Hey, Extemper’s! Coming back from a long break? Let’s look at a few quick ways you can get back into shape before the season ramps up:
Catch Up On Current Events
Remember to start getting into a regular habit of reading the news! In case you need a quick review of a week or even a month’s worth of news, you can subscribe to email newsletters and have them set to email you once a week for important headlines you may have missed or didn’t read.
If you check your emails often this may come in handy, or if you set notifications on for your devices, you could catch a few new article updates.
My favorite source is the New York Times, and if you have the app or account, you can turn on notifications in the section “Get Caught Up” which includes options to receive breaking news, morning briefings, and even the top stories they cover.
Start Practicing Regularly
Implement a regular practice schedule, whether it be prepping entire speeches and speaking for 7 minutes, all the way to simple drills. Check out the questions we posted on our home page that list international and national topic questions as you prep!
Here is a fun little drill I like to do when I may not have time to prepare a full speech:
Pick out a question you will answer, and choose 3-5 articles under that topic as your pieces of evidence. Next, take 8-10 minutes to draft a single point, and begin to recall these sources. Keep tying these sources back to the question as you are still answering the question. The activity is like a mini prep, and it will help with memorization and slowly getting back into that “Extemp” feel.
Keep an eye out for our future workshops and events that we will be hosting as a great way to practice on the side!
Reflect on your previous season, assess your past performances, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Was it the amount of time you didn’t hit in your speeches? The number or variety of sources? How about your analysis of your answer within your points? Jot these points down, see what you can hone in on, and make specific adjustments when you practice.
You may even want to set up practice goals for how often you will practice and how many speeches you will make. Think about the feedback you get from your peers and coaches and implement it into your speeches as you fine-tune your skills.
As always, have fun speaking!