The 3x2 Extemporaneous Speaking Approach

Approaching the analysis of an Extemporaneous topic can be overwhelming without a plan.  It is difficult enough developing and supporting a thesis statement let alone trying to structure the speech.  However, Extemporaneous Speaking is much like a research paper in that the structure of one is often the same for the other.  Thus, taking what you know from school and applying it to Forensics is not a bad idea.  If, however, you are still craving a skeletal frame to base your Extemporaneous speech around, a common structure given to many speeches is the 3X2.

The 3x2 Extemporaneous Speaking outline is less cryptic than you might think.  The numbers literally are the representation of main points and sub-points.  Three is the number of main points you should have in a speech, and two are the number of sub-points per main point.  Ergo, if you were to outline this structure you would have:

1. Main Point

     a. sub-point

     b. sub-point

Repeat this two times (for a total of three main points), add an introduction and conclusion, and you have a full speech.  Well, almost.  At the end of every second sub-point you must have an impact (the implications, or the "impact," this point has on a person, society, idea, YOU, etc.; why this matters).  Thus, the basic outline can read:

1. Main point

     a. sub-point

     b. sub-point

     c. IMPACT

Remember that each of the three main points helps support your thesis statement (the main idea of the speech; your stance) and each of the two sub-points, and IMPACT, supports the main idea.  Also, when writing a research paper or Extemporaneous speech it also helps to link the impact back to the thesis to drive the point home--if applicable to your situation and flow.  

To demonstrate this structure further let's use a completely silly thesis and provide a paragraph of support. 

THESIS: Vanilla is the best ice cream flavor.

1. Most Popular

     a. Voted most popular in poll (evidence from Food Network)

     b. Vanilla ice cream is highest selling flavor (NPD Group’s National Eating Trends Services evidence)

     c. Not only is it voted to be the tastiest of ice creams, but buyers back their vote by purchasing more vanilla ice cream than any other by a 20% margin.  With such a large percentage choosing vanilla over all other flavors, vanilla is clearly the taste testers', and majority, vote for best flavor both in poll numbers but in dollar sales.  And why buy something not desired?

Okay, this is a completely ridiculous and weak/amateur/2nd grade thesis to develop, but it does demonstrate how to use the 3x2 structure.  All you would need are two more main points (perhaps: health benefits of the vanilla bean; does vanilla offer fewer calories; are humans drawn chemically to vanilla's smell and taste?), two sub-points per main point, and the Extemporaneous speech would be complete.  If you are lost on how to expand on sub-points a and b try first finding evidence that supports the main point (a) and then asking/answering why this is happening or how it got to be a problem (b) and end with the impact.  You could also offer a solution (great for main point 3)!

The 3x2 structure is a great Extemporaneous speech framework to follow.  It ensures you find support for your thesis, offers enough main points to fully develop your thesis, and all you need to know about how to write the outline is captured in the name--excluding the impacts of course.  However, it should be said that having a speech of two main points with two sub-points each (2x2) is perfectly acceptable.  Actually, depending on the topic and your depth of sub-points per main point, doing a 2x2 could work better than the 3x2.  Never limit or confine yourself to one structure.  Look towards your Extemporaneous topic and analysis for answers of structure.