In this article, Ananth Veluvali breaks down how you, as a captain, can recruit people for your extemp team. This will be Part 1 in a longer series about starting, managing, and leading your team.
Part 1: Recruitment
It’s important to start with the obvious: in order to maintain a team, you need to recruit new extempers. While recruitment strategies can vary by high school, I find that most high schools will accommodate this five-pronged plan:
Step 1: Meet with different classes.
Have you ever had a club representative—perhaps a captain or a treasurer—meet with your classroom to discuss their activity? If so, it’s time to do the same with speech! Email different teachers from the social studies and English departments (especially in 8th-10th grade classes, where most new extempers come from) and ask for ten minutes of their time to deliver a quick presentation on extemp. Alternatively, you can run this through the school advisory program. Afterward, be sure to provide a link to the presentation and your email for curious students who’d like to learn more.
Step 2: Talk with debaters.
Throughout their competitive careers, many extempers choose to participate in a debate event. They rightfully recognized that the skills between debate and extemp cross-over and doing one elevates your skill in the other. You can use this to your advantage. As the debate season slows down or debaters are looking for another extracurricular to pursue, you should offer extemp as an option. Coordinate meetings with the debate coaches, and you’ll be all set!
Step 3: Advertise in hallways and emails.
This is likely the least time-consuming step, but it also has the most profound impact. If your school runs a weekly newsletter, ask if they can mention the fact that the speech team is recruiting and provide them with some informational materials they can attach to an email. Additionally, if your school allows it, put up informational posters in the hallways, so students walking by may find out more about the speech team.
Step 4: Spread the word to friends.
People are more likely to do something if they know others are already doing it. In speech, that means telling your non-extemp friends to join the team and, more importantly, asking the 8th-10th grade members of the team to pester (as friends do) their friends with requests to join the team. Soon, you’ll have an army of novices!
Step 5: Run initial interest meetings.
Often, you’ll need a second meeting to seal the deal with potential extempers. In Steps 1-4, you should be providing information about a follow-up meeting for interested students to attend. At that initial interest meeting, you should provide information about why extemp is fun, why it looks good on college applications, and how it can help people become more intelligent versions of themselves. You should also walk through sample extemp speeches and tell them who might like extemp. Looking for specific extemp recruiting material? Check out this article we published here!