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

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