Today we're going to start a week-long series on the basics of Impromptu. Today I'll give you an overview, tomorrow we'll go over the most important part of impromptu, the thesis. Thursday I'll briefly cover the 2nd most important part and get started on examples, and then I'll go over how to find and use good examples.
An impromptu speech is any speech on a topic without time for preparation. I extend this definition to include short prep times, under five minutes usually.
I do impromptu speaking in College forensics and am qualified to nationals (read: made it into finals several times and done well. Considered in the top 10% of impromptu speakers.) In college, we get 7 minutes to prepare and speak, usually broken up into less than 2 minutes of prep and around 5 minutes of speaking.
Here's what you need to know:
First, Impromptu speech organization usually goes like this, just because it's effective:
Intro: Main Example. (under 30s, clear example which illustrates your interpretation. However, directly before transitioning into statement introduce controversy: Answer Why this is worth talking about.)
Statement of Subject. (Read the quotation, state the subject, tell us exactly what you're talking about)
Interpretation of subject (thesis statement, what does the subject mean.)
Agree/Disagree with interpretation (one sentence, yea or nay.)
Preview of Speech (Cover the main points.)
I. Point one of speech
A. Example 1 (subpoint 1-A)
B. Example 2 (s. 2-A)
Review of point 1, Transition to point 2 (link back to main example.)
II. Point Two of speech
A. Example 1 (s. 1-B)
B. Example 2 (s. 2-B)
Review of point 2, transition to conclusion.
Restate subject (Today we looked at the (quotation, subject, etc.)
Thesis (We interpreted this to mean...)
Review points one and two,
link back into main example.
This is a very common organization just because you have justification for everything: Your main example justifies your thesis, arguement, transition and conclusion. The subpoints justify the points of the argument. Nothing non-essential.
Prep notecards using this format.
That's all you need. The rest is just stuff to remember. Tomorrow we'll cover the most important single part of your impromptu: the Thesis and Argument.