Purpose of Extemporaneous Speech

Extemporaneous Speaking, also known as Extemp or Extemporaneous Commentary, is an individual event where the speaker presents a speech using current fact and opinion on a designated current event topic, usually given in conjunction with numerous sources. An excellent extemporaneous speaker is typically familiar with current events and political issues and can prepare a well-organized and well-supported speech in a limited amount of preparation time. In Extemporaneous, the contestant can bring an organized set of resource material to the event to pull from during preparation time.

The Topic for Extemporaneous Speech

The current event topic is phrased in a question format and includes both domestic and international issues of concern. Items shall be from current events discussed in traditional periodicals of the current school year. The actual topics used are determined before competition by the tournament director and vary from one tournament to next and from round to round.

Structure of an Extemporaneous Round

Thirty minutes before the contest is to begin, the first speaker draws three (3) topics, chooses one (1), and then returns the other two (2). The other contestants shall draw in like manner, in their speaking order, at seven (7) minute intervals. Topics are not repeated from one round to another to prevent a speaker from drawing a previously selected question.

After the contestant has chosen a topic, s/he moves to a preparation area and plans her/his speech without conferring with anyone or exchanging information with anyone. No prepared notes or outlines are allowed in the preparation room, but contestants may refer to files containing books, book excerpts, periodicals, excerpts retrieved online from media publications, or photocopies of any of the above. Nowadays, with Extemporaneous Speaker’s often recovering information from the internet, such information must include the URL citation.

Once a contestant has chosen a topic, s/he may neither change from nor alter that topic. No visual aids are allowed or used in the delivery of an extemporaneous speech. The time limit for giving the Extemporaneous Speech is seven (7) minutes maximum with the usual thirty (30) second grace period.

Cross-Examination in Extemp

Occasionally, some more critical State or Qualifying tournaments may include a cross-examination period during the final round. When a match uses cross-examination, each speaker is assigned a position in the speaking order. A drawing takes place at twelve (12) minute intervals. Thirty (30) minutes after Speaker 1 has drawn, the last to speak contestant shall enter the contest room. Speaker 1 shall give her/his speech, and the Speaker Last shall take notes and listen. At the conclusion of Speaker 1’s address, Speaker Last shall cross-examine Speaker 1 for a time of a maximum of three (3) minutes. The cross-examination will be an open format. Speaker Last shall return to the prep room, and Speaker 1 shall stay to listen to and question Speaker 2. Speaker 2 will question Speaker 3, etc. until the all speakers have spoken and questioned.

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