Extempore Tips

An extempore speech is an impromptu speech which the candidate is required to make on a topic given then and there. In some instances, the panel provides the candidate with about a minute or so to organize his/her thoughts before speaking. In other cases, you will be expected to start speaking as soon the topic is given. 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
  • Analysis of the topic and identification of the issue to be addressed
  • Idea generation
  • Prioritization and sequencing displaying logical thinking
  • Ability to connect with the panel
  • Communication skills
  • Overall presentation skills-body language, confidence, poise, composure etc.
For effective extempore speaking - candidates must be fluent and well read.
Some Tips:
  • Mental Preparation: Know what to speak before delivering the speech. Ponder over the topic for some time and prepare the flow of delivery. Your previous extempore practice sessions would surely help here. Understanding the audience, the direction they are most likely to accept, helps in framing the flow of speech.
  • Start speaking at an even pace: Do not start really fast, as you are likely to end much earlier than the given time.
  • Confidence: 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: At times, when you go blank, try to maneuver yourself out of the situation gracefully by avoiding being nervous. For such situations it is better to have back up plans.
  • Control on speech: 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.
  • Presenting both sides - In case of controversial topics (e.g. Should Republic day celebrations be redefined?), 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 careful about the time constraints while taking this stand.
  • Competence, Enthusiasm & Adaptability is the key: Work on your competitive advantage which may be excellent vocabulary, good general knowledge, etc. How well and quickly a candidate adapts to the situation he/she is put in and with what enthusiasm and energy level does he/she deliver the speech are some of the other desirable evaluation parameters.
More often than not, you can use the following guidelines to talk on an extempore topic :-
  • If possible give definition of the topic or specific terms of the topic.
  • If there are any widely known classifications of the topic, talk about the classifications.
  • Provide supporting evidence in the form of data or examples.
  • If the topic provides scope for narrating personal experiences, you can use the opportunity to do so.
  • Most importantly, time yourself well. If the panel has given you one minute, try using one or more of above mentioned points and complete the extempore logically.
  • Red or Blue?
The colors red and blue remind me of the corporate cola giants- Coke and Pepsi; while Coke has a dominant splash of red in its promotional campaigns, Pepsi connects with its customers through a brilliance of blue. Taking this corporate warfare ahead is the example of Jet Airways (blue) and Kingfisher (red), where the latter was a strong challenger to the long drawn supremacy of Jet Airways in the private aviation sector.
Furthermore, it reminds me of this wonderful book authored by John Gray, "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus", where men and women are two diametrically opposite species in terms of their sensitivity levels, behavioral patterns and temperamental differences.
However, looking at the topic from another angle is the coexistence of red and blue in the "VIBGYOR" spectrum to make white light, which is the essence of life....
  • International trade barriers
Patterns of International trade & gains from trade were determined by Trade Theory or 'Mercantilism' prevalent in 17th & 18th centuries. In Mercantilism, an economy tried to augment its wealth by restricting and reducing imports while encouraging exports.
The barriers to International Trade are generally divided into Tariff Barriers and Non-Tariff Barriers (TBs & NTBs). Regional Integration Agreements (RIA) were formed mainly to reduce trade barriers between member nations. The formation of subsequent RIAs, i.e. from "Free Trade" to "Customs Union (e.g. SAARC)" to "Common Market" to "Economic/Political Union (e.g. European Union)" went on reducing trade barriers with members and outside nations.
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