Watching Speeches: A Challenge to You by: Gloria Heiss

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…

Benefits of Watching Speeches:

1. Education – Not only on Youtube (if you don’t youtube speeches already I highly recommend you start) but also in competition the value of watching someone else’s presentation is extraordinary. I was able to understand impromptu better because I youtubed national finalists (and many more) from past years and took notes on their styles of preparation and delivery. Sometimes at a tournament I’ll walk into a room and by watching someone else I will have an idea for one of my own speeches. It really gets the creative juices flowing!

2. Reputation – If anything, watching other’s speeches will boost your reputation in the “mom circle” because of how; nice, considerate, thoughtful, and helpful you are. It never hurts having speech moms talking nice about you to one another. Trust me, word gets around.

3. Fun (I know, crazy!) – Sometimes you get in a slump while at a tournament. I’ve been there myself. You wouldn’t think so, but viewing a speech can get you back into a good mood.You can be pleasantly surprised. Especially if you can get several people to watch it with you. Everyone joyfully spectating can truly energize you!*Cheesy, but I’ve experienced it. It feels so nice.

4. Social – You could take this opportunity to meet new people! I remember a few years ago a mom told me to watch a speech from someone I didn’t know. At first I was apprehensive, I wanted to watch people I knew, but afterwards I was so glad I followed that mom’s advice. I started talking with the speaker and learned more about them as a person not just as a competitor.

5. Supportive – Show your support! I love watching my friend’s speeches at tournaments (and I love when they can watch mine) because it shows them that I care about their work. Remember this applies to any speaker, if you know them or not.

Usually I will take note of a few things about their speech that I really liked so I can tell them afterwards. Sometimes if I get an idea for their speech I’ll share it with them as well. Affirm their hard work, and encourage them to keep it up.

6. Competition – I don’t know about you, but I have a competitive spirit. When I watch someone crush a round, yes I get a little nervous, but mostly it inspires me to perform to my best ability as well.

7. Self-Assurance – Surprise, surprise. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Sometimes I forget this, but I’m reminded of this when I watch speeches. Seeing someone else perform allows me to see what really matters to the judges. Those slip ups that seem so monumental in our heads when we give our own speech really don’t seem like much from the audience’s perspective. Yeah, when you have an amazing room those little things will count, but honestly when I’m a spectator I don’t even notice those mistakes even though when I perform they’re at the forefront of my mind. We’re all just teenagers, the judges remember that.

So, do you see the benefit in watching other people give speeches, not just at club, but online and at tournaments? I hope you do, because in all my years of experience one of the things I accredit my success in the league is to watching other people give speeches. I’ve learned and honed my craft through watching others go before me.

Club Challenge: It’s because of what’s above that I challenge you to watch at least 3 speeches at the upcoming tournament. Go see a speech from a category you don’t know much about, or support a friend, maybe you could even support a novice and give some positive feedback.