Updated: Aug 26, 2022
Extemp styles changes heavily based on regional or even tournament customs. Recognizing the various shades of Extemp methods can help speakers get a sense of what is expected, especially in unfamiliar territories.
Type S: The Statistic Speaker
For these speakers, data points are essential. They compose the very essence of Extemp: using facts to inform judges about their topics. Usually, their statistics are very specific and highly relevant to the Extemp question. Type S has become especially prevalent in online tournaments, where access to stats is only a Google search away.
Type S Extempers are extremely educational, factually accurate, and are great for diving into the topic at hand. Good Type S speakers appear fascinating and highly intelligent.
However, it can be tricky not to bore your judge, as reciting statistics without personal input lacks engagement. Reading data for long periods off your notecard or–heaven forbid, your screen–never excites a judge. If you are a Type S, remember to interject your own voice and opinion into your speech.
Type F: The Free-Flying Speaker
Type Fs take the opposite approach, using minimal notes and lots of commentary. Far from just answering their question, they fit the topic into a bigger picture using their preexisting knowledge. Tournaments that do not allow internet prep or have participants speak without notes often yield Type Fs.
To a judge, Type Fs can be a breath of fresh air, commenting from their own knowledge rather than repeating back a hastily-read Wikipedia article. Excellent Type F speakers can be entertaining, witty, and bring a more wholistic view to an topic.
But when you get stuck as a Type F speaker, it's much more difficult to continue on. Even further, being unfamiliar with an issue hampers Type Fs, since their commentary approach requires a deep understanding in order to speak eloquently. At best, this will result in a rather typical speech describing the rudimentary elements of the topic, and at worse will be completely off-base. The best strategy for Type F speakers is to practice, keep up with current events, and #readthenews!
Type C: The Combination Speakers
Of course, most Extempers don't cling to each pole. A combination of these two schools, the Type Cs, exist everywhere. They do use a couple of statistics to back up main points, but also add in their own commentary.
Great Type Cs combine the best of both worlds, both educating and bringing in their unique perspective. Only problem? They make up...pretty much everyone. Type C, while a solid style, is not unique per se. My suggestion is to put your own spin on each Extemp to help you stand out. Steller hooks and enders, interesting answers to your questions, and a little bit of passion can set you apart in any judge's mind.
Whether Type S, F, or C, staying informed is one of the best practices for an Extemper. So, what's your Extemp personality? Take the poll below.