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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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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Having a Theme in Speech… Even in Debate

The importance of a theme is something I state often.

As my good friend, NCFCA TP Champion and coach, Rebecca Frazer said, "Good communication is practically always thematic. Your favorite movies are your favorite movies because they leave you with strong, central feelings. Every round strategy–aff or neg–must be centered around a strong theme. Stating a value in a case does not make it thematic, nor does stating a negative philosophy. Some of the best values I have ever seen in debate are so obvious that they don’t even need to be labeled–every argument the team makes ties back to a clear idea that they value. Please don’t let your judge leave the debate round wondering, “Hmm, so I wonder what was really important to them?”

The same is true for Speech. You want your audience to remember you- as well as what you have said, or performed. How?! This can be done by having a theme! A theme can be an underlying topic or recurring idea in your speech. Your memory is powered by your brain, which is full of emotions. Those emotions can be triggered by impacting the audience through a theme. Think about it- a judge will listen to 8 students give a speech for 10 minutes each... That's 80 minutes of speeches! You want  to be sure they remember you! How can that be done?

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Developing an Idea for a (Platform) Speech – The “So What?” Factor

If you have been to one of my camps or workshops, I sometimes have my own little ways of saying things- "a Heather Neumann-ism." ;) Needless to say, I have coined the phrase, "The So What? Factor." Students have ideas all the time for their speeches, but does their idea have the "so what?"  factor? What is the "so what? factor"? Can your idea go the distance? Here are some questions you can ask yourself when you are flushing out an idea for a speech to make sure it has "The So What Factor". Today, we will specifically be going through the so what factor with Platform Speeches and while there is overlap, in the next couple of weeks we will tackle the so what factor with Interps...

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2 Approaches to Platform Speeches (Workshop Tonight!)

Which do you pick first? A platform speech category or a specific platform speech topic? Do you decide to write a persuasive and then look for the perfect persuasive topic or become passionate about a speech on baking long before you decide it’d make the perfect after dinner on household mishaps and management? Maybe you haven’t ever thought about this question, but it is an important step in the process of crafting an excellent platform speech. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, so how you choose to answer the question will shape the rhetoric of your speech, its momentum, and your own growth as a speaker. If you’ve decided that you want to invest in a platform speech this year, whether you have brainstormed ideas or not, this is the workshop that will help you take the next steps. We’ll review the basic categories of platform speeches and look at their goals. We’ll examine the reasoning behind choosing topics and choosing platform categories, giving special attention to the relationship between these two approaches. We’ll also spend time working through potential topics ideas you may have. Our goal is to make this workshop an energizing and interactive experience that deepens your understanding of how to craft excellent platform speeches. We hope to see you there!

For more info read on or CLICK HERE to sign up…

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The Thesis Statement by: Abbey Lovett

What is the point of a thesis statement? Is it valuable? Here, in this article, Abbey Lovett (soon to be Kish), briefly explores the topic of the thesis statement for Speech and Debate. For more of Abbey’s awesome teaching- join her this Fall as she brings students on a deeper understanding of Impromptu,  through her – Lasting Impact! Online Impromptu Club. Sign up NOW! For more information, click here.

The Thesis Statement. Such an ominous and scary concept. Or at least that’s how I felt as a young communicator. In fact, I hardly ever used a thesis in my presentations because I couldn’t grasp the concept. What makes a good thesis statement? How do I make a thesis statement that fully grasps what I want to talk about? How do I present that statement in the speech?

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Platform Advice By: Michelle Reid

We caught up with a pretty fantastic Speech and Debater... Michelle Reid saw much success in the world of Speech and Debate, and like most students who compete, go on to do great things! Competing in Speech and Debate was only the first step to what the Lord has in store for her! Here is part of her journey as well as advice...

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Tips on Verbal and Written Communication

The wonderful people at www.theaccentcoach.com happened to stumble upon Lasting Impact! They wanted to offer our readers some tips on verbal and written communication for Speech and Debate students. Below is an article specifically designed for our readers, with some added touches by Heather.

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Oh, Those Verbal Citations!

You know you have to say it.  Out loud.  The sources of your information….

And it is good and proper that we DO give credit where credit is due as we are giving speeches that inform, inspire, persuade, instruct, and generally educate your audience.  In all fairness, one of the real academic benefits of preparing a platform speech is the research you learn how to do.  You garner information from a variety of sources, learn from it, process it, and integrate it into your own paper – a blend of your ideas and words with those you’ve learned along the way (which by the way totally shaped your ideas, you know!)

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Perspective on your Persuasive

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Being persuasive is an art. When writing persuasively, it is important to explain your thoughts clearly and make sure you have your thoughts supported by facts. I believe that the Persuasive Speech category is one of the most difficult to master. Here are my reasons why, and what you can do to master this speech...

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