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Interview with Safeena Mecklai about Impromptu Speaking and Judging

On July 8, 2011, on behalf of Rate Speeches, Nura Kawa conducted an interview with Safeena Mecklai, high-school 2009 California State Champion in Impromptu Speaking, and fourth place finalist in 2010 Nationals National Forensics League (NFL) in Impromptu Speaking. The interview was about effective impromptu speaking judge feedback comments and impromptu speaking techniques.

Nura:

When reading judges' feedback, what are the most effective comments that help you improve?

Safeena:

The most effective comments from judges are ones that tell me how they perceived my speech. Comments like "I agree that this is true" or "I don't like your shoes" (both of which I have received!) are less helpful because they don't tell me what about the actual speech they liked or disliked. Comments about organization, speed, strength of content, and the judge's perception of posture or speaking style is really helpful. Notes on how to improve as well as things I should continue doing are both really beneficial!

Nura:

What is the best way to organize an impromptu speech?

Safeena:

The best way to organize an impromptu speech, in my opinion, is to start with a catchy introduction (usually creative or something to set you apart from your contenders), followed by a thesis outlining the THREE points of your speech, then the three points/examples you are using (starting each with a topic sentence), and finally, finishing with a conclusion (that ties back to the thesis and fun introduction if possible).


Nura :

What is the best method of planning an impromptu speech?

Safeena:

The best way to plan a speech is to first plan your thesis and three points (by that I mean your evidence or examples) and then your introduction. If you've prepared a good introduction, you'll get off to a confident start, which will help your speech flow better!


Nura:

In what ways can a person improve his ability to speak on the spot?

Safeena:

Be confident. Confidence and a ready introduction allow you to have a jumpstart in speaking. Find your style. Are you a jokester? A super-encyclopedia? A book-junkie? Whatever your knowledge base, comfort level, and style are- don't be afraid to stick to it! Be the best at your style and know that you're being you, and being you is easy on the spot.

Nura:

What is the most effective way to practice for impromptu speaking?

Safeena:

Speak, speak, speak! Use your friends and family for topics, and then deliver as many practice speeches as possible. Additionally, try to just think of topics, and then what three examples you would use to support a speech, even if you don't have the time or energy to give a full practice speech. Also, read and watch the news; the best impromptu speeches are the best impromptu speeches because the speaker is well-informed and well-educated!