Impromptu: Overview

As the name suggests, this event is very impromptu; rather, it is an off-the-cuff, unprepared category. The competitor walks into the round, sits down, receives a topic, utilizes the preparation time, and delivers a speech. Pretty straightforward. There are variations on the structure of Impromptu, such as how much prep time is allowed, how topics are chosen or given, and where topics/prep takes place. For instance, some regions only use quotes as topics. For more information on structure, please refer to the Structure and Rules article posted on this site.

This event is like Extemporaneous Speaking’s crazy uncle. Impromptu speakers are given less time to prepare; essentially think and speak. Impromptu does not use citations or resources. Everything is made up by the speaker. Also, Impromptu speaking encourages humor in the speeches. Further, while delivering your speech, judges will give you cues as to how much time you have left so you can mentally space-out your speech. This event allows the competitor a note card to write down an outline and some notes to use while speaking.

Impromptu is a lot like writing an English essay for a test when you have not studied. Part of success is drawing from what you know and making conclusions; the rest is filling in the gaps with words you believe in but might not be 100% accurate. You are trying to sell an idea, even if you might not fully grasp it or stand behind it. You speak about what you know and pretend to know the rest. This category is wonderful for those who are fantastic at thinking quickly and who fuel themselves on pressure. The only preparation required for this event is practicing with mock impromptu speaking topics so you can get better in ad lib situations.