Purpose of Impromptu Speaking

Impromptu Speaking is an individual event where the speaker presents a speech with limited preparation on a designated topic of general knowledge. The speaker usually delivers the address as an informative speech with possible evidence of personal or educational experience, regional and familiar public understanding, and generally accepted information from sources of broadcast news or programming, Internet or other published media.

Structure of an Impromptu Speech Round

In impromptu events, the topics are prepared and placed in an envelope to be chosen by the speaker. The items are not current events that require research like Extemporaneous speaking, but, instead may be phrases, words or ideas. For example, the topic might be a question, a sentence about an event, a literary expression, a philosophical or metaphorical word or statement, an abstract word or idea, or another account that could generate several supported points of the developed speech.

In an impromptu round, the speaker draws three topics, chooses one, and then returns the other two to the pool for possible selection by other contestants. Upon selecting the problem, the speaker is given seven minutes total to prepare and present the speech. Students may take as much preparation time as desired but may be ranked lower for extensive use of their allotted time for planning rather than speaking. The speakers take turns in order at seven-minute intervals or as soon as the previous speaker has finished and the judge is ready.

The idea is for the contestant to choose a topic and quickly plan her/his speech without conferring or exchanging information with anyone. No prepared notes or outlines may be used in the speaking time, although the student may use a note card or paper to develop her/his thoughts. Contestants may not refer to any files, published media or other sources, and may not use visual aids in the delivery of the speech.

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