6 Advanced Impromptu Drills

If you do impromptu for a few years (and you should), it should become substantially less challenging. Here are some fun ways to up the ante, rated in order of ascending difficulty. Any and all of these drills can be combined for additional challenge. Use our Impromptu Topic Generator or pull a topic from The Vault to get practicing with them.

No Selection

Speakers are given only one topic. Develops prepping to the topic and makes canning harder.

Pre-designed Time

Speeches are divided into five sections: intro, three points, and conclusion. Speakers are given arbitrary times for each section. They must keep speaking in a section until time expires, at which point they move on even if they’re mid-sentence. Improves time management.

Examples, in minutes:

  • 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 - 1

  • 2 -0.5 -0.5 -0.5 - 1.5

  • 0.5- 2 - 1 -0.5 - 1

  • 0.5-0.5 - 1 -1.5- 1.5

  • 0.5- 1 - 2 - 1 - 0.5

Devil’s Advocate

Speakers are not allowed to say things they personally agree with. Develops passion control and intellectual honesty.


Speaker gives three impromptus back-to-back: prep, speak, prep, speak, prep, speak. No breaks. Examples/points cannot be repeated. Develops prep efficiency and endurance and makes canning much harder.

Tough Selection

The topic(s) are designed to be difficult. Insist on speeches that speak directly to the topic and develop the full topic or quote, rather than taking a word or phrase and running with it. Develops prep efficiency and creativity.






  • “Once you start to make machines that are rivaling and surpassing humans with intelligence, it’s going to be very difficult for us to survive.” – Bill Gates

  • “Trillionaires for Toomey. Thank You for my Third Yacht. Derivatives Forever.” – Anti-Pat Toomey Protest Sign

A list of tough selection topics is coming soon.

2-Second Prep

Rather than two minutes, speakers get exactly two seconds and must then begin speaking. The ultimate test of prep efficiency and time management.

Just a reminder: nothing will ever maximize your delivery like practicing impromptu. Drew and I became the only people to have ever won the top speaking title in both debate forms because we practiced this event relentlessly. Make it your goal to practice Impromptu daily, and your progress will surprise yourself.