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.
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…
Lasting Impact! is excited to announce another coaching expert for your coaching needs… Schedule a one on one coaching session with Chris Baldacci, watch his Moot Court Recorded Video Workshop or join his 4 Week Moot Court Seminar … STARTS MoNDAY! If you can’t make all of them- they will be recorded!
Chris Baldacci was a two-time national champion in collegiate Moot Court and the top individual speaker at the national championship in 2018. He is the only orator in American Moot Court Association history to win three titles. He was also the runner-up in last year’s national brief-writing competition. Chris has competed on the varsity Moot Court team for four years at Patrick Henry College and has been active in coaching underclassmen and serving as a volunteer judge. He will attend law school in the fall.
To check out the Recorded Moot Court Workshop CLICK HERE.https://lastingimpact.info/product/moot-court-online-workshop-with-chris-baldacci/
To sign up for the Moot Court Seminar CLICK HERE.https://lastingimpact.info/register/4-week-moot-court-seminar/
How cool is it, we live in an age where we can meet people all over the country from the comfort of our homes? How awesome is it, that your students can receive solid coaching and instruction from experienced instructors? Lasting Impact! is dedicated to helping you and your students, in your Speech and Debate journey, with the guidance you are looking for by offering online classes, clubs, and workshops. Sign up for our Second Semester Clubs NOW…
4 Week Moot Court Seminar
Start Date: Feb. 18, 2019 8:00-9:00pm CT (meets weekly)
Instructor: Chris Baldacci
Cost: $45 member/$65 nonmember
This four-week course will give beginners a strong foundation in moot court and help experienced students separate themselves from the competition with advanced techniques. The four classes will cover the fundamentals of constitutional law, how to prepare arguments like a lawyer, argument building for both the 2nd and 5th Amendment issues, and improving your answers to judge questions. Students will also receive individual feedback on their arguments and presentation styles to make them more confident and professional. All sessions will be recorded.
Second Semester Online Apologetics (Stoa and NCFCA)
Start Date: Feb. 19, 8:00-9:00pm CT (every other week)
Cost: $40 members/$50 nonmembers
Instructors: Matthew Harper and Kirsten Erickson
Are you competing in apologetics in NCFCA or Stoa? Interested in trying the category but unsure where to start? Or simply looking to gain a deeper understanding of Christianity and how to defend it? If so, Lasting Impact’s online apologetics club is for you! Aimed at helping students prepare throughout the semester and stay engaged between tournaments, meetings occur twice a month, alternating between apologetics teaching and speech coaching. All meetings are recorded, so you can review previous sessions if you miss a week or would like to review a lesson. All experience levels are welcome; whether you’ve competed in apologetics for years or are trying it for the first time, you will be encouraged and equipped!
Second Semester Team Policy Debate Club (NCFCA)
When: Starting Wed. Feb. 13
Time: Approx. 1 hour/ 8:00-9:00pm CT
Instructor: Eric Meinerding
Cost: $50 per member/ $75 per non-member
Looking for additional Team Policy support for the competition season? Well you’re in luck! Eric Meinerding is hosting a second semester TP debate club exclusively through Lasting Impact. He’ll be meeting with students weekly for 8 weeks, all across the NCFCA nation to work through strategies against the popular cases, find the best arguments in the current climate, go over ballots, discuss debate theory, advanced impacting, and a host of other topics. Included with your enrollment is a free coaching session with Eric at any point during the season to get direct, personalized feedback tailored directly to your team’s needs. So whether you are without a club for the season, looking to go above and beyond, or are looking for innovative strategies, this seminar will provide what you’re looking for.
LD (NCFCA) Club for Intermediate/Advanced Students
Instructor: Joel Erickson
When: Feb. 12, 8:00-9:00pm CT (meets weekly for 8 weeks)
Cost: $50 per member/$75 non member
We’ll be studying advanced strategy and drilling techniques, deconstructing cases, and collaborating on briefs. The club will be recorded weekly.
To SIGN UP for any one of these awesome opportunities… CLICK HERE
How to develop the triple threat of being a club leader, as a student…
So, you’re a student leader in your club? You now have to balance your own busy tournament preparation schedule with the obligations you have to your club. If you’re attempting to rework your IO/Expos boards the week before a tournament where several novices are panicking before their first tournament, it could seem like you have a little bit too much on your plate. But luckily, these dual responsibilities aren’t as insurmountable as they may first appear. Being a student leader while a competitor can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have while participating in speech and debate. It gives you a unique perspective on forensics and, as a teacher, you will come up with new ideas that you normally wouldn’t have considered as only a competitor. I’ll be discussing some different methods to ensure you can succeed as a club leader or captain while also growing as an orator and logician…
Ahhh, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it fitting to start the season off with a small crash course of our coaches, whom we are so thankful for!! Let me begin by saying I have seen the skills of almost all these fabolous public speakers and know that they are going to be incredible coaches to you all. I love that they believe in the mission behind Lasting Impact! and want to see students excel in public speaking, empower coaches and clubs, and equip parents with the tools to see their students succeed. Now that I am done with all that mushy gushy stuff let’s get down to BUSINESS…
It’s the beginning of a new speech and debate year! Why not have a new syllabus, right? Each year club leaders go above and beyond creating their syllabus for their club. This is our second year creating one. Lasting Impact Syllabus 1.0 using Vol. 1 is still available. In fact, we had a lot of clubs that chose to use it! So why did we create another one? And what makes this one better?
The biggest question students ask themselves as the summer weeks wind towards another academic year is: what should I write my speeches about? Parents ask themselves: how do I help my students decide what they should write their speeches on? Each feels the gravity of answering that question too soon, too late, incorrectly, insufficiently, etc. An ambitious student may average three speeches a year for six years, resulting in a grand total of eighteen platform and interpretative opportunities… but this number can feel paltry when there are so many books to dramatize, subjects to explore, and ideas that need to be addressed!
Rikki Eskelund participated in Speech and Debate for six years as a competitor. Yet after she graduated, while going to college, and working, still found time to run a Speech and Debate Club!! There is a huge need for clubs in all areas. If a working, college student can do it- so can you! Here are Rikki’s tips for running a club, while still having a life…