Fishing For Your Audience…The Hook

We have been told over and over "the hook" is one of the most important elements of your platform speech. I've even heard it say that the first 45 seconds will determine whether or not your audience will be drawn in. Now I grew up in Wisconsin in a hunting and fishing family. When I first heard about "the hook", I thought well, that's funny... because when I used to go fishing with my dad, it was kind of boring?! You cast, and you wait... and wait... and wait. And more times than not, there was a lot of sitting. You see, what you put on your hook will determine how long you wait. We don't want to make your audience wait too long.

Recently, I was reminded about a certain type of fishing my dad did in Northern Wisconsin- musky fishing!! You cast, and your reel it in, you cast and your reel it back in... did you catch anything? Ah-ha! That's it! We want to be musky fishermen when we are speaking. We want to hook our audience... and reel them in.

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10 Reasons Why EVERYONE Should Try Interp Events

I know that many students think of interp events as uncomfortable or even just plain goofy - events for those dramatic types only.  I have to say a resounding, "NOT SO" to that.  In fact, I think there are solid reasons why every single student should at least try the art of interpretation.

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Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Five Best Tips for Platform Speech Writing by: Rebecca Frazer

It’s that time of year—time for writing, re-writing, and honing speeches for competition. As an avid fan of the platform speech, I wrote and delivered nine platform speeches in four different platform categories during my years in speech and debate competition. By the end of it all, I’d learned that quality speech-writing takes an intense cognitive and emotional investment, somewhat akin to Churchill’s description of blood, sweat, and tears. We all can benefit from the encouragement of those who have been there before. So for all you hard-working speech writers out there, here are five pro-tips to aid your master process:

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One Week until… Online Extemp

Extemporaneous is one of those Speech categories that after students graduate… they WISH they would have done it. Don’t let this opportunity for THIS season to YOUR season to give Extemp a try! Join our Lasting Impact! Online Extemp Group!

Guest contributor Drew Magness, 2018 NCFCA Extemporaneous Speaking Champion and Ace Peak Coach, shared this with me, “Most people view Extemporaneous speaking as a hopelessly complicated event reserved for the “smarter” people. Luckily, that’s not true. Let’s dispel the most common myth surrounding extemp.

Myth – I need to be a current events nerd.

Most of the best extempers out there didn’t get where they are by knowing everything about Zimbabwe’s electoral process, Japan’s disarmament history, or the legal standing of American Samoa. They climbed the mountain by learning how to process, condense, and communicate complex information. Extemp speeches don’t fall flat because the competitor is missing a robust history of the African Union. The most common failure is a failure to be understood. A background in current events will be helpful; knowledge is always good. But the keys to extemp are: Process, condense, communicate.”

Sam Wooddell, Stoa’s 2018 TP Champion, participated in Extemp for three years, he said this, “Extemporaneous speaking may help students fulfill their role as informed citizens by educating them on current events. Simultaneously, it teaches speakers critical thinking skills in high pressure situations, a skill which applies to nearly every event in speech and debate, as well as beyond high school.”

Joining a group, club, or class can help beginners and advanced students, even coaches. Here are what some of our Lasting Impact! students have said…

“I know I wouldn’t be as prepared if it wasn’t for your teaching and club.”

“Online Apol, allowed me to feel more confident, inside and outside the classroom, and even gave me the opportunity to compete at Nationals.”

“I am so thankful for my Online Community, this is exactly what I needed to push me out of my comfort zone.”

“I feel ready and prepared for this season!”

We have great things planned in Extemp for our six weeks together. Whether you are new to this category or have experience- this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

  • Why Extemp? Goal Setting. Basics to writing an Extemp Speech.
  • What are reliable sources? How to Build a Box?
  • How to Research? Unifying Formats. 
  • Practice Speeches with Feedback. 
  • Analysis Types, Use of Quotes, Stories, and Data.
  • Practice speeches with feedback. 

Do do not let this be an opportunity that slips in the wind!


Limited Prep Breakdown by: Catherine Alles

When I was competing in Speech and Debate, I loved the Limited Preparation speeches. Apologetics, Impromptu, and Extemporaneous gave me the opportunity to use my voice to speak about important issues, make an impact, and inspire people. I used to jokingly tell people that I loved limited prep because for me, “limited preparation meant no preparation.” But that wasn’t really true. I spent a lot of time preparing for limited preparation speeches, just not in the same way as for platform or interpretive speeches. Remember our Online Extemp Group starts in less than two weeks. Join Now!

When you are doing a duo, your prep involves picking a book, memorizing, and practicing blocking with your partner. For persuasive, you need to spend most of your time researching and writing your speech, and then fine tuning your delivery. In Limited Preparation speeches, you don’t need to memorize anything, work with a partner, or plan out your hand motions, body movements, or pauses ahead of time. Instead, the best use of your time is to be an inquisitive and fully present person. What do I mean by this? Let’s break it down for three limited preps- Extemp, Apol, and Impromptu… (Isabelle Clausen will break down the Mars Hill binder next week)…

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Top 5 Things Every LDer Should Do (Workshop Thursday)

Have you ever walked into a debate round wondering in the world are you doing? Have you ever walked out of a round thinking you won that round, but ended up pathetically losing? Or have you ever walked out of a round thinking that you lost pathetically but actually won by a huge margin?

I’ve been there before, feeling inconsistent in my debate rounds, not knowing how I won or lost. We either go through a debate round feeling rushed and nervous, or confident and pragmatic. But regardless of how we feel, sometimes the judge votes for what we least expected. Why is this? Why can’t we find consistency in our competition? How is it that the really good people keep on winning tournament after tournament and we are just chilling here getting 3-3?

If you’re in this boat and want more consistency in your debate rounds, then I have 5 tips to share with you that will lead you down a more successful path! Join me, on Thursday for my LD Online Workshop, or keep reading…

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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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Be a Pioneer! Try Biblical Thematic (or Any New Speech Event)

New Speech Events come along now and then. Some students want to sit back and watch and figure it out. Although that is a fine technique to use, I say, “Be a Pioneer! Get messy! Take chances!” Yes, I have watched a lot of Magic School Bus throughout the years, and I have learned valuable lessons from Ms. Frizzle and gang…

DO be a Ms. Frizzle – Take chances, get messy! Why not? Explore the category for yourself (or with your family), especially if it’s never been done. Talk about it. The more you talk, the more ideas will come! Go to a workshop on it, TONIGHT we have a Biblical Thematic Workshop where we will cover the ideas and things you can do in this event. If you can’t make it – look for the recording.

DON’T be an Arnold – Wishing you would have stayed home, is not going to enhance your speech and debate skills. You have the opportunity to learn new things, as well as be a better communicator. How cool is that!?

DO be a Dorothy Ann – Dorothy Ann always has her book with her. She knows the rules inside and out! Make sure you are coming at the new event by fulling understanding the rules first.

DON’T be a Phoebe – There is no reason to compare things to your “old school,” or events that happened in the past. This is a new year! Jump in and do this! Wishing things were different, isn’t going to make it so. Be in the NOW and try to find things you like about the event and run with that. Being negative and unwilling to explore the possibilities will leave you in the dust. Remember, there is growth in everything, even if you feel uncomfortable at first.

DO be a Ralph – Ralph always puts a smile on my face. He is making the most out of the situation and having fun with it! Remember to find the joy in new events – this can help you go a long way!

All of these examples can be applied to new speech events… whether they are completely brand new to the league you are in, or you are trying an event for the first time. Join Lasting Impact! through our articles, video workshops or live workshops. We want to help you explore YOUR potential through speech and debate. And remember, You Got This!

IO/Expos Tips from Nate Thompson, 2016 Champ

Are you on the fence about jumping on the IO/Expos bandwagon? Now is the time to check out what others have to say (including Nate Thompson) about this fabulous event! TONIGHT, Lasting Impact! will have a team of experienced speakers and constructors of “the speech event that uses boards and easel for visual aides”. IO/Expos is so much more than that! But don’t just take my word – come TONIGHT (sign up now). And don’t forget to read the article below…

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