Speech Categories have a variety of ways to help themselves outside of practice and before the season starts. We highly encourage individual practice time at home to hone your skills and develop your piece. 

Below are a few general links and tools to help any speaker, in any category, improve and use your own time more effectively in, and out of, practice.


Imperative to being able to speak politically is to know where you stand politically. This year, we will be instituting a new way of working and practicing for our extemp speakers. The first thing to do is to follow this link  and take the political assessment. 

Next, for domestic speakers, there is required reading to have a fundamental understanding of how our government works.


For International Ex Speakers:


Lastly, it is important that you take time to write down your thoughts on political, social, and economic issues. Begin to formulate your own political thought on paper, and it will be easier to speak it on the spot, in a round.
For Discussants, a laptop is not required but it is encouraged. A tablet is a worthy substitute, but you may NOT use your phone. In the spirit of doing away with research periods, the faster that you can find and pull up research, the better.

When the outline for the season is done, is will be posted here.  

Until then, contact Madeline Hoppenrath or Riley Sumner  for information on how you can help the discussion team prepare for the season.


  • You can't improve without taking risks. Not everything will work, but a speech is made great when the speaker decides that they're not holding anything back anymore. You may think you look stupid, but more often than not, you'll find that you will be more successful.
  • Trust your gut. Being a performance artist requires you to have a sense for what will play well for your audience. Allow yourself to develop this sense when you perform.
  • Allow yourself to be an artist. Keep finding ways to make your piece different. You're going to run into speakers with the same piece. How will you set yourself apart?
  • Don't be afraid to stick with what's working. We all want freshness and fun in a piece, but sometimes things just work. It's ok not to play with these things and let them be the great points in your speech.


  • Always speak professionally and cleanly
  • Keep in mind that this is a more traditional kind of speech
  • Use gestures in your "box," between your shoulders and from your navel to the middle of your chest.
  • Keep gestures warm and maintain friendly eye contact.
  • Maintain a warm, conversational tone. It should feel like your turn to talk, not like a speech.
  • Avoid lecturing.
  • Keep your pace steady, do not rush.
  • If you get a laugh, keep speaking. Do not wait for the laughter to die.
  • Make sure to end your speech making eye contact with the judge. Nod your head, and gently drop your hands to your sides.