Boone County High School Forensics


Impromptu Speaking


The best way to practice any limited prep event is to simulate how the event would work for a tournament. Keep these tips in mind while practicing impromptu:


  • Always give students two different quotations to choose from. You can pull these quotations from websites, books of quotes, etc. While the specific quotations you use don’t matter, try to use ones you think would appear in tournaments; also, avoid very common or “easily interpretable” quotations (e.g. “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”) as they don’t give students a good opportunity to practice quick and deep analysis.


  • Keep note of the specific points that students are using, and if they are using the same points multiple times, remind them about canning. It may help to help a notebook or document on your phone that includes a running list of the points students use in their practice sessions. That way, you can refer back to the points to see if students are reusing ideas.


  • Since quotations are the most common topics, they should be practiced the most. However, practicing with objects, ideas, people, etc. as topics will prepare students for tournaments that don’t use quotations. It also expands their limited prep and analytical skills.


  •  If a student is having trouble coming up with a speech under three minutes, try ignoring the time and walking them through the process. Walk them through how to create a speech idea, body points, intro/conclusion, etc.


  •  It may even help to show them how you would do an impromptu. To do this, randomly assign yourself a quotation and prep a speech like you would in a tournament, but speak out loud your thoughts (e.g. Okay, the first thing that came to mind when I read this quote was X. So maybe I should do my speech on X. And oh, I remember something I read in the news that applies to this idea.)


More Helpful Resources and Tips: