Topics About People

In Impromptu there are several areas of topics that will be covered during the course of a tournament. One of the more popular topics is that of people. When prepping and speaking about a person there are some unique challenges and advantages. The major challenge faced is having knowledge of who that person is. If the topic of Margaret Thatcher is drawn, one either knows who she is or not. If a speaker does not know her accomplishments in history, they really only have the chance to choose between two topics because Margaret Thatcher is not even an option. However, there is one major advantage to biographical accounts: the level of creativity required is lowered. With most of Impromptu, being required to think creatively about topics is critical. But when the name of someone famous is drawn, a speaker essentially only has to talk about them. Yes, the angle must be creative, but it is not nearly as difficult to narrow the topic compared to abstract objects and things. With that said, there are many types of people and each type requires a different type of speech. Outlined below are the major categories of people and how to approach speaking about each one. This guide should give more confidence as when approaching upcoming tournaments.

World Leaders

This is a great topic because it can really only be approached from two angles. Either talk about how that leader has done an effective job in leading their country or state, or take a satirical approach and talk about the horrible job that person did. Most of the time, the leaders selected for competition will be former presidents of the United States or famous world leaders such as Stalin, Hitler, or Gorbachev. Winning these rounds of Impromptu can be the easiest because they are straight forward and simply require knowledge of history. For instance, the topic of “Abraham Lincoln” will almost always be a winning topic in these rounds if a good job of recounting who he was is achieved. Success will come for two reasons. First, he is one of the most-loved presidents this nation has ever seen; secondly, he possessed so many character traits which all of us can learn from. These traits of the subject make it easier to connect and relate the topic to the audience. Some caution though: do not make the mistake of being overly creative in these rounds. No one wants to hear the reasons why a child should be named after Abraham Lincoln…or how one could take him in a debate. Do not be afraid to use humor, but understand the topic and remain professional when dealing with world leaders.


These can be the most fun because a speech can either poke fun of celebrities or focus on the art. For example, an Impromptu that ridicules the idea of “celebrity” can discuss Hollywood parties, diva behavior, absurd spending habits, and the effects of being famous on a person’s mind. Perhaps a speech can look at fame and the celebrity treatment the famous are given--despite the truth that people truly do not even know them, while everyday heroes like firefighters or teachers receive little acknowledgement. Further, an Impromptu speech could develop the idea of how actors and musicians use their fame to help others. Or, a speech could evaluate the impact this person has had on their craft (much can be said of the genius of Alfred Hitchcock for instance--or how overrated he is pending on personal opinion). There are numerous positions to take, which helps this topic stay exciting.

Financial Gurus

There is a unique group of business people who are a joy to poke fun of or discuss seriously. They are the financial gurus. They are the extremely wealthy and smart, but most come with quirks that make them unique--the perfect component of a funny Impromptu speech. Typical financial gurus will include Donald Trump, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett. There may even be the occasional “techie” like Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook; with the film The Social Network he might actually be a common topic). These speeches can be great because a speaker can outline their success and still tease them for their quirks. Or a speech can target the philanthropy done by these individuals (such as Bill Gates’ work with education). Even still, a somewhat serious tone would be achieved by delving into the greed and exploitation exhibited by some financial people. If uncomfortable with this group of people, the good news is they do not appear in the drawing very often.


The athletes used in Impromptu are normally the well-known sports personas or legends. They would include the Lebron Jameses, Wayne Gretzkies, and Michael Phelpses of sports. Athletes are fun to talk about because most everyone enjoys a light-hearted topic on the rise of athletes over the years. People in general like a sport of some kind, and this makes a topic like “athletes” very inviting. One trouble with “athletes” is that there is not much room to be creative. If facing tough names choose the best of the three topics to discuss and link it to something known well enough to form a speech. If fortunate enough to draw a topic like Tiger Woods, there should be no problem coming up with a speech that possesses both conviction and humor in light of current events.

At each tournament there will be a people category for Impromptu. Speakers will draw three names and choose one that most likely falls under the categories detailed above. Do not be afraid to get creative, but know that the knowledge of a person’s life and their accomplishments is what begins a developed, interesting speech.