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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Attributes of a Good Communicator by: Juliana Scheopner

Have you ever wondered what makes someone a good communicator? “She’s a natural! He is so talented!” We hear phrases like this all the time in competitive Speech and Debate. However, is it the words and the content of the speech OR the person who is doing the effective communicating? Is it the way the communicator is presenting OR the speech, itself? Could someone else give the speech just as well? Think about it. Heather Neumann breaks down the attributes that should be noticed (if you are looking) during one of her weekly classes...

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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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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 Dictionary.com 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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Maturely Mining Your Ballots by: Kristi Eskelund

No one likes to feel judged, but how can you be a winner, unless you have judges who weigh your performance against a set of standards? Do you know how many times I’ve seen students look ONLY at the ranks on the ballots and then toss them aside? I’ve also seen students discount a ballot because “it was only from a community judge” or “that guy didn’t know anything.” These are not mature responses to ballots.

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Impact! Tip – Personal Ethos by: Kristi Eskelund

Ethos is a difficult word to understand and even more difficult to effectively apply to your own efforts as a speaker. It’s a not-so-novice item for certain! Let’s see if we can begin to understand it a bit, and how we can apply it to Speech and Debate... and ultimately beyond!

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Understanding and Adjusting to Online Delivery by: Kristi Eskelund

If you are competing in Speech and Debate this year, the likelihood of you competing online is HIGH. Some people may think, "no big deal," but I strongly advise to walk in (to your bedroom and virtual room) prepared!! Sign up for the Lasting Impact! Online Prep Workshop HERE. We will be covering 20 items that we hope you are considering with your online set up- the difference between virtual and in person, how you debate, how you judge, positioning, and more! The workshop will be recorded and is included in the price! Don't take my word- read Kristi's article, she has taught online, judged online, and her son has attended school online. Listen and read her understanding on how you need to think about your online environment...

We didn’t foresee COVID-19, or the shut-down that ensued in its wake. We CAN however see that the tide has perhaps taken a permanent turn toward more online communication. There are certainly trade-offs, but the paradigm IS shifting. Employees and students ARE seeing that they can be productive in a remote environment, and in many cases, they are enjoying the very flexibility that has always marked the home school community. I think we can safely say that a percentage of college instruction, office meetings, sales negotiations, etc. will continue to stay online for the foreseeable future. While some of that programming may shift back, you are likely going to have to learn to be powerful and compelling as a communicator in the online format. Even the not-so-novice speaker has a learning curve here...

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Adding Personal Perspective to Speech and Debate by: Kristi Eskelund

If we are going to talk about YOU as a speaker (and we are!) then you need to begin to know what your perspective is on the things you are going to talk about. Perspective in your point of view.

Let me break that down:
Your – influenced by your own experiences and encounters and background, etc.
Point – the direction of your thoughts
of View – the way you are looking at things

See, your perspective is yours. As you move beyond the ranks of a novice speaker, you will stop writing and saying the things you think other people want you to write and say, and you will begin articulating your very own thoughts, gleaned from your very own experiences, based on the things you encounter with your very own senses. You will share perspective with other people, but unless you can identify something as your own perspective, you will not be a genuine and authentic speaker...

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