NCFCA TP Resolutions Analysis by: Eric Meinerding

The new topic options have been presented for NCFCA team policy and there is incredible potential for an extremely engaging an competitive year of debate across all three topics. I’ll be going over the pros and cons of each option and then offering my opinion on which I believe is the best resolution. I’ll be rating each category in two topics. First will be educational and engagement potential. Here I’ll basically be judging each topic on their ability to prevent the year from going stale. Secondly, each topic will be graded on its ability to facilitate competitive debate rounds, basically which topic will generate the greatest quantity of fair, even debates. I’ll look at balance, breadth of aff and neg arguments, and the available research on the topic here. Each category will be rated on a scale of 1-3, with 1 being the best topic for that category and 3 being the worst…

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Regional/National Pro Tip- Declutter Your Debate Briefs by: Isabelle Clausen

I’m sure you’ve all had one of those debate rounds where you are listening to your opponent’s case and he or she is just spreading the debate round, sharing argument after argument. This happened to me at Desert Gem in California a few years ago. My opponent was sharing countless applications and responses, it was so hard for me to keep them all straight. I was on the affirmative side about to give my last speech. During prep time, I looked down at the flow and realized that I had 3 minutes to refute 29 arguments. Yes, you read that right: 29 arguments! One of the many reasons why I was in such a dilemma by the end of that round was because I didn’t have clear responses in my debate briefs!

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Lasting Impact! Pre-NITOC LD Prep Workshop with Isabelle Clausen

NITOC is such an exciting tournament for STOA competitors. Even before you start competition in the early fall, you are already dreaming about NITOC, aspiring to be the next champion in your favorite speech or debate event! As the tournament season rolls on, you strive to gain points, win titles, and perfect your speeches and cases. Why do you put so much work into this season? Because you want to do well at NITOC. For most competitors, doing well at NITOC is the ultimate goal of their season…

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Online Workshops Added for Regionals and Nationals Prep!!

Are you wanting to take your speech to the next level? Have you exhausted your club and family for ideas? Do you need a fresh new perspective before bringing the same case or speech to the next level of competition?

Lasting Impact! realizes what a critical time this is in a competitor’s season. That’s why we are adding another round of Online Workshops… be sure to check back to see what we add!

Benjamin Rolsma’s Experience with Competitive Speech in “The Real World”

Benjamin Rolsma competed in homeschool speech and debate  for many years. He thought perhaps those years might be behind him, as he decided to attend The University of Wisconsin- Madison. However, that turned out not to be the case. For many speech and debate kids their season may not have to be over once they graduate. Colleges across country WANT speech and debate kids. Be sure to ask and check out your college’s program, some speech and debate programs even offer scholarships. Here is Benjamin’s experience with collegiate speech and debate…

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Carrying On… How else can you use your speech and debate skills by: Gloria Heiss

For some, speech and debate season is coming to a close. Perhaps you have a speech that didn’t advance… does that mean it’s over!? No way!

Okay guys, you’ve become experts at public speaking now what do you with all those skillzzzz?

You go and change the world!!!!! Well, maybe first apply to college or go abroad, maybe write a few essays to get scholarships, get an internship…ya know. Adult stuff. But then you can change the world.

In all honesty, I do want to talk about how we (as awesome communicators) can now use the skills we have learned from our time in Speech and Debate and use them in different ways now that we have graduated or moved on from competition. I was in the same boat as you are my junior year. I loved public speaking and writing, but I didn’t feel called to compete anymore. So what could I do to still be creative and use my skill set effectively? I had to look for opportunities and fortunately they popped up all over! So, here’s just a taste of what you can do with your FANTASTIC ability now that you are done competing…

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The Competent Cross-Ex by: Sam Wooddell

It’s nearly impossible to participate in debate without hearing arguments between Team Policy and Lincoln Douglas debaters as to which of their formats constitutes better debate. Though I won’t attempt to make a final decision here, I know one area where, although it pains me to say it, the TP-ers are beat.

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Things I’ve learned as an alumni judge that I wish I knew as a competitor by: Isabelle Clausen


I have been judging and coaching speech and debate for about a year and a half now. Although I miss competing, I absolutely love helping students develop and hone in on their forensic skills. After judging various debate rounds and coaching students in different speech events, I’ve learned a lot as a coach that I really wish I knew as a student. Now that I’m judging, I see different habits and techniques from students that are either really great, or really detrimental to their rankings. These new things I notice as a judge are things I never noticed as a student. However, if I understood the importance of these habits and characteristics as a student, I believe I would’ve gone much further because I would’ve been able to appeal to the judge more.

That’s why I’m writing this informative article for you, so that you can learn the characteristics and skills that judges rank high on. With that being said, here are the top 3 things I wish I knew as a student that I now know as judge:

#1 – Less is more

When I was a competitor, I always thought I had to have an abundance of articles, an array of intelligent-sounding words, and lots of personal examples. Although these are very important aspects to include in speeches and cases, less is more to a judge for a couple of reasons:
It’s very hard to write down notes as the competitor speaks.
The more content a competitor includes, the more notes the judge has to take. When the judge is more focused on taking notes rather than listening to a speech, it can become less enjoyable for the judge and can make him lose interest. You want your judge to enjoy your speech, not stress out about it.
It’s very hard to follow along if there are too many examples
For me as a judge, if a competitor has too many examples, I sometimes feel as though they aren’t able to explain in depth about each one. The competitor may graze the surface of the example, but if they don’t go further into the complexity of the study/story/statistic, it’s hard to me to make the logical connection to what the impact is. I would much rather hear a student share two examples throughout his whole speech and go in-depth into each one, rather than share five examples with only three sentences of explanation each.

#2 – Talk slower rather than faster

Anyone who knew me as a competitor would know that I speak very fast. I got so excited to speak, that when I finally did, I would sound like an energizer bunny, rambling and ranting about a random speech topic. Although I covered a lot of information and did pretty well, on all my ballots I would constantly get the comment: “Please speak a bit slower.” Looking back, I tried to speak slower, but it rarely changed the overall pace of my speech. However, as a judge, I now fully appreciate when a competitor speaks slower. I feel like I’m able to follow along better and can truly enjoy the speech rather than just rush along like the competitor is. You see, when you rush your speech and speak with a fast pace, you are rushing the judge. This will keep them from fulling enjoying your presentation, rhetoric, and nonverbal communication such as body language. When you speak fast, the judge is mainly focusing on your words rather than all the other important aspects of you speech. Speaking slower enables the judge to not only focus on what you say, but also on your thoughtful pauses, your speaker’s triangle, and your hand gestures. Also, when you talk slower, you are able to stress out less. I know that when I talk fast, I feel energized and excited. However, this excitement can turn into a fast heart-rate and shallow breathing, which can lead the judge to believe that you are nervous. But by talking slower, you give your brain time to process what you’re saying, as well as focus on your hand-gestures and walking. Essentially, talking slower helps you and your judge.

#3 – Relate it back to the judge

I always love when the competitors challenge me and inspire me to do something. Whether it’s a call to action in a persuasive speech, a compelling personal story in a Mars Hill Impromptu speech, or a moral lesson in an interp piece— no matter what it is, I feel so involved when a competitor includes me in a speech or debate case. Whenever a competitor calls me to support an organization or change my opinion about a certain topic, I feel as though they actually care about educating me, not just about getting a trophy. You see, when you as the speaker create that connection with the judge, the judge will remember you. The judge will remember the conviction you made him feel, and that will definitely affect your ballot in a positive way. There are many students I coach and judge that forget that the judge really is the most important person in the round. The round isn’t just about the competitor… it is also very much about the judge.

I hope these three insights helped you learn more about the judge’s point of view. If I knew the importance of these three things as a competitor, I would’ve been much more confident in my abilities as a speaker and debater.

God bless and good luck in your competition season!

Although you can still get awesome coaching from Isabelle through Lasting Impact!, she recently branched out and started her own coaching services… 

Speech Line Up… Going Last

It seems like every year there are speech and debate students that need to be re-educated. For whatever reason students think there is a magic system for the order of their appearance in a competition room. I hope through this article you will see there is no reason to go hiding in the bathroom until the end of the round…

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