Extemporaneous Speaking, also known as extemp, is a competitive event popular in United States high schools and colleges, in which students speak persuasively or informatively about current events and politics. In extemp, a speaker chooses a question out of three offered, then prepares for 30 minutes with the use of previously prepared articles from magazines, journals, newspapers, and articles from news Web sites, before speaking for 7 minutes on the topic. There are four speaking events: informative, persuasive, domestic, and foreign. In certain areas, there are only two events, being foreign policy and domestic policy
The actual speech is delivered without the aid of notes and, at top levels, is a smooth, dynamic performance that incorporates research, background knowledge, humor, and opinion. A successful extemp speech has an introduction that catches the listener’s attention, introduces the theme of the speech, and answers the question through three, or sometimes two, areas of analysis which develop an answer to the question. The preview of these areas to come is called the “menu”. The conclusion summarizes the speech and ties everything together, relating back to the introduction and body of the speech.
Most high school level districts offer two kinds of extemp events. Usually, those are Foreign Extemp (FX or International Extemporaneous Speaking, IX]]) and Domestic Extemp (DX or United States Extemporanious Speaking, USX). Both kinds of event follow the same format but the questions which the speech is supposed to answer are concentrated on either foreign or domestic political/economic topics. Some states, like Pennsylvania, offer a different event called Extemp Commentary. In Extemp Commentary, the speaker, seated behind a desk, gives a five-minute speech about a topic rather than about a question. Extemp Commentary is also held at the National Speech and Debate Tournament as a Supplemental Event.