Limited Prep: Should You Prioritize Structure or Pathos? by: Annie Rogers

​Throughout my seven years competing in Speech and Debate, I heard the same phrase echoing throughout the competition halls: “I just want at least ONE judge to cry in my speech this time”. Pathos, the emotional appeal of your words, is admittedly an effective tool when it comes to evoking strong reactions amongst your audience, but is it the best way to approach your limited prep speeches?

Sign up for Annie’s Impromptu Class, which starts Mon. Feb. 10, HERE or continue to read on…

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Impromptu: Why and How by: Sophia Chiado

Impromptu. The word itself used to scare me. Why not play it safe and do informative and persuasive speeches? Aren’t I too old to start a new speech category?

For a long time, I stuck with this philosophy; playing it safe, until I felt that God was calling me to do something very bold, something completely out of my comfort zone and on my “never do” list….impromptu.

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Last Call… Online Impromptu Starts This Week

This week starts Annie Roger’s Online Impromptu Club. There is still room left to join and gain the tools you need to feel better equipped to speak on your feet. Are you ready? 1 Peter 3:15 states, “But in your hearts honor Christ as Lord, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that is in you.” Are you ready to defend your faith? Are you ready to give an answer? Annie has been working with students for over three years. Here is what a couple of her students had to say…

Annie’s guidance with Impromptu was extremely beneficial for me. She demonstrated how to quickly craft an effective thesis by helping me think about seemingly simple topics in a deep and impactful way. Through Annie’s insight I went from never breaking to competing at Nationals.” ~Nathanael R.

Annie Rogers is one of the best coaches that I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. I had never imagined success in Impromptu, as it was a new event for me. Annie is professional, encouraging, and honest. She taught me many valuable lessons about Limited Preparation Speeches. She is an incredible strategist, in that she can analyze a situation and help her students overcome their obstacles. She not only helped me succeed in Impromptu, but I got to Nationals in Debate and Apologetics, as well. She is more than just a coach, she is a friend that I would recommend to anyone.” ~Zach D.

If you sign up for Online Impromptu, here are some of the things Annie will be covering…

  • Intro into Impromptu
  • Preparation
  • Structure
  • Delivery and Style
  • Growth
  • Adding Complexity

Being able to speak on your feet will be valuable for years to come. Sign up NOW.

Annie Rogers competed in speech and debate for seven years. In 2015, she earned the title of NCFCA National Impromptu Champion, her favorite category, and was in the top five debate teams in the nation for 2017. As a sophomore at Wheaton College in Illinois, Annie competes on Wheaton’s British Parliamentary debate team, and got 2nd place at the 2019 Pan Pacific Debate Championship. Annie has been coaching limited prep for three years, and loves watching her students tackle challenges and grow in skill and character.

Mars Hill Impromptu by: Isabelle Clausen

Is Mars Hill Impromptu confusing to you?

Do you ever wonder how to effectively link books, songs, movies, art… to Jesus? I mean, who does that?! Mars Hill Impromptu is a great event that helps train us to implement Jesus into every aspect of our lives! It’s also a great way to practice witnessing to others about Christ in a creative way!

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Limited Prep Breakdown by: Catherine Alles

When I was competing in Speech and Debate, I loved the Limited Preparation speeches. Apologetics, Impromptu, and Extemporaneous gave me the opportunity to use my voice to speak about important issues, make an impact, and inspire people. I used to jokingly tell people that I loved limited prep because for me, “limited preparation meant no preparation.” But that wasn’t really true. I spent a lot of time preparing for limited preparation speeches, just not in the same way as for platform or interpretive speeches. Remember our Online Extemp Group starts in less than two weeks. Join Now!

When you are doing a duo, your prep involves picking a book, memorizing, and practicing blocking with your partner. For persuasive, you need to spend most of your time researching and writing your speech, and then fine tuning your delivery. In Limited Preparation speeches, you don’t need to memorize anything, work with a partner, or plan out your hand motions, body movements, or pauses ahead of time. Instead, the best use of your time is to be an inquisitive and fully present person. What do I mean by this? Let’s break it down for three limited preps- Extemp, Apol, and Impromptu… (Isabelle Clausen will break down the Mars Hill binder next week)…

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Thinking of a Limited Prep? Start with Apologetics! By: Michael Tant

1st Peter 3:15 says “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Holy, and always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you.”

This verse is one widely considered to be the foundation for all Christian Apologetics and is one that gives Christians a high responsibility. To ALWAYS be ready to give an answer means that we can’t delay in our preparation or in our willingness to answer anyone who asks us about the hope that we have in Christ. Nothing prepares us better to do this than learning and competing in the speech event Apologetics… even as a beginner!

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The Mindset of an Extemporaneous Speaker

There are many tips, tricks, and strategies for improving as an extemporaneous speaker. But how can one address minute changes unless the overall mindset is correct? In this article I will attempt to provide some important tips and strategies for improving as an extemp speaker. But more than anything, I want to challenge you to check your mindset about extemp and allow that to influence all the details of your speeches. I will simply encourage you to be more than a reporter in your extemp speeches. Take it up to the next level; be an analyst. So, what does being an analyst mean in this context?

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Interview- Why Apologetics? By: Elizabeth Tomaszewski

We only have a few more Online Apol. sessions this season… But believe me we are getting excited to start promoting Online Apol. 2017-2018! In the mean time, be blessed with Elizabeth’s interview on why you should do Apologetics!

Elizabeth Tomaszewski, has blessed Online Apol. a number of times year. So far she  has taught on the topics, “What is the purpose of the church?” and a survey of the Category 4 definitions. On April 4 (tomorrow), Elizabeth is planning to speak on the statement analysis question “Heaven is only a state of mind.”

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Guest Post- Gina Reynolds- Impromptu for Life

My friend, Gina Reynolds, blessed us with this post. Being able to think on your feet is a life skill. However, it is a pet-peeve of mine… When competitors decide to compete in Impromptu- and they do NOT practice! Do not be one of those people who only participate in Impromptu at a Speech Tournament. In order to master this skill you need to practice. I would not allow my child or a competitor to compete in Impromptu (which is typically wait listed) unless they practiced. Gina gives great practical advice…

Impromtu For Life… By: Gina Reynolds

You know, I just love a good quote. Quotes can be great discussion starters, provide inspiration and be motivational. What’s more: they are perfect for practicing impromptu speaking.

One of my favorite quotes of all time, Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” 

Why would you or your students want to practice Impromptu speaking? Simple answer: to develop better thinking and speaking skills. Actually, I have found it is an incredible way to develop strong thinking skills. Developing the speaking skills is just a bonus!

Practically speaking, thinking “on our feet” is a skill we all need in life. Have you ever been at a bridal shower and been called out by someone sweetly asking, “…would you give the blessing?” Quick, think! Or how about at a church prayer meeting when the pastor asks, “…would you mind sharing with the group how your Aunt Matilda is doing?” Wow, how do I begin? Maybe, it’s in a more formal setting, like a job interview where you get a question you hadn’t anticipated. You think, how do I answer this? All the while trying to think of a way to verbally stall without rambling!

So how do you practice impromptu speaking with your students or children? It’s simple. Find some “topics” and let them chose one to speak on (see the pdf below.) Then give them a short time, we use two minutes to “prep” for a (hopefully) 5 minute speech. At first it seems daunting, but the more they do it, the better they will get!

What should they do in their “prep” time? Write a bullet point outline. It’s just like writing a regular speech or paper. Have an intro, that hopefully catches attention. Move on to usually 3 main points, each with some sort of illustration or story to support it and finally conclude. This is not the time to write out complete sentences, but encourage words or short phrases that will jog their memory.

Now, put your paper down and give the speech. What? Put the paper down? Yes. Here’s another skill that can be developed through Impromptu speaking, visual recall.

Visual recall will become very important to students, especially if they move on to college. It’s the act of “seeing” what they wrote on the paper, actually visualizing it in their head. Writing notes also helps your brain remember it. It’s really interesting how just writing things down works, but I digress. If you want to know more check out this article on Why We Remember What We Write. Just the fact that your student wrote it down, even if they never look at the paper again, will help them remember their points and stories.

I must confess, I have been slacking. I’m on my last student in our homeschool and we haven’t been doing a lot of creative or fun things. Well this morning I did some long overdue “teacher prep” and made my daughter some new impromptu practice slips. She’s going to love them, they are Dr. Seuss quotes! One of her favorite quotes of all time is , “A persons, a person no matter how small.” Dr. Seuss. I’ve included a pdf download in case you want to use them too. We might as well make the learning fun!

Now, once you’re hooked on the benefits of Impromptu speaking it’s time to polish and hone your skills with us in the NCFCA (National Christian Forensics and Communications Association) and compete in Impromptu. More on that next time….

Gina Reynolds is the wife to Chris for 28 years and the homeschool mother to Logan (23), Taylor (20), Ariel (18) and Lexie (16). She enjoys encouraging and helping other homeschool moms by leading a local co-op, speaking at conventions and women’s events, vrepresenting Total Language Plus curriculum for the states of MI/IN/OH and IL, coaching speech and debate, and blogging on various subjects of interest to many homeschool families (