Speaking About a Quote

Preparing for a round of Impromptu dealing with quotes can be quite challenging. Quotes can be diversely interpreted, and in some cases are nearly impossible to understand in the first place. But just like Extemporaneous Speaking, there is the option of choosing between three quotes. Therefore, there should be little problem finding a topic that suits personal interests and understanding. The following questions then arise in competition with quotes: What to do with a quote? And how to turn it into a speech? Both of these can easily be answered – cease overcomplicating a simple topic and choose one aspect of it to speak on. Whichever type of quote is given, by understanding how to approach any style will result in a better speech no matter what the quote.

Humorous Quotes – “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.”

Humorous quotes provide tremendous flexibility because a speaker can apply a quote’s moral lesson to many situations. In addition, humorous quotes open the door for just that --humor. Using the above-stated quote as an example, one can talk about personal experiences in class projects. The speech can discuss how there are always the impatient people, the lazy people, and the know-it-alls within any group and how the product of their efforts is mostly always mediocre (or short/different from the desired goal). Provide examples of businesses that have made serious blunders as support. Being limited in prep time, do not try to be too funny by looking for the joke. Allow humor to evolve on its own as the point is being delivered and developed.

Well-known Quotes – “A stitch in time saves nine”

The quote above is a well-known saying which first appeared in 1732’s Gnomologia, Adagies and Proverbs, Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British by Thomas Fuller. Another way of stating this quote is “solving a problem early on saves many from developing.” Well-known quotes tend to be drawn the most often. These are the classics which both judge and competitor can relate to. This is where creativity is essential. Something so familiar must be interpreted in a unique, interesting way that is relatable and moderately humorous. Try taking a slight jab at politicians or bring up a story of past extreme procrastination. Take a special approach that fits the quote and is somewhat personal, but do not forget to keep solid structure. There must be a strong thesis and points of support; details and humor will come while speaking.

Proverbs – “Whatever is good to know is difficult to learn”

The trouble with proverbs is that they can be very boring. Although they are easy to understand, they do not always easily set-up for humor (an essential of Impromptu). So what to do? Face Proverbs head on! The Greek Proverb listed above is the epitome of Proverbs; it is a reflection of life and a lesson that is learned. In this case, talk about a personal quest to succeed or a famous person who has done just that by rising above the status quo. Do not feel like an idea or humor has to be forced. Impromptu is judged on what is the best; not what is the funniest. The best speeches are the ones that are well-organized and are well-spoken.

Long Quotes – “Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts, of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.”

These can be the most frustrating quotes. They cannot be memorized because they are simply too long. Instead, a speaker needs to take the moral of the quote and simplify it in their own terms. For the quote above, the speech could be about the distractions faced in advancement of self. That is a concise restatement of the quote, and it makes it simpler to remember and organize thoughts around. Build on this by sticking to the thesis’ formula (thesis and main points). Using this example, discuss the distractions people have, how comforts are a hindrance, and how people can overcome these hindrances to achieve maximum potential. Basically, paraphrase the quote and build a thesis/outline around that paraphrase--unless, of course, a note card is used. Then the whole quote can be stated in the introduction. However, if fully quoted in the introduction, in the conclusion’s thesis restatement do paraphrase the quote.

The quote round is one of the toughest parts of Impromptu at any tournament. Like anything else though, do not allow fear to get in the way of progress. If questioning how to address quotes, practice them before the tournament and strive to address different types. In rounds focus on quote types where one excels in. Though, always try to improve personal range and skills. The more versatile from practice, the more confident and prepared a speaker will be as they approach each round.