Constructive Comments for Judges

If you have judged just one Speech and Debate tournament or even one round, you know how difficult it can be to find the right words... To encourage, to help, and to give good feedback. Typically, the student also wants to know why you also gave them the rank you did. If you find yourself at a loss for words... Here are some helpful phrases and critiques from Lasting Impact!

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Is This On? Get it on Camera

So, you’re running out of ideas for improving your piece. You’re wondering if there is honestly anything left to do to elevate your it to Nationals quality. But, maybe there is one more way to think of ideas for your speech…..watch a recording of it! I discussed with you a little bit ago the power of practicing in front of a mirror but have you ever reviewed your speech from the audience's perspective?

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Good Ballots, Bad Ballots, and What We Make of Them

We write a lot of them as parents (or alumni).  Competitors get an envelope of them after every speech and debate tournament.  And sometimes we have more to say about the ballots than we take away from the ballots!  What are these ballots, and how can both judges and competitors use the ballots to best effect during the competition season?

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Comedic Timing…The Hammer of the Humorist

Thor is known for his hammer.  He wields it well and it obeys his every whim.  He owns it.  It is intrinsic almost to his persona and identity.  Comedic timing, and the successful application of it, similarly marks the skilled humorist.  But just like nobody is able to tell Thor exactly how to use his hammer, no one is able to tell a would-be humorist exactly what to do with timing either.  I can describe the shape of it, yes, but what you do with it....well, that is what will make you funny - or not!

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Watching Speeches: A Challenge to You

I know. It’s hard sometimes. You just want to sit and chill with your friends, or you think it will make you nervous, maybe you have three speeches this category and just don’t have the time. I get it. I have faced the same struggles when it’s suggested that I go watch speeches while at a tournament. Watching speeches on Youtube in my free time is a whole other thing compared to being at the tournament and trying to find the time (and courage) to go sit through an entire 10 minute speech. I understand. However, did you know some leagues REQUIRE you to watch the room you compete in?  Not a bad idea... Here are some reasons why...

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Using Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Speech and Debate

The Ancient Greek philosophers spent their time observing the world around them and thinking about how and why things worked in our world.  When they came to some insight, they wrote down their thoughts.  Most of you have probably begun to study some of those thoughts.  And, it might be worth knowing that those ancient philosophers had thoughts about what makes good communication work, too.

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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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Analyzing Your Ballots From a Speech and Debate Tournament

Sometimes it is hard to read ballots, especially at 11 pm after a long awards ceremony. Ballots can be confusing or just hard to stomach. But ballots are still an invaluable resource to have from your judges. Be sure to open your envelope with an open mind, ready to hear what your judges have to say.

In this post we will be discussing some strategies of how to go over your ballots instead of tossing them or letting them collect dust. According to one of our Lasting Impact! interns...  "I go through my speech ballots with my three step system, especially when I plan on enhancing it throughout the season with the goal of succeeding to Regionals, and perhaps on to Nationals."

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The Mindset of an Extemporaneous Speaker

There are many tips, tricks, and strategies for improving as an extemporaneous speaker. But how can one address minute changes unless the overall mindset is correct? In this article I will attempt to provide some important tips and strategies for improving as an extemp speaker. But more than anything, I want to challenge you to check your mindset about extemp and allow that to influence all the details of your speeches. I will simply encourage you to be more than a reporter in your extemp speeches. Take it up to the next level; be an analyst. So, what does being an analyst mean in this context?

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Prepared and Invested in Speech and Debate

Have you had your first tournament yet?  We have.  In my region, we had some young competitors who launched right to the top of the field at this first competition of the year.  I spoke to one of the dads and asked if it was a surprise to his family that his daughter broke in multiple events - including debate - while two older, more seasoned brothers did not.  He answered, "Not to me."

"Really?" I replied.

"No.  She's been working on her speeches since last June.  The boys were still putting theirs together on the way here."

That situation is NOT uncommon.  But I can assure you that all that effort spent getting ready for the first tournament scored some BIG at-large points or check marks for those competitors that came prepared and invested in their material.

So is it too late for that?  Absolutely not...

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