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What are the advantages and disadvantages of extemporaneous speech?

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Liam Sheasby Profile
Liam Sheasby answered
Extemporaneous speech, also known as 'Extemp', is the act of speaking "off the cuff" or without detailed notes. Research is allowed on the topic at hand, or it may be publicly known information, but the speech itself is delivered spur of the moment with minor notes at most as prompts for the topics you wish to discuss. This is as opposed to memorized speech, which is the act of remembering something word for word, like for a best man's speech or a public presentation.

Extemp is popular and favored because of the informal delivery style and the impression of detailed prior knowledge it gives. The tone of speaking when knowledge is very much ingrained is one that is calm and assured, which makes it seem more believable. This is one of the advantages of such method of speech. Another is the flexibility of such a speech; it can be interrupted with questions from the audience/listeners and can answer in more detail where necessary, or bring a point forward and move everything else further into the speech.

The problem with extemporaneous speech is that it requires strong oratory skills. Not everyone speaks as well as leaders such as Barack Obama. If you don't know a topic well enough, or are prone to nerves or stumbling over your words as you think then your speech will sound disjointed and poor and not at all engage the audience, thus making you seem like you don't know the facts.

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