How to Organize Your Mars Hill Binder by: Isabelle Clausen

Mars Hill Impromptu is one of those events that can sneak up on you! If you don’t plan accordingly, and unfortunately your speeches can fall flat, even if you put your whole heart into it. Although Mars Hill Impromptu is all about letting the Holy Spirit speak through you and your topic, you must prepare so that you can share the Holy Spirit in the most effective and clear way as possible.

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Do you have an AH-HA moment in your speech?


Judges don't always know what kind of Speech they will be drawn to- some judges like to be entertained, some like to learn, some like to be inspired. Most of the time- something just appeals to them... But they aren't quite sure what?!

Good stories usually involve a plot twist. Novels have many story-lines, sub-plots, etc. Fitting all the elements of good story-teller into a 10-minute Speech can be difficult. The element of surprise can be hard to get in to a Speech... And I'm not talking about yelling, scaring your judges. I'm talking about an "AH-Ha Moment"...

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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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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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It’s Speech Season… but what event should I do?

The Speech and Debate season is officially started - clubs have begun to meet, students are meeting with their coaches, preparations for the upcoming season are underway, and while competitions may seem far, far away to you right now, these next couple of months are actually critical time for the students who arrive at that first competition invested and ready. So, how to begin? Where to start? How do you decide what events you are going to do?

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Adding Rhetoric to Your Speech and Debate Club with Hillary Kolssak

I got to catch up with one of my favorite people in the last couple weeks... Hillary Kolssak is my honorary sis, a fantastic mom, a speech and debate coach, and now this year, she will be running a speech and debate club in the Chicago area. She is a wealth or information and knowledge! We are so blessed to have her share her insights with Lasting Impact! Last year she created a rhetoric program for her club. She saw the need for her advanced students...

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