positive mindset. Remind yourself of your preparation and expertise on the topic. Channel your nervous energy into enthusiasm and passion for your subject.

Practice Active Listening

During your speech, pay attention to the audience's reactions and engagement. Stay alert to any cues or questions they may have. Adjust your delivery based on their responses, such as slowing down or elaborating on certain points to ensure comprehension.

Be Flexible and Adaptable

Extemporaneous speaking requires adaptability. Be prepared to adjust your speech if needed, such as addressing unexpected questions or incorporating new information. Stay composed and respond thoughtfully to any challenges that may arise.

Seek Feedback and Learn

After delivering your extemporaneous speech, seek feedback from others, such as colleagues, mentors, or trusted individuals. Assess areas of improvement, such as clarity, structure, or delivery. Use the feedback to enhance your skills for future extemporaneous speaking engagements.

How to Make Extemporaneous Speech?

When it comes to writing an extemporaneous speech, the goal is to strike a balance between preparation and spontaneity. A few steps can be followed to write a great extemporaneous speech. 

1. Select a Topic

The very first step is selecting a topic. A wise choice would include a topic that you are familiar with. It will take you less time to brainstorm ideas and plan your speech. Take a few minutes to brainstorm all the information you have on the subject. 

2. Create an Outline

Draft a quick outline for your speech. It should have a few lines for your introduction, something that the audience can relate to or will find funny, or a question that will alert the audience. Here is a sample outline for you to get a better idea.

Extemporaneous Speech Outline

3. Begin with the Body Paragraphs

After the outline, start working on your body paragraphs. Keep in mind that you do not have a lot of time to write and practice your speech. So make sure that the body paragraph should have a few key points only. 

4. Give Examples to Support Your Stance

Continue with your main points by giving some examples. Examples help the audience understand your topic better. It also makes them curious so they might have some questions at the end. 

5. Draft a Brief Conclusion

Write your conclusion, but make it very short. If your conclusion is too long it will be redundant for the audience. 

Extemporaneous Speech Examples

If you are still struggling to understand how to deliver an extemporaneous speech or how to write it time efficiently, check out these examples mentioned below:

Example of Extemporaneous Speech

Extemporaneous Speech About COVID-19

Extemporaneous Speech Sample

Example of Extemporaneous Speech About Education

Extemporaneous Speech Topics

When it comes to extemporaneous speech topics, the possibilities are vast. Here are some engaging and thought-provoking topic ideas to inspire your impromptu speeches:

  • Why do I love playing volleyball?
  • When will I become a millionaire?
  • Why is Playstation better than Xbox?
  • The best songwriter is -fill a name-
  • Gays don’t have equal rights, is it true?
  • Political instability in my country is due to?
  • Why is facebook’s popularity falling down so quickly?
  • Why are illegal immigrants not given rights?
  • Are internet crime and piracy penalized?
  • Stopping the war in Afghanistan is important

These are just some of the many extemp speech topics that you can choose from. Feel free to mold these topics according to your knowledge. 

If you need more interesting topics, check out our blog on the best Impromptu speech topics for public speaking .

Expert Tips For Delivering An Extemporaneous Speech 

Here are some brief tips to help you deliver an extemporaneous speech with confidence and impact:

Know your Audience: Tailor your speech to the specific audience you are addressing to ensure relevance and engagement.

  • Practice Impromptu Speaking : Regularly engage in impromptu speaking exercises to sharpen your ability to think on your feet and articulate your thoughts effectively.
  • Use Effective Body Language : Use gestures, facial expressions, and body movements to enhance your message and connect with the audience.
  • Emphasize Key Points : Highlight important ideas through vocal emphasis, pauses, or repetition to ensure they resonate with your audience.
  • Maintain a Steady Pace : Speak at a moderate pace to allow your audience to follow your ideas without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.
  • Use Storytelling Techniques : Incorporate anecdotes or stories to make your speech more relatable, memorable, and engaging.
  • Be Concise : Keep your ideas succinct and to the point. Avoid unnecessary tangents or rambling, as it can dilute the impact of your speech.
  • Practice Active Listening : Pay attention to your audience's reactions and adapt your speech accordingly. Respond to their cues, questions, or feedback to maintain a dynamic and interactive presentation.
  • Maintain a Positive Attitude : Approach your extemporaneous speech with a positive mindset. Embrace the challenge, believe in your abilities, and exude confidence in your delivery.

Remember , practice is key to improving your extemporaneous speaking skills. 

In conclusion, extemporaneous speaking is a valuable skill that can elevate your public speaking abilities to new heights. 

By mastering the art of impromptu speeches, you can deliver compelling presentations in any situation. 

Embrace opportunities to practice extemporaneous speaking, whether it's in classrooms, competitions, or professional settings. 

The more you engage in impromptu speaking, the more confident and adept you will become. You can try our AI essay writing tools to generate unique speeches and practice!

If you need further assistance with your college essays or any academic writing, CollegeEssay.org is here to help. 

Our experienced team of writers can provide expert guidance and support to ensure your essays make a lasting impression. 

So what are you waiting for? Just say ' Write an essay for me ' to hire our paper writing service today and take the next step towards achieving your academic goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is an extemporaneous speech.

The length of an extemporaneous speech can vary depending on the specific context or requirements. In general, extemporaneous speeches are typically shorter than prepared or formal speeches. They often range from 5 to 7 minutes, but can sometimes be as short as 3 minutes or extend up to 10 minutes. 

What is the difference between impromptu and extemporaneous speech?

The main difference between impromptu and extemporaneous speech is in the level of preparation. Impromptu speeches are delivered on the spot without prior planning or preparation. On the other hand, extemporaneous speeches involve some level of preparation, research, and organization before delivering the speech.

What are two qualities that make up an extemporaneous speech?

Two qualities that make up an extemporaneous speech are spontaneity and organization. Spontaneity refers to the ability to think and speak on the spot.

Organization involves structuring the speech with a clear outline, and cohesive content, ensuring that ideas are effectively communicated.

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4 Extemporaneous Speaking: The Basics

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate an understanding of proper speech delivery by learning the key elements of extemporaneous speaking and the time it will take to deliver the well-developed speech.

Extemporaneous Speaking

Extemporaneous speaking is a fancy way of saying: delivering a well-prepared speech. Extemporaneous speaking is not delivering a monologue or a memorized speech. Public speaking students often fall into the trap of under-preparing and under-practicing their speeches. This results in an, “Oh! no! I am not prepared and now I must read this outline word-for-word and hope for the best.” However, the best does not come to fruition and students that engage in this practice are disappointed when they lose substantial points from their speech grade due to lack of preparation, practice, and reading word-for-word from an outline. Just – don’t – do -it.

Here are a few ways you can engage in extemporaneous speaking:

  • Know your speech topic
  • Research your topic
  • Create a timeline – research, writing, peer-review, practicing, editing, practicing again
  • Create note cards to guide your speech
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • connecting with your audience is key in extemporaneous speaking

Dialogue vs. Monologue

The first tenet of the dialogic perspective is that communication should be a dialogue and not a monologue. Lev Yakubinsky argued that even public speaking situations often turn into dialogues when audience members actively engage speakers by asking questions. He even claimed that nonverbal behavior (e.g., nodding one’s head in agreement or scowling) functions as feedback for speakers and contributes to a dialogue (Yakubinsky, 1997). Overall, if you approach your public speaking experience as a dialogue, you’ll be more actively engaged as a speaker and more attentive to how your audience is responding, which will, in turn, lead to more actively engaged audience members.

Build a Proper Timeline

  • To ensure you have enough time for the assignment, create a timeline that works for your schedule
  • Week 1 – Brainstorm your speech topic and conduct an audience analysis
  • Week 2 – Research, gather support, plan outline, and write a speech
  • Week 3 – Edit, peer-review, begin practicing your speech
  • Week 4 – Revise, practice, create note cards, create a visual aid, and refine your delivery

Speech making timeline

Building on This Information

As you progress through this course, you will revisit proper extemporaneous speaking, the use of outlining, proper use of notecards, and delivering a strong speech. It is important to note that your audience deserves a speech that is interesting, thoughtful, and well-rehearsed. The audience is listening to you as the credible speaker in the room; in order to remain credible and professional, you will want to deliver an extemporaneous speech.

Key Takeaways

Students will want to become familiar with extemporaneous speaking in order to work towards a speech delivery that relies on effective speech strategies and not reading word-for-word from an outline.

  • Extemporaneous speaking is a skill that public speaking students must hone in on before delivering their speech to an audience.
  • Students will want to plan ahead to deliver a strong speech in the informative and persuasive speech weeks of this course.
  • Creating a proper timeline will assist in delivering a well-developed extemporaneous speech.

Public Speaking Copyright © by Dr. Layne Goodman; Amber Green, M.A.; and Various is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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PRDV008: Preparing and Delivering Presentations

Extemporaneous speeches.

Read this article, which summarizes the basics of extemporaneous presentations, as compared to impromptu speeches.

Extemporaneous, the most natural method of delivery, involves glancing at notes while maintaining crucial eye contact with the audience.

Key Takeaways

  • There are two popular methods for organizing ideas to create a graphical representation for speaker notes – outlining and mind or concept mapping .
  • An outline is a list of items with each item divided into additional sub-items. Each level in an outline has at least two subcategories. There are three basic types of hierarchical outlines – sentence , topic and phrase .
  • Topic and phrase are the most useful for speaker notes since they allow the speaker to quickly glance at the notes while maintaining eye contact with the audience.
  • Mind mapping and concept mapping are visual representation of ideas and concepts. Both mind maps and concept maps can be used to graphically show the relationship between ideas for a speech and as speaker notes for delivery.
  • A mind map diagram starts with a single word as a central branch node and lesser categories as sub-branches going off from the central node. A concept maps can have multiple hubs or nodes with clusters of concepts labeled to show the kind of relationship.
  • While extemporaneous speaking may be free of the constraints of memorization and manuscript speaking, it is not careless talk; the speaker prepares notes in advance to deliver an organized speech.
  • Concept Map : A diagram showing the relationships among concepts, with the concepts drawn in rectangular boxes, which are connected with labelled arrows that denote the relationships between concepts, such as "is a", "gives rise to", "results in", "is required by", or "contributes to".
  • Mind Map : A diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea.
  • Extemporaneous : A type of speech delivery which involves preparation of speaker notes prior to delivery, associated with conversational style of delivery.

Extemporaneous Speech

Extemporaneous speaking is one of the most natural methods for delivering a prepared speech. You can use an extemporaneous speech to achieve a more natural tone, flow, and style with the audience.

First, think about your topics and anticipate the audience's reception to your speech. You can develop speech notes based on this preparation and use them to aid you during the presentation.

Preparing Speech Notes

There are two popular methods for creating a graphical representation for notes: outlining, and mind or concept mapping.

An outline is a list of items with each item divided into additional sub-items. Each level in an outline has at least two subcategories. There are three basic types of outlines:

  • Sentence outline – Each complete sentence includes a heading or single sentence about the subject of the outline.
  • Topic outline – Each topic is listed and functions as a subtopic of the outline's subject.
  • Phrase outline – Each short phrase entry is a subtopic of the aforementioned main entry.

Speaking notes, topic outlines, and phrase outlines have an advantage over sentence outlines. For example, you can easily look at your notes for reference and as a personal reminder of which topics to discuss as you're speaking.

Outlines commonly take two forms: alphanumeric and decimal.

Alphanumeric Outline

An alphanumeric outline includes a capitalized number or letter at the beginning of each topic. Look at the sample:

I. Thesis statement: Email and internet monitoring is an invasion of employees' rights

Decimal Outline

The decimal outline shows how each item at every level relates to the whole sample.

Thesis statement:

1.0 Introduction

….1.1 Brief history of Liz Claiborne

….1.2 Corporate environment

2.0 Career opportunities

….2.1 Operations management

……..2.1.1 Traffic

……..2.1.2 International trade and corporate customs

……..2.1.3 Distribution

….2.2 Product development

The outline could be printed or handwritten as in this expert from Richard Nixon's Checkers speech.

image of a handwritten speech outline

Speech Notes : Notes from Richard Nixon's Checkers speech.

Mind Mapping and Concept Mapping

Mind mapping and concept mapping are visual representations of ideas and concepts. A mind map is a diagram that starts with a single word and then branches out from the central node, with lesser categories as sub-branches of the larger branches. Concept maps are more freeform, since multiple hubs and clusters can be created. Unlike mind maps, concept maps do not fix on a single conceptual center.

For example, in the mind map for student learning, you can view the main component idea and related ideas which connect to its branch nodes. You can also use a mind map as speaking notes.

Mind Map : A mind map is a diagram that starts with one word and expands into additional categories.

Practice and Rehearsal Guidelines

The following guidelines are best practices on how to practice and rehearse an extemporaneous speech:

  • Speak in a conversational style by pretending you are  with  your audience.
  • Rehearse with your graphics and coordinate them with your talk.
  • Display your graphics  only   when you are talking about them.
  • Rehearse in front of others and solicit feedback.
  • Record and listen to your timed practice speech.
  • Prepare for interruptions and questions at the end.

Although extemporaneous speaking may not require memorization and manuscript speaking, organize and prepare your content and notes ahead of time to deliver a speech that will be well received by your audience.

Free Speech : "Free speech doesn't mean careless talk!" produced by the Office for Emergency Management.

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Extemporaneous Speech – Definition, Tips, List of 100 Topics.

24 May, 2020

15 minutes read

Author:  Mathieu Johnson

Do you belong to that type of people who fear to speak on education topics in public? Then check our list of extemporaneous speech topics to get yourself started.

Extemporaneous Speech Topics

 Definition of Extemporaneous Speech

Extemporaneous Speech Topics

What is an extemporaneous speech you may ask? The essence of this type of speech lies in answering the question in a school assignment or tournament in front of the audience. In comparison to impromptu speech that requires zero time for topic preparation, extemporaneous speaking does allow us to take some time and take notes before entering the stage.

While giving a speech looks like a terrifying task, the art of extemporaneous delivery is not that hard to master. After all, there is a reliable essay writer , that can provide you with a brilliant text if you don’t know how to write an extemporaneous speech.

Extemporaneous Speech Tips

Extemporaneous Speech Tips

Stick to One Presentation Structure

For those who don’t know what is extemporaneous delivery – the answer is simple. It’s a natural ability to speak on a topic without or with little preliminary preparation for a speech. The best way to develop your extemporaneous style is to use a solid structure, like the SEE one. The abbreviation stands for statement, evidence, and emotion. This scheme is a useful tool for you to utilize when you need to speak extemporaneously during a speech. For example, when you’re asked to speak on your recent class project in an extemporaneous speech, divide your answer into blocks. First, provide a statement that tells about your success on the project. Then, give some evidence of your hard work on the task to back up your initial statement. Finally, appeal to emotion by sharing an interesting story associated with the project.

Tap into the Power of Extemporaneous Presentation Methods

There might be situations when you’ll feel uncomfortable speaking to a large – or not very – number of people. Your audience will sense this inner tension during the speech unless you find a way to maintain communication with them. One of the time-proven means of delivering an excellent speech is to be kind and speak nicely. Keep eye contact with people you talk to, smile naturally, and visually scan the audience to make them feel that you’re confident. Another great trick to use in case of confusion or oblivion during an extemporaneous speech is to create an intentional pause whenever you forget the text. This way, you’ll heat the interest of listeners for your speech even more.

Don’t Strive to Memorize Everything at Once

Learning texts by heart is a great practice anytime, except when it comes to giving an extemporaneous speech. Memorizing everything you want to pronounce in front of the audience will only distract you from what’s important – the message you want to speak on. You’ll only want to remember words from the notes instead of focusing on the essence of your speech.

Extemporaneous speaking is a skill that requires the ability to engage listeners to the topic and naturally discloses the idea with the mighty power of words. With little practice and devotion, you can make listeners genuinely interested in your personality and your manner of presenting any subject. If you have struggles defining your topic or keep asking “ can someone write my speech ?”, there are writing services that are ready to help. Stay confident, forget about fear, and strive to deliver the most memorable extemporaneous speech ever.

How to Prepare for Your Next Extemporaneous Speech in 3 Steps?

How to Prepare for Extemporaneous Speech in 3 Steps

Step 1 – Think of Your Topic

Before the speech starts, you will, in most cases, be given a subject to speak about. At this point, it’s more than important to choose the topic for a speech which is closer to you, or which you have a burning desire to speak on with others. Whether it’s connected with controversial issues or even socially disturbing ones, choose wisely and confidently.

Step 2 – Develop a Thesis Statement

A thesis is an essential element of any writing or speech piece. It’s a form of instruction that helps speakers better swim in the ocean of thoughts that spring to mind with regard to this or that extemporaneous speech topic. Write down, in two-three short sentences, what your feelings and opinions about the issue are. Then, reread your thesis and add some more information to speak about if necessary.

Step 3 – Practice in Advance

The practice is the key to success in any situation, and especially in cases when you’ll need to give an extemporaneous speech. Start with something as simple as speaking to yourself in the mirror. Try to observe the manner you speak, the body language you use, and if there are blind spots, fill them with more practice to avoid such mistakes. Alternatively, consider recording yourself to evaluate how good you speak and how decent your articulation is. Keep training until you are satisfied with the result.

3 Things You Should Not do While Presenting Your Extemporaneous Speech

Things You Should Not Do While Presenting Extemporaneous Speech

Don’t be Afraid of Your Audience

Your palms are probably sweating as you try to imagine how others will judge you or make premature conclusions when you speak to them during a speech. In reality, it’s just a delusion that lives in your head. Try to relax and enjoy the experience of being listened to.

Don’t Speak Fast

The human brain always needs some to process the information it receives while you speak. Accelerated speech makes it harder for listeners not only to digest your ideas but also to figure out what you want to say. To get away with nerves and calm down, it’s always a good idea to take a deep breath before you start an extemporaneous speech.

Don’t Pretend to be Smarter Than You Are

Many speakers make a huge mistake when they try to be experts in the topic, when in fact they’re not. Such an attitude to an extemporaneous speech will only diminish the trust of your audience that will otherwise detect your false intentions. Hence, be sincere with the public you speak to and take a personal stance on any topic you discuss during a speech .

Extemporaneous speaking is a skill that requires the ability to engage listeners to the topic and naturally discloses the idea with the mighty power of words. With little practice and devotion, you can make listeners genuinely interested in your personality and your manner of presenting any subject. If you have struggles defining your topic or keep asking “can someone write my speech?”, there are writing services that are ready to help. Stay confident, forget about fear, and strive to deliver the most memorable extemporaneous speech ever.

extemporaneous speech

To facilitate your work on a speech, we’ve prepared a list of 100 speech topics on a wide range of disciplines that’ll guide you in the right direction.

List Of 100 Speech Topics.

  • How can unequal conditions for different social classes be combated?
  • Should people be restricted by social rules and ethical codes, and why?
  • How has the environmental pollution worsened our quality of life?
  • Speak on why is apathy about politics more widespread now than in past decades?
  • Should the government constantly encourage people to convert waste into reusable material?
  • How can you foster environmental responsibility in your community?
  • What environmental issue keeps menacing the environment in America?
  • Tell us about yourself, and share some unusual trait that you have
  • Speak on the best day of your life. How did you feel then and why?
  • Tell the class about where you see your life in 10 years
  • Describe the ten best things you like about your city
  • What are the ten things you dislike about your school/ college?
  • An incident of your bravest act
  • A story from my life with a lesson and a message
  • Speak about who is your favorite author, and why?
  • Present a word portrait about one of your friends
  • Recall on the time when you had to give honest feedback
  • What is one thing that you think will make you successful?
  • Speak on a person who motivates you
  • Why do people celebrate Thanksgiving?
  • Why is Paris a unique place for traveling to?
  • What television show you think should be canceled, and why?
  • Speak on what is the best way to combat internet crime and piracy
  • Will the problem of water supply be the top geopolitical problem we will be ought to resolve?
  • Can workers do anything to resist automation?
  • Is big tech eroding American concerns about personal privacy?
  • Speak on your biggest concern for the future
  • Real wealth is never measured in money, what do you think about it?
  • How do you see the killing of animals that keep happening all over the world to produce food or other leather materials?
  • Do you believe in fate/ destiny?
  • What is the most useless invention do you think?
  • If you got a chance to choose between born as a boy or a girl, which one do you prefer?
  • Speak on how important communication is to you?
  • What is more important – skills or education?
  • Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, do you agree with it?
  • If you were extremely rich, what would you do with your money?
  • What goes around comes around, how would you explain it?
  • If you were a president, what would you do?
  • Do you want to live in a kingdom? Why?
  • If you could choose a country to live in, what country would it be?
  • Describe the happiest moment in your life
  • If you were an animal, what kind of animal do you want to be?
  • What could we do to save the earth?
  • Speak on why is it important to learn a second language
  • Should exams be replaced by other forms of testing performance?
  • Tell us what can we do to increase our patience?
  • How can world peace be achieved?
  • Every change should start with the man in the mirror, do you agree with it?
  • What is the meaning of life in the moment for you?
  • Should we cherish everything we have?
  • Which is more important do you think, being smart or beautiful?
  • Do you think the doomsday is real?
  • Speak about your favorite family tradition?
  • If you were alone on a lonely island, what would you do there?
  • How does technology affect our lives?
  • Can we reach our goals without working hard?
  • What does being fair mean for you?
  • Imagine how people will look like in 1000 years.
  • Actions speak louder than words, how do you see it?
  • Speak on whether smoking should be allowed in public places?
  • If your life was a movie, what title would you give it?
  • Speak on your biggest fear
  • Is it important to have a sense of humor?
  • What is your idea of a perfect job?
  • Speak about your role model?
  • What do you think being educated means?
  • Is it necessary to make plans before doing something?
  • Conservation is survival, do you agree with this statement?
  • What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
  •  All that glitters is not gold, explain it
  • If you had a chance to invent something useful, what would it be?
  • If you knew you only had 24 hours left to live, what would you do?
  • What does a family mean for you?
  • Speak on your idea of a perfect day?
  • Speak on whether it is a good idea to be a vegetarian?
  • Do you prefer tea or coffee? Why?
  • What is the biggest thing you’ve done that you’re proud of?
  • What do you think is a healthy lifestyle?
  • When you go for shopping, which one is more important for you, price or quality?
  •  People say the biggest challenge in life is discovering who you are, do you agree?
  • The world is full of nice people. In your own opinion, are you one of them?
  • When you are in a room full of people, do you mostly feel happy or lonely?
  • You are what you do, not what you say you will do. Do you agree?
  • If you could take a year off from school, what would you do?
  • Speak on what do your dreams mean to you
  • Explain the meaning of life for you
  • Do you think all people are selfish?
  • Speak on how can society affect your character
  • What are the benefits of homework?
  • Could final testing in senior high schools reflect your effort for the past few years?
  • Should hunting be illegal?
  • Is it right to ban fur clothing?
  • Speak on the ways to reduce homelessness
  • Should the death penalty be banned?
  • Do you think being a leader is easy?
  • Speak on what do you think your life purpose is
  • How do you start a conversation with a stranger?
  • What human quality do we need more of and why?
  • What do you miss most from your childhood?
  • Will life be better in the next century?

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Extempore Speech – Topics, Tips and Benefits

What is an extempore speech.

  • Key Components of Extempore Speech

Tips for Extempore Speech

  • Why is Extempore Speech Important?
  • Some More Extempore Speech Tips and Tricks

Extempore Speech Topics

  • What is the Importance of Learning Extemporaneous Speech?

FAQ Section

how to make extemporaneous speech

One can define extempore  speech  as an impromptu amalgamation of thoughts culminating into a self-composed speech, the topic for which one receives then and there. Extempore speech is typically used to gain a deeper knowledge of a participant’s many points but it also comes with a lot of problems.

No prior preparation for which is permissible. It won’t be wrong to say that catching hold over the art of delivering extempore speeches becomes the primary characteristic of a public speaker. Furthermore, being able to present the extempore topic to the audience without any proper preparation is a genuinely exceptional achievement.

How to Give a Good Extempore Speech?

To succeed in an extempore speech round, one needs to follow certain  tips  which can prove to be very helpful in your extempore speech. An extempore speech is always delivered on a random  topic  given. Always remember to prepare with some previously used extempore topics. We don’t say  Practice  makes a man perfect, just for the sake of it, it truly is so. One should always  practice  speaking on random topics. That is how we get an idea of a good extempore speech and its concoction.

Below are some checkpoints on giving a good extempore speech.

Know Your Direction

You’ve got to know how you want to deliver your speech before you start it. Whether you wish to begin on a lighter note by giving your opening a pinch of humour or with an awe-inspiring serious remark. The easiest approach to decide is to acquire a rapid sense of your target audience. What type of people are they? What direction would they accept? Your speech will be appreciated significantly more if you speak in a  language  that works with those listening to it.

Watch Your Words

You’ve got to listen to yourself. Do not say something that makes you regret it later. As a few matters could be personal to your audience while certain words can be offensive to others. Mind your tone as well, as it may simply affect the reception of your speech. Listen to the words coming out of you to make sure you’re saying what you want your audience to hear.

Plot A Course

Before you speak, try making a quick mental outline of what you want to say. Some of the worst speeches came when people didn’t take a moment to organize their thoughts before opening with their speeches. Your outline doesn’t even have to be a detailed one; all you require is a guide to help you keep track of your thoughts.

Prepare Some Back-up

Have some backup in mind. Forgetting your next statement which you wished to propose, isn’t unnatural. What separates a good speech from a disaster is how well you catch yourself before making a blunder. It’s good to have a backup plan for the times when your mind suddenly goes blank. That way, if you find yourself in a circumstance where you don’t have anything to say, you’ll be able to gracefully exit the situation. You can also bail yourself out with a polite way of excusing yourself. If you wish to attract a few laughs, it’s okay to explicitly talk about your mental block.

Keep It Short

Last but not least keep your speech short. Your extempore speeches are not supposed to be epic  narratives . The crisper and to the point you get the better. Use of certain words results in reflecting it to your audience that you lack in prior preparation. By doing so, you simply miss the point here. Speaking clearly and with as few words as possible you reflect  confidence  in your own opinions and that makes you a much refined public speaker  than  those who just seem to rely on their wide vocabularies.

Key Components of  Extempore Speech

To be able to give a good extempore speech, one must practice a lot of extempore topics but more importantly, understand the structure of a good extempore speech and presentation. The three most important aspects of a good extempore speech are-

Fluency is of the utmost importance when it comes to giving an extempore speech. Understanding the relationship between the various  parts of speech  and keeping track of the  new words  learnt is a way of developing grammar and vocabulary.  Good grammar  isn’t the only thing that gives you fluency. Practising speaking in the language is as important as grammar.

When a person is fluent in a particular language it becomes easier for them to recover from a grammatical error or any such error made while making a speech. Recovering from an error is not difficult at all, simply repeat the sentence correctly, excuse yourself and Move on. Being afraid is normal, but never let fear overtake you.

Shortcut to Complete English Fluency - Learn How to Produce Instant English  Speech | English Harmony-speech concoction

Never try to talk about something you do not have any idea about, rather limit your extempore to the fact you possess and go on. When you are unfamiliar with the theme in the level of detail for just about any reason, talk about what you know about it. Additionally, too much content is never a good sign, limited but meaningful content is what we should aim for.

Listen! It is an important lesson which people forget to revise. Preparation for any topic can only happen when you have sufficient knowledge of the topic, and that is only possible when you listen to the topic given and the instructions provided.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Structure of Extempore Speech

The last wheel on this three-wheeler is Structure. One can build an extempore on varied topics and for multiple  time  spans. The structure of any such speech acts as a framework, the content acts as the functional unit, and fluency acts like its muscular power.

An extempore speech should be structured in a way to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. The following is one of many structures to ensure the best results.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Always open your extempore by grabbing the attention of the audience. A smart line, concise observation or a famous quote is always a good way to go and contains what it takes an extempore to be a winner.

Try sticking to a few factors so that your extempore doesn’t seem overcrowded, interrupted, boring, or hard to remember. Be specific and stick to a point. As a listener, an individual might begin to feel boring and lose interest, the moment your extempore becomes too general. The extempore becomes a complete buzzkill. There will be no reason for the audience to remember you or the topic you’re speaking on.

An anecdote is nothing but an account of a particular incident or event, specifically a short one that is of amusing  nature . Something that happened to either you or someone close to you. Include personal experiences to make your piece relatable and engaging. Getting to know how a particular incident made you feel also helps the audience to relate better. You may even talk about how you came up with this extempore speech and its concoction at that very moment.

Ending with a bang is the final criteria of an excellent extempore. The previous points stated, should naturally pave way for the  conclusion . Attempting to cover too many points in a single go can even dilute the impact of your speech. Use Pauses to highlight the points and lead up to a great closing.

The Latin word extempore translates to “at the time.” It’s necessary to keep in mind that there are certain baseline rules to follow when giving an extempore speech.

Here are a few extempore speech tips to follow. If you don’t get straight to the point, you’ll get a bad grade.

  • Firstly, each participant is given a 2-to-5-minute time frame to talk and present their ideas.
  • If the time limit is not met, points may be deducted.
  • Switching from one language to another earns negative marking.
  • The jury’s or judges’ decision is conclusive.

Why is Extempore Speech  Important?

how to make extemporaneous speech

When a person tries to talk freely, it  boosts their confidence  and helps them overcome stage fright and  public speaking  fears. This typically allows the children to express themselves without masking their feelings.

In comparison to other  types  of talks, extemporaneous speeches have a number of advantages. Extemporaneous presentations are more authentic and unscripted, and they keep the audience engaged and motivated in the extempore topic. A well-prepared extemporaneous speaker will also know his topic very well and in-depth, making him sound like an authority in his field and earning the audience’s trust.

Because of its  adaptability , extempore speeches encourage audience participation. During the extempore presentation, the speaker has the option of involving the audience. He can also take questions during his speech to ensure that the audience understands the topic of the presentation while it is being delivered. This allows the person to ensure that everyone is aware of the situation and that no one loses interest in the middle of a talk due to a lack of extempore topic understanding.

Some other  benefits  of extempore speech and presentation include:

  • Boosts  Confidence
  • Improves  Communication  skills
  • Ability to think on the spot
  • Develops logical and analytical thinking

Some More Extempore Speech Tips  and Tricks

  • Extempore should always be practised with a variety of topics. This will allow you to list points, arrange them, and deliver them without feeling rushed.
  • If you find yourself becoming nervous, try moving about or making some coordinated movements.
  • Avoid sounding emotional or disclosing too many confidential info when giving your extempore speech.
  • When dealing with delicate issues or when selecting one side is difficult, always remain impartial and speak on behalf of both sides. However, you must bear in mind the time limit and avoid going overboard.
  • One of the most important things to remember is to provide a few small  examples  related to your extempore topic to liven things up. With practise, you should be able to ace the extempore topic.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Extempore speech is a method of assessing and judging a person’s speaking abilities, as well as the flow of their thoughts and the manner in which they communicate their views. The way you approach a subject and the points you make, whether you realise it or not, are quite essential.

Following are some of the most common extempore speech topics:

  • Why is junk food bad?
  • Are outdoor games good?
  • Why is social media important?
  • All that glitters is not gold
  • Hard Work Vs Smart Work
  • Are Scores a good measure of Intelligence?
  • The significance of a person’s  handwriting
  • Why books are important
  • Great things about the ocean
  • How to save money
  • Animals are stress relievers
  • Online communication and real-life friendship
  • Creativity  cannot be taught
  • Why is a failure the greatest teacher?

What is the Importance of Learning Extemporaneous Speech ?

  • Throughout an extempore session, a person’s capacity to think quickly is put to the test. Because the individual must talk on the spot, it assesses his or her capacity to analyze, coordinate, and express in the moment.
  • If adequate preparation is not done before to the speech, an extempore speech has a great consequences of going in a chaotic and disorientated direction. Before rationally positioning them to form a cohesive and well-knitted presentation, it is essential that the candidate first grasp the important issues that must be discussed.
  • The most challenging aspect of presenting an extempore speech is arriving up with a fresh chain of thoughts. Due to the restricted time available for the assignment, this takes on even greater proportions.
  • Prioritization and sequencing to exhibit logical thinking: The challenge isn’t just speaking quickly. But also making logical sense by stating things in a systematic and rational manner. This is especially true if the topic is vague and strongly dependant on the viewpoint of the person.
  • Interaction with the panel: A one- to five-minute extempore presentation is standard. The applicant must do justice to the issue within this constrained time span. Which, is more likely if he connects well with the panel.
  • Communication skills : These are essential because communication skills, both verbal and nonverbal, have an impact on the presentation’s efficacy. Arrangement, smoothness, and intonation are all important characteristics of successful verbal communication. Enthusiasm, eye contact, and mannerisms are common examples of  nonverbal communication.

The basic feat is the deliverance of an extempore speech and its concoction. Here’s a blog from  Podium School  to give you a few tips on extempore.

What is the procedure for conducting an extempore?

An extempore speech is one in which the person is offered a topic and one minute to prepare and deliver their opinions about it.

What is the thing that is different between extempore and impromptu?

Impromptu  and extempore are the same in that they are both improvised without any prior preparation, planning, or practise. The distinction is in the delivery method: an  impromptu speech  is composed and delivered on the spot, but an extemporaneous speech is composed and delivered with only a few notes.

How do you begin an extempore speech?

1. To begin an extempore speech, begin with a quote or a brief narrative related to the topic; this will give you an excellent start. 2. If you’re short on ideas, quickly apply what you’ve gained to your own life and move on. 3. Because extempore only lasts a few minutes, people try to speak rapidly.

On what basis are participants taking part in extempore speech judged?

The following criteria are used to evaluate participants 1. Opening/conclusion 2. Presentation 3. Composure/Confidence 4. Inflection/projection of voice 5. Diction/Enunciation 7. Expressions on the Face 8. Persuasiveness 9. Gestures 10. Ideas should be presented clearly

Why is extempore important?

Extempore allows students to think on their feet and outside of the box. It’s a fantastic way to hone your communication and  time management  abilities. Encourages one to think of and develop ideas without any prior planning. It forces students to deal with and analyse the problem at the moment.

Is it necessary to memorise extempore speeches?

Because extemporaneous speeches are not read or memorised, the speaker must stay in the present and “think on their feet”-a process that can be stressful. But it also allows for a high level of spontaneity, resulting in a natural, conversational style.

Extempore speech is a method of assessing and judging a person’s speaking abilities, as well as the flow of their thoughts and the manner in which they communicate their views. As a result, always strive to speak in a way that is pertinent to the topic and do not go beyond, as one only has a certain amount of time to speak on the subject.

There is no perfect method to begin an Extempore, but one of the finest ways to begin an extempore is as follows:

  • Begin with a quote, a true story, or an example.
  • Always talk in a way that is pertinent to the topic.
  • If you recall any quantitative data regarding the subject, use it to back up your arguments.
  • Only discuss the subject at hand.
  • Maintain your composure and calm.
  • Also, FINISH on a positive note.

It’s always without a question of doubt a little difficult to walk up to the stage and give a speech. be it prepared or unprepared. But we should never back down from a  challenge  because you would succeed. the question is will it be with flying colours or would it be a little short of it. If it is a little short of it, we always have the next time. When it will be even better than flying colours. Therefore, work on giving an extempore speech and its concoction.

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How to Write an Extemporaneous Speech

How to Write a 3-Minute Speech Fast

How to Write a 3-Minute Speech Fast

An extemporaneous speech is one prepared quickly, within a half hour or less. Many schools offer extemporaneous speaking competitions. When practiced, writing extemporaneous speeches can improve public speaking skills as well as promote on-the-fly thinking. These speeches are generally not very long although even five minutes can seem a long time when you are speaking. Like all speeches, they are designed to inform, inspire or persuade.

Identify your topic and start brainstorming on topic details. If possible, choose a topic with which you are familiar. If you have thirty minutes, spend the first ten minutes brainstorming to think of everything you can about the subject in that time. For example, if you want to persuade your audience to recycle, write down as many reasons as you can think of to recycle. Jot down quick notes like "reduce pollution," "setting example for future generations," "conserve resources," "conserve land" and "create new jobs." Write everything that comes to mind; you may later decide to delete some ideas.

Outline your speech. Start with the title, then list a few sentences for the introduction. For example, write "This morning I had a soda, and I almost threw away the can. But then I thought I should recycle." Then write what you will be talking about, specifically "Everyone should recycle and today I'm going to tell you why." Use a highlighter to stress your main point, "everyone should recycle."

Create the body of your speech. Limit yourself to the most important points you want to make and be sure they all relate directly to your subject as you do not have time to go off topic. Choose a few notes from your initial list and further clarify them. For example, write a paragraph about conserving land, another about reducing pollution and a third about creating new jobs.

Expand your main points. Take your three or four main topics and list a few examples, quotes or statistics for each section. Provide three pieces of supportive information for each of the three sections that are legitimate and backed by source. For example,"recycling reduces air pollution because the production of glass releases harmful gasses into the environment."

Write your conclusion. Use only about two or thee minutes of your preparation time to do this; conclusions don't need to be long. Restate your main arguments. End with an anecdote, quote or call to action. For example, "I encourage you all to go home tonight and gather up your old bottles to take to the recycling center tomorrow."

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14.1 Four Methods of Delivery

Learning objectives.

  • Differentiate among the four methods of speech delivery.
  • Understand when to use each of the four methods of speech delivery.

Lt. Governor Anthony Brown bring greetings to the 13th Annual House of Ruth Spring Luncheon. by Brian K. Slack at Baltimore, MD

Maryland GovPics – House of Ruth Luncheon – CC BY 2.0.

The easiest approach to speech delivery is not always the best. Substantial work goes into the careful preparation of an interesting and ethical message, so it is understandable that students may have the impulse to avoid “messing it up” by simply reading it word for word. But students who do this miss out on one of the major reasons for studying public speaking: to learn ways to “connect” with one’s audience and to increase one’s confidence in doing so. You already know how to read, and you already know how to talk. But public speaking is neither reading nor talking.

Speaking in public has more formality than talking. During a speech, you should present yourself professionally. This doesn’t mean you must wear a suit or “dress up” (unless your instructor asks you to), but it does mean making yourself presentable by being well groomed and wearing clean, appropriate clothes. It also means being prepared to use language correctly and appropriately for the audience and the topic, to make eye contact with your audience, and to look like you know your topic very well.

While speaking has more formality than talking, it has less formality than reading. Speaking allows for meaningful pauses, eye contact, small changes in word order, and vocal emphasis. Reading is a more or less exact replication of words on paper without the use of any nonverbal interpretation. Speaking, as you will realize if you think about excellent speakers you have seen and heard, provides a more animated message.

The next sections introduce four methods of delivery that can help you balance between too much and too little formality when giving a public speech.

Impromptu Speaking

Impromptu speaking is the presentation of a short message without advance preparation. Impromptu speeches often occur when someone is asked to “say a few words” or give a toast on a special occasion. You have probably done impromptu speaking many times in informal, conversational settings. Self-introductions in group settings are examples of impromptu speaking: “Hi, my name is Steve, and I’m a volunteer with the Homes for the Brave program.” Another example of impromptu speaking occurs when you answer a question such as, “What did you think of the documentary?”

The advantage of this kind of speaking is that it’s spontaneous and responsive in an animated group context. The disadvantage is that the speaker is given little or no time to contemplate the central theme of his or her message. As a result, the message may be disorganized and difficult for listeners to follow.

Here is a step-by-step guide that may be useful if you are called upon to give an impromptu speech in public.

  • Take a moment to collect your thoughts and plan the main point you want to make.
  • Thank the person for inviting you to speak.
  • Deliver your message, making your main point as briefly as you can while still covering it adequately and at a pace your listeners can follow.
  • Thank the person again for the opportunity to speak.
  • Stop talking.

As you can see, impromptu speeches are generally most successful when they are brief and focus on a single point.

Extemporaneous Speaking

Extemporaneous speaking is the presentation of a carefully planned and rehearsed speech, spoken in a conversational manner using brief notes. By using notes rather than a full manuscript, the extemporaneous speaker can establish and maintain eye contact with the audience and assess how well they are understanding the speech as it progresses. The opportunity to assess is also an opportunity to restate more clearly any idea or concept that the audience seems to have trouble grasping.

For instance, suppose you are speaking about workplace safety and you use the term “sleep deprivation.” If you notice your audience’s eyes glazing over, this might not be a result of their own sleep deprivation, but rather an indication of their uncertainty about what you mean. If this happens, you can add a short explanation; for example, “sleep deprivation is sleep loss serious enough to threaten one’s cognition, hand-to-eye coordination, judgment, and emotional health.” You might also (or instead) provide a concrete example to illustrate the idea. Then you can resume your message, having clarified an important concept.

Speaking extemporaneously has some advantages. It promotes the likelihood that you, the speaker, will be perceived as knowledgeable and credible. In addition, your audience is likely to pay better attention to the message because it is engaging both verbally and nonverbally. The disadvantage of extemporaneous speaking is that it requires a great deal of preparation for both the verbal and the nonverbal components of the speech. Adequate preparation cannot be achieved the day before you’re scheduled to speak.

Because extemporaneous speaking is the style used in the great majority of public speaking situations, most of the information in this chapter is targeted to this kind of speaking.

Speaking from a Manuscript

Manuscript speaking is the word-for-word iteration of a written message. In a manuscript speech, the speaker maintains his or her attention on the printed page except when using visual aids.

The advantage to reading from a manuscript is the exact repetition of original words. As we mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, in some circumstances this can be extremely important. For example, reading a statement about your organization’s legal responsibilities to customers may require that the original words be exact. In reading one word at a time, in order, the only errors would typically be mispronunciation of a word or stumbling over complex sentence structure.

However, there are costs involved in manuscript speaking. First, it’s typically an uninteresting way to present. Unless the speaker has rehearsed the reading as a complete performance animated with vocal expression and gestures (as poets do in a poetry slam and actors do in a reader’s theater), the presentation tends to be dull. Keeping one’s eyes glued to the script precludes eye contact with the audience. For this kind of “straight” manuscript speech to hold audience attention, the audience must be already interested in the message before the delivery begins.

It is worth noting that professional speakers, actors, news reporters, and politicians often read from an autocue device, such as a TelePrompTer, especially when appearing on television, where eye contact with the camera is crucial. With practice, a speaker can achieve a conversational tone and give the impression of speaking extemporaneously while using an autocue device. However, success in this medium depends on two factors: (1) the speaker is already an accomplished public speaker who has learned to use a conversational tone while delivering a prepared script, and (2) the speech is written in a style that sounds conversational.

Speaking from Memory

Memorized speaking is the rote recitation of a written message that the speaker has committed to memory. Actors, of course, recite from memory whenever they perform from a script in a stage play, television program, or movie scene. When it comes to speeches, memorization can be useful when the message needs to be exact and the speaker doesn’t want to be confined by notes.

The advantage to memorization is that it enables the speaker to maintain eye contact with the audience throughout the speech. Being free of notes means that you can move freely around the stage and use your hands to make gestures. If your speech uses visual aids, this freedom is even more of an advantage. However, there are some real and potential costs. First, unless you also plan and memorize every vocal cue (the subtle but meaningful variations in speech delivery, which can include the use of pitch, tone, volume, and pace), gesture, and facial expression, your presentation will be flat and uninteresting, and even the most fascinating topic will suffer. You might end up speaking in a monotone or a sing-song repetitive delivery pattern. You might also present your speech in a rapid “machine-gun” style that fails to emphasize the most important points. Second, if you lose your place and start trying to ad lib, the contrast in your style of delivery will alert your audience that something is wrong. More frighteningly, if you go completely blank during the presentation, it will be extremely difficult to find your place and keep going.

Key Takeaways

  • There are four main kinds of speech delivery: impromptu, extemporaneous, manuscript, and memorized.
  • Impromptu speaking involves delivering a message on the spur of the moment, as when someone is asked to “say a few words.”
  • Extemporaneous speaking consists of delivering a speech in a conversational fashion using notes. This is the style most speeches call for.
  • Manuscript speaking consists of reading a fully scripted speech. It is useful when a message needs to be delivered in precise words.
  • Memorized speaking consists of reciting a scripted speech from memory. Memorization allows the speaker to be free of notes.
  • Find a short newspaper story. Read it out loud to a classroom partner. Then, using only one notecard, tell the classroom partner in your own words what the story said. Listen to your partner’s observations about the differences in your delivery.
  • In a group of four or five students, ask each student to give a one-minute impromptu speech answering the question, “What is the most important personal quality for academic success?”
  • Watch the evening news. Observe the differences between news anchors using a TelePrompTer and interviewees who are using no notes of any kind. What differences do you observe?

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How to Develop Extemporaneous and Public Speaking Skills

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Introduction to public speaking as an extracurricular activity

Public speaking is an important skill in many stages of life, both in school and in your career. Honing your communication skills while you are in high school will help you tremendously in college and beyond and also serves as a great confidence-booster. There are a number of extracurricular activities available to help you develop your public speaking skills, such as Speech and Debate , Model UN , Mock Trial , Girls and Boys Nation/State , and others. It’s also a skill involved in many performance-related activities, including drama, singing, and slam poetry.

Despite how nerve-wracking public speaking can be, putting in the time and effort to develop your skills in high school will serve you well no matter what your future plans are.

What is extemporaneous speaking?

“Extemporaneous” means on the spot, with minimal preparation. Extemporaneous speaking is speaking about a topic on the fly. You receive or think of a topic, generally have a short amount of time to jot down ideas and formulate a structure, and then publicly perform your speech.

The National Speech and Debate Association (formerly National Forensics League) has two specific Extemporaneous Speech events, International and United States, at Speech and Debate competitions, with particular rules and standards. The National Speech and Debate Association website describes these events as follows:

Extemporaneous Speaking, typically called extemp, is a speech on current events with limited preparation time. A student’s understanding of important political, economic, and cultural issues is assessed along with critical thinking and analytical skills. Students report to a draw room (often referred to as extemp prep) where all of the extempers gather at tables, set out their files, and await their turn to draw topics. Students may access research brought with them to the tournament during the 30-minute preparation period. When prep time is up, the student reports to the competition room to deliver a 7 minute speech.

Students have a lot to do in 30 minutes—they must select a question, review research, outline arguments with supporting materials, and practice at least part of the speech before time expires. Many tournaments prohibit the consultation of notes during the speech in which case speech structure and evidence need to be memorized during prep time as well.

The International and United States events are similar in that they both offer a choice of three questions related to current events; the International event’s questions concern international issues, while the United State event deals with the U.S. only.

Other Speech and Debate organizations may have similar events. If you are interested in participating, start by talking to your English teacher or the Speech and Debate coach at your school. He or she may be able to give you resources and names of competitions that are most appropriate for you. If you are a homeschooled student, contact the school in your zoned school district to find out if you are eligible to participate in extracurricular activities through that school or ask our state’s activities association for more information.

The skills you will develop as an extemporaneous speaker will serve you well in a number of different arenas. For instance, you may use them to respond to a classmate’s point in a class discussion, or to give an impromptu toast at a wedding. If you decide to attend law school, you will be tasked with formulating impromptu arguments in class routinely, and must be well-prepared with extemporaneous speaking skills.

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How to become a better extemporaneous speaker

If you would like to become a better extemporaneous speaker, start by practicing with a wide range of both familiar and unfamiliar topics. You could find ideas by watching the news or reading a newspaper or a book.

Use competition-type timing and materials restrictions while practicing (consult The National Speech and Debate Association website for the rules). It is also a good idea to practice in front of audiences, especially those who can give you critical feedback on booth your content and delivery, such as your parents, teachers, or friends. If you are in a Speech and Debate club or organization, ask fellow members if they can give you feedback, and offer to do the same for them.

You can also record yourself on video and watch it back critically to evaluate your own speaking. Pay attention to your body language—your gestures should be natural and accentuate your message. Try not to be overly dramatic.

Work on your memorization abilities. Repetition is one way to solidify facts in your mind, so try making flash cards with key points and facts and using them to practice. Repeating facts out loud is another way to help you remember them. You will need to practice before your events, because using notes while speaking during competitions is usually not allowed. Even if it is permitted, notes can sometimes confuse you and hold you up more than they help.

Be sure to slow down even more than feels natural. Many students in Speech and Debate events speak much too quickly, but if you practice speaking slowly, you are less likely to let your nerves get the better of you and speed up when the competition rolls around. Also, be sure to time yourself: you want to fill your allotted time slot without going over the limit, and regularly timing yourself will help you develop a feel for how much you can say in the given time.

Make sure you use your analytical skills to argue an interesting and nuanced point rather than simply listing facts. You might practice doing so by thinking about arguments from different angles and developing counterarguments, as well as paying attention to current events and other issues in the news so you are aware of what is happening and the different perspectives people have on them.

At events that do allow you to bring research materials and notes, make sure you organize your materials so you can access the information you need quickly and easily.

Visit the NSDA website for guidelines to help you with particular events.

For more information

There are many extracurricular activities that can help you hone your public speaking skills. Start with CollegeVine’s guides below to find the one that is right for you.

A Guide to Excelling at Speech and Debate

Guide to the American Legion Oratorical Competition

A High School Student’s Guide to Mock Trial

How to Win Best Delegate in Model UN

Girls and Boys Nation—an Extension of Girls and Boys State

Summer Programs for Prospective Theatre Majors

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10 Extemporaneous Speech Examples

  • Tom Clayton
  • January 9, 2023

Ah, the extemporaneous speech. The perfect balance of preparation and improvisation. It’s the type of speech that allows you to sound like a total pro without spending hours pouring over notes and rehearsing every single word. But if you’re anything like me, the idea of giving an extemporaneous speech can still be intimidating. What if you forget something important? What if you completely blank out and can’t think of a single thing to say?

Definition of Extemporaneous Speech

Flexibility and adaptability, improvisation skills, authenticity, improved public speaking skills, elements of an extemporaneous speech, research your topic thoroughly, organize your ideas, practice your delivery, anticipate questions and objections, 1. barack obama, 2. bill clinton, 3. ellen degeneres, 4. steve jobs, 5. jimmy fallon, 6. stephen colbert, 7. tony robbins, 8. tina fey, 9. martin luther king jr., 10. john f. kennedy, 1. follow a single presentation style, 2. don’t be scared of the audience, 3. don’t try to memorize every detail.

Fear not, dear reader. I’ve compiled a list of 10 extemporaneous speech examples to inspire you. These examples come from politicians, comedians, and everyday people who have mastered the art of speaking off the cuff.

However, before we dive in, let’s talk some more about what extemporaneous speech actually means.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Photo by Matheus Bertelli

An extemporaneous speech is a type of public speaking that is given with minimal prior preparation. Unlike prepared speeches, which are rehearsed and memorized beforehand , extemporaneous speeches are spontaneous and rely on the speaker’s ability to think on their feet.

In an extemporaneous speech, the speaker may have a general outline or set of ideas to follow, but they do not have a fully written out or memorized speech .

Instead, they must rely on their knowledge, research, and improvisation skills to present their ideas in a clear and compelling way.

Extemporaneous speeches are often given in response to a specific prompt or topic, such as a question from an audience member or a discussion topic in a debate. They may also be given in situations where the speaker has limited time to prepare, such as impromptu talks or debates.

Benefits of Extemporaneous Speeches

There are several benefits to using extemporaneous speeches in public speaking. Here are just a few:

One of the main advantages of extemporaneous speeches is that they allow speakers to be flexible and adaptable. By not being tied to a specific script or set of notes, speakers can respond to the needs and concerns of their audience in real-time.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Photo by ICSA

This can help to create a more engaging and dynamic presentation, as the speaker can tailor their message to the specific audience and situation.

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Giving an extemporaneous speech requires a high level of improvisation skills. Speakers must be able to think on their feet and come up with responses to unexpected questions or objections.

This can help to build confidence and poise, as well as improve problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Extemporaneous speeches can also help speakers to come across as more authentic and genuine.

By not being tied to a script, speakers can speak more naturally and from the heart, which can help to build trust and credibility with their audience.

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Overall, giving extemporaneous speeches can help to improve public speaking skills, including the ability to research and organize ideas, think critically and creatively, and engage with an audience.

Whether you are a student, professional, or simply looking to improve your public speaking abilities, developing your skills in extemporaneous speaking can be a valuable investment.

There are several elements that go into creating a successful extemporaneous speech.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

First, it’s important to choose a topic that you are knowledgeable about and passionate about.

This will help you to speak with confidence and enthusiasm, and engage the audience. It’s also helpful to choose a topic that is relevant to your audience and that they will find interesting.

Next, you’ll want to do your research and gather all of the information that you’ll need to support your points.

This may include statistics, examples, and quotes from experts in the field. Be sure to organize your information into an outline so that you can easily access it during your speech.

Another important element of an extemporaneous speech is the introduction. This is your opportunity to grab the audience’s attention and set the stage for your presentation.

You may want to start with a question or a statement that will grab their attention, or use a personal story to draw them in.

The body of your speech should be well-organized and flow smoothly from one point to the next. Use transitions to help your audience follow along and make connections between your points.

It’s also important to use a variety of speaking techniques, such as rhetorical questions, repetition, and using your voice and body language to emphasize your points.

Finally, the conclusion of your speech is an opportunity to summarize your main points and leave a lasting impression on your audience. You may want to end with a call to action , encouraging your audience to take some type of action based on what they’ve learned.

How to Prepare for an Extemporaneous Speech?

While extemporaneous speeches rely on improvisation, that doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare in advance. Here are a few tips and strategies for preparing for an extemporaneous speech:

The more you know about your topic, the better equipped you will be to improvise and respond to questions and objections. Be sure to do thorough research and have a good understanding of the key points and arguments you want to make.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Even though you won’t have a script, it can still be helpful to have a general outline or set of ideas that you can follow. This can help you to stay focused and on track, and make it easier to improvise and adapt to the needs of your audience.

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While you won’t be able to rehearse a specific script, you can still practice your delivery and get a feel for how you want to present your ideas. This can help you to feel more confident and comfortable when it comes time to give your speech.

Think about the types of questions or objections that your audience might have, and come up with responses in advance. This can help you to feel more prepared and confident when faced with these types of challenges.

Examples of Extemporaneous Speeches

Extemporaneous speeches are a common and effective tool in many different settings, including politics, business, and public policy. Here are a few examples of extemporaneous speeches that showcase the style and effectiveness of this type of public speaking:

No list of extemporaneous speech examples would be complete without mentioning the 44th President of the United States. Obama was known for his smooth, confident delivery and ability to think on his feet.

Obama had several great moments during his presidency and one of which was during a press conference in 2010. A reporter asked him a question about the economy, to which Obama responded with a perfectly crafted analogy about the economy being like a “car that got stuck in a ditch.”

The analogy not only helped Obama explain a complex topic in a relatable way, but it also showed his ability to improvise and think on the spot.

Bill Clinton was another president who had experience speaking spontaneously. In truth, Clinton was renowned for his capacity to engage crowds and give them the impression that he was speaking to them directly.

During a town hall meeting in 1992 during Clinton’s presidential debate, an audience member questioned him on his strategy for “improving the economy and people’s lives.”

In addition to being intelligent and well-reasoned, Clinton’s statement demonstrated his capacity to comprehend and solve the concerns of regular Americans. You can see the transcript of the exchange here .

Okay, I know Ellen DeGeneres isn’t a politician, but she’s definitely someone who knows how to speak extemporaneously (and make us all laugh in the process).

One of the best moments from her show was during a segment called “ What’s Wrong with These Signs .” Ellen and her team had set up fake storefronts with hilarious and absurd signs, and Ellen had to improvise jokes and commentary on the fly.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, was known for his captivating and persuasive presentations. And while many of his speeches were rehearsed and planned out, he also had a knack for extemporaneous speaking.

Steve Jobs gave one of the most spontaneous speeches ever in 2001 when the iPod was initially released. One of the journalists in the room where Jobs was announcing the new device asked Jobs why the iPod was better than other MP3 players on the market.

Without missing a beat, Jobs launched into a passionate and persuasive explanation of the iPod’s superiority. You can watch the entire presentation here .

Like Ellen DeGeneres, Jimmy Fallon is a master of extemporaneous speaking and making his audience laugh. Fallon is the host of “The Tonight Show,” and one of the best extemporaneous moments from his show was during a segment called “Thank You Notes.”

In this segment, Fallon writes and performs humorous “thank you” notes to various people, places, and things. The catch is that he has to come up with the jokes and gags on the spot.

Another comedian who excels at extemporaneous speaking is Stephen Colbert. Colbert is the host of “The Late Show,” and like Fallon, one of the best extemporaneous moments was also from his show.

During a segment called “The Werd”, Colbert delivers a monologue on current events and political issues. He had to come up with the jokes and commentary on the fly, without any prior preparation.

Colbert’s quick wit and ability to think on his feet make this segment a must-watch for anyone interested in current events and politics.

Self-help guru Tony Robbins is known for his energetic and motivational speeches. And while many of his talks are planned and rehearsed, he also has a knack for extemporaneous speaking.

During a seminar on goal setting, a participant asked Robbins a question about how to overcome fear and self-doubt, and Robbins launched into a powerful and inspiring response here .

Tina Fey is an everyday actress and comedian who became an internet sensation thanks to her extemporaneous speaking skills.

In 2021, Fey and her fellow Golden Globe host, Amy Poehler, presented the award show to an unusually empty hall , no thanks to Covid.

Rather than getting flustered or thrown off, Fey handled the situation with poise and humor. She improvised witty remarks and carried on with her presentation as if it was business as usual, including taking a dig at HFPA for its lack of diversity.

Fey’s ability to think on her feet and handle a difficult situation with grace and humor made her a viral hit and an inspiration to anyone who has ever had to deal with such circumstances.

While Martin Luther King Jr. is best known for his planned and rehearsed speeches, such as his “I Have a Dream” speech, he was also skilled at extemporaneous speaking.

In 1968, King was speaking to a crowd of civil rights activists when he delivered a powerful and dynamic speech.

In his “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech , he spoke about the civil rights movement and its progress, as well as the challenges that remained ahead. He also spoke about the importance of nonviolence and unity in the face of adversity.

Despite being an impromptu speech, “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” has been widely hailed as one of King’s most powerful and memorable speeches.

John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was known for his charm and charisma. And while many of his speeches were planned and rehearsed, he also had a knack for extemporaneous speaking.

He had a memorable extemporaneous moment during a press conference in 1962 when a reporter asked Kennedy a question about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The president explained the steps that the United States was taking to address the situation, and he reassured the American people that the government was doing everything it could to ensure their safety.

Kennedy’s response to the Cuban Missile Crisis was widely praised, and it helped to defuse the situation and prevent a potential nuclear conflict. It is remembered as one of the defining moments of his presidency, and it is an example of his ability to handle difficult situations with poise and grace.

Tips to Present Your Extemporaneous Speech

If you want to give an extemporaneous speech, here are some tips to help you present it effectively.

It is important to follow a single presentation style when giving an extemporaneous speech, as it helps to create cohesiveness and structure in your presentation.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk

A presentation style refers to the way in which you deliver your speech, including elements such as your posture, gestures, and facial expressions.

When following a single presentation style, it is important to be consistent and maintain the same level of energy and enthusiasm throughout your speech.

This can help to engage your audience and keep their attention. It is also important to use natural and appropriate gestures and facial expressions, as they can help to convey your message and emotions effectively.

Another aspect of presentation style to consider is your posture. Stand up straight and maintain good posture throughout your speech, as it projects confidence and professionalism. Avoid fidgeting or pacing excessively, as it can be distracting to your audience.

Finally, consider the tone of your speech. Are you trying to persuade, inform, or entertain your audience? Choose the appropriate tone to match your purpose and maintain it throughout your presentation.

It is natural to feel a little nervous when speaking in front of an audience, but it is important not to let your fear get the best of you.

One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to be well-prepared. Make sure you fully understand your topic and the purpose of your presentation and spend time rehearsing and fine-tuning your outline. The more confident you are in your material, the less nervous you will be.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Photo by Mikael Blomkvist

Before you give your speech, take a few minutes to close your eyes and visualize yourself giving a successful presentation. See yourself speaking confidently, using natural gestures, and engaging your audience. This can help to boost your confidence and reduce anxiety.

Instead of worrying about what the audience is thinking, try to focus on connecting with them. Make eye contact, use appropriate facial expressions, and respond to their questions and comments. This will help you feel more present and less self-conscious.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Photo by Igreja Dimensão

The way you talk to yourself can have a big impact on your confidence and anxiety levels. Avoid negative self-talk such as “I can’t do this” or “I’m going to mess up,” and instead, use positive affirmations such as “I am well-prepared” or “I am confident in my abilities.”

If you start to feel anxious, take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves. Inhale deeply through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can help to relax your body and clear your mind.

There are a variety of relaxation techniques that can help to reduce anxiety, such as progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, or deep breathing exercises. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you.

When it comes to extemporaneous speech, it can be tempting to try and memorize every single detail of your topic in order to feel prepared. However, this approach is often not effective and can even be counter-productive.

how to make extemporaneous speech

First of all, the human brain is simply not designed to store vast amounts of information in the form of raw details. Instead, our brains are better at organizing and synthesizing information and creating connections and patterns between different pieces of information.

This means that memorization is not a sustainable or effective way to learn complex concepts or information.

Furthermore, relying too heavily on memorization can actually hinder your ability to think on your feet and improvise during an extemporaneous speech.

If you’re too focused on reciting memorized details, you may struggle to respond to unexpected questions or challenges that come up during your speech.

how to make extemporaneous speech

A better approach is to focus on understanding the material you’re speaking about rather than trying to memorize every detail. This means actively engaging with the material, asking questions, and making connections between different concepts.

This will not only help you to retain the information better in the long term, but it will also make it easier for you to apply your knowledge to new situations and adapt your message as needed during an extemporaneous speech.

Additionally, there are often more efficient ways to learn certain types of information, such as using mnemonic devices or visual aids to help you remember key points.

By taking a more holistic approach to learning, you can save time and energy while still gaining a thorough understanding of the material.

In conclusion, extemporaneous speeches are a dynamic and effective tool for public speaking. By relying on their knowledge, research, and improvisation skills, speakers are able to deliver spontaneous and authentic presentations that can engage and inspire their audiences.

Whether you are a student, professional, or simply looking to improve your public speaking abilities, learning how to give an extemporaneous speech can be a valuable skill to have in your toolkit.

With the right preparation and practice, you too can become a confident and effective extemporaneous speaker, able to adapt and engage with any audience.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.

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Extemporaneous Speech

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  • Hook: Begin with a quote or an anecdote relevant to public speaking or adaptability.
  • Thesis Statement: Extemporaneous speaking is a powerful tool that combines the authenticity of impromptu speaking with the clarity of a prepared speech.
  • Brief Explanation: Outline the importance of extemporaneous speaking in various settings, from education to professional environments.

Extemporaneous Speaking

  • Definition: Explain what extemporaneous speaking is.
  • Comparison: Contrast it with other forms of speaking – impromptu, manuscript, and memorized.
  • Importance: Discuss the relevance in today’s fast-paced, information-rich world.

Preparing for an Extemporaneous Speech

  • Research: Emphasize the importance of understanding the topic thoroughly.
  • Main Points: Suggest listing 3-5 key points.
  • Supporting Data: Recommend including statistics, quotes, or anecdotes.
  • Practice: Tips on practicing the delivery without memorizing.

Effective Delivery Techniques

  • Engagement: Techniques to engage the audience (eye contact, gestures).
  • Pacing and Clarity: Importance of speaking rate and clear articulation.
  • Handling Nervousness: Strategies to manage public speaking anxiety.

Adapting to Audience Feedback

  • Reading the Room: Tips on gauging audience reactions and engagement.
  • Flexibility: Adjusting the speech in real-time based on audience cues.
  • Interactive Element: Encourage incorporating audience questions or feedback.
  • Recap: Summarize the key components of successful extemporaneous speaking.
  • Call to Action: Encourage the audience to embrace extemporaneous speaking in their personal and professional lives.
  • Closing Thought: End with a motivational statement or a thought-provoking question about the power of effective communication.

Sample of Extemporaneous Speech

“Speak as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever,” once said Mahatma Gandhi. This profound statement encapsulates the essence of extemporaneous speaking—a powerful tool that marries the authenticity of impromptu speaking with the clarity and coherence of a prepared speech. In today’s ever-changing world, the ability to communicate effectively and adaptably is not just valuable; it’s essential. Whether in educational settings, professional environments, or everyday interactions, extemporaneous speaking equips individuals with the skill to articulate their thoughts clearly, persuasively, and with genuine spontaneity.

At its core, extemporaneous speaking refers to the practice of delivering a speech in a semi-prepared fashion. Unlike impromptu speaking, which relies solely on spontaneity, or manuscript and memorized speeches that are rigidly structured, extemporaneous speaking strikes a balance. It allows the speaker to maintain eye contact with their audience, adapting their message in real-time while relying on a flexible outline.

The importance of this form of speaking cannot be overstated in our fast-paced, information-rich world. It enables speakers to present their ideas compellingly and responsively, adjusting their message to fit the audience’s needs and reactions.

The key to a successful extemporaneous speech lies in thorough research and understanding of the topic. This foundation allows the speaker to speak confidently and fluidly on the subject.

Creating a flexible speech outline is crucial. It should highlight 3-5 main points that you intend to cover, supported by data, quotes, or anecdotes to enrich the speech and resonate with the audience.

Practice is also essential but focus on becoming comfortable with the main ideas rather than memorizing the speech verbatim. This approach will enable you to deliver your message more naturally and confidently.

Engaging your audience is about more than just words; it involves eye contact, gestures, and the pacing of your speech. Clear articulation and a moderate speaking rate can help ensure your message is understood.

Handling nervousness is a common concern in public speaking. Strategies such as deep breathing, focusing on the message rather than the self, and practicing in simulated conditions can significantly reduce anxiety.

An extemporaneous speaker must be adept at reading the room . This means gauging audience reactions and adjusting the speech accordingly, ensuring the message resonates and engages.

Flexibility and the inclusion of an interactive element , such as audience questions or feedback, can also enhance the speech’s impact, making it a two-way communication process.

In conclusion, Extemporaneous speaking is a valuable skill in the arsenal of effective communication. It combines the authenticity of impromptu remarks with the thoughtful clarity of a prepared speech, allowing for a dynamic and responsive interaction with the audience. I encourage you to embrace extemporaneous speaking in both your personal and professional lives. It’s a skill that, once honed, can open doors to new opportunities, deepen connections, and elevate your ability to influence and inspire.

how to make extemporaneous speech

Extemporaneous Speech Maker: Quick and Efficient Tool

Need urgent assistance with speech writing? You are welcome to use our free online tool. It was designed to help college students search for inspiration before delivery for successful performance.

This extemporaneous speech maker is relatively simple to use. Just follow these steps:

  • Add the topic of your speech.
  • Indicate your stance.
  • Add details about the audience.
  • Click “Generate” and get the extemporaneous speech.
  • 🤖 Introduction
  • ✨ 5 Advantages of Speech Maker

🗣️ What Is an Extemporaneous Speech?

  • 🤓 How to Make an Effective Speech
  • 📝 Extemporaneous Speech Outline
  • 🔥 7 Speech Delivery Tips

🔗 References

🤖 extemporaneous speech generator: introduction.

Extemporaneous speech is a distinct form of public speaking that requires specific skills from college students. You can advance in this performance by applying creativity, quick thinking, and persuasive speaking skills . Still in doubt about whether you can ace this speech type? Are you a newbie who's just starting? Then practice and a bit of preparation will do you a good favor. To help you out, our team has prepared this extemporaneous speech creator and a small guide on how to make this speech stand out. Check them out!

✨ 5 Advantages of Our Extemporaneous Speech Maker

Using our speech creator is a perfect shortcut to mastering this skill faster. You will surely enjoy the benefits of picking our speech maker as a handy assistant.

An extemporaneous speech is a specific form of speech delivery that presupposes an improvised presentation on the speaker's part with minimal preparation. Many people find this public speaking method challenging; they have no time for preparation and need to sound structured and persuasive without an outline and several rehearsals.

When you want to deliver such a type, speech topics are usually issued right before the performance. That's why such public speaking exercises are typical for competitions.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Extemporaneous Speaking?

Speaking without preparation comes with certain advantages, yet it also has drawbacks you should know.

🤓 How to Make an Effective Extemporaneous Speech

A secret formula to an excellent extemporaneous speech combines preparation and spontaneity. Here, we share some essential steps to help you attain that balance.

  • Choose your topic . It should be simple and manageable yet interesting for your audience.
  • Formulate a thesis statement . Create the main guiding message you will aim to deliver to your listeners. Besides, you can try our thesis statement generator .
  • Compose an outline . Create a structure with an opening statement, arguments, supporting evidence, and a conclusion to guide your speech delivery.
  • Research the topic and compile the evidence . Find some relevant sources and facts that may make your arguments more persuasive and grounded.
  • Explain the points you make . Add the located evidence to your arguments and combine them logically so the audience can capture your reasoning.
  • Give relevant examples . Spice up the narrative with examples. They work much better to illustrate abstract points and convince the listeners.
  • Formulate a coherent conclusion . Sum up all your arguments and revisit the thesis statement to show that you've achieved your speech's rhetorical goal.
  • Deliver the speech . Present your intellectual product to the public.

What Are Some Simple Topics in an Extemporaneous Speech?

Manageable and informative speech topics are a great way to simplify the task of extemporaneous speech preparation and delivery. Here are some interesting topics:

  • The importance of being true to yourself.
  • How do I follow my dream ?
  • Four types of lessons you can learn from college life .
  • What is the role of AI in modern life?

📝 Extemporaneous Speech Outline Example

An outline is a powerful helper in your spontaneous speech preparation. It will structure your presentation and help you stay on topic throughout delivery. Check out an example of a well-structured outline for this speech type.

Prompt : The role of teachers in your life.

  • Introduction: An opening hook is a story about a teacher that changed one famous person's life. Thesis statement about the subject of the speech.
  • Point 1 . People are social creatures and learn everything in their lives from examples (of their parents, peers, and teachers).
  • Point 2 . Teachers are specifically trained people whose mission is to direct their students and inform them about the hidden implications of their thoughts and decisions, etc. Thus, listening to a wise teacher is an opportunity to borrow wisdom from them.
  • Point 3 . Teachers can prevent life-changing mistakes by sharing their experiences. It is every person's choice whether to listen to their advice or make their own decisions and reap the consequences (whether good or bad).
  • Conclusion: The concluding paragraph is about the value of honoring teachers. Also, it should highlight what a transformative experience they can give each student.

What Are the Key Points of Extemporaneous Speech?

Though you have little time for preparation, it’s still vital in the process. Here are some points that will make your speech good:

  • Deliver the speech sincerely.
  • Speak in your traditional tone and individual style .
  • Make sure your words make sense.
  • Speak naturally without sticking to the words in the outline.
  • Avoid using too complex terminology or long sentences.

🔥 7 Extemporaneous Speech Delivery Tips for the Best Performance

The good news is that with a healthy dose of preparation, training, and rehearsal, you can hone your extemporaneous speech delivery skills and get better at this craft.

Use these tips to improve your public speaking excellence.

  • Create index cards . These prompts will give you hints throughout the process of speaking without creating an impression that you're reading from a sheet of paper.
  • Practice active listening . Once you listen to how others speak, you will understand what public speaking resonates with people.
  • Develop your speaking skills . You will fare much better with extemporaneous speaking if you develop an individual style and approach. It will simplify speaking on a variety of topics.
  • Engage body language . Speeches are not only about words; body language and non-verbal cues may also help you deliver your message.
  • Rehearse the speech . Training and preparation will give you confidence and a better grasp of the topic.
  • Use relatable examples from personal experience . These examples resonate with the public much better than examples about people your listeners don't know.
  • Learn by mistakes . Public speaking is a lifelong learning skill you can improve as you train and analyze your past performances. There's always room for improvement.

We wish you a successful performance with your extemporaneous speech! Feel free to share the speech creator with your friends. Also, check out our handy topic generator .

  • Prepared and Extemporaneous Speech Assignments in a Communication-B Course. – Professor Greg Downey, University of Wisconsin
  • Four Methods of Delivery. – University of Minnesota
  • Oral Discourse and Extemporaneous Delivery. – University of Pittsburgh
  • Methods of Speech Delivery. – Rebekah Bennetch; Corey Owen; and Zachary Keesey, University of Saskatchewan
  • 4-H Opportunities in Extemporaneous Speaking. – University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Extemporaneous Speaking: The Basics. – Dr. Layne Goodman; Amber Green, M.A., Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Tips on Extemporaneous Speech. – Felix Researcher, Medium
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Here you will find an extemporaneous speech generator to help you promptly prepare for an event. Read a good outline example to understand the structure. Also, check out the short guide and beneficial tips that can help you for a better speaking experience.

The Extemper's Bible

The Ultimate Novice Guide to Extemp

  • Post author By Ananth Veluvali
  • Post date February 5, 2021
  • No Comments on The Ultimate Novice Guide to Extemp

The following is the ultimate guide for novices on how to succeed in extemporaneous speaking. Covered are the following sections: what is extemp, what goes into a speech, the art of substructure, confidence in this activity, free extemp resources, and concluding commentary. Since this is an ongoing project, we will be continually updating this resource. We hope this helps, and, if so, please spread the word! This guide was written by Ananth Veluvali. You can also find the guide under the “Resources” section of our website.

Part 1: What is Extemporaneous Speaking?

Extemporaneous speaking (usually called “extemp”) is a limited-preparation speech event focused on current affairs. Here’s how a typical round unfolds:

Step 1:  The speaker is given three random questions that are based on current affairs; then, the extemper picks their favorite question and returns the other two. For a better understanding of what these questions may look like, head to our  weekly questions page . Ideally, you’ll feel comfortable answering  any  of the three questions you draw. For that to happen, though, you’ll need to read up on the most important news events ahead of tournaments.  Here is a list  of some news sources to check out. Rule number one of extemp?  Reading is your best friend. Step 2:  Following that, you have 30 minutes of preparation time to write and memorize a speech on the assigned question. Because your time is so limited, it is advisable to limit the amount you write on your paper. Rule number two of extemp?  Less is more.  If you write out your speech word-for-word, you won’t have enough time to memorize, practice, or even finish writing your outline. Instead, write general ideas and bullet points. As a rule of thumb, there should be about 100 words or less on your paper. You should aim for three points when answering a question. Step 3:  After thirty minutes are up, you’ll head to your room (for the 2020-2021 speech season, that “room” is likely virtual) and deliver your speech. You’ll have 7:00 minutes to do so; if you go too far over, the judge will likely dock your ranks or even disqualify you. Accordingly, the third rule of extemp is that  proper time allocation matters.  When delivering your speech, remember to stay confident and poised—after all, extemp is a persuasive activity, something too many extempers forget.

Part 2: What Goes Into a Speech

An extemp speech, much like a persuasive essay, can be organized into three components: an introduction, some body paragraphs, and a conclusion. And unlike in your English classroom, where five-paragraph essays are discouraged in higher-level classes, “five-paragraph” extemp speeches (an introduction, 3 points, and a conclusion) are a good thing!

Let’s start with the introduction, which has the most moving parts in a speech. In your introduction, you need an AGD, context/background information, a statement of significance, a recitation of the question, a thesis, and a points preview. You’re probably wondering,  What the heck does that mean? , so let’s break it down:

  • AGD (attention-getting device):  This is similar to the hook of an essay, where you’ll utilize a quote, a joke, a surprising statistic, historical parallel, or sad story to grab your audience’s attention. Unlike an essay, though, jokes are the most common kind of attention-getting device. Capturing the audience’s attention in one to two sentences can be challenging, so be sure to check out this  article  on how to “master” the art of AGDs.
  • Context:  This is the information the audience needs to know in order to understand the topic. In a few sentences, you should define any key terms in the question, including subjective or relatively unknown words & phrases. We hope to have an article about the context soon.
  • Statement of Significance:  This is the  so what?  of a speech. In one sentence, you should establish why the question you are about to ask matters. Again, we hope to have an article about the statement of significance soon.
  • Question:  This is pretty intuitive, you’re just reciting the question you drew. Make sure you don’t mess up the wording of the question, a lot of judges look down on that.
  • Thesis   and a points preview:  The thesis is a ~5-7 word analytical answer to the question, and the points preview is just a preview of the three points you have that answer the question. For a better understanding of this, watch a few extemp speeches (located in Part 5 of this Ultimate Novice Guide) and see how extempers structure their answers.

After your introduction, you’ll have to get into each of your specific points. There, you should spend around 1 minute and 30 seconds on each point, utilizing direct and indirect evidence to answer the question. As a fourth rule of extemp,  the more persuasive, educational, and creative your reasoning, the better.

Finally, once you’re done with your introduction and all three points, you should spend the remaining 30 seconds – 1 minute reflecting upon the question. Here, you should recite the question, your thesis, and your points preview. Then, you should conclude with 1-2 more sentences that give your judge something to think about (similar to the clincher of an essay).

If you’re still confused, check out this excellent video by Annie Zhao and Katherine Hu on how to prep an extemp speech below.

Part 3: The Art of Substructure

You’re probably wondering how should you structure the information inside each of your points. To answer that, you’ll need to understand substructure. The following three articles take you through substructure and how to structure your arguments. Each article pairs general principles with specific examples, so you can become a substructure maestro.

The first article  delves into what substructure is and the most basic and prototypical format.

The second article  delves into some more specific and complex substructure formats.

The third article  concludes the substructure series with some final substructure formats (including my favorite!).

By the end of these three articles, you’ll know what substructure is, the general way to structure a point, and six specific substructure formats. When you’re starting out, try to employ a few of these formats in your speeches, so substructure will make more sense!

Part 4: Being Confident in Extemp

A fifth golden rule of extemp is that  the best extempers are the most confident ones . If you exhibit confidence while delivering your speech, your judges are more inclined to believe your analysis and give you a higher rank.

However, it’s easy to get discouraged in this activity—after all, extemp isn’t for the faint of heart. To prevent that from happening, read the four following articles on how to be a more confident and assertive speaker. Not only will this improve your delivery, but it will make you a more contented extemper.

This first article  doles out advice on how to “conquer the crowd”, revealing how you can speak confidently in front of larger audiences (or even smaller ones).

This second article  incorporates the perspective of a small-school extemper, who gives advice to other small-school extempers on how to stand-out, even with fewer resources or a smaller team.

This third article  discusses how you can fight impostor syndrome in extemporaneous speaking. At times, it’s easy to feel as if you don’t belong in this activity, but just remember, you do.

Finally,  this fourth article  highlights how you can “dress up” your extemp speech when you don’t feel fully confident about it. This is a must read for  all  extempers.

Part 5: Resources in Extemp

So, you’ve made it through! If you’re still curious on how to succeed in this activity, check out a few of the resources below (plus this website!).

  • A list of twenty free presentations  from an extemporaneous speaking camp we hosted in the summer of 2020. These presentations cover topic areas like the Middle East, US Politics, and China, plus specific extemp topics like substructure and the art of delivery.
  • A definitive source list for extemp speaking , with over 100 sources you can look through. Pick a few sources from each section, and read those sources for the rest of the day. Then, repeat that process with a few different sources the next day. After a few days, you’ll get a general idea of which sources you like the best, and you should start filing those sources consistently. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Economist, FiveThirtyEight, Vox, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs!
  • An article  on how to increase your speaking presence at online tournaments. With six clearly delineated tips & tricks, you’ll emerge a better speaker!
  • A speech by Clay Owens , the final round winner of the 2017 NSDA IX national tournament.
  • A speech by Tanner Jones , the runner-up of the 2018 NSDA USX national tournament.
  • A speech by Christopher Maximos , the third place finisher of the 2019 NSDA USX national tournament.
  • A beginner breakdown  of her national final round speech and  an advanced breakdown  of her national final round speech by Jackie Wei, the two time USX national champion.

Part 6: Concluding Commentary

Extemp speaking is a truly rewarding event that will make you a more analytical, persuasive, and confident speaker. Hopefully this guide helps you on the path toward extemp stardom and feel free to reach out with any questions! You can contact us on Instagram ( @theextempersbible ) or email ([email protected]).

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Black History Month 2024

5 mlk speeches you should know. spoiler: 'i have a dream' isn't on the list.

Scott Neuman

how to make extemporaneous speech

The Rev. Ralph Abernathy (left) shakes hands with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Ala., on March 22, 1956, as a big crowd of supporters cheers for King, who had just been found guilty of leading the Montgomery bus boycott. Gene Herrick/AP hide caption

The Rev. Ralph Abernathy (left) shakes hands with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Ala., on March 22, 1956, as a big crowd of supporters cheers for King, who had just been found guilty of leading the Montgomery bus boycott.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s " I Have a Dream " speech, delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, is so famous that it often eclipses his other speeches.

King's greatest contribution to the Civil Rights Movement was his oratory, says Jason Miller, an English professor at North Carolina State University who has written extensively on King's speeches.

Black History Month 2024 has begun. Here's this year's theme and other things to know

Black History Month 2024 has begun. Here's this year's theme and other things to know

"King's first biographer was a dear friend of Dr. King's, L.D. Reddick ," Miller says. Reddick once suggested to King that maybe more marching and less speaking was needed to push the cause of civil rights forward. According to Miller, King is said to have responded, "My dear man, you never deny an artist his medium."

Miller says that in his research, he found numerous examples of King reworking and recycling old speeches. "He would rewrite them ... just to change phrasings and rhythms. And so he prepared a great deal, often 19 lines per page on a yellow legal sheet."

Often, King would write notes to himself in the margins: "what tenor and tone to deliver," Miller says.

That phrasing and an understanding of cadence were all important to the success of these speeches, according to Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, director of graduate studies at the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University.

King's training in the pulpit gave him a strong insight into what moves an audience, she says. "Preachers are performers. They know when to pause. How long to pause. And with what effect. And he certainly was a great user of dramatic pauses."

Here are four of King's speeches that sometimes get overlooked, plus the one he delivered the day before his 1968 assassination. Collectively, they represent historical signposts on the road to civil rights.

" Give Us the Ballot " (May 17, 1957 — Washington, D.C.)

King spoke at the Lincoln Memorial three years to the day after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education , which struck down the "separate but equal" doctrine that had allowed segregation in public schools.

But Jim Crow persisted throughout much of the South. The yearlong Montgomery bus boycott , sparked by the arrest of Rosa Parks, had ended only months before King's speech. And the Voting Rights Act of 1965 , which sought to end disenfranchisement of Black voters, was still eight years away.

"It's a very important speech because he's talking about the importance of voting and he's responding to some of the Southern resistance to the Brown decision," says Vicki Crawford, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Collection at Morehouse College, King's alma mater .

how to make extemporaneous speech

U.S. deputy marshals escort 6-year-old Ruby Bridges from William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in November 1960. The first-grader was the only Black child enrolled in the school, where parents of white students were boycotting the court-ordered integration law and were taking their children out of school. AP hide caption

U.S. deputy marshals escort 6-year-old Ruby Bridges from William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in November 1960. The first-grader was the only Black child enrolled in the school, where parents of white students were boycotting the court-ordered integration law and were taking their children out of school.

The speech calls out both major political parties for betraying "the cause of justice" and failing to do enough to ensure civil rights for Blacks. He accuses Democrats of "capitulating to the prejudices and undemocratic practices of the Southern Dixiecrats," referring to the party's pro-segregation wing. The Republicans, King said, had instead capitulated "to the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing, reactionary Northerners."

how to make extemporaneous speech

King speaks at a mass demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on May 17, 1957, as civil rights leaders called on the U.S. government to put more teeth into the Supreme Court's desegregation decisions. Charles Gorry/AP hide caption

King speaks at a mass demonstration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on May 17, 1957, as civil rights leaders called on the U.S. government to put more teeth into the Supreme Court's desegregation decisions.

He also indicts Northern liberals who are "so bent on seeing all sides" that they are "neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm" in their commitment to civil rights.

"King [was] calling on both parties to take a look at themselves," Crawford says.

With the movement gaining steam, King used his speech to take stock of where things stood and what must be done next, Calloway-Thomas says. "He is revisiting the status of African American people."

" Our God Is Marching On! " (March 25, 1965 — Montgomery, Ala.)

The speech was delivered after the last of three Selma-Montgomery marches to call for voting rights. Protesters were beaten by Alabama law enforcement officials at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma on March 7 in what came to be known as Bloody Sunday . Among the nearly 60 wounded that day by club-wielding police was John Lewis, the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), who suffered a fractured skull. (Lewis later served 17 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.) A second attempt to reach Montgomery a few days later was again turned back at the bridge. In a third try, marchers finally reached the steps of the Alabama State Capitol on March 25.

Rep. John Lewis, A Force In The Civil Rights Movement, Dead At 80

Rep. John Lewis, A Force In The Civil Rights Movement, Dead At 80

"Finally the group of protesters gets all the way to the Capitol, and King delivers a speech to what we think is about 25,000 people," Miller says. The speech is also often referred to as the "How Long? Not Long" speech because of that powerful refrain, Miller says.

Jonathan Eig, author of the biography King: A Life , published last year, says he thinks about three-fourths of the speech was written out. "Then [King] goes off script and gives a sermon."

That's when he answers the question "How long?" for his audience. How long will it be until Black people have the same rights as white people? "Not long, because no lie can live forever," King tells his exuberant listeners.

"That's the part that really echoes. No question," Eig says. "And I think that's when he knew he was at his best. He knew that he could bring the crowd to its feet and inspire them."

Also notable is a famous anecdote that King shared in his speech, one that appeared earlier in his 1963 " Letter from a Birmingham Jail " addressed to his "fellow clergymen." It relates the words of Sister Pollard, a 70-year-old Black woman who had walked everywhere, refusing to ride the Montgomery buses during the 1955-1956 boycott.

"One day, she was asked while walking if she didn't want to ride," King said, speaking to the crowd that had just successfully marched from Selma to Montgomery. "And when she answered, 'No,' the person said, 'Well, aren't you tired?' And with her ungrammatical profundity, she said, 'My feets is tired, but my soul is rested.'"

"And in a real sense this afternoon, we can say that our feet are tired but our souls are rested," he said.

The story of Sister Pollard would be used again in the coming years.

But the speech may be best remembered today for another line, where King said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

In fact, King was using the words of a 19th-century Unitarian minister, Theodore Parker . Parker was an abolitionist who secretly funded John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859, often seen as an opening salvo of the Civil War. In a sermon given seven years before the raid, Parker used the line that King would pick up more than a century later.

"Dr. King absorbed all kinds of material, heard from others, used it on his own. But this is what we call appropriation or transformation when the old seems new," Miller says.

" Beyond Vietnam " (April 4, 1967 — New York City)

King had already begun speaking out about the war in Vietnam, but this speech was his most forceful statement on the conflict to date. Black soldiers were dying in disproportionate numbers . King noted the irony that in Vietnam, "Negro and white boys" were killing and dying alongside each other "for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools."

"So we watch them, in brutal solidarity, burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago," he said. "I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor."

how to make extemporaneous speech

An infantry soldier runs across a burned-out clearing in Vietnam on Jan. 4, 1967. Horst Faas/AP hide caption

An infantry soldier runs across a burned-out clearing in Vietnam on Jan. 4, 1967.

SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael , a major civil rights figure, had come out against the war and encouraged King to join him. But some in King's own inner circle had cautioned him against speaking about Vietnam.

Stokely Carmichael, A Philosopher Behind The Black Power Movement

Code Switch

Stokely carmichael, a philosopher behind the black power movement.

Although powerful and timely, the speech drew a harsh and immediate reaction from a nation that had only just begun to reckon with the rising casualties and economic toll of the war. Both The Washington Post and The New York Times published editorials criticizing it. The Post said King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people" and the Times said he had "dampened his prospects for becoming the Negro leader who might be able to get the nation 'moving again' on civil rights."

King knew he would take heat for the speech, especially from the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, with whom he'd worked to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and, a year later, the Voting Rights Act, through Congress. With the presidential election just 19 months away, continued support of Johnson's Vietnam policy was crucial to his reelection. Nearly 10 months after the speech, however, the Tet Offensive launched by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese army would help turn U.S. public opinion against the war and lead Johnson to not seek another term.

But in April 1967, the reaction to the speech was "far worse than King or his advisers imagined," says Miller, of North Carolina State University. Johnson "excommunicated" the civil rights leader, he says, adding that even leaders of the NAACP expressed disappointment that King had focused attention on the war.

"His immediate response was that he was crushed," Miller says. "There are a number of people who have documented that he literally broke down in tears when he realized the kind of backlash towards it."

He was criticized from both sides of the political aisle. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., a staunch conservative who made a failed run for the presidency in 1964, said King's speech "could border a bit on treason."

"King himself said that he anguished over doing the speech," says Indiana University's Calloway-Thomas.

" The Three Evils of Society " (Aug. 31, 1967 — Chicago)

The three evils King outlines in this speech are poverty, racism and militarism . Referring to Johnson's Great Society program to help lift rural Americans out of poverty, King said that it had been "shipwrecked off the coast of Asia, on the dreadful peninsula of Vietnam" and that meanwhile, "the poor, Black and white are still perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity."

Calloway-Thomas calls it "the most scathing critique of American society by King that I have ever read."

"We need, according to him, a radical redistribution of political and economic power," she says, "Is that implying reparations? Is that implying socialism?"

Calloway-Thomas hears in King's words an antecedent to the Black Lives Matter movement. "One sees in that speech some relationship between the rhetoric of Dr. King at that moment and the rhetoric of Black Lives Matter at this moment," she says.

It was also one of the many instances where King quoted poet Langston Hughes, with whom he had become friends. "What happens to a dream deferred? It leads to bewildering frustration and corroding bitterness," King said in a nod to Hughes' most famous poem, " Harlem ."

King and Hughes traveled together to Nigeria in 1960, Miller notes, calling the poet an often unrecognized but nonetheless "central figure" in the early Civil Rights Movement. "They exchanged letters. Dr. King told [Hughes] how much he used his poetry. Dr. King used seven poems by Langston Hughes in his sermons and speeches from 1956 to 1958."

" I've Been to the Mountaintop! " (April 3, 1968 — Memphis, Tenn.)

This is King's last speech, delivered a day before his assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968. He was in the city to lend his support and his voice to the city's striking sanitation workers .

"He wasn't expecting to give a speech that night," according to Clayborne Carson, Martin Luther King, Jr. centennial professor emeritus at Stanford University. "He was hoping to get out of it. He was not feeling well."

"They call him and say, 'The people here want to hear you. They don't want to hear us.' And plus, the place was packed that night" despite a heavy downpour, Carson says. "I think he recognized that people really wanted to hear him. And despite the state of his health, he decided to go."

how to make extemporaneous speech

Martin Luther King Jr. makes his last public appearance, at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn., on April 3, 1968. The following day, King was assassinated on his motel balcony. Charles Kelly/AP hide caption

Martin Luther King Jr. makes his last public appearance, at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn., on April 3, 1968. The following day, King was assassinated on his motel balcony.

The haunting words, in which King says, "I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you" have led many people to think he was prophesying his own death the following day at the hands of assassin James Earl Ray .

"The speech really does feel a bit like his own eulogy," says Eig. "He's talking about earthly salvation and heavenly salvation. And, in the end, boldly equating himself with Moses, who doesn't live to see the Promised Land."

The speech is largely, if not entirely, extemporaneous. And by the end, King was exhausted, says Carson. "It's pretty clear when you watch the film that he's not in the best shape."

"He barely makes it to the end," he says.

"But he relied on his audience to bring him along," Carson says. "I think it's one of those speeches where the crowd is inspiring him and he's inspiring them. That's what makes it work."

It's a great speech, made greater still because it was his last, says Calloway-Thomas.

"You have this wonderful man who epitomized the social and political situation in the United States in the 20th century," she says. "There he is, dying so tragically and dreadfully. It has a lot of pity and pathos buried inside it."

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LCC Hosts 51st Annual Dugaw Smelt Classic Speech & Debate Tournament

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The Lower Columbia College Fighting Smelt Speech & Debate Team hosted and competed at the 51 st Annual Michael Dugaw Smelt Classic on February 10-11. Nine colleges and universities attended, with 70 students competing across 13 different speech and debate events.

Though LCC was not eligible for team sweepstakes awards at their own tournament, the team had an incredibly strong showing, highlighted by several individual performances.

Keida Patterson continued an impressive hot streak, advancing to elimination rounds in all six of their events. Patterson’s final placements were second in Program Oral Interpretation, third in Editorial Commentary, fifth in Persuasive Speaking, sixth in Impromptu Speaking, 6 th in Informative Speaking, and semifinalist in junior IPDA debate.

Charlotte Curry was the champion of editorial commentary. She was also second place junior in extemporaneous speaking and seventh speaker in open IPDA debate.

Seamus Mahoney finished sixth and top novice in editorial commentary. He was also fourth speaker and a quarterfinalist in junior IPDA debate.

Adah Moore finished as runner-up to teammate Curry in Editorial Commentary.

Other Smelt receiving recognition include Lukas Krutz (second novice in editorial commentary), Atilla Elik (second novice in extemporaneous speaking), and Xavier Moore (third novice in impromptu speaking).

The first Smelt Classic speech and debate tournament was hosted by the late Mike Dugaw in 1973. Though there have been many changes in collegiate speech and debate over the past 50 years, this local tournament has maintained a reputation for being an educational and community-oriented event.

With Director of Forensics Alex Brehm managing the tournament, the team was coached by a group of Lower Columbia College alumni and staff. That coaching team included Julia Mitchell, Larissa Arnold, Ilinca Slabu, Alayna Tovar, Erika Hein, Molly Mahoney, Jaida Barrows, Glenn John Cervantes, and Mitchell Levy.

LCC Speech and Debate has just one remaining regional tournament at Lewis & Clark College before traveling to Phi Rho Pi Nationals to end the season.

Alex Brehm Director of Forensics Communication Studies Instructor Lower Columbia College

[email protected]

(360) 442-2670



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  2. Ultimate Guide for Preparing Effective Extemporaneous Speech

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  3. Ultimate Guide for Preparing Effective Extemporaneous Speech

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  6. Extemporaneous speech|Jerymy Burias Beed3|


  1. How to Speak Extemporaneously: 7 Steps (with Pictures)

    1 Go into the draw room. When your name is called, take three topics, but only choose one to speak on. Choose the one you know the most about and are most comfortable with. [1] 2 Use your 30 minutes wisely. You will be given 30 minutes to prepare your speech. Find any articles in your files to help you, but don't spend too much time reading.

  2. Extemporaneous Speech: Writing and Delivery Tips

    1. Understanding Extemporaneous Speech 2. 7 Easy Steps to Writing an Extemporaneous Speech 3. Extemporaneous Speech Topics 4. Extemporaneous Speech Examples 5. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing an Extemporaneous Speech 6. Tips for Improving Extemporaneous Speech Delivery Understanding Extemporaneous Speech


    Extemporaneous speaking is the art of giv-ing speeches on the spot - without notes or memorization - relying only on the speaker's depth of knowledge and their ability to ex-plain what they know in a coherent, engaging manner. As a category of forensics competi-tion, extemporaneous speaking (or "extemp"

  4. Top 5 Extemp Tips

    Top 5 Extemp Tips. Learn extemp tips from Robert Kelly, Donus Roberts, Kandi King, Pam McComas, and Kim Jones. Top 5 Extemp Tips.

  5. The Ultimate Novice Guide for Extemp

    An extemp speech, much like a persuasive essay, can be organized into three components: an introduction, some body paragraphs, and a conclusion. And unlike in your English classroom, where five-paragraph essays are discouraged in higher-level classes, "five-paragraph" extemp speeches (an introduction, 3 points, and a conclusion) are a good thing!

  6. PDF Extemporaneous Speeches: Definition and Delivery

    Key Terms: • Extemporaneous: Without preparation or advanced thought; offhand. • Extemporaneous speech: A well-prepared speech that relies on research, clear organization, and practiced delivery, but is neither read nor memorized. What is an Extemporaneous Speech?

  7. How to Deliver an Extemporaneous Speech: Tips and Tricks

    1. Extemporaneous Speech Definition 2. What are the Elements of an Effective Extemporaneous Speech? 3. How To Deliver An Extemporaneous Speech? 4. How to Make Extemporaneous Speech? 5. Extemporaneous Speech Examples 6. Extemporaneous Speech Topics 7. Expert Tips For Delivering An Extemporaneous Speech Extemporaneous Speech Definition

  8. Extemporaneous Speaking: The Basics

    Here are a few ways you can engage in extemporaneous speaking: Know your speech topic Research your topic Create a timeline - research, writing, peer-review, practicing, editing, practicing again Create note cards to guide your speech Practice, practice, practice Know the difference between a memorized speech/monologue and dialogue

  9. PRDV008: Extemporaneous Speeches

    There are two popular methods for organizing ideas to create a graphical representation for speaker notes - outlining and mind or concept mapping. An outline is a list of items with each item divided into additional sub-items. Each level in an outline has at least two subcategories.

  10. Ultimate Guide for Preparing Effective Extemporaneous Speech

    The best way to develop your extemporaneous style is to use a solid structure, like the SEE one. The abbreviation stands for statement, evidence, and emotion. This scheme is a useful tool for you to utilize when you need to speak extemporaneously during a speech.

  11. Extempore Speech

    Summary What Is an Extempore Speech? Extempore One can define extempore speech as an impromptu amalgamation of thoughts culminating into a self-composed speech, the topic for which one receives then and there. Extempore speech is typically used to gain a deeper knowledge of a participant's many points but it also comes with a lot of problems.

  12. How to Write an Extemporaneous Speech

    Step 1 Identify your topic and start brainstorming on topic details. If possible, choose a topic with which you are familiar. If you have thirty minutes, spend the first ten minutes brainstorming to think of everything you can about the subject in that time.

  13. 14.1 Four Methods of Delivery

    Key Takeaways. There are four main kinds of speech delivery: impromptu, extemporaneous, manuscript, and memorized. Impromptu speaking involves delivering a message on the spur of the moment, as when someone is asked to "say a few words.". Extemporaneous speaking consists of delivering a speech in a conversational fashion using notes.

  14. How to Give An Extemporaneous Speech

    How to Give an Extemporaneous Speech Like a Professional. Here's a mini-training that'll help you develop the genuine, conversational public speaking sound p...

  15. How to Develop Extemporaneous and Public Speaking Skills

    Extemporaneous Speaking, typically called extemp, is a speech on current events with limited preparation time. A student's understanding of important political, economic, and cultural issues is assessed along with critical thinking and analytical skills. Students report to a draw room (often referred to as extemp prep) where all of the ...

  16. How to Deliver an Extemporaneous Presentation or Speech

    Tips for how to deliver an extemporaneous presentation or speech. Great public speaking has that smooth conversational delivery style that we all admire. This video shows you how to do it....

  17. Extemporaneous Speech

    9+ Extemporaneous Speech Examples - PDF. Mastering an Extemporaneous Speech requires a balance of preparation and spontaneity. This guide, enriched with engaging speech examples, offers key insights into delivering compelling and impromptu speeches. Extemporaneous speaking, a valuable skill in both academic and professional settings, involves ...

  18. 10 Extemporaneous Speech Examples

    Tom Clayton January 9, 2023 Ah, the extemporaneous speech. The perfect balance of preparation and improvisation. It's the type of speech that allows you to sound like a total pro without spending hours pouring over notes and rehearsing every single word.

  19. Extemporaneous Speech

    Extemporaneous speeches are often presented in the form of impromptu speeches where the preparation time is limited. The extemporaneous speech is different free a prepared oration because of speaker are not have any written minutes in advance. Instead, he speaks as his thoughts come up and zugehen off on tangents without preparation at all.

  20. Extemporaneous Speech Example [Edit & Download]

    Preparing for an Extemporaneous Speech. The key to a successful extemporaneous speech lies in thorough research and understanding of the topic. This foundation allows the speaker to speak confidently and fluidly on the subject. Creating a flexible speech outline is crucial. It should highlight 3-5 main points that you intend to cover, supported ...

  21. Extemporaneous Speech Maker: Quick and Efficient Tool

    It was designed to help college students search for inspiration before delivery for successful performance. This extemporaneous speech maker is relatively simple to use. Just follow these steps: Add the topic of your speech. Indicate your stance. Add details about the audience. Click "Generate" and get the extemporaneous speech.

  22. How to write Extemporaneous Speech

    About Press Copyright Contact us Creators Advertise Developers Terms Privacy Policy & Safety How YouTube works Test new features NFL Sunday Ticket Press Copyright ...

  23. The Ultimate Novice Guide to Extemp

    When delivering your speech, remember to stay confident and poised—after all, extemp is a persuasive activity, something too many extempers forget. Part 2: What Goes Into a Speech. An extemp speech, much like a persuasive essay, can be organized into three components: an introduction, some body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

  24. PDF Our Clubs, Our Community

    Ryan Nguyen, Extemporaneous William "Danny" Schrantz, Presentation "History of the Role of the Horse in Battle" Grayson Schrantz, Presentation "Produce Horses Can & Cannot Eat" Katherine Saul, Extemporaneous Alexis Strand, Extemporaneous and Prepared Speech "The Importance of Shooting Education Programs"

  25. 5 MLK speeches you should know besides 'I Have a Dream' : NPR

    5 MLK speeches you should know. Spoiler: 'I Have a Dream' isn't on the list. The Rev. Ralph Abernathy (left) shakes hands with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Montgomery, Ala., on March 22 ...

  26. Extemporaneous Speech by Renz Contreras: How to become one ...

    I also do writing commissions. Message me on facebook: Renz Contreras or send an email @[email protected]

  27. LCC Hosts 51st Annual Dugaw Smelt Classic Speech & Debate Tournament

    The Lower Columbia College Fighting Smelt Speech & Debate Team hosted and competed at the 51st Annual Michael Dugaw Smelt Classic on February 10-11. ... Atilla Elik (second novice in extemporaneous speaking), and Xavier Moore (third novice in impromptu speaking). The first Smelt Classic speech and debate tournament was hosted by the late Mike ...