Monday, February 22, 2010

Extemporaneous Speech

Surely this is the ideal method of delivery. It is far and away the most popular with the audience, and the favorite method of the most efficient speakers.

"Extemporaneous speech" has sometimes been made to mean unprepared speech, and indeed it is too often precisely that; but in no such sense do we recommend it strongly to speakers old and young. On the contrary, to speak well without notes requires all the preparation which we discussed so fully in the chapter on "Fluency," while yet relying upon the "inspiration of the hour" for some of your thoughts and much of your language. You had better remember, however, that the most effective inspiration of the hour is the inspiration you yourself bring to it, bottled up in your spirit and ready to infuse itself into the audience.

If you extemporize you can get much closer to your audience. In a sense, they appreciate the task you have before you and send out their sympathy. Extemporize, and you will not have to stop and fumble around amidst your notes—you can keep your eye afire with your message and hold your audience with your very glance. You yourself will feel their response as you read the effects of your warm, spontaneous words, written on their countenances.

Sentences written out in the study are liable to be dead and cold when resurrected before the audience. When you create as you speak you conserve all the native fire of your thought. You can enlarge on one point or omit another, just as the occasion or the mood of the audience may demand. It is not possible for every speaker to use this, the most difficult of all methods of delivery, and least of all can it be used successfully without much practise, but it is the ideal towards which all should strive.

One danger in this method is that you may be led aside from your subject into by-paths. To avoid this peril, firmly stick to your mental outline. Practise speaking from a memorized brief until you gain control. Join a debating society—talk, talk, TALK, and always extemporize. You may "make a fool of yourself" once or twice, but is that too great a price to pay for success?

Notes, like crutches, are only a sign of weakness. Remember that the power of your speech depends to some extent upon the view your audience holds of you. General Grant's words as president were more powerful than his words as a Missouri farmer. If you would appear in the light of an authority, be one. Make notes on your brain instead of on paper.

Joint Methods of Delivery

A modification of the second method has been adopted by many great speakers, particularly lecturers who are compelled to speak on a wide variety of subjects day after day; such speakers often commit their addresses to memory but keep their manuscripts in flexible book form before them, turning several pages at a time. They feel safer for having a sheet-anchor to windward—but it is an anchor, nevertheless, and hinders rapid, free sailing, though it drag never so lightly.

Other speakers throw out a still lighter anchor by keeping before them a rather full outline of their written and committed speech.

Others again write and commit a few important parts of the address—the introduction, the conclusion, some vital argument, some pat illustration—and depend on the hour for the language of the rest. This method is well adapted to speaking either with or without notes.

Some speakers read from manuscript the most important parts of their speeches and utter the rest extemporaneously.

29 comments:

  1. One thing I've found helpful is to practice the important parts of your speech word for word and then making you transitions more off the cuff. But you're right about some of the dangers - I have a bad habit of thinking of additional points while going over my speech on the way to the engagement or even while I'm up speaking. It has taken me a lot of practice to "stay the course" and just go with what I had planned.

    Good post.

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  2. I gave my first extemporaneous speech today, and my comment on it is that I was very strong with my introduction but not as strong with the rest. I will work harder on my concluion in the future.

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  3. I just gave my first extemporaneous speech just moments ago. I went into depth enough to bring brochures from my topic. I had interviewed three park rangers in effort to be most effective. I did have a nervous bunch of jitters and I now know i made my note card wrong, but I wanted to direct immense thanks to the gentleman now wearing the black shirt and red shorts about in the center of the room for texting while i was midway through! (you know who you are!) Thanks all who did listen and I really enjoyed each speech I have heard today!

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  4. Preparing for my extemporaneous speech, I made a rough outline and note card quickly through brainstorming. Next, I began to practice giving my speech out loud using my notes. I believe this method was effective. However, my advice to anyone preparing for a speech is to practice and practice until your speech is yours and you know it.

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  5. I gave my extemporaneous speech yesterday, I messed up my slides a little bit and I think I rushed some of my words but I really enjoyed talking about something I felt passionate about. And I want to thank everyone who listened and was polite to everyone who spoke.
    ~Bridgett

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  6. Well I got through the speech....I did it but barely...I was VERY nervous...I feel like I looked unprepared, but the truth is that I practiced and took alot of time perfecting..I realized after the speech that It was waaayyy too long.. It wasnt at home tho...It wasn't perfect, but I know I can do better the next time.

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  7. I gave my first extemporaneous speech last week and it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I was so nervous, but all of the practicing I did to prepare helped to keep my mind clear and kept it from going blank. All but one person in the class gave me their attention and it made me feel like they wanted me to do well. I thought everyone else did an amazing job! Just in the future I hope others will respect me by being polite and listening as I did for them.

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  8. Today,I gave my first persuasive speech. Although I became a little mixed up in the body of my speech, I felt that I started and ended the speech very strongly. I was able to give much more emotion and personal response because the speech affected me in my own personal life. I thought the speech went very well. Additionally, I also felt my informative speech went well last week. I felt like my major improvement today from that speech were that I stayed centered and didn't move around as much. Giving these speeches really improved my communication skills!

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  9. I have seen quite a few speeches that are done extenporaneously. I find them being honest speeches.People who do talk in public this way are in my opinion talking from experience and it can captivate the audience tremendiously.

    Sara Pestana Aguiar

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  10. I gave my first extemporaneous speech today. I felt as if that was the better way to go than just memorizing the whole speech. The only advice I would give would be to PRACTICE your speech many times with your speaking card. The practice I put in really helped me deliver the speech clearly and without as much nervousness.

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  11. My first extemporaneous speech that I gave was very nerve wrecking, but I loved doing it! I loved talking about my experience in the labor and delivery and the love and dedication a nurse has to have in labor and delivery! The time and effort I put into my speech helped me develop it a lot more and not make me so nervous!

    :) Kayla Hyatt

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  12. Hughston said,

    When I gave my extemporaneous speech, I felt energized. I was freaking out the night before, however, when I gave my speech, I was confident and on task. The post is correct about the tendency to go off task when speaking off the cuff. That is why notes are handy, they helped me stay focused on the point I was trying to make in my talk.

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  13. I was really nervous and have to work on that. And I also have to learn to be more confident in myself, because i know it. I really enjoyed everyones speeches.

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  14. Last Tuesday,I spoke my venturesome speech to the class. I had practiced it many times and had four minutes as my time, however during class my time was half that. I learned to speak slower and that even though I usually don't have a problem speaking in front of people sometimes my nerves get the best of me. I enjoyed everyone's speech, who gave theres on tuesday and thursday. I felt that many took hold of the moment!

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  15. Extemporaneous speaking is not as bad as I thought! It really helps to know your topic and practice it. I may not have appeared to be nervous, but my insides were shaking. After having completed my first speech, I believe it will be much easier next time. My advice to anyone is to pick a topic that you are well informed about. most importantly, practice!

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  16. I was very nervous and had a lot of fear giving my first speech. However, I told myself it wasnt that bad and finally convinced myself to get it over with. It ended up not being near as bad as I thought, and I think my next speech will be much better and hopefully I will not be as nervous.
    -Chase Stoker

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  17. I gave my first extemporaneous speech last week. I was very nervous to stand up in front of class, but as I began speaking I tried to relax myself so I wouldn't sound ridiculous and start slurring my words.It is important that you practice your speech several times. Practicing will help make you feel more secure on about what you are going to say and I feel that I should have practiced more and organized my thoughts to get my point across a little better.

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  18. I gave my first extemporaneous speech last week. I did a lot of research to prepare for my speech, and I practiced to the point where I did not need my outline. I felt really nervious in the begining but once i went up there i forgot all about it and just gave it my best. The advice i would give to anyone giving a speech is practice, practice, practice, and practice. Practice makes a big difference, as well as having a great and organized outline.

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  19. Alyse McAllister DSCSeptember 23, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    Alyse McAllister DSC

    I was worried about giving my first speech. I made sure to prepare before the speech and practice extensively. I feel that overall my speech was a success.

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  20. I was pretty nervous about giving my speech. I was scared about forgetting my points, or slipping and saying the wrong things. I was also worried that I wouldn't have good transitions, as my senior lit teacher had told me that I tend to talk random, going from one aspect to another. After standing up there though, I realized that everyone else who had gone before me had probably felt the same fear and anxiety that I did. And if they could do it, then so could I. It gave me the strength to pry my jaw open and start talking to my audience. I just hope my point got across like I wanted it to.

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  21. I have been hearing speeches during this week and they were great because they were so personal. Also it made me realized that it going to be alright when doing speeches in my class next time.

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  22. I recently gave my first imformative speech in my speech class. I am a 45 year old female in a class of mainly 18 to 20 year old students. I was so nervous about giving my speech, not so much the speaking but the subject. I wanting give a speech that interested me and the students. I chose to speak on the Weird and unexplained. I spoke about two local cemeteries in my home town of Dalton, GA. The Whitfield Memorial Gardens and The West Hill Cemetery. The West Hill Cemetery is on the Historic registry. There is a Confederate cemetery located in the West Hill Cemetery. I spoke about the weird and unexplained stories or legends of the grave yard. I got through the speech and I think I informed the students about some things that they had no clue about. I just wish I would have had more time to really get into details. But for the first speech I think I did a very good job. The hardest part for me was writing the outline. I had a hard time in High School with outlines and it seems I still do.

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  23. My first extemporaneous speech went as well as I expected. I was nervous and I stumbled over some words but I was able to push through it. I guess my biggest fear going in was that I would forget what I wanted to say but that didn't happen. I had practiced so much that I had inadvertently memorized my entire speech so it may have come across as a bit too rehearsed. Next time I'll try to go a little slower and maybe not depend on my note card as much.

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  24. A few days ago I gave my first official extemporaneous speech. I really enjoyed the freedom of this type of speech. It was nice to be able to change my wording at the last minute. The main advice I would give to someone giving his type of speech would be to talk about something that you really enjoy so the speech comes naturally.

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  25. The whole experience was insightful and exciting. Having been involved in theater and marching band before, the fear of people was not as vast as it could have been. However, it was still a bit nerve-racking. I was able to complete my speech without having to stop entirely or stare at my card for a while, which were both grade-friendly. As for advice, I would emphasize GREATLY on practice practice practice. It can and will make or break your speech. For the future speeches, I plan to practice more often to ensure better overall quality.

    Regards,
    Matt
    Dalton State College

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  26. I thought that this was very scary when I first started giving my speech but as I went on it got easier. In the beginning and the end I started and ended the way that I wanted to but the middle was nowhere near the way I wanted it to be. The next time I have to give a speech i am going to prepare better and know what i am going to say be for i say it. So if your ever giving a speech know what you are going to say before you say it.

    -Kristina Pritchett
    DSC

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  27. I gave my first extemporaneous speech on the 27th, and I memorized my speech for the most part, but I slipped up a bit during my presentation and I was glad to have my notecard with me. I was glad that I practiced so much, because I'm not sure if I would have been able to give it with only my outline.

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  28. Stephanie Wilson @ Dalton State

    Yes, I gave my 1st Extemporaneous speech the other week on Kidney Stones. It was much different than I had expected. I actually forgot some stuff and had no way of keeping up with my time so I went over the 3-5 minutes. My speech was actually 12 minutes long. I thought It was too short while I was giving the speech becuase I left some information out. I got a pretty good grade on it so I guess that's all that really matters!!! It was still pretty nerve racking though!

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  29. My first speech was a little nerve racking. I forgot my conclusion and lost it there for a minute. After it was all said and done I was convinced that I had bombed it. But as it turned out I made an 85 and learned to be more confident with my next speech.
    My advice to you: Don't stress! Keep your cool and you'll do fine!

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