Credibility Crash Course

Undoubtedly one or two things come to mind when you hear the word, credibility:  that guy who makes up sources for his extemp round, or that team that slices up their evidence cards so that they say what they want them to say instead of what the author actually said.  If that is the extent of your definition of credibility, you might need to stretch your understanding of the term.

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Oratorical Interpretation – It’s an INTERP!

I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing what's been done with Oratorical Interpretation this year. As I've said in previous articles, this is a great entry-level interp, a fabulous opportunity to study great rhetoric, and a very real creative outlet. What are my coaching take-aways after a couple of tournaments?

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How to Disguise Yourself – Tips from a Master

Last year, I taught a boys’ literature group that went through the canon of Sherlock Holmes stories. One of our lessons after reading many of the mysteries focused on Sherlock’s ability to assume masterful disguises – such that even his dearest friends failed to recognize him.  This skill enabled our sleuth to trail suspects, slip enemy traps, and observe without being observed. As we discussed his various techniques, it struck me that many of these tips also answer the questions I get every year about creating characterizations for interps. So…here’s how Sherlock does it:

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The Honest Process – Questions to Keep You Going

This year, I'm feeling extremely privileged as I work with some new students who are actively pursuing what I like to call the "honest process." When I said those words to one of the moms, she asked, "What does that mean, exactly?" For me, the honest process is something original and organic and student driven. I'll reference some of the conversations I've had with students....

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Cross X Series #4: Keys to Undermining your Opponent’s Case by: Samuel Hand

CX designed to undermine your opponent’s case is a lot like CX designed to support your case, with two key differences: you don’t know what your opponent is running ahead of time, and the questions aren’t written beforehand (usually). Judging from these differences, you may think that you’re doomed to wait until you hear your opponent’s case and then pray you come up with something intelligent to ask… let me discourage this thinking. While you can have strokes of brilliance in the moment, just ​thinking​ a bit about the resolution can give an idea of what you might want to ask.

Much like I can’t tell you what questions to ask to support your debate cases specifically, I can’t know what your opponents are going to run. However, I can give you the keys (learned over the course of several years) to attacking your opponent’s case in CX.

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Cross X Series #3: Solidifying your own Case by: Samuel Hand

You have an inherent advantage when writing questions to build up your own case: you know exactly what you’re running in said case. This means that, with proper guidance, you can know exactly what to ask. While I can’t tell you which questions to write for your specific case, I can give you some principles which will hopefully make those questions much easier to formulate. Before I do, though, let me tell you what not to do.

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Mechanics of Cross X – Asking and Answering Questions by: Samuel Hand

I hope you found the last installment (purposes of cross-examination) helpful! Of course, understanding what you should aim to accomplish in CX is crucial to actually being effective in your rounds — but head knowledge means nothing unless you can actually implement it. The first question of implementation is this: how should you conduct yourself in cross-ex?

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Purposes of Cross Examination by: Samuel Hand

What if we spoke less and listened more? It seems like a silly question to ask in the context of competitive speech and debate, but fortunately for us, in debate it includes a built-in Q&A segment after each constructive speech. Debate is often thought of in terms of argument, counterargument, counter-counterargument, and so on — and it is therefore easy to overlook those three minutes of Q&A after each constructive. However, those six (for LD) or twelve (for TP) minutes may be more important than any speech in the round…

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