The REAL Award at a Speech and Debate Tournament by: Gloria Heiss

I don’t want to sound like a stereotypical alum devotional but I might have to in order to get my point across today. Each year I frustratingly see teens all around me vying for their place on the stage at awards while not even considering the real rewards of tournament. Believe me, I like being recognized for my hard work and skill as much as the next person but those expressions of appreciation do not always come in the form of a trophy you can put on your shelf…

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Apologetics: How to Speak Beyond the Competition Room by: Matthew Harper

We all know how much fun a Speech and Debate Tournament can be. And we know how learning the skills we practice in a classroom setting will give us opportunities to enhance our future as better communicators. But have you ever considered how practicing and participating in Apologetics could enhance or effect someone else’s life? For the past five or so years, Lasting Impact has come together on Tuesday nights to grow and build students and families up in the journey of Apologetics. This semester, starting tomorrow night, another group will begin (for more information CLICK HERE). Matthew Harper, one of our group leaders, shares his experience why participating in Apologetics is time well spent….

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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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Tips for New Competitors at a Speech and Debate Tournament by: Gloria Heiss

“I’m walking on sunshine (Wow!)
I’m walking on sunshine (Wow!)
I’m walking on sunshine (Wow!)
And don’t it feel good”

Why, you ask, did I start this blog post out with the chorus to, “Walking on Sunshine”, by Katrina and the Waves. Well, besides the fact that it is a great song, we sometimes have to be reminded to walk like we are on sunshine.

Have you ever felt “meh”, “ugh”, or even “ew” while at a speech and debate tournament? I’m here to tell you that we have all been there; from the seniors who are pros, to the beginner twelve year olds. Don’t forget sleep deprived moms, grumpy siblings, and coffee-needing judges. Sometimes, just once in a while, someone might say, “I wish I wasn’t at this speech and debate tournament!” I know, blasphemous. But true!

Despite all the fun that goes on at a speech and debate tournament we have to remember that a tournament is going to drain us. No matter how much coffee we drink, or monsters we chug, or mini power naps we take we are going to feel that “meh” slipping into our system. And judges can pick up on those less than chipper vibes. So, I’m going to challenge you to do the seemingly impossible….do not let it affect your performance. Just being aware that you are in a “meh” mood can help you prevent it from deterring from your experience.

Here are some suggestions of things you can do to relieve stress while at a tournament:

1. Put in some headphones and listen to music. Tune out to get you tuned into doing your speech. But be careful not to tune others around you out.

2. Make conversation with fellow competitors in the hallway, but remember to do it quietly. Getting to know others can maybe calm your nerves. Maybe you will meet someone who is just as nervous or someone willing to pray with you.

3. Go to the bathroom, look yourself in the mirror, and strike a power pose. I know it sounds weird but scientifically it should make you feel like you are ready to roll!

4. Don’t be afraid to inform others about your mood. Maybe some mom will have an essential oil on hand. (Hehe) No, but really, there are often new competitors that may feel “a little nervous” or “blah” too. If you had a bad round, talking about it, and then moving on is the best approach. One bad round will just make you stronger.

5. If nothing else, find small things to make yourself smile through the day. Play cards with friends, do a spontaneous photo shoot, or go watch speech and debate rounds (just be sure you don’t have somewhere to be).

Another competitor had this advice-

1. The first thing you can do that really helps, is to set aside 10 or more minutes to run through your speech before you go into your room. Find an empty room, hallway, or wall, and run through your speech like you are going to in the room. Might I suggest that you do this by yourself, because friends can be distracting and you should be doing your speech like you are going to in competition.

2. The second really helpful thing that you can do, especially if you are really nervous, is to talk to people. Find someone that you don’t know very well, and just engage them in a conversation. Talk about something that you both enjoy! Talk about sports, movies, anything that will get your mind off of speech! I find this really helpful, especially right before I go into the room to give my speech.

3. The last and most important thing that you can do before you go into your room is to pray.  Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Paul is saying that when you are nervous, anxious, or excited about something, anything, pray to God about it. Pray by yourself, pray with friends, pray with your family, communications staff, which you will find to be extremely friendly, and anyone who you can find before the round. Trust me when I say that praying before each round and even before every tournament is extremely helpful. Now, don’t go in thinking, “I’m gonna pray that I will win the tournament”. Go in thinking, “I’m going to pray that whatever happens in the tournament, God will be glorified.” Try to pray for people as well. I have found that when I pray with and for other people, it helps me to calm down before I go do my speeches.

I have personally found all three of these things to be helpful while I’m at a tournament. I try to run through my speech before every single round to keep it fresh in my head, I am usually pretty social, so for me, talking to people is no problem, and I always make it a goal to pray by myself and with as many people as possible before every single round.

Now with this advice I hope you don’t think I’m telling you to act like everything is rainbows and unicorns and leprechauns at a tournament. It’s the fact that things do get exhausting and dramatic that we need ways to relieve stress in order to function properly before going into competition. I have used these techniques in the past to get myself through a round. I hope they prove to be successful for you too so you can go into your room like you’re walking on sunshine. 😉

Twelve Days of Christmas… Before a Speech Tournament

The Speech And Debate Season is quickly upon us. We hope you are able to celebrate the blessings of the Christmas Season. Put your Speech and Debate work down for a day or two. It will be there after the holidays. In the meantime we hope you enjoy our little poem…

On the first day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
An Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the second day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Two Time Pieces
And an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the third day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
And an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the fourth day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Four Extra Pens
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
and an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the fifth day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Five First Place Ballots
Four Extra Pens
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
and an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the sixth day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Six “How-To” Videos
Five First Place Ballots
Four Extra Pens
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
and an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the seventh day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Seven Minutes of Prep Time
Six “How-To” Videos
Five First Place Ballots
Four Extra Pens
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
and an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the eighth day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Eight IO/Expos Boards
Seven Minutes of Prep Time
Six “How-To” Videos
Five First Place Ballots
Four Extra Pens
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
and an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the ninth day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Nine Impromptu Prompts
Eight IO/Expos Boards
Seven Minutes of Prep Time
Six “How-To” Videos
Five First Place Ballots
Four Extra Pens
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
and an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the tenth day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Ten Tears for DI (Dramatic Interp)
Nine Impromptu Prompts
Eight IO/Expos Boards
Seven Minutes of Prep Time
Six “How-To” Videos
Five First Place Ballots
Four Extra Pens
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
and an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Eleven Laughs for HI (Humorous Interp)
Ten Tears for DI (Dramatic Interp)
Nine Impromptu Prompts
Eight IO/Expos Boards
Seven Minutes of Prep Time
Six “How-To” Videos
Five First Place Ballots
Four Extra Pens
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
and an Idea for a Really Great Speech

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my Speech Coach gave to me…
Twelve Fresh Breath Mints
Eleven Laughs for HI
Ten Tears for DI
Nine Impromptu Prompts
Eight IO/Expos Boards
Seven Minutes of Prep Time
Six “How-To” Videos
First Place Ballots
Four Extra Pens
Three Days of Coffee
Two Time Pieces
and an Idea for a Really Great Speech

Lifting you up as you continue to prepare for your season!

Student, Teacher, Competitor… By: Eric Meinerding

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…

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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!

Public Speaking Scholarship Opportunities By: Rebecca Frazer

“Remember, there is $10,000 riding on this speech. Don’t—mess—up.”
I stared at the contest administrator wide-eyed. Was that advice supposed to be helpful? Giving a speech with $10,000 riding on it already felt like the most nerve-wracking competitive experience of my life… But it was also amazing!!

Did you know you can give speeches for scholarship money? In the busyness that often defines high school, many skilled communicators neglect incredible opportunities to hone their public speaking skills while earning money for college. Yet a number of public speaking scholarships are out there just waiting to be contested. In this article, I’ll tell you about 5 amazing speech scholarship opportunities and share some valuable tips on how to succeed at them…

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Guest Post: The Importance of Words

As I sit here, the week after a major national competition, I am reminded of a speech I heard ONCE! A speech that made an impact on me about “words”. I wonder how many words were spoken through speech and debate last week at the NCFCA National Championship? I wonder how many students cried after they didn’t advance and they now think that their words have no more purpose? Or how many students were disappointed after making it to finals, yet not presenting their speech in The Showcase Of Excellence? This journey does not have to be over!! I am here to tell you… this is just the beginning! Your words and speeches can continue! You can continue to have a lasting impact… all you have to do is find another opportunity to share your heart, your message, your words…

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