Extemporaneous Speaking

In Extemp, speakers have 30 minutes to prepare a speech to answer a current event question. In a supervised preparation room, each student will draw three topics and must pick one to prepare for a presentation. Students are allowed to use the internet and electronic devices to prepare their speeches.

After the 30-minute preparation period, the student will deliver a speech to be evaluated for content and delivery. Students must cite facts and analysis from source material accurately and in keeping with the author’s intent. Information presented should be well-chosen, pertinent, and sufficient to support the central thought of the topic. The speaker is permitted a personal opinion or interpretation of the subject. Speakers must not be penalized for expressing views with which the judge happens to disagree.

Students who successfully compete in Extemp keep up with current events and have an appreciation of history. Topics can be either international or domestic and may address conflict among countries, economic challenges experienced by third world countries, or new national leadership. Domestic topics may include political, social, and economic policies of the US and how the US relates to the rest of the world.

Contestants are permitted to use one 3"x 5" card at preliminary tournaments. The use of a note card is not allowed at the MetroFinal tournament. Judges will rank students based on which speaker best answered the question using credible sources and information.

Time limit: Maximum - 7 minutes. No minimum time. Judges are required to provide time signals for this event.

Summary of Judging Criteria

  • Topicality The speaker should state and answer the question accurately. The speech should be organized so that all content is relevant to the question's answer. The speaker is permitted a personal opinion or interpretation of the subject.
  • Structure The introduction should gain attention, lead to the question, provide an answer to the question and/or justify the importance of the topic, and give some direction as to how the speech will unfold or develop. The body should be organized to best answer the question. Transitional words/devices should help to move the speech from point to point. The conclusion should restate the question and answer, succinctly summarize the speech's main points highlighting how they led to the question's answer, and end interestingly.
  • Content: This presentation should be a synthesis of current facts and opinions on the subject, not a mere listing of current data. The information presented in the speech should be accurate and timely. Sources consulted by the speaker during the preparation time should be cited effectively in the speech. These sources should be varied and credible.
  • Vocal Delivery The speaker should be audible, articulate, and fluent. The speaker should make use of contrast, making use of the elements of vocal variety: pitch, volume, rate, pausing, phrasing, stress, and tone. The speaker should stress words to enhance meaning. The speaker should be in control of the words and the emotions. The speaker should sound confident throughout the presentation.
  • Physical Delivery The speaker should vary facial expression to accentuate the natural flow of thoughts and feelings. The speaker should make eye contact with the audience. The speaker's stance should be erect and controlled, without distracting movements. Movement, if used, should be motivated by transitions in thought or mood. Gestures should be visible, effectively used for emphasis, and varied.