Extemporaneous Speech Topics: Choosing and Preparing Wisely

First, let’s figure out what an extemporaneous speech is. This type of assignment implies answering questions on the given topic in front of the audience. Speakers have limited time to prepare (generally 30 minutes), and their speech usually takes about seven minutes. In the course of preparation, competitors answer three questions, then enter the stage and deliver their speeches, which are based on original research. The main goal of each speaker is to persuade or inform the listeners. 

Though many of us have a strong fear of public speaking, extemporaneous speech isn’t as frightening as impromptu speech, which gives you no time for preparation. You are even allowed to take notes while preparing.

How to Choose the Right Extemporaneous Speech Topic

The process of picking the right extemporaneous speech topic may be overwhelming. You should consider many different options, compare and analyze them. Choose carefully, as the overall success of your speech depends on this step. You should feel confident in your chosen theme. The most popular topics are related to culture, politics, environment, or personal issues. They arouse interest in students and make the whole process of extemporaneous delivery much more engaging.

Extemporaneous Speech Topics Related to Culture

Cultural issues are very researchable and usually provoke strong opinions. You can talk about racism, ethical issues, sexuality and gender, censorship, imperialism, and many other matters. Here are some good examples:

  1. Should the government control news broadcasting and other important information?
  2. How can social class inequality be eliminated in the USA?
  3. Should the authorities have the power to set ethical codes and rules for people?
  4. Do sexual minorities, and heterosexual people have the same rights?
  5. What medical care should (or shouldn’t) be provided to illegal immigrants?
  6. Is it ethical to eliminate migrant camps?
  7. Do you consider the death penalty ethical?
  8. Is the issue of racism serious in Canada?
  9. What are the roots of racial discrimination? 
  10. Are gender equality and peace connected?

Topics Related to Politics

Political matters are always in high supply, therefore, can provide many potential topics. Past or current issues can be used as subjects, for example:

  1. Why is political apathy more common nowadays comparing to the past?
  2. Why is Africa politically unstable?
  3. Does Europe depend on the Russian petroleum industry far too much?
  4. Is it true that some republics only pretend to be democracies while, in reality, they are not?
  5. Should a number of terms served by any president be limited to one?
  6. Should parliamentary immunity be abolished?
  7. Was Arnold Schwarzenegger a good governor?
  8. What are the costs of Quebec’s independence?
  9. What are the trade issues with politically unstable countries?
  10. Is it true that illegal immigration will be combated by building a wall on the USA/Mexico border?

Environmental Speech Topics

Today’s news is flooded with worldwide environmental issues like air and water pollution, global warming, waste management, and many other problems. Environmental topics attract attention, are highly researchable and compelling. Focus on the most recent findings and pressing issues. Surely, you will find something to explore. Consider the following topics:

  1. How can human environmental impact turn against us in the future?
  2. Should regular recycling be every citizen’s legal obligation?
  3. What are the most serious threats to the environment in 2020?
  4. How is expanding consumerism killing the earth and eating our future?
  5. How does a growing economy influence India’s environment?
  6. Does ocean acidification pose a threat to marine organisms?
  7. Is it true that climate change requires more serious global action?
  8. Will water pollution be our major problem in the nearest future?
  9. How can consuming organic and fair-trade products help with environmental issues?
  10. Are the consequences of global warming overestimated by environmental activists?
  11. How can the use of plastic bags be reduced in the stores?
  12. Should all countries sacrifice economic growth to save the environment?
  13. How do hunting sports kill biodiversity?
  14. Can alternative energy sources prevent irreversible environmental damage?
  15. What are the major dangers of ozone depletion?

Talking about Personal Matters

If you are new to extemporaneous speeches, it may be a comfortable starting point. You can talk about things you know, your personal experiences and achievements, maybe even reveal some unknown facts about yourself. Personal topics usually make students feel more comfortable and confident while delivering the speech. Here are some topics you can try:

  1. Share a story about an achievement that makes you proud.
  2. Talk about your life purpose.
  3. Do you know the meaning of life?
  4. What would you do if you were free from school or any other responsibilities for a year?
  5. If you had one week left to live, how would you spend it?
  6. Do you think it is a good idea to become a vegetarian?
  7. How does your perfect apartment (house) look like?
  8. Tell a real story from your life that taught you a lesson.
  9. What changes would you make if you become a president?
  10. Do you consider skills or education more important?
  11. What are your biggest fears concerning the future?
  12. Tell about someone who motivates and inspires you.
  13. Five things you do not like about being a teenager.
  14. Describe the best morning of your life.
  15. Do you have some unusual traits or habits?
  16. Describe five things you hate about your country or city.
  17. What will make you successful in 5 years?
  18. If you could choose any country to move to, what would it be?
  19. What animal do you associate yourself with?
  20. Do you agree that it is important to learn a second language?

After you’ve chosen the most attractive topic, let’s move to the next step. 

Tips on How to Prepare a Speech

  • Your first task is to grab the audience’s attention while briefly stating the theme.
  • Choose three to five major points. Each one should be a self-contained idea.
  • Every point should relate to the main thesis statement and remind your listeners about the key issue.
  • Make sure that you transition smoothly from one point to another.
  • Sub points should provide additional information which was not included in the central points. They are supposed to explain and support the main idea. When you come to closing remarks, do not reduce everything to a simple summary. Instead, you should provide an analysis and make a judgment on every conclusion.
  • Try using simple language. If you attempt to impress the public with sophisticated words or complex matters, it may end in your listeners’ total disinterest. Besides, you may stumble over these unnecessary complexities or sound boring instead of clever. 

Work on the Structure of Your Speech

The structure is very important in this type of assignment. Try using common frameworks such as SEE structure, which implies three things: statement, evidence, emotion. Divide your speech into blocks. Firstly, make a statement that reveals your project’s success. Next, provide evidence of your fruitful work on the given assignment and support your statement. Finally, evoke emotions by telling a personal story that should be relevant to the main topic. 

Extemporaneous Speech Example

We have prepared an example to help you understand the assignment better. This is just a framework that needs to be expanded, but it will provide you with insight. Note that the following text does not include any personal opinions, but serves as an exempt pattern.

  1. Your main question. Is Barack Obama eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize 2009?
  2. Interest step. Obama‘s candidacy is a surprising pick for the Nobel Peace Prize, which raises a lot of questions. A peace prize winner with no winning peace projects?
  3. Thesis. Does Obama truly deserve the award? No, he did not succeed while dealing with foreign policy issues.
  4. Clarification. Obama’s great efforts in the field of foreign affairs were praised by the Norwegian Committee. However, the world reacted in surprise. Global leaders were convinced that this honor came way too soon as there were no considerable peace achievements.
  5. Preview (summary). The President is not eligible for the award given the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Barack Obama himself expressed doubts. Previous laureates achieved real diplomatic successes in the matter of peace.

Tips on How to Deliver Your Speech

  • Practice in advance. Use the mirror and try speaking to yourself. Observe your body language and pay attention to the way you speak. You may also try recording your voice – it will help to evaluate the quality of your speech. Keep practicing until you fix all the weak points and notice improvement.
  • Don’t be afraid of your audience. Stop imagining how your listeners will judge you and don’t make hasty conclusions about their impressions. Stay calm end enjoy your listeners’ attention.
  • Make eye contact with the audience and establishes a connection. It will enhance your impact and keep your listeners engaged with the speech.
  • Don’t speak too fast. Give your listeners a chance to process the information they receive. 
  • Don’t hesitate to use body language or emotional facial expressions.
  • If you’re feeling a bit nervous, don’t be afraid to let your audience know! Sharing your emotions will help you relax and raise your listeners’ friendly attitude. Just remember to make these comments brief.
  • This one is as simple as can be: smile! Your listeners will love that.

In any case, stay confident and genuine. All these tips will help you master the art of extemporaneous speech and make your performance memorable.

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