Limited Preparation Events




Using no more than 2 minutes of preparation time, you will deliver a coherent, organized, and supported 5-minute speech that proves you thesis statement true. Although this speech type can make some students nervous, research suggests that speakers who construct and deliver impromptu speeches are actually better able to manage communication apprehension and nervousness (Rumbough, 1999). Speeches must be well structured and guided by a clear thesis statement; speakers should outline their organization in both the preview during the introduction and the review at the conclusion. Speeches should be supported with relevant information and analysis should connect that information to the thesis. Delivery should be natural and conversational. Movement should add emphasis and emotionality to the message.


Attention Getter: Engages your audience with the general topic, but does not explicitly state the topic (do not begin by reading  the using humor, a question, an anecdote, shocking statement

Thesis: Thesis statements should be clear, concise, opinionated, and address the topic you selected. For extemporaneous speaking, your thesis should answer the selected question. For impromptu, you may agree, disagree, or modify the opinions expressed in a quotation. Be sure to paraphrase and construct a thesis statement using your own words.  For example, if presented with F.D.R.'s quotation, that "there's nothing to fear but fear itself," my thesis statement might be: "fear is illusory" (agreement) or "fear is a valuable survival tool" (disagreement). When presented with an abstract concept, speakers must more creatively interpret the meaning of a topic before constructing a thesis. For example, if presented with the topic "liposuction," a speaker might craft a thesis statement about plastic surgery or the instant gratification culture.

Structure: A roadmap that previews the main points of your speech is offered at the end of your introduction. Speeches benefit from redundancy that makes clear the purpose and organization of the speech.

Impromtu Evidence: Effective use of evidence require the ability to remember and apply information. To improve your ability to recall the wealth of information resting in your brain, make a list of all the stuff you know. Think of the area in which you have some expertise (ie: personal experiences, historical or contemporary events, characters from movies or books, scientific discoveries, etc.). By exercising this knowledge, you will be able to more easily access information during your preparation time.

Analysis/Synthesis: After detailing your evidence/examples, go deeper in your analysis to connect the evidence/examples back to your thesis statement. Analysis is where you explain how the evidence supports your thesis.

Conclusion: Review the examples you’ve discussed. Return to the quotation and/or your attention getting device to emphasize the validity of your thesis statement.


An impromptu speech should be serious in nature. Topic selections may be varied by round, section by section. Topics will be of a proverb or quotation in nature. Speakers will have a total of 7 minutes for both preparation and speaking. Timing commences with the acceptance of the topic(s) sheet. Limited notes are permitted. (Phi Rho Pi: The topics for all rounds shall be drawn from a variety of slogans, maxims, objects, lyrics or other creative topics exclusive of areas covered by extemporaneous speaking. One note card, not to exceed 3 x 5", may be used by the speaker for reference. Speakers will be given two-three topics as outlined above from which to select one topic on which to speak. The seven minutes maximum time limit will begin when the speaker receives the topics. The speaker may divide the seven minutes between preparation and presentation as desired. The event will be held with all speakers in the room.) For NFA there is one quotation for all the speakers in the room.


The extemporaneous speech is not a memory test of the material contained in any one magazine article, but rather is an original synthesis by the speaker of the current facts and opinions on the designated topic as presented by numerous sources. The contestant therefore is held accountable for strict adherence to the precise statement of the topic drawn and discounted severely for shifting to some other phase of the topic on which s/he might prefer to speak. The information presented should be well chosen, pertinent, and sufficient to support the central thought of the topic. The material should be organized according to some logical plan to produce a complete speech within the time allowed. Delivery should be free from all marked defects in the mechanics of speech - poise, quality and use of voice, enunciation, fluency, bodily expressiveness and should be effective in enlisting and holding the interest of the audience. The best extemporaneous speech combines clear thinking, good speaking, and interesting presentation to establish a definite thought with respect to the subject chosen. Contestants will be given 3 topics in the general area of current events, and must choose one.

Thirty minutes before the contest is to begin, the first speaker shall draw three topics, choose one, and return the other two. The other contestants shall draw in like manner, in the order of speaking, at intervals of 5-7 minutes. As soon as a topic is chosen, the contestant shall withdraw to the “extemp prep room” and prepare a speech. Students may consult published books, magazines, newspapers and journals or articles. S/he has 30 minutes to prepare a speech that is the original work of the student. Maximum time limit for the speech is 7 minutes. Limited notes are permitted for some judges. Students will speak in listed order.


Extempraneous speaking requires students have easy access to information on a breadth of current events.  Award-winning extemp. speakers are always well-informed on what's going on in the world.  Although you will travel to a tournament with access to a team file, you cannot expect to get informed on current affairs in the 20-minute period you have to craft a speech.  The primary responsibility of gethering evidence lies with you.  Watching the news can help but reading is imperative.  Consider using google reader to subscribe to various news sources OR becoming fans of or following established news sources on facebook or twitter.

The CCSF team uses an online program call Dropbox.  You can request an invitation to view and contribute to the CCSF Forensics Team Extemp File, e-mail  You must be enrolled in SPCH 37/38 to join.


Rumbough, T. B. (1999). The effects of impromptu speech exercises on communication apprehension. N ew Jersey Journal of Communication, 7(2), 206-215.