How to Use Prep Time

How prep time is used during an Impromptu round will determine how well a competitor does overall. Every second is a precious one, and a speaker has to approach each round with an organized approach. Every one of the five minutes plays a different role, and things such as daydreaming or questioning a speech can ruin the entire round. By breaking down each minute of prep time, it will be shown how simple it is to stay on target and better prepare a speech.

The first minute of prep time is the backbone minute. What is meant by that? It is when a speaker determines the backbone and structure of the speech. Typically, there should be three points of support, each of them to last for one minute. Suppose the topic is drawn and it is “morality.” The first minute is the chance to come up with three main points for the topic. This is not the time to determine any specifics; simply build the thesis (the speech’s stance and its three points). Using “morality” as the example, one could decide that the first point is going to be about what morality used to mean in society. From there, one might talk about how it has declined through time. Lastly, the speech might conclude with what needs to happen for morality to be restored. Although this description breaks it down in detail, realize that there are only sixty seconds to determine what the thesis statement will be. That is not much at all; so stay on task!

Once the thesis has been built, move on to the second minute of prep time. This is the time to determine what the introduction will be. The introduction is an audience’s first impression of a speaker, so do not overlook this prep. Let the audience get to know who is presenting. Begin with a good attention getter. With the “morality” example, perhaps talk about the moral lessons learned while growing up – how parents have taught this or that (it can be funny) and how it helped shape an identity. A good attention getter will make a solid transition into the thesis concerning how morality is not as prevalent as it once was. When considering an introduction, once again, just decide the direction and not all of the details. Details will come later.

In the third minute think of details and what will be in the body of the speech. Expand slightly upon the thesis’ three points. Using “morality,” think of specific examples of how moral decline is evident in society today. Perhaps talk about how movies and music are loaded with objectionable content that is always pushing the boundaries of what has always been known as “acceptable.” Maybe consider how people have become more aggressive and violent in how they talk and act. Upon embellishment of details, a speaker should think of possible solutions to the problem (if applicable). With “morality,” suggest that people need to return to the rules society used to play by. Or suggest that kindness and chivalry have always been the best fabric of our society. Whatever is chosen to talk about, consider what has worked in the past and suggest it for the future. Remember, once again, there are only sixty seconds for this portion. Note, only an outline of the body (or any of the speech) is to be prepared. The outline serves as a mental map for the speaker to follow while they develop the speech while speaking in the round.

During the fourth minute of the prep time is when focus should be given to the conclusion. This should be the simplest minute of prep time. The conclusion is a summary of the speech, a re-statement of the thesis and main points in new words with one line that leaves the audience thinking at the end. Try to figure out how everything will come full circle. Because there are only five minutes to speak, there will only be time to reiterate the major points that were discussed in the speech. Frills are not of major concern due to time.

This leads into the last minute of the prep time. This is crucial. This is the memorization stage. Everything has already been organized; the details have been determined. But because of the lack of time, only so much was retained. Now is the time to hone in and remember everything outlined earlier. First and foremost, KNOW THE THESIS. The thesis is the secret to speech success. The thesis establishes the introduction, contains the points for the body, and links to the conclusion. Everything falls in sync with the thesis. Review the details/examples thought of to support the three main points of the speech and finish building a mental outline. Remember, this is Impromptu. There is no time to have every detail ironed out. Create an outline and speaking will fill the voids.

This is how the prep time should be used for Impromptu. The time will go by very quickly and a speaker must be organized in their efforts to develop a speech. Chose a topic, build a good thesis and introduction, think of some examples and details to hit and grow while speaking of the body, make a conclusion, and then review everything to memorize a mental outline. Remember, the amount of prep time given is very short. Approximately the time given to prepare a speech is about as long as it took to read this article. That is, if a five minute prep is given or practiced--some competitors stick to a two minute prep. So think fast!