38th Annual Stanford Invitational
2024 — NSDA Campus, CA/US
Speech Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
Hi! I'm Varsha, and I'm a current first-year at UC Berkeley. I did speech and debate all four years of high school, competing primarily in Impromptu and Extemp, but I also have some experience in OO and OI. The most important thing for me is authenticity and a natural flow. I like hearing good analysis and speeches with solid structures, but remember to be yourself and have fun!
Email me, if you ever need me to elaborate on a ballot, or want to add me to the email chain: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I most often judge at the middle school or novice level — this paradigm will reflect that. I’m a senior at Plano West, and I’m the team captain for Plano West Speech & Debate. I mostly compete in Original Oratory, Informative Speaking, Program Oral Interpretation, and Congressional Debate, but occasionally dabble in other events — including experience in World Schools Debate, Prose, Poetry and Big Questions Debate. I’ve qualified to TFA State, NSDA Nationals, and NIETOC every year since freshman year, and made out-rounds at tournaments such as finals at the University of Florida’s Florida Blue Key tournament, semis at Yale & Emory, finals at State, and many more.
• Be kind.
• Do your best!
• Don’t let your nerves get the best of you — no matter what, you got up and competed today, and that takes a lot.
Please don't spread.
General aim: make sure that you're weighing your argument— and carrying it through. If you completely drop one of your own arguments, why bring it up in the first place? Weighing is always an important factor in the round for me: if you can't explain why what you've said matters over your opponents, then you're already lost.
Unless you manage to convince me well enough to vote on something else (thinking of Ks right now, which I'd recommend straying away from in the novice department nonetheless), I'm going to judge based on these three factors, in order: offence, defence, and framework.
Speaking of Ks (and by association, theory) — if you're going to try it out as a novice, it needs to be done well. If you're going to run it, give yourself something to fall back on in the event that things go wrong— but if your opponents fall flat, carry it through! (Which as a general rule of thumb, ought to be your case for any argument.) Ensure that you articulate what the alternative looks like, the role of the ballot, all of the sort, and ensure that your links are strong. Any negation Kritik ought to engage with the affirmation: more specifically, call out an assumption or value of the Affirmation and use that throughout. Don't assume I know the literature your case relies on.
If you're running arguments that require or call for trigger warnings, use them. Speech and debate ought to be a safe and open space for everyone, trigger warnings help ensure that's the case. Err on the side of caution with these: and if a member of your audience or another team makes it clear that the arguments you're running are triggering to them, and you don't adjust your strategy or arguments accordingly, I will dock your speaks. If it begins to impede the debate, it may also have to factor into my decision.
Framework, value, criterion, all of that is important to me— if you and your opponent agree on these matters then feel free to simply use it for your weighing. If not, then you need to make sure that you actively spend your time explaining why your framework best applies to the round. I'm always up for a framework debate, but you need to actually debate.
Speaks start at 28 and go up or down from there.
Original Oratory Paradigm:
I want you to explain things to me like I know nothing. I only say this half-jokingly — when you’re writing a speech, you want to make sure you clearly and effectively communicate an issue to your audience. If you’re telling me that something is a problem — don’t assume that your audience knows everything about said problem. Instead, remember it’s your responsibility to teach & inform the audience in order to persuade us.
Your speech should be cohesive — if it doesn’t flow smoothly & solidly, you’re missing a core component of speechwriting. Your points should connect together in order for your speech to sound like a full, authentic performance, rather than varied, disjointed points.
In my eyes, delivery is just as important as your writing. Tip number one: slow down! I know the limit for Original Oratory feels short, and sometimes it can be hard to communicate everything you want to. But trying to speed up to fit more in means two things: first, crucial information will be lost, and second, you’ll have a much harder time connecting emotionally with any audience. It makes it harder for jokes to land, for hard-hitting moments to resonate, for your speech to feel impactful at all.
Mistakes happen. Brush them off, and keep going. It’s better to trip on your words and show that you can power through them than to make a mistake and go back in your speech to repeat the sentence as is. Unless it’s a source, quote, rhetoric, or another crucial part of your speech, it’s okay for you to just keep going.
Think of the “drama moon” as you deliver your speeches. I’m looking for an emotional journey when I sit down to watch a speech — make jokes, make me cry, make me care, make me sympathise — if you can make me follow along with your speech by captivating my attention, you’ll win any round. But to do that, you have to be varied in your tone, style, and delivery. Nobody wants 8 minutes straight of sadness, or 8 minutes of humour — it takes both to make a speech complete.
Congressional Debate Paradigm:
When you lose the “Debate” in “Congressional Debate,” you’ve lost me. As important as it is to prepare before round, you have to be ready to respond to the points made earlier too — if every speech you give could be identical to a sponsorship speech, you’re doing it wrong.
Evidence is crucial to me — I want to make sure you’re backing up the things you say with reliable sources. Vet the articles you use, make sure your argument is cohesive — because it makes your argument just so much stronger. Obviously, there are some arguments that require a logical chain of thought, or analytics, but where you can use evidence — I’d say do so!
Weigh your impacts! Why should I care about what you’re saying over your opponents? What makes your argument so important? Tell your judges, audience, and fellow competitors just how essential it is that we vote your way, and you’ll win easily. The way to do this often isn’t a line-by-line rebuttal, but by grouping opposing points (especially ones repeated often) and responding overall. Talk about what a world with/without this bill looks like, as opposed to the opposite.
Tobi is a student sometimes, a part-time oceanographer and an amazing adjudicator every day. If there is anyone to be referred to as one of the faces of adjudication in Africa, Tobi is one of your go-to people. With over 60+ breaks in tournaments, you can think about, Grand-Final and Semi Judge at about 25 including, PAUDC 21, Western IV 2022, and IIT Bombay 22. He has served as Language Officer at Campbelltown Australs, NEADC 22, SANUDC 22, and was on Appeal for Madrid WUDC 2023. He is the absolute definition of excellence meets hardwork. He is also the first West African to judge the Quarter-finals of the World Universities Debating Championship, Belgrade 22, talk about awesomeness. He was on CAP over 10+ tournament including, RRAC 23, Kampala Open 23, Debate A+ 23, Uganda National Team trials, Zimbabwe National Team trials and, Jozi Open, others. Outside of the debate room, Tobi is that sweet and soft guy you want on your corner everyday of the week. Always willing to help however he can.
I competed in Speech and Debate for all four years of high school (first in Oregon, second in the nation baybee) and I am now (semi-reluctantly) competing in college. I remember being in high school and almost crying because college judges were too mean, busy power tripping on memories of their glory days, and I strive to... not be like that. If you want oral feedback stay after round.
In public address I am looking for speaker fluency, engaging/unique topics, and cohesion of logic. In interps I look for strong characterization, cohesive emotional arc, cleanliness of cut, topicality and strength of introduction.
I will flow the round. Speed is fine, but if you are so incomprehensible that I am unable to flow what you're saying and I miss your points, that's on you. I generally vote on a combination of the flow, strength of argumentative logic, accessibility, organization and speaker comprehension. I value framing and persuasion just as much as the flow, and it is your job to tell me which matters more. If your opponent drops a contention call it out in voters or I will not use it as a deciding factor. If your opponent says something ignorant (racist/sexist/heteronormative/ableist etc.) call it out by critiqing the argument. I'm an ethnic studies major with a specialty in intersectional politics, if I determine something problematic has been perpetuated I will drop accordingly. Be civil to your opponents. email@example.com for the email chain
Signposting clearly will do wonders for making sure I'm flowing your arguments how you want them to be flown. Everything you are going to complain to your team that I missed on the van ride home should have been in your voters.1
I have Opinions about parli. I believe that parli is meant to be accessible above all else. This means that your judges and opponents should be able to understand everything you say in your arguments with no previous experience in debate. If you're going to perm or run theory you should do so in a way that makes sense to the most layest of judges.
Since it is unlikely you are experts on any given topic I'd much rather see a debate centered around values with a weighing mechanism of "net benefits", "utilitarianism" or "cost benefit analysis". PICs are abusive and I will probably drop you.
Use questions to your advantage. I generally believe each team should take at least 1 question per speech but you dont have to take more than 1, and don't let your opponents get away with more than 3.
Also? I just kinda hate plans. Like you do you. But I don't like them. I would rather you debate the merits of specific ideas than hear a plan. Plans limit aff ground, if neg perms... well I'll be inclined to vote with that. I won't drop you for having a plan or anything extreme but I will be annoyed and sad. God I hate plans, spare me.
For the love of all that is holy please no personal attacks on your opponent. Please please please pleaseeee be civil. Please.
Use cross to your advantage, how you use and respond to questions has a lot of power to affect my perception of you as an authority on the subject and as a confident speaker.
You do you. My advice would be to pick a new debate form. Just kidding.. but not really. PICs are still abusive.
I hope I never judge a policy round, but if I do, just know that I'm not making a face because you're doing poorly, I just don't want to be here. How about you treat me like a lay judge and keep things excrutiatingly simple :)
If you use the phrase "yee haw" to end one of your speeches I will take that to mean that you read my paradigm and will be more inclined to bump your speaks. :)
1 credit: preston bushnell