This is the part of the year where everyone is freaking out because they don’t have their speeches written. Practice speech and debate tournaments are coming up or just happened, and everyone is feeling the pressure to get their speeches written and finished. It was for this reason that I chose to not go to my practice tournament this year. Not because I procrastinated on my speeches and don’t have them written. No, this was a conscious decision that I made…
This is my fifth year competing in speech and debate. Every year I either have had my speeches written by this point or have majorly procrastinated and had nothing done at all. I would not suggest either of these options. At first it may not make sense why we wouldn’t want to write our speeches now. Once they are done then we can start the real work and make them good, right? Well, I have had problem with this approach. Whenever I have rushed the writing of my speeches, my speeches haven’t ended up impactful. My ideas get muffled, I don’t have a strong main message, and I always end up re-writing my speeches halfway through the year. Last year I did a biographical which I rushed to write before the first tournament. I never took the time to determine a strong and clear message. Because of this, at every tournament I dramatically changed my thesis statement. Every tournament. I completely re-wrote my intro and conclusion to that speech more times than I can count. It wasn’t until the last qualifier of the year that I discovered the actual message of my speech. I wasted three tournaments giving a speech that didn’t have a point. Half of my year.
All of this could have been avoided. But how? I haven’t competed with these speeches yet so don’t take my word as fact, but I believe by taking more time now to figure out our speeches the frustration I experienced can be avoided. I have been working on my speeches every day, but have not written out a single part of any of them yet. What have I been doing this whole time? I have been developing the core of my speeches, carefully planning what I am going to write. I have been taking the time to read my Bible searching for inspiration for my speeches. Most importantly, I have been praying about every aspect of my speeches as I come to them. This is something that I have never done with my speeches before, but it has drastically changed my life and I believe it will drastically change my competition season. Even though we are part of a Christian league and often have Christian aspects to our speeches, I don’t know how many people firmly root their speeches in their faith. I don’t mean that people don’t have Christian foundations for their speeches, but how often do we actually take the time to pray about what speeches God wants us to write and how we should write them? I have never taken the time before this year and I don’t think that I am that unusual.
If you already have your speeches written, I am not saying go back and rewrite them. However, do take the time to pray and think about why you are doing the speeches you are, and what impact you will have on people. This is not just applicable to speeches that are serious and deep, it applies to anything that you are competing in; a dramatic biographical or a hilarious duo. Because isn’t it true that everything we do should be a reflection of Christ? I am not saying that you should mention God in every one of your speeches. If your speech does not call for a direct, needed, Christian application, don’t force it. It is okay to have a speech that doesn’t mention Christ or have any Christian application. However, if you firmly root your speeches in your God, no matter if you directly mention him or not, he will show through.
So this is why I haven’t written any of my speeches for next year yet. I am growing substantially, and I think you could too. It is more work than simply writing it, but I believe when competition season rolls around it will be worth it. But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself.
This article was written by one of our amazing competitor “Impact! Interns.” After they graduate their names will be released.