Exploring Fonts for a Digital Presentation


Speech and Debate Leagues have decided to adapt with the world of technology. Speech categories such as Expository, Power Point, or Digital Presentation are among the few events that allow for visual enhancement of the speech, specifically through the use of slides. And although this is the direction the world is turning, it comes with a world of confusion, decisions, and a learning curve. The images, and more importantly, the fonts you choose is another aspect of communication. These decisions are crucial to conveying your message! Today, we will specifically addressing one of the most important aspects of your slides- the font...

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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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Changing Your Original Oratory into Illustrated Oratory or Expository by: Anna Johansen

If you’re like most competitors, you probably have an Original Oratory. It’s a nice, broad, Platform category, with few requirements and straightforward rules. There’s just one problem….

There are approximately 9,746,223 Original Oratories in multiple Speech Leagues right now. While exact numbers may vary, experts all agree that the number of Original Oratories is enormous. How can you stand out in that sea of business attire?

Of course, you want to do your best and sharpen your skills and become an excellent platform speaker. But there’s another route you can take: you can turn your OO into an IO (or Expository).

This is definitely the road less traveled. Competitors are intimidated by the level of complexity seen in Nats Class IOs. They’re daunted by the level of effort and materials that may be required. And they’re unsure of their ability to produce the creative content that seems necessary.

I won’t sugar coat it. You do have to invest time and effort to get an IO off the ground. But that investment pays off. An IO is one of the most rewarding speeches you can do. And if you already have an OO written, then you’re off to a great start. Still not convinced? Here are some tips to jumpstart the process.

1. Start with a rough draft. Just like any other speech, you don’t go straight for the finished product. Your boards will evolve over time, as ideas and concepts take shape. Typically, I start planning my boards by sketching outlines—really messy pencil scribblings that show general placements for objects, pictures, etc.

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you have an idea you want to try, try it. If you have no idea where to begin, start cutting up random scraps of paper. It’s like brainstorming for your hands instead of words. You may see a certain color combination, or a shape, or an object, and suddenly it sparks an idea that you want to pursue.

3. Don’t feel like you have to make every board a creative masterpiece. Everyone has a different style. Not all IOers are painters and sculptors, you know. Some are businessmen or lawyers or philosophers or equestrians or scientists or mathematicians. Each one brings a unique feel to their boards, and their style is reflected on what they choose to display. If you’re panicking because you can’t even draw a stick figure, take heart. You can just not draw stick figures on your boards. It’ll be fine. 😉

If you want to hear more about the ‘how-tos’ of IO, tune in to the workshop this Friday, February 9th at 1:00 CST. We’ll go into way more depth on each of these concepts, and cover a slew of practical tips like what materials to use, how to generate ideas, and how to implement those ideas. If you’re just curious about what an IO is, or you’ve always wanted to do one but never knew where to start, or if you have an IO already made and just want some ideas to spice it up, you’ll benefit from this workshop. Hope to see you there!

CLICK HERE for more info. on the IO/Expos. Workshop. Other workshops this week include- Storytelling with Abbey Lovett, Fantastic Characters with Heather Neumann, and After Dinner Speaking with AJ and Heather Neumann.

photo by: Julieanne Photography

Sign Up Now For Online Speech Workshops in February!!

Our first Online Workshop (Apologetics) in December was a huge success! We are excited to share so much more with you! Thanks to technology coming February 9th and 10th we will be offering 4 more online workshops- Characters, Illustrated Oratory/Expository, After Dinner Speaking, and Storytelling! There is so much to learn in the exciting world of Competitive Speech! Whether you want to add to your speeches this year, or planning ahead for next year! These four workshops will be packed with valuable information from our amazing Lasting Impact! coaches. Get all the details below… And Sign Up Today!!

Creating Fantastic Characters with Heather Neumann

Date: Fri. Feb. 9

Time: 10:30 am CT (Approx. 1.5 hrs)


Are you wanting to take your characters to the next level? Learn how to develop a deeper understanding of your characters. Participants will be guided through an analysis of their interpretive speech, specifically for their characters. Each participant will be given Heather Neumann and Kristi Eskelund’s character worksheets. We will also have guest speakers to give examples of “pops”, voices, facial expressions, etc.

Heather Neumann has been coaching for years… Teaching students to look with in themselves to create well developed characters.

All About IO/Expos with Anna Johansen

Date: Fri. Feb. 9

Time: 1:00 pm CT (Approx. 1.5 hrs)


IOs and Expositories are intimidating. Most competitors are overwhelmed by the idea of building boards from scratch—coming up with ideas and figuring out how to make them happen in real life. How do you make a stained-glass window? How do you make a 3D staircase? How do you make a sinking Titanic? In this workshop, we’ll take you from the basics (like materials, magnets, adhesives, and straight edges) all the way to the finishing touches (like themes, aesthetics, interactive pieces, and show-stopping features). If you’ve ever considered doing an IO/Expository this workshop is a great way to give you the practical tools to make it happen.

Anna Johansen is a speech and TP coach in the Chicago area. She also writes, edits, and coaches for Ethos Debate. Anna is currently pursuing a double major in English and History, and hopes to continue teaching and writing long-term. Whether it is through editing others’ work or creating her own, teaching the tools or using them, she wants to pass on a love of speaking and writing and communicating to everyone she comes in contact with.

After Dinner Speaking with Aj and Heather Neumann

Date: Sat. Feb. 10

Time: 10:30 am CT (Approx. 1.5 hrs)


After Dinner Speaking is hard! How do you write a speech that is informative, impactful, and perhaps motivational, yet funny? ADS is so much more than just telling stories. Learn how to create or add depth to your After Dinner Speech. And don’t forget your delivery! We will teach you what you need to know to make your ADS shine!

Aj Neumann qualified to Nationals both years NCFCA offered After Dinner Speaking. He won Regionals, had many first places at tournaments, and in 2015 got 3rd place at The National Championship. Aj is passionate about ADS and he can’t wait to share what he has learned through his experiences.

Storytelling with Abbey Lovett

Date: Sat. Feb. 10

Time: 1:00 pm CT (Approx. 1.5 hrs)


In this webinar, Abbey is going to go over why storytelling is important in all styles of competitive forensics and communication. She’ll talk about the science behind storytelling, how you should use it in speeches, and how you can become a powerful storyteller. She will give you practical tips and tricks that you can take into any aspect of your life to craft powerful stories.

Abbey Lovett has been involved with competitive forensics for over eight years and has gained three national champion titles. In her time both as a speaker and a coach, she has learned that the most powerful way to communicate important ideas is through storytelling. Abbey has studied storytelling for years and is excited to share with you what she has learned.

All workshops will be done through Zoom, an online meeting forum.


$5 per workshop for members of Lasting Impact!


$20 per workshop


A Few Board Basics

I’m pretty sure that what keeps many a great speaker out of Illustrated Oratory is the boards!  And even for kids who are artsy or who love this event, getting your boards in beautiful shape is no small feat.  Here are a few tips to consider as you take on this challenge.

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Thinking about an IO/Expos…


I definitely encourage everyone to try an illustrated oratory/expository at least once in your competitive speech career because it’s different from a typical platform speech in a way that I think is particularly relevant to today’s visual culture.  IO requires a speaker to capture ideas in easily absorbed images and simple, physical manipulations.  These are presented on several 20 x 30 inch foam boards made visible with an easel.  So, IO also requires a degree of choreography around the easel.  In order to develop those visual aids and get in the extra practice on physical delivery, IO requires a totally different timeline to pull together for competition.

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