What is an Extempore?
The extempore speech, as used by certain MBA institutes during their selection procedure is when a candidate is given a topic and asked to speak about it for a minute or two.
He is not allowed to ‘prepare’ for this topic, but has to speak on the spot. Thus, he cannot prepare the content and decide what to say beforehand.
What is the procedure followed for this?
This is how it works:
• The candidate waits for his turn outside the room as happens for interviews.
• He is then called in to the room and may be asked to sit down.
• He is then given a topic for his extempore speech. In FMS, this happens just before the interview-i.e. the interview commences after the extempore round.
• The topic could be anything. It could be based on the candidate’s academic background, his hobbies/ interests, any current or general affairs topic etc
• The candidate is given a few seconds to think about what he wants to say and then is expected to start his speech.
• He is expected to speak for around a couple of minutes on the topic
• The candidate may complete the speech himself, or the panel, may let him know when to stop.
What is tested during an Extempore?
• Firstly, your ability to think on the spot and your spontaneity. It has often been seen that candidates come with prepared answers for the interview, which they have mugged up. Thus these answers do not really reflect their thoughts or the kind of people they are. Hence, an extempore may be used, as you cannot prepare a speech beforehand in this case.
• Your ability to express your thoughts: In an extempore, you have to think for a very short while and then express yourself. You will be judged on how well you are able to do so.
• Fluency in the language: Your comfort level with English as a language can also be assessed.
• Body language/ Confidence: Your body language and Confidence levels may be judged. Many candidates feel very nervous about this round, as mentioned before. Does your nervousness manifest itself in your gestures and expressions? Or do you appear calm and collected despite everything? Can you express yourself confidently and clearly?
What You Should Do in an Extempore
• Firstly, do not get nervous! It has been observed that many candidates get freaked out and are very sacred about the extempore round, as you cannot prepare beforehand and have no idea as to which topic you may get. However, remember that you have to only speak on the topic for a minute or two-you are not expected to get into a high level of detail, or show some astounding knowledge about the topic given to you.
• Do not start off speaking as soon as the topic is given to you. You have a few seconds to think-use them! It has also been observed that those who start off immediately, run out of ideas and don’t know what to say. Thus they end up finishing their speech in hardly 20-25 seconds, or even less, in some cases.
• Most importantly, structure your speech. Try and give it an introduction, a body and a conclusion. It would be highly impressive if you can structure your talk well, even though you were given only a few seconds to think about it.
• You must buttress your points/ arguments with logic and examples. This is crucial and will help you stand out from the other candidates.
• Try and either begin or end with a quote. If you can remember an appropriate quote and use it in the relevant context, it will be absolutely great. Once again, the ability to do such a thing at such short notice, will enable you to stand out from the other candidates.
How Should You Prepare for an Extempore?
• Make sure that you can speak for at least a minute on the following (make sure you have the content ready):
• Important current affairs topics
• Important topics or issues pertaining to your academic background. For example, an engineer may be asked to speak on ‘electromagnetic induction’ as his extempore topic. Similarly, an Economics or Commerce graduate may be asked to speak on ‘The Fiscal Deficit’ or some related topic.
• Your hobbies and interests
• A person you admire
• Your favourite sportsperson or actor/ actress
• Practice for an extempore adequately, by speaking aloud, either in front of a mirror or even without one. The idea is that you should be able to speak, with a fair degree of fluency, for about a minute on any topic you get. Practicing speaking aloud with ensure that you are able to control your nervousness etc.
• Watch your body language while you practice. It should not give away your nervousness. Practice speaking both while sitting and standing, so that you are ready for both eventualities.