Extemp Content and Strategy

Effectively Outlining Your Extemp Speech

Effectively outlining your introductions and points can be a daunting task. Fortunately, with a little practice, you can nail your outlines every single time! This article was written by Ananth Veluvali.

From AGDs to substructure, there are a lot of bells and whistles in an extemp speech. In 2018, Meredith Deaton—the coach of several extemp national champions—laid out a framework for effectively utilizing outlines to cover everything you need to in a speech. Below, that framework is laid out.

Intro (1 min 30 sec)

  • Attention getting device
    • Ex: In the classic story Robin Hood, Little John — who’s not so little after all — demands that Robin Hood pay a toll in order to cross a bridge.  Most people don’t realize that the Taliban got their start exactly the same way: by requiring travelers to pay a toll to travel one of rural Afghanistan’s few passable roads.
  • Link 
    • 1 sentence connecting your AGD to topic
    • While Little John’s scheme ended with him joining the Merry Men, the Taliban’s story has a much grimmer outcome: they eventually invested their profits in weapons and conquered all of Afghanistan.
  • Context
    • THREE (no more) facts your judge needs to know to understand your question
      • In 2001, the Taliban refused to surrender 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden to American custody.
      • The subsequent American invasion toppled the Taliban from power.
      • But the Taliban didn’t disappear: instead, they retreated back to their home in rural Afghanistan, making periodic attempts to extend their reign of terror.
  • Significance Statement
    • 1 sentence to say why this topic is important
    • Because the Taliban sponsor terrorism, oppress women, and violate human rights, it is essential that we ask today’s question…
  • State question
    • Use exact words
    • How serious a threat does the Taliban pose to Afghanistan?
  • Answer question (preferably with an overall thesis) and preview your three points
    • The answer is, they pose an extreme threat to their country by preventing economic development.  Specifically, they disrupt the economy by attacking markets,  disrupting women’s education, and preventing aid from reaching rural areas.  

Main Points (1:30 seconds each)

  1. Claim: 5-7 words that sum up this point (Ex. The Taliban make suicide attacks on market places)
    1.  What is happening in the real world right now? (Specific fact supported by 1-2 sources.  Ex. “The New York Times reports on July 20 that the Taliban have made three suicide attacks at busy marketplaces in major cities in the past six weeks.”)
    2. Your B point might contain different types of information, depending on exactly what your question requires.  You can think of your B point as a way to link back to your thesis (overall answer.) You will want 1-2 sources for this point. Some examples:
      1. What is the cause of the situation you described in point A?
      2. What is an effect of the situation you described in point A?
        1. The 2018  CIA World Factbook explains that 90% of Afghanistan’s economic activity is conducted in marketplaces.  When those marketplaces are attacked, economic activity halts.  The consequences of one lost day of market selling are severe, because according to UNICEF in May 2018, more than half of all Afghans live on less than a dollar a day.  When parents miss a day’s income, children will go hungry.
      3. How would we fix the problem you described in point A?
    3. How does everything you said in your A & B point link back to your question?  This point might require one source, or your own awesome analysis.  (ex. In a country where people are fighting for daily survival, attacks on economic activity are an extreme threat.  They lock people into a cycle of poverty by making them afraid to conduct business, and they force people to choose between putting food on their plates and protecting their lives.)

Conclusion (30 seconds – 1 minute)

  • Do not start with “in conclusion.”
  • Link back to your intro if possible
  • Recap your speech

By Ananth Veluvali

Founder, the Extemper's Bible.

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