Extempore Speaking: What is it?
Extempore speaking is the term used for a non-formally prepared speech. Explaining to your parents why you arrived home later than your curfew is a form of extempore speaking. When you watch a beauty pageant on television and the contestants have to draw a question and answer it for the judges, they are extempore speaking. 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.
There comes a time in every one's life when he or she will have to give an impromptu speech. It may be for anything - a radio interview, a teacher trying to get you to speak up in class, or even in a casual debate. It happens more often than most people would think. The words we speak are chosen at the point of delivery and they flow back and forth, with communication being two-way, three-way or four-way. It is all done without any preparation.
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. Effective extempore speaking always has the purpose of the presentation and the impact on the audience at its heart. In an extempore/impromptu speaking, it is important to speak to the purpose and to consider carefully what effect you want to have on your audience, then the notion that it is possible to simply choose the right words at the point of delivery, without any kind of preparation, is at best naive and at worst disastrous. Even the few who are capable of it will admit to significant preparation when the stakes are high.
Not only that, you have to consider how long to speak for. Effective speakers, in their preparation, also consider the audience at all times. They ensure that they speak to the audience they have in front of them, rather than the audience they would like to have in front of them.
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Extempore Speaking in admission procedure:
These days, Group Discussion after written test has become very obvious and had made it difficult for the admission panel to select the candidate with the right kind of attitude and knowledge. To break off with the regular planned process, the Extempore Speaking has been introduced in the admission process of many top MBA colleges like International Institute of Management (IMI), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), etc. Few colleges are making it tough by including the extempore speaking together with the GD and PI.
FMS - Know the basics of extempore and ways to prepare:
FMS conducts GD, PI and extempore for selecting the students. Extempore - in the context of FMS - you have to speak without preparation. The FMS extempore takes place in between the GD and PI. After completing your GD, when you go for the PI, you will be given a topic to speak for a minute. There is no basis on which the topic can be given to you. It can be anything and everything.
- Topics to expect
Generally, the extempore topics are not very tough. The topics range from something very personal like hobbies, academic background, a particular or recent incident, a common saying or proverb or an issue of current affair. So be prepared to speak on anything and everything.
Last year, some of the extempore topics were Dressed to kill, Your Dream Girl, My Impression of the Panel, The color of my shirt, Properties of Sun, to name a few.
- How to go about it?
While you get the topic, do not rush to start even if you feel that you are well versed with the topic. Take some time to gather your thoughts according to points. And then start with the first point and carry on with the flow. Since the duration of your speech will be very less, your time will end before you can actually talk on all the points which you had arranged. So it would be best to prioritize your points and say accordingly. It should not so happen that you start your introduction to the topic and as soon as you think of coming to your main points, you are interrupted by the panel informing you that the time is over.
There are also possibilities that you may not be able to come up with enough points and finish in few seconds only. In that case, the panel would ask you to speak more. So even if you don't have much idea about the topic given to you, or can't gather much point in the initial few seconds, while speaking, try to think about other related points.
But make sure that you follow a particular structure of introduction, main body and conclusion otherwise it will just be a haphazard collection of words. But these should be absolutely crisp and to the point. Don't drag one point for long.
If you don't have much to say on your topic or can't think of many points, then arrange your introductory points in a manner which will give you a good start. If you can recollect some relevant points during your introduction, you can also say that but keep in mind that you start it in an appropriate manner.
On the day of your extempore, avoid nervousness and be confident. By the time you will have to appear for extempore, you will be already done with your GD. So your initial nervousness shall be gone by that time. But in the next stage, you would be meeting the panel all by yourself; you might face nervousness but remember that you should be able to do away with that as you have to appear confident in front of the panel so that they believe in you.
- Practice speaking for a minute
Though there can be a varied range of topic and you really cannot presume what your topic can be, but still you have to practice. The best way to practice for extempore is to practice speaking for a minute or two every day. Since you can be given any topic, you can start your practice with a simple topic and move on to a little higher level. For example, let the topic be your favorite color. Then in front of your friends or seniors, speak for a minute. Ask them to keep an eye on the watch so that you don't exceed the time limit. Continue this practice till the day of your personal assessment round.
Don't forget to take feedback from your friends or seniors who are judging you. Keep a check on your body language, diction and speaking. Don't be too conscious while speaking. Utilize the first few seconds in collecting your thoughts and get going about it.
In this way, you can choose a topic everyday based on your profile, the subject you studied, your interests, person who inspire you and anything you can think of which might appear in your extempore.
Here's some advice on how to give a good impromptu speech:
- Know your direction. You've got to know how you want to deliver your speech before you actually speak. Should you go the serious, awe-inspiring route, or the hysterical, laugh-a-minute path? The best way you can make a decision is to get a quick feel for your audience. What type of people are they? What direction would they most accept? Your speech will be praised significantly more if you speak in a language that works with those listening.
- Prepare some backup. It isn't uncommon to forget what you were going to say. What separates a good speech from a disaster is how well you can catch yourself. It's good to have a backup plan for the times when your mind suddenly blanks. That way, if you're caught without something to say, you can maneuver yourself out of that situation gracefully instead of gibbering and shaking in a nervous sweat. In serious situations, you can bail yourself out with a polite way of excusing yourself. If you're going for laughs, it's okay to be candid about your mental block.
- Plot a course. Before you speak, try to make a quick mental outline of what you want to say. Some of the worst speeches came out of people who didn't take a moment to organize their thoughts before opening their mouths. Your outline doesn't even have to be in-depth; all you really need is a guide to help keep your thoughts on track.
- Keep it short and sweet. Impromptu speeches aren't expected to be long, epic narratives. In fact, the more concise you get the better. A lot of people tend to hide their nerves and their being unprepared by using a lot of words. The problem is - they tend to miss the point when they do this. Speaking clearly and with as few words as possible shows confidence in your own opinions and that makes you a much better public speaker than those who just seem to rely on their wide vocabularies.
- Watch your words. Lastly, you've got to listen to yourself. You do not want to say something you'll eventually regret. Some things might be private matters to others in the audience, or certain words can be offensive to others. Even the tone in which you speak affects the reception of your speech. Listen to the words that are coming out of your mouth to make sure you're saying what you want your audience to hear.
Flow of an Impromptu or Extempore Speech:
- Grab a pen and a piece of paper
- Hijack the topic & make it your own
- Jot down interesting or significant points
- Feel free to acknowledge that you have not prepared for a speech
- Begin with your introductory sentence, elaborate it, then start working your way to your ending sentence
- As you deliver your speech, concentrate on diction and tone
What if You Draw A Blank?
If you have time before your speech, create an outline of the major themes or points and commit it to memory with a memorization trick, like an acronym. Don't try to remember the entire speech in detail; just remember the order of important points.
If you suddenly lose your train of thought or draw a complete blank, there are a few you can do to keep from panicking.
- Pretend like you're pausing on purpose. Walk back and forth slowly, as if you're letting your last point sink in.
- If you still can't remember what to say, make up a reason to pause the speech. You can say, "I'm sorry, but my throat is very dry. Can I please get a glass of water?"
If these tricks don't appeal to you, think of your own. The trick is to have something ready ahead of time.
The Beginning: Ask for Ten Seconds
The start of any presentation is vital, since it is when you establish your credibility with the audience and begin to get into a rapport with them. Any type of opening can be used in any presentation, but you have to be aware of the context of the presentation (analysis) when thinking about the opening.
Although, the best presenters often break the rules regularly and combine his own analysis with what is there as written protocol.
The following are explanations of how you can start a speech or presentation.
The Questioning Opening
To be or not to be? Now that's a good question. Starting with a question and going on to either answer it or give a discourse on the many facets that might go to making an answer, is another technique for opening a presentation.
Be sure when considering the 'questioning' opening that you are not merely doing it to start your speech, rather you should be trying to get them interested, engaged or inspired by what you are going to say.
The Factual Opening
This technique involves playing it pretty straight, telling in advance what you are going to cover in the proceeding minutes.
Mahatma Gandhi, on 24 February 1916 in Benares, used a measured, factual opening in one of a series of speeches that strove for independence for India. A few simple facts, established inside a minute or two and a devastating final two sentences set out his thesis that there was no salvation for India under the then present governing structure.
This opening is appropriate when you understand that the situation demands you to get to the point quickly, you want your audience to immediately know where you are going, or you want to make sure they get the structure of your presentation right at the beginning.
It could be useful when you have to speak on a very technical matter and there is a real necessity that the audience know where you are going and you will then give signposts along the length of your presentation that refer back to the opening.
The Surprising Opening
Shocking or surprising the audience at the beginning is an excellent way of gaining attention at the start, though it is obviously a bit riskier than the factual opening.
The surprising opening can be a visual experience, through a picture on a slide, a sensory experience or simply be spoken by the presenter. It has the effect of juxtaposing what the audience expects with what they receive.
An example of a surprising opening would be the speaker saying "I have two passions in my life: communication and making soup!" and then going on to explain the trials and tribulations of soup-making, recipes included.
This has the effect of engaging those who do make soup, and intriguing those who don't. The link is made when they speaker say- 'it is important to know not only what to put into your soup, but also what to leave out - just like creating a presentation.'
Be aware of the risk of trying too hard with the surprising opening. Also, putting all your eggs in this one basket means that if it is unsuccessful you will have work to do in creating rapport.
It is possible to create a surprising opening that has no connection whatever with the topic of the presentation (it could be about the venue, about yourself or how you got there) but it is better if the connection is eventually made with the topic at hand, and runs as a theme through the presentation.
The surprising opening may also be a bald, bold and bluntly stated opening statement that gets right to the point, with no preamble or beating about the bush.
The Reveal Opening
Rather than give all the facts in a summary right at the beginning, the reveal opening toys a bit with the audience and has them guessing what you might be going to talk about, peeling back a few layers about the subject as you begin.
Stanley Baldwin's speech on 6 May 1924 in London is a gradual peeling back from beginning to end of what it is like to be English. The final line is "We still have among us the gifts of that great English race." Everything leading up to that was a sentimental journey, through an England that never existed outside the mind of the speaker.
Baldwin speaks of "the anvil of the country smithy, the corncrake on a dewy morning, the sound of the scythe against the whetstone, and the sight of a plough-team coming over the brow of a hill." He continues in that vein, revealing an England that evokes nostalgia as it peels back the layers towards the peroration that talks of "brethren, justice and humanity" of the English race.
Peppering the first few minutes with clues for the audience can draw them into your talk in a seductive way, and in a completely different way from the factual or surprise opening. You will have to ensure that your pace of delivery is right. If used effectively you can gradually draw the audience into your way of thinking.
The Oblique Opening
Setting a false trail and having your listeners' guess where you might be going to say can engage and captivate an audience, especially if they have turned up expecting something fairly mundane and staid.
A good, and if you like, standard way of creating an oblique opening is to start by telling the audience all of the things you might have included, but have decided not to include on this occasion.
This can be an interesting and enjoyable journey and allows you to home in on your topic without doing the obvious of simply starting with what you are going to tell them.
Salman Rushdie spoke in 1991 about the value of his life. The opening takes us up in a hot air balloon that is careering towards the ground. He then describes a Balloon Debate, a form of entertainment that has individuals defending the merits of famous people in a balloon to save them from being jettisoned.
He returns to the balloon theme at the end, stating simply that "the balloon is sinking into the abyss", a powerful metaphor for his own situation and that of the democratic world.
This is a classic oblique opening, where an audience is expecting, and eventually gets a very serious speech on a life and death topic but is treated to an entirely different journey at the outset.
Important Topics for extempore speaking (in MBA admission process)
Why you should be selected?
Focus on what strengths you bring to the table. These should be consistent with the four things most Institutes are looking for in students during the admission selection: competence, adaptability, enthusiasm, and never say die attitude. Remember, they are looking for chemistry between you and your future employer. Be prepared to summarize in short time why you are the best candidate for the seat. Also, let the institute know you want the admission and you will enjoy being with them. A lack of interest in the program may indicate a lack of enthusiasm for the institute as well as your future.
Now that you've had a chance to learn more about us, what would you change about our institute?
Be careful here. Most institutes don't want you to come in and shake up the place. At the same time, they don't want someone who says, "Nothing, everything looks great here." Seek a middle ground by focusing on one or two non-threatening issues that may have come up in your discussions.
"From our discussion of the problem with slow placement due to economic downturn, I think we should look into the possibility of giving more practical knowledge and exposure to the students. It will make the students more employment ready. I also think, we need to do a thorough analysis of what the companies are expecting out of the students and try to fill the gap existing between the expectations and reality."
Such an answer indicates you are open to making changes but you also have a certain non-threatening decision-making style. Your response should sound sensible and innovative.
What's your dream job?
This is your ideal chance to sell your aptitudes that fit the job description you would be offered after completing the program. Show an interest in finding new ways of using the skills you will acquire during the course period and also that you can be put to use in new roles with additional responsibilities.
"My dream job would include the execution of all of the theoretical and practical knowledge I will gain from the program. Also, all the responsibilities and duties in the position of a manager will be handed over to me in my dream job. I also thrive in a fast-changing environment where there's business growth. Your plans include attracting international placement during the next year, and this would satisfy one of my ultimate goals of being involved in an international corporation."
What color is your brain?
Be aware that you'll probably be asked to speak on such topic. The point is not to stump you, but to find out what makes you tick. When the standard extempore topics are presented, people are prepared and it's harder for the recruiter to get to know the real person.
An MBA admission panel, for example, tries to avoid repeated topics. But, different and conventional topic like the one above has no right or wrong answer. In fact, the panel won't even really care what your answer is. He or she just doesn't want to hear something like, "I don't know, I guess it's blue because that's the way I imagine it." The point is to see how creative you are and how you think. Be sure to explain why you answered the way you did.
"My brain is red because I'm always hot. I'm always on fire with new plans and ideas."
Consider the following scenario: You are placed in a company after completion of your program. One evening you are working late and are the last person in the office. You answer an urgent telephone call to your supervisor from a sales rep who's currently meeting with a potential client. The sales rep needs an answer to a question to close the sale. Tomorrow will be too late. You have the expertise to answer the question, but it's beyond your normal level of authority. How do you respond?
This response shows that the candidate is confident in his or her ability and can be counted on in an emergency. Similarly, your answer should indicate that you're not afraid to be the decision maker in a tough situation, even if the situation's beyond your normal level of authority.
"I'd get all the pertinent information, taking well-documented notes. I'd answer the question based on my knowledge and the information provided. I'd leave my supervisor a note and fill him or her in on the details the next morning. I'd be sure to explain my decision, as well as the thought process behind it."
Such type of question is asked, generally to check your coping mechanisms for responding to changes. It tests how systematic your approach could be in dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level.
A somewhat ambiguous term, change management has at least three different aspects, including: adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change. A proactive approach to dealing with change is at the core of all three aspects.
The response could be "Change management is a term used to refer to the introduction of new processes in an organisation, or the management of people who are experiencing change. Successful adaptation to change is as crucial within an organization and the individuals in them inevitably encounter changing conditions as they are powerless to control. The more effectively one deals with change, the more likely he or she thrives. Adaptation might involve establishing a structured methodology for responding to changes in the business environment."
In today's world, many adults find themselves unsatisfied with their college and institution and wish for something more but demands on their time and schedule make this seem impossible. The good news is that the Internet has many online learning opportunities available that allows one to gain a higher education, learn new skills, and become more marketable. And the great thing about the benefits of online learning and online education is that one can get an education according to their own schedule and can do it from the comfort of their own home. In fact, thousands of working professionals have been able to increase their knowledge and jobs skills without ever having to enter a classroom, thanks to online classes.
By asking you to speak on this topic, the panel might check your understanding on technology and current trends. Your response towards online learning could be favorable or unfavorable, but don't be indifferent towards this topic as this shows that you have no idea about the latest revolutions.
Your response could be, "Online Learning could be considered as learning in the virtual classroom. While there are indeed many solid career opportunities available today, the market place is extremely competitive, making higher education that much more vital to successfully landing the job of one's own dreams. But one of the leading concerns for students, as well as working class, is to consider entering the world of expensive education. Fortunately, there are plenty of distance learning courses that make it possible for willing students to learn from the comfort of their own home without having to worry about many other expenses like commutation expenses, lodging and boarding expenses, etc. Plus, these distance learning programs have been gaining a good degree of credibility throughout the professional world, so one can be confident of receiving an education that will be acknowledged by major companies."
These questions help the panel in understanding 'what is your actual aim- Knowledge or mere Money?' If you crave for mere Money, i.e. you are driven by the high salary hype, you will not be considered a good candidate as money minded people generally don't concentrate on effectiveness and quality.
But if you are truly driven by your inner force of learning, you will certainly get that chance by securing a seat in your desired college. Your response to this question could be, "This depends on the situation of the individual student and other factor such as, the type of industry they are in, the company for which they are employed, and the prior skills they bring with them into the workforce. Attending an MBA school still has the potential to raise your value and increase your personal bottom line, but it is not a guarantee. However, the economy has already begun to turn around, and many financial organizations are posting large profits again and have begun to recruit MBA graduates for a variety of positions. MBA holders work in a variety of positions, including financial controllers, senior financial analysts, project managers, marketing directors, and of course as CFOs and CEOs. Salaries for these elite positions can be much higher than mid-level jobs."
This topic again will introduce your actual thoughts to the panel. In reality, the economic downturn has actually changed the outlook for MBA's. Those who were sheer driven by the money behind MBA degree have taken a U-Turn and made way for those who are in real wanted to pursue this course for making an established career.
This topic can earn you a definite seat in you dream college. So your response could be positive like, "It is still as good a time as any to earn an MBA. In fact, as the economy begins to turn around - and all indications point to that process already beginning - more opportunities for management specialists will be available. Most companies were forced to decrease their staffs using steps such as early retirement and lay-offs in order to survive the economic downturn. As the economy begins to swing upward, these companies will be seeking managers that are not only experienced, but are also knowledgeable about the many legal changes that have been instituted during the crisis. This means if one undergoes earning an MBA today, he or she will likely be taught the legal changes as they are implemented.
The goal of the MBA is to provide the company with the experience and knowledge that will put oneself in high demand in corporate world. MBA programs around the world are adapting their curriculums to reflect the changes made in today's business world. An MBA will strive to provide the company with a better understanding of the new economy."
Through this topic, MBA Rendezvous has thrown some light on this very interesting yet confusing topic. We present our readers with this module on Extempore Speaking, as it has already taken a very important role in MBA admission process, so we will keep you posted on any new development in this regard. We sincerely hope, this article would be beneficial for you, not only during the admission process but a long way after that as well. All the very best and stay tuned to MBA RENDEZVOUS.