I was just about to do a forum topic similar to this.
I have a question related to impromptu. I'm doing "traditional NCFCA" impromptu where I get 2 minutes of prep to do a 5 minute speech. I've done well this year (I got 5th overall in Greenville and made semis in Columbia, and believe me, R8 has some phen.nom.en.al. impromptuers) but I want to take it to the next level: I want to start doing impromptus that grab the audience's attention.
My impromptus usually follow this layout:
Opening - personal story, either dramatic or funny
1 - What does topic/quote/word etc. mean?
2 - why is this important?
3 - how to apply to our lives
Closing - summary of points, sometimes I remember to tie back to my opening
See, I do well and then get in the finals rounds, and then I realize that my content is not as interesting/creative as my opponents. Any tips on developing a creative stance/strategy for impromp speeches?
Hey, Emily Rose!
The advice people gave Alison is great, but for NCFCA, the formula model will only take you so far (as you are realizing). I did NCFCA impromptu for five years and won regionals three times and second at nationals last year. I tell you that not to brag, but so you know that I have analyzed my impromptu speeches from about every angle I can possibly think of in order to keep pushing myself to the next level each year. In other words, I feel your pain!
For me, making a good impromptu speech all goes back to actually asking yourself the fundamental question, "Why am I competing in impromptu?" If your goal in competing is to be able to speak in a polished manner on your feet, the formula method works. However, while the formula method makes for very structured, polished speeches, it also tends
to make for very flat speeches and it by the third or fourth tournament you start to feel like a mindless machine stuck in the same grove going over and over and over again!!!
After a couple years of impromptu, I was so sick of this feeling that I decided I didn't care what I finished anymore and I wanted to make impromptu a ministry. That may sound strange, but think about it--you have three judges stuck in front of you who HAVE to listen to you! CHANGE their lives! Make them cry, laugh, feel, want to dance, whatever! And, lo and behold, my impromptus got soooooo much better. I was happy, judges were happy (or crying), my mom was happy--happiness abounded!
The one thing was that (at least in my region) parents still reeeeeeally want to see three points, so I found a way of putting my new and improved more-interesting speeches into a three point model. It looks like this:
Thesis (basically the overall point I want them to take away from my speech)
1. (thought or example that supports thesis)
2. (thought or example that supports thesis)
3. (thought or example that supports thesis)
So basically it is a mini-persuasive speech.
So here is an example of what the content might be:
Opener: quote I have memorized about miracles, introduce topic, thesis, and three points supporting thesis
Thesis: We can only recognize and experience miracles when we believe they are possible
1. Story about Booker T. Washington believing the impossible was possible and miracles resulting
2. Discussion of how a group of people in history never reached their full potential because they didn't think miracles were possible
3. Personal story about a miracle I prayed for about my Grandpa that God made a reality
Closer: restate thesis and points, refer back to opening quote about miracles, maybe a little challenge or something.
The trick here is to impact each point back to your thesis. You don't ever have to say the words "thesis" or "points" but they will be there nevertheless.
As to making sure that the content is creative, start keeping a mental notebook of inspiring or convicting things that you hear about or that happen to you. Think about what God has been doing in your life or in the lives of those around you. I kept both a mental and a physical notebook.
If you really put your heart into into and stray from the typical forumula, you can really impact the judges. I never make it a goal to make judges cry (I don't think it's a good goal), but I'm thinking that probably a quarter of my impromptu judges cried last year.
Before I branched out and got creative, that pretty much never happened. If your heart is in it, you will shine
_________________The "Frazer" of "Frazer/Stivers" ; now an alumni. Buy Ethos Sourcebook. Unmatched quality, ethics, and quantity. http://www.ethosdebate.com/Go to an Ethos Camp this summer--one of the best investments for your debate career.
Praise the Lord, O my soul!