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Making the Most of Your Ballots by Noah McKay

Mid-season tournament preparation can be perplexing business, Coach Noah McKay will be starting his 2nd Semester LD Club in just a couple weeks. He will help you break down your cases, help analyze the best values, and come up with a strategy! Did you know you could also learn a ton from your ballots?

You have probably experienced the sinking feeling of going 1-5 after months of pre-season research and writing, along with attendant confusion about what, exactly, you are supposed to do to bring those numbers up the next go-round. After all, if you couldn’t find a winning argument anywhere in the thousands of pages you read between July and December, where can you find one?

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Have You Taken The I-Test for Your Speech? by: Juliana Scheopner


Last week, we posted and wrote about how nonverbal communication skills can help elevate you, as a speaker. But the content in a speech is also important. Heather Neumann likes to share the I-Test with her students and Ted Talk clients. The I-Test is a series of questions she came up with, you can ask yourself to determine if your topic, as well as the content is a good choice for your speech. She believes these four things can make a huge impact on your judges or audience, whether they realize it or not. If you have already selected your topic or written your speech, you can still use the I-Test to see if there is anything you should add to improve your speech. 

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Attributes of a Good Communicator by: Juliana Scheopner

Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good communicator? “She’s a natural! He is so talented!” We hear phrases like this all the time in competitive Speech and Debate. However, is it the words and the content of the speech OR the person who is doing the effective communicating? Is it the way the communicator is presenting OR the speech, itself? Could someone else give the speech just as well? Think about it. Heather Neumann breaks down the attributes that should be noticed (if you are looking) during one of her weekly classes...

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Observe, Think, Practice by: Juliana Scheopner

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Heather Neumann has been teaching a Public Speaking Class or Club for over a decade. Each year she prays about the lesson plan- the journey she is about to embark on with her students. At this point she has literally coached thousands of students, both nationally and internationally. I have been one of her students, I have sat in her Zoom Room watching apprehensive beginner students turn into writers, speakers, and more importantly confident human beings. Mrs. Neumann has given me permission to share her ideas with you this year. A first hand glance at what she is teaching. This year’s mantra for her classes and clubs - Observe, Think, Practice! Sounds easy. These three little words can really pack a punch if we put them to work and are being purposeful. Every year she has a new perspective or way to wrap our brains around God given gift and privilege we call the art of communication. Each week she offers us students a challenge on how we can implement her lessons, and how they can make an big IMPACT, not only in Public Speaking, but for life... Are you ready to observe, think, and practice? If so- be ready to GROW...

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NCFCA LD Resolution – Defending Transhumanism? By: Noah McKay

The Problem – You Don’t Have to Defend Transhumanism This Year
It has come to my attention that this year’s Lincoln Douglas resolution is breeding uneasiness among rank-and-file debaters and parents in the NCFCA. Of course, almost everyone is uneasy about new resolutions, because, well, they’re new. But the present distress goes beyond standard concerns about definitional vagueness or bias: some have questioned whether it is even morally permissible to defend the Affirmative position…

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Don’t Be Afraid To Think Outside of the Box by Emalyn Sharp

The season for contemplating speech topics is upon us, and as camps, clubs, and the start of a new year of Speech and Debate competition approaches, one dreaded question will swirl amongst them all. 

What are you giving a speech on?

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Strategies for a More Effective Cross-Examination by Peter Montgomery

“…It is for all these reasons I strongly but respectfully urge an affirmative ballot. Thank you, and I now stand open for cross-examination.”

In the silence that follows your opponent’s final words, you finish shuffling your papers around on your canary yellow legal pad, take one final swig from your trusty water bottle, and then with a deep breath, stand up and approach your adversary at the podium, being careful to avoid making eye contact.

You set your timepiece for three minutes, take one final glance around to check if your opponent and judges are ready, then with an earsplitting beep, you activate your timepiece and start the countdown, a wide smile appearing on your face.

“Hi, that was a great speech, but of course as always I’ve got a couple questions for you today, starting with…”

If you’ve ever participated in any form of debate that has cross-examination, this situation, or one very similar to it, should be familiar to you. Starting off cross-examination this way seems natural. After all, you want to appear friendly to the judge, and you’ve seen other experienced debaters follow this same pattern. What could possibly be wrong with this approach? Quite a bit, it turns out.

In this article, we will be examining some common cross-ex tactics and pressure-testing them with alternative options to see if they really deserve the spot they have secured in the hearts and minds of debaters.

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Topicality in the 2022 NCFCA Resolution by Logan Hickman

Love it or hate it, this year’s resolution is one of the narrowest resolutions we’ve seen in a long time. Narrow resolutions make way to more topicality issues and more topicality arguments. Regardless of your position on when it is or isn’t appropriate to run topicality, it’ll likely happen a lot throughout the year, so let’s examine the topicality scene as it regards cases…

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Why Should Debate Be Part of Your Homeschool Curriculum by: Amy Eichholz

Amy Eichholz is part of the Lasting Impact! Teaching Team. She has graduated two sons and is teaching two daughters, still at home. Her journey in Speech and Debate started over a decade ago. She began as a novice parent, and is now preparing for her sixth year teaching Novice/Beginning Debate for the largest Homeschool Speech and Debate Club in Wisconsin. She is eager to see the transformation of another group of young students, both in person and online! Prior to homeschooling Amy taught fifth through twelfth grade. She will be teaching Debate Readiness for Lasting Impact! in the fall for ages 10-14. Sign up NOW or read her thoughts on why debate should be a part of your curriculum…

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LD Prep Success Tip by Meg Aerni

As we enter this next school year, it’s time to begin preparing for debate. I remember preparing for my first year of LD debate not too long ago. I found evidence, googled definitions, and printed many briefs. In fact, pretty much all of my preparation time went into writing cases and finding evidence. Generally, this is what we think of when we want to prepare. In the debate round, we need cases and evidence, so that’s what we should gather before competition starts. Right? Well, in my opinion, that’s only partially right. It’s certainly important to be prepared with these materials before your first tournament, but I don’t think cases and evidence represent the most important aspect of a debate round…

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