“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” –Dale Carnegie
Extempore speaking is the term used for a non-formally prepared speech. Every time you speak you are preparing for extempore speaking. You probably prepare without even knowing it. You have to read to learn new things for this type of speaking. When doing extempore speaking, you need to use the knowledge that you have and use a strong delivery.
The key to extempore speaking is that the words spoken are chosen as we speak them, and what is delivered is a stream of consciousness that is fluent, erudite and articulate, while being unscripted. Historically, Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) (a top notch business school affiliated to Delhi University) has been known for conducting an extempore session along with the GD/PI rounds in its selection process.
Extempore tests the candidates on the following:-
- Ability to think on the feet
- Ability to connect with the panel
- Ability to think outside the box
- Analysis of the topic and identification of the issue to be addressed
- Prioritization and sequencing displaying logical thinking
- Communication skills
- Overall presentation skills-body language, confidence, poise, composure etc.
For effective extempore speaking – candidates must be fluent and well read.
- Be mentally ready: Know what to speak beforehand. Ponder over the topic for some time and prepare the flow of delivery. Your previous extempore practice sessions would surely be a booster here. Understanding the audience, the direction they are most likely to accept, helps in framing the flow of speech & also helps to connect with the audience.
- Keep a check on your rate of speech: The key is; neither to go too fast nor too slow. Do not start really fast, as you are likely to end much earlier than the given time.
- Confidence is the key: “It’s not what you say but how you say it” that makes the difference, too. Confidence, along with knowledge, always helps, even in abstract topics where you are tested on presence of mind, spontaneity and analytical skills.
- Handle mental blocks smartly: Remember the famous quote? “If plan “A” doesn’t work there are 25 more letters in the alphabet.” At times, when you get stuck, try to maneuver yourself out of the situation gracefully by avoiding being nervous. For such situations it is better to have back up plans.
- Don’t get carried away: Don’t get emotional about the topic, avoid getting too personal on sensitive matters, don’t deviate from the topic and talk about irrelevant stuff.
- The darker and brighter sides- In case of controversial topics (e.g. Should actors from Pakistan be given an opportunity in Bollywood?), you may choose to explore both sides, a stand which becomes difficult to take in case of GDs due to challenges of group dynamics. In an extempore, since you are the only person speaking, it becomes possible for a smart, strategic speaker to discuss both aspects of the controversial topic. However, one has to be on his/her toes about the time constraints while taking this stand.
- Competence, Enthusiasm & Adaptability is the key: Work on yourself & your competitive advantage which could be excellent vocabulary, being good at idioms & expressions, some good proverbs & quotes, good general knowledge, etc. Stay calm & put your best foot forward.
- Mind your Ps & Qs- Last but not the least; do ensure that you sound polite & don’t end up hurting anyone by commenting on a specific caste, religion or sex. You must have heard-“Words are free, it’s how you use them that may cost you”