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By Harshit Walia

Extempore- An Overview
For those who are unfamiliar with an
Extempore, let me tell you that a topic is
given to you on-the-spot. You are either
have to speak on the topic on-the-spot
or, you are given some time (usually 2
minutes) to think about it and then you
have to speak non stop on the topic for
a specified time (usually 5 minutes).
The objective is usually to truly assess
your communication skills.
You’re evaluated on-
• Fluency
• Grammar
• Clarity of thought
• Structure of viewpoints
• Confidence

Some Suggestions-
• You should Practice with a wide
range of topics that are abstract, or
political in nature.
• Practice in front of a mirror to
evaluate your body language and
ability to speak non stop for 5
minutes. While it may seem that 5
minutes is a short amount of time,
however use an alarm clock to
measure the time you spoke. You
will be surprised how quickly your
viewpoints end.
• Watch your body language. If you
use your hands to stress upon points
a lot, then be careful in this instance
as they will scrutinize each and
every aspect. The objective is to
appear calm and composed, and so
you should not use your hands too

Extempore Speaking:
Here’s how you do it.

Extempore is an impromptu speech that

is delivered with little or no preparation.
Although it is spontaneous, it requires
great effort to deliver an extempore
successfully. In the corporate setup,
´extempore´ is one of the ways to
assess a prospective employee’s
communication skills and thinking
abilities. It is also a yardstick of one’s
social awareness. Of late, organizations
have begun to lay more emphasis on
employing wholesome individuals who
can think on their feet.

Today, the mantra of vertical growth is

the ability to interact with the top-level
management and clients with utmost
ease and versatility, apart from ´doing
your job well´. For all those who aspire
to savor responsible and accountable

designations, being able to discuss ´any
topic under the sun´ is an essential
quality to participate in a power lunch.
You could never know when your
foreign client would want to know where
you get the best Benarasi saris and
kurtas. On your best day, he might even
want to know how to cook ´Sambar´!

(a.) Analyze the subject.

Here is a very modest effort to help

analyze a subject of talk in an
extempore competition.

The most difficult part of delivering an

extemporaneous talk lies in the topic
itself. While one needs subject matter
expertise and current-affair knowledge
to speak on social and political topics, it
is relatively simpler to speak on subjects
which are ´daily rituals´. For example, if
you have to talk on what measures India

should take in order to attract more
foreign investment, you would need to
know about financial statistics and hard-
core foreign affairs. On the other hand,
you need not be a voracious reader to
talk on topics like ´Time management
skills´, ´Women´s empowerment´ and
´Entrepreneurship as a career option´.
Such topics can be handled logically.

Delivering a good extempore is not a

Herculean task. Following a definite,
organized pattern of thoughts and
sentences is what it takes to receive an
applause from the audience.

Here is what you need to do, in that one

minute or two that you are given, to
prepare for the talk.

First, dissect the topic word by word,

consider the meaning of each word, one
at a time, and then understand the

complete topic as a unit. Analyze what
the topic means to you.

Then consider what your best friend or

someone who you know well would
think of the topic. This gives the topic a
different perspective other than yours.

Then, recall anything you might have

come across recently in the media,
which can be used as an example to
explain the topic. This helps to approach
the topic from a social perspective.

Then, think a little beyond the topic, in

order to give it a logical conclusion.
Now, make a complete mental overview
of what you have to say.

The first few seconds of the talk are the

most important. These are the golden
moments when the audience and jury
will make their first impression of you.

Hence, make the most of it. This needs
no extra effort or practice. Do not be
´someone else´; wear your own shoes!
The best way to impress is to be ´Just

(b.) Unwind the Content.

Unwind the content in exactly the

opposite way the thought process was
developed. Since it is important to
instantly connect with the audience,
start the talk with the real-life example or
incident, whenever possible. This makes
the talk lively and realistic. Real-life
examples should ideally be well-known
to everyone in the audience, in order for
them to comprehend what you are

Be natural with relevant gestures. Make

sure you restrict the talk to the allotted
time. It is important to follow the rules of

the game. Even when the topic is
something which has enough content to
speak for hours, sum up what ever you
want to say within the allotted time

Do look at the entire audience and not

restrict your sight to any one person or
group, whom you are comfortable with.
Make it a point to look at the jury, at
least once every 20 seconds in the
course of your talk.

When you hear the bell, give your talk a

logical conclusion either with your
opinion or a close-ended question to the

It is important to remember that

although you are entitled to freedom of
speech and expression, you do not get
personal or offending. Also, do not over-
do things.

The next time you hear of an extempore
competition, just ´give it a shot´, even if
you have never done it before.

60 Extempore Topics

1. Introduce yourself.

2. Describe your hometown. What is

special about it?

3. Compare your hometown with

another town.

4. Describe your country’s education

system. What is your attitude toward this
system? Do you think it’s effective?

5. Describe the organization you work

for. Where is it? What does it do? What
is your job function?

6. Describe the process of taking a job

in your country.

7. Compare the role of men and women
in your country.

8. What is Brain drain? What are the

causes and effects of it?

9. Discuss why you would like to visit a

particular country. When are you going
to visit it and why?

10. Discuss the factors affecting people

to have more or less children in your

11. Describe a traditional dish in your

country. What are the ingredients?

12. Describe the traditional Architecture

of your country. Is there something
special about it?

13. Compare traditional houses with

modern houses in your country.

14. Discuss why you like a special kind
of book, music, sports, or film.

15. Give reasons why the divorce rate

has or has not increased in your

16. Describe a traditional instrument in

your country.

17. Describe an important festival in

Iran. When is it? What do people do

18. Describe the ethnic mix in your


19. Describe a traditional garment in

your country.

20. What is your favourite colour? Why?
What is the relationship between the
colour of clothes and the personality of
people? What is the relationship with

21. Describe a historical place in your

country. Where is it? What is special
about it?

22. Talk about mass media.

Newspapers and their attractions for

23. Describe a traditional

/children’s/international/card game.

24. Why do people play games?

25. What is your greatest wish/ one of

your wishes?

26. What don’t you know about your

27. Why do people collect things? Do

you collect anything?

28. Describe an invention before or after

computer. Should the governments
support inventors? Why do inventors

29. What is fashion? Do you follow

fashion? Why do people follow fashion?
How do people in your country follow

30. What is the process of obtaining a

driving License/passport/etc. in your

31. Describe one of your photos. Where,

when and with whom did you take it?

32. Describe the present situation of
Tourism in Iran. What is the future of
Tourism like in Iran?

33. Name a book, film, or a piece of

music that you like most and say why.

34. Describe IT or a databank system.

35. Why always women cook and men

do not in your country? Which is a better
cook, a man or a woman?

36. Compare your time with your

parents’. What is the same and what
has changed since then?

37. How has traveling changed since

100 years ago?

38. Describe your best holiday, party,

event in your life. When was it, where
and why?

39. Talk about the best present you
have ever had in your life. When, why
and who gave it to you?

40. In what occasions do people give

presents in your country?

41. How do you choose a gift for your


42. What do people do in 4 seasons in

your country?

43. What do governments do in case of

disasters? What should they do?

44. Talk about the most populated area

in your country. Where is it? What is its
population? Why is it so populated?

45. Describe a competition you have

entered. What was your stand?

46. What is the role of public artworks?

47. Describe a city you have visited and

impressed you so much. Why was it so

48. Compare Iranian eating with other


49. Compare a person who has been in

a foreign country with someone who

50. What is capital punishment? Is it

necessary to control crime?

51. What do you think will be the world’s

greatest problem in 100 years time?

52. What do you think pastime and

hobbies will be in 100 years time?

53. What do you know about the wildlife
in your country? Who is responsible for
its preservation?

54. What do you know about Global

Warming? What is Greenhouse Effect?

55. Shopping: who does the shopping in

your home? Do you go shopping? What
have you found difficult in shopping?

56. Describe a child that you know. Who

is he/she? Your relation, what does
he/she like, and how has he/she
influenced you?

57. School pressure on children. Is there

any in your country? What can be done
if there is?

58. What was the most interesting

(impressing) period of time in your life?
Describe it.

59. What do you think about children's
school age? Advantages or

60. What time are children considered to

be adults in your country?

How to make an Effective Extempore


You are going to need to get it right.

Well, if its a competition,you will have to

walk up to the stage.Now the judges are
going to notice you.

You should appear extremely

confident(not smug ) as you walk up the

Adjust the mike to your setting and

make eye contact with the judges and
the audience.

Now its time to start.Start slowly but

confidently,thats the point.

Now it is better if you keep your head
slightly raised because this makes you
feel confidant.

Its good if you use hand gestures while

stressing important points but don't
overdo it.


Its always good if you start your speech

with a quote or by describing a scene

Select the quote which suits your topic

{obviously),but some quotes go with a
number of topics.

Now ,its always good if you have a

couple of good quotes in your arsenal.

About describing a scene,what i mean is
to describe a dramatic scene...like a
running commentary.
Now when it comes to the body,you
need to first define what you are going
to mainly speak about.But if its topics
like terrorism which all people
understand,then you dont have to.

After this you elaborate depending on

your topic and based on how much time
you have.

Finally you conclude by telling about

how we should all try to achieve a
common goal and things like that.

Now the topics that might come for a

competition greatly depends upon what
level of school or college you are.

Competitions conducted at interschool

or intercollege festivals especially in arts

and humanities colleges will be of higher
standard and more specific.

The more specific a topic is,the more

difficult it is likely to become.For
example,take a topic like
MISSION" is more likely to benefit
competitors who know about the
topic.This again stresses the importance
of general knowledge in tackling such
competitions.Where as a topic like
"INDIA IN THE 21st CENTURY" will be
an easy topic on which all competitors
will have points to highlight.



Well normally for most competitions a

short time of upto 5 minutes would be

allotted to each candidate before his/her

Its wise to carry a paper and pen with

you to write down points during this

This will help you oranise what you are

about to say and also gives you some
confidence which has a boosting effect
on your performance

You just need to write down the main

points on paper,but remember never
look at this paper in front of the judges
even if you forget the points.

Bonus Article:
How to excel in an interview?!

An Extempore Perfectionist would be a

Perfect Answerer in an Interview.
Putting this Bonus Article on Interviews
in this Book on Extempore is a Fair
Work done for the dedicated Reader.

With the global financial crises having a

cascading impact on the global
economy, the job market too has been
gloomy. In such an environment, it is
even more important for aspirants to do
well in campus interviews to grab the
jobs they desire.

And being mentally fit and alert is

important to be able to do well in
interviews. It will also mean that you will
be mentally prepared to handle

interviews that have very short notice

(a.) A few things to remember.

1. Ensure that the resume has been

checked for typos and is structured in a
way that makes it easy to read. Highlight
your skills and experience relevant to
the job.

2. Interviews are used as a tool of

judging whether you fit the job as well as
the company.

3. Know yourself, inside out. Only when

you understand yourself completely can
you make the panel understand you.

4. Take time to understand how you
want to project yourself during the

5. Everything you say or do makes an

impression whether positive or negative.
Be it the way you sit, the way you talk or
your choice of clothing. Everything

6. Remember, an Interview is like a

sales pitch in many ways. So ensure
that you present yourself well.

(b.) Preparing for the unexpected.

In some interviews you may be asked to

solve a case-study. You can be asked to
give an impromptu presentation or recite
a poem. Or, you may get the silent
treatment from the panel or a stress
interview may come your way. You can
even be asked to leave the room.
Whatever happens, be mentally
prepared for any eventuality. These
situations give the panel an opportunity
to assess how you behave in stressful
or unexpected situations. They just want
to get to know the real You. They want
to find out if you can handle the job, if
you are interested in the company and if
you are the person they want to have
during tough and stressful times.
Stay calm, remain positive and think

(c.) Before the interview.

• Research the company.

Being well informed about the company

and industry provides you with a
competitive edge. It also conveys a
clear message to the interviewer and
that is:

1. You are career oriented and want to

build a career within the industry.

2. You understand the intricacies of the


3. You are wholeheartedly interested in

working for the company.

Read up as much as possible about the

company and the industry. You can also
talk to people who work in the company
or the industry to get a first hand feel
about what drives the company and the

• Appearance.

First impressions are made within the

first few minutes and are very important
for a successful interview. Most
employers prefer candidates wearing
formal attire (Indian or western). Dress
soberly and neatly. It is better to be
conservative in the choice of clothes.
Avoid flashy clothes or strong perfumes.
Jewellery should be at a bare minimum.

Have your clothes ironed and keep it

ready in advance, so that you do not
waste time in selecting a dress on the
day of the interview. This also avoids
last minute problems like a stained shirt,
wrinkled tie, missing buttons or
unpolished shoes.

Looks matter! Pay a visit to the salon, to
get an appropriate haircut. Trim your
nails. Remember, a professional look is
the first step to making the great the first

• The Interview Tool-Kit.

The day before the interview, collect all

your material and keep them in a file.
Keep extra copies of your resume. Carry
letters of reference, reference list,
transcripts, certificates, other supporting
documents, passport size photos, a
writing pad, pen and a calculator.

• Relax.

Ensure that you sleep well the day

before the interview. Stay calm and

relax; only when you are relaxed will you
do well.

(d.) On the Interview day.

1. Non-verbal Messages: Non-

verbal language speaks larger than
words. As you walk in the interview
room, here are a few things that you
must keep in mind:
Start it off like a winner.
• The handshake: Offer your hand,
and give a firm handshake, a
pleasant smile and a positive and
confident attitude. Introduce
• Posture: Stand and sit erect.
• Don't Fidget: There is nothing
worse than people playing with

their hair, clicking pen tops,
tapping feet or unconsciously
touching parts of the body.
• Eye Contact: Look the interviewer
in the eye
• Move your hands: Gesturing or
talking with your hands is very
natural, but keep it in moderation.

2. Be comfortable: Take a seat

facing the interviewer, however,
slightly off center. Be sure that you
are in a comfortable position.

3. Listen attentively: Look at the

interviewer directly, but don't get into
a stare down! Sit up straight. Try to
relax. It's okay to take a few notes if
the questions are lengthy, or you

need to remind yourself of something
you want to stress.

4. Avoid nervous mannerisms:

Pay attention to nervous
mannerisms. Everyone is nervous to
some extent, the key is to appear
calm and composed.

5. Speak clearly: Use good

grammar and a friendly tone. Never
answer just "yes" or "no" to a
question. Always clarify, expand on
your answers. Be sure not to go on

6. Be positive and enthusiastic:

Pump up your enthusiasm prior to
the interview. Never whine, gripe or

complain about past employers,
jobs, classes etc.

7. Ask pertinent questions: Be

prepared to ask a few questions. Do
not monopolize the interviewer's
time, particularly if you know they
have appointments scheduled
following your interview. Do ask
thoughtful questions. Don't ask about
salary and benefits, this can be
discussed when the company is
definitely interested in you.

8. While giving answers to

• Be Concise: Listen to the
questions carefully and answer to
the point. An interviewee rambling

on is likely to turn off the

• Provide Examples: Support your

contentions with examples. Think
of recent strong strategic
examples of work you've done,
then when the question is asked,
answer with specifics, not in

• Be Honest: It is always better to

state the truth than beating about
the bush. If you don’t know
something then state the fact.

• Keep Your Guard Up: Always

maintain your professionalism.
Don’t get swayed by the friendly
behaviour of the interviewer and
disclose everything. For all you
know it might be a trap laid out by

(e.) After the Interviews:

• Say thanks: The next day write the
interviewer a brief note reiterating
your interest in the job. Spell his or
her name correctly!
• Follow up: If you haven't heard from
the interviewer within the time frame
indicated at the close of the
interview, call them to relay a polite
reminder that you're still interested in
the job. Ask when they plan to make
a hiring decision.
• If you aren't hired and you are still
interested in the company, it pays to
keep in touch with the interviewer.
Often, through persistence, you may
be offered a position at a later date.

Chin Up.
If you don't get the job, don't be
disheartened. Gear up for your next
interview. The more interviews you
tackle the more polished you become.

How to get more out of this Book?!

• Extempore: You get all the

knowledge you need to know about
an Extempore.

• Extempore Topics: 60 carefully-

chosen Extempore Topics are listed
in this Book.

• Interview Guidance: You get all the

required guidance to prepare for an

• Interview Questions: The 60

Extempore Topics listed in this Book
cover almost all the likely Interview
Questions. Practice them to prepare
for an Interview.

• Spoken English: The 60 Extempore

Topics listed in this Book can be
used for Speaking Practice in
various Spoken English Courses
including IELTS.

• Self Study & Practice: This book

basically doesn’t need you to consult
a Teacher. You should just study it
on your own and practice the 60
Topics using a 5 Minute/1 Minute
Rule, whatsoever you feel
confortable with. But, keep
exceeding the time duration for your
Extempore. There is no exact
Maximum Time Limit. Just keep
increasing your Extempore Time on
the pace you are comfortable with.
Its recommended that you should
atleast reach the Time Limit of 15
Minutes and more if you feel the
need of.

This Book is an initiative to promote the

beautiful art of speaking- an Extempore.