Capturing the Conversational Style by: Katie Kellam

It’s April. The birds are singing, regionals are HERE, just around the corner, or you are at your “last chance to break” speech and debate tournament for the rest of the season. Ah- yes, it’s that special time of the year when people start thinking to themselves, “can I really keep giving this speech for the next three months without going insane?” You know what that means—it’s the perfect time for mid-season revisions! But this season, while you’re tweaking your conclusion or working on that one exampleyou just don’t like, I challenge you to spend a little bit of time thinking about style…

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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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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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Top Tips on How to Prep Debate Before a National Championship

The NCFCA Regional Tournaments are ending, and Stoa Tournaments wrapped up in April. That still leaves a good four to six weeks between people’s last tournament option and A National Championship. How are you going to prepare for the next level of competition? We, at Lasting Impact! and Ziggy Debate have a FANTASTIC idea! But also be sure to check out the tips from our awesome coaches…

Sure, you have your own clubs to practice with, but as we know, the incentive to practice can be a bit lower if you’re not attending Nationals yourself. And given how important Nationals is to so many, it would be a shame for students to miss out on the opportunity to keep honing their debate skills in the 4/6-week gap. 

That’s why the Ziggy + Lasting Impact! National Championship is such a great option: it provides a spaced out period of prelim and outround debates with prizes and national competition for students to keep their skills sharp and earn prizes, and it’s open to everyone, regardless of whether you’ve qualified for Nationals or not.

Ready to sign up? Head over to

What do coaches have to say… here is their insight for prepping for a National Championship…

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Guest Blog – Filler Words in Speech (part 1)

Our friends at IvyPanda reached out to us to tell us about an article they wrote. They specifically thought our audience would benefit from reading what they had to say about “filler words.” We couldn’t agree more…. Do you have an article you want to see? Have you written something you think our audience will benefit from? Contact us! We’d love to hear from you!

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Vocal Variety by: Kristi Eskelund

It’s on every ballot. Whether you compete online or in person, it's one of the subtle speaking skills that an untrained listener will intuitively understand without necessarily knowing what to call it. Some speakers are just more pleasant to listen to as they speak, and you can learn to be one of them!

When you hear the term ‘vocal variety’ what do you think it involves?

What kind of variety could you get out of your palette of primary colored paints? Lots, right? How do you get that variety? By mixing in various amounts, obviously! While it may not be quite as intuitive, the same principle applies to your voice and its qualities. You can mix and match these to give a variety of results that make you more auditorily pleasing to your audience. A novice speaker is going to be concerned with writing a speech and memorizing it and getting it delivered. A not-so-novice speaker can begin to deliver it well using more vocal variety.

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The Power of Pauses and… Many Applications of Timing by: Kristi Eskelund

I like the definition of timing:
“the choice, judgment, or control of when something should be done.”

I like this definition because of these words: choice, judgement, and control. These words emphasize that much of what we call timing as it pertains to public speaking depends strictly upon the speaker. The speaker chooses how to control the tempo to direct the responses and reactions of the audience.

There are actually several angles to consider when discussing pauses and timing as they apply to becoming a good public speaker.

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