Breaking Down a Winning Extemp Speech
A top-ranked extemp speech has several essential elements. This template for a winning extemp speech has been used with great success.
This guide was originally written by Connor Meyers, the top-ranked extemp speaker in Washington in the 2017-18 season. It has been edited for clarity.
AGD – Attention Getting Device
Analogous Story, Joke, or Personal Anecdote
The AGD should be engaging, but also convey the thesis of the answer. For example, say the topic was pulling out of the stock market a good decision. So my AGD was a poker game I had with my dad, I talked about how he went all in, and I folded but was unsure of rather it was the right decision or not. When he showed his hand I would have won if I stayed in, etc.
This will subconsciously convey the thesis to your judges so they agree with your answer when you present it. It’s easier to give someone support if they agree than to convince them if they don’t.
A witty transition into what is happening in the current system.
Background information on what is happening. Utilize 1-2 sources of evidence.
SoS: Statement of Significance
Convey to the judge why this topic matters. if you can do so in a personal manner it has greater significance. Why should the judge care about listening to rather or not president Putin will be reelected? they don’t…. Judges will vote higher if they feel engaged in the speech. So explain that the Russian election dictates US affairs with Russia and could possibly affect every citizen of the US.
Some topics make it really difficult to personalize to the judge with a SoS. Do your best to find a strong SoS but sometimes it’s better to go without one than to make an illogical stretch to fit the template.
Q and A
Read your question word for word (this is required by the rules), and provide your short answer. Your answer should be a yes/no, or an umbrella answer for specific questions. Never answer a question with depends, or maybe, or likely, or possible. Anyone can spout out a vague something-or-other, but a strong answer is credible and memorable.
A good transition into the next part is to say: We will see the answer is “your answer” for ‘reason 1’, ‘reason 2’, and ‘reason 3’
Summary of points
Mention the tags for your 2-3 points.
3-5 word tag.
1-2 sources of evidence.
Impact: What this point means as far as the Q and A goes. 0-1 source of evidence.
^ Repeat process for 1-2 more points ^
Reread your question and answer and summarize points.
Conclude with a zinger. Do NOT conclude by simply repeating your answer, the question, or your summary. Tie the conclusion back into your AGD and have your last line be something witty, memorable, or relatable. Make sure you conclude with something engaging that the judge can see is the persona of your point.