Today's entry will be about Extemporaneous Speaking. At TFA tournaments, this is split into Domestic and Foreign. Texas UIL does Persuasive and Informative. Regardless of the specific event, the performances are pretty much the same. Competitors draw three potential speech topics and choose the one about which they want to speak. There is a 30-minute prep period. Speeches have a time limit of 7 minutes with a thirty second grace period.
These speeches have become quite formulaic. Speakers spend between one-and-a-half and two minutes on an introduction. This is followed by three points, which are all given about 1:35-1:45 each. Remaining time is spent summarizing the three points without much of an actual conclusion.
Even more annoying is the Extemp Triangle. EVERY. SINGLE. SPEAKER. starts in a center position then moves (usually to the left) as s/he begins the first point. For the second point, the speaker moves the opposite direction (usually to the right). The third point will bring the contestant back to the center. Some will then take a step or two forward for the conclusion. It really becomes amusing when judging a round seeing speaker after speaker after speaker make the exact same movements.
|The Extemp Triangle|
I have also noticed that most of the speakers take a position that leans more to the Conservative side of an issue. This really surprised me.
Other than learning to make movements natural, my advice for those participating would be to make sure your facts are correct and current and try to incorporate some overarching theme if possible. I've had speakers give speeches about the effect of Haiti on crime rates in the Dominican Republic without knowing the two nations share an island. I had another speaker reference the young man who claimed to have made $77Million in the stock market without knowing that the story had turned out to be fake. On the positive side, I have had contestants organize their speeches around a themes of Road Trips, Making a Lasagna, and the acronym, GUN (in a speech about campus carry).