Public Forum(PoFo or PF debate) is a relatively new debate style practiced in NSDA (National Speech and Debate Association) competitions. This particular format was first introduced in 2002.
PoFo is performed by two opposing teams, and each team consists of two debaters. The two teams debate on a topic that is given based on foreign or domestic policies. Unlike some other debate formats, such as Policy or Lincoln-Douglas debate, PoFo debaters are asked to deliver persuasive and logical arguments using terms that public audience can understand clearly.
While practicing PoFo debate, debaters can learn recent real-world knowledge and life skills due to the fact that students are asked to perform massive research work in order to support their arguments with truthful evidence. PoFo has earned very high national popularity among students due to its educational value. Through participating in PoFo debate events, students are also expected to improve their social skills as they have to work with as partners.
This debate format is a one-on-one debate category, which means a debater perform in a debate round with no partner. LD debate is practiced in NSDA (National Speech and Debate Association) competitions, as well as in CHSSA (California High School Speech Association).
NSDA named this particular debate competition Lincoln-Douglas debate for the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas Debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. During the debate, they argued on slavery, morals, and values. Due to the characteristics of the famous 1858 debate, LD debate deals more with logic, philosophy and ethical values. Due to these characteristics, LD is often called “Value Debate”. In general, students with strong philosophical thinking ability tend to enjoy LD more than PoFo and show good results in competitions.
Impromptu speech is a type of speech event. Impromptu competitions are held by multiple organizations including the NSDA(National Speech and Debate Association).
Each event gives the performer a topic randomly at each round. The topic is either a quote, object, proverb, one-word abstract, picture, or any alternative options. Then the performers prepare themselves for short time and deliver a speech in front of the judges.
The difficulty level can be high, but it has many benefits. Students can develop effective speech and analyzing skills. Students can also continue Impromptu Speech even in college with the same format.
Many high school students participate in both debate and Impromptu events at tournaments.