Speech and Debate Events?

Speech and Debate events are various, and Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas, Impromptu, Original Oratory, and Informative are some of the most popular events, and below are some information. A huge number of students are competing in these events throughout the U.S.

Public Forum Debate (Pofo or PF debate)

Public Forum(PoFo or PF debate) is one of the newest speech and debate events practiced in NSDA (National Speech and Debate Association) competitions. This particular event was first introduced in 2002. PF, along with LD, is probably the division that has the largest entry pool at national and local speech and debate tournaments.

speech and debate

Public Forum debate (PoFo or PF) 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 Public Forum debate (PoFo or PF), debaters can learn the latest 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.


Lincoln-Douglas debate (LD debate)

This debate event is a one-on-one speech and debate format, 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).

LD debateNSDA 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 (Impromptu Speaking)

Impromptu speech is a type of speech event. Impromptu competitions are held by multiple organizations including the NSDA(National Speech and Debate Association).

impromptu speaking

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.


Original Oratory, Persuasive, and Informative Speech

original oratory

Original Oratory(“OO”) and Informative speaking are also among the most renowned speech and debate competitive events. Lots of tournaments hold this speech and debate event each year based on the NSDA(National Speech and Debate Association) rule. In the event, competitors deliver a speech based on facts regarding a subject of their choice. Although Original Oratory is often called differently, such as Persuasive speaking or Persuasion speaking(speech), most tournaments that hold both speech events and debate events hold both OO and Informative and allow participants to double either in both divisions.

Each speech should be no more than ten minutes, and quotes can not be more than 150 words. One difference between OO and Informative is that the speakers are allowed to use visual materials that support your topic.

informative speech

Original Oratory speakers and Informative speakers WRITE and MEMORIZE the speech content, so students can expect improvements in not only their speech skills but also writing skills along with new knowledge and vocabularies.

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