2nd Annual Season Championship
2023 — Online, US
Speech Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I am currently competing in Extemp and Congress on the Varsity level, so if you're reading this, most likely you're doing some sort of speech event (although I also judge debate). I know it is unusual for speech judges to have a paradigm, but I think it's always helpful to know what's on the judges' minds. If you ever have any questions about my ballots please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I am sure you all are smart cookies, so I am not going to do the usual speech paradigm of telling you that good evidence, confidence, and delivery are critical; obviously if those are lacking you will be marked down. However, I think it is a far better use of your time to tell you that I will judge the round very technically.
This means that I am using a stopwatch in round to make sure you start and end points on time. I am very attached to the 1:30 - 1:30 (x3) - 1:00 structure of Extemp. If your points are ~15 seconds off in either direction, expect a comment. Hitting the times almost precisely is an excellent way to signal to me that you are a high-level competitor, and I should not stand in the way of you breaking.
In addition, there is a tendency in high-level Extemp to talk faster and use your hands every few seconds. If you are talking more than a bit faster than conversation speed, expect a comment. If your hands are not mostly by your side, expect a comment. Also, staying still is impressive to me. Swaying back and forth undermines presentation.
I will be noting substructure and similar substructure for all three points is a great way to get good ranks with me. If all three points work differently, it feels un-unified, and you should expect a comment. The substructure for the intro, points, and conclusion should be fairly traditional. It would take a lot to convince me that your way is better than the regular way. That means your intro should have an AGD and background and impact, and your conclusion should contain more than just your question and answer. If I cannot instinctively feel the flow from my competition in Extemp because it is so predictable, expect a comment.
I think having to memorize the question word for word is kind of weird, given that in college, you can just read it off the slip. I will flat out let you read it off the slip or keep the chat up in zoom. Note that it may impact your presentation but there's a way to do it cleanly. Also, if you state the question and it's basically the same with a little bit of different wording, I do not care and honestly will not notice 99% of the time. So if you spend a minute or two in prep memorizing the question, do not, practice the intro again or something.
In cross-examination, you should be having a conversation, trying to discover more about their argument. I do not view cross-examination as a way to poke holes in each other's arguments; I view it as a furthering of the fundamental goal of Extemp, which is education. If you come off as aggressive, argumentative, or as trying to undermine your fellow competitor (not opponent), expect a comment. Cross-x has never made me more likely to rank you highly, only less.
This may give you the impression that I am expecting a complicated speech full of theory. That could not be further from the truth. I appreciate speakers who take it slow, make simple arguments, and have great signposting. The Extemp community is terrific, we love to talk about issues on a really detailed level, but ultimately we will be presenting to non Extempers. Just because I can understand a fast and complicated argument does not mean I will appreciate it. If it is not simple enough for even the parent judge that provokes the most complaining on the bus ride home, expect a comment.
For online competition, please position your camera so you face it head on, stay reasonably close to the camera, move around, and above all else, please time yourself. It helps you (having more exact time), and it helps me (concentrating more on the speech and giving better ranks/comments).
Congress is such an interesting event because it is structured so differently than the speech and debate categories. But critically, while it is different, I consider it a debate event and expect it to not feel like a many person version of lay PF. For a more extensive judging philosophy, you should read the Public Forum section of this document.
Engagement is amazing; ask questions, give rebuttals. If you are clearly just reading speeches that you wrote at home before the round, you will not get a super high score, and you should expect a comment. Congress is the one speech event with lots of involvement between participants, and it should be a significant part of the round.
Impromptu is a very limited prep event, but it still should feel like any other speech. Well thought out, with clearly delineated points, just in a shorter time frame. First, you need to have an introduction. Just saying the topic and jumping into arguments are not enough (also never start with the topic, and AGD needs to be somewhere). However, depending on the topic, you can cut some things. Obviously, background will not be needed if the prompt is "a day at the pool." Use your best judgment but make sure it is robust. Clearly signposting what your points are and then making sure they have a followable substructure is critical and is the number one thing I will mark you down for. If you just have a train of consciousness, it will not be very convincing or informative. However, it is a shorter time period so try to keep your points simple. A reasonably common criticism I have is that things are assumed that the judge gets but not described. Try not to do that. Finally, your conclusion should have a tie-up and a return to your AGD. Just ending your speech after your second point or after a brief tie-up is not going to work. The third paragraph of the Extemp section has some notes on the presentation you may want to look at.
I have never done Oratory or Advocacy, so you should consider me a lay judge. I want you to connect with me and convince me, I want a nice and clear structure with lots of signposting, and I want in-depth analysis that makes sense to me. I don't know how technical anyone really gets in Oratory/Advocacy but regardless I won't be considering that. Some of my notes in the Extemp section are likely to apply as well, so I would recommend you reference it.
Make me laugh, make me cry, make me believe whatever it is you are trying to be. I will be the first to admit; I know 0 about the Interp events, so please treat me precisely as you would a lay judge. I'm sorry if this disappoints you, but I just can't have a judging philosophy on events I don't do. That being said, I am always really excited to see interps, so I will be happy to watch and listen.
Public Forum debate is not Policy, and in judging, I am looking for a very different experience. I want to see a friendly well-reasoned debate between four smart high schoolers/middle schoolers about the actual topic. Clearly delineated arguments, links, and impacts, in a thoughtful and convincing manner is critical. Do not spread. I will not read a speech doc (except to look for cards) and even if I can understand it, if you are speaking faster than a lay person could understand and flow, I will disregard everything you say. Please, no weird arguments that don't seem to pertain to the resolution, and, while significant impacts are necessary, if arguments start to be linked to stuff like extinction or nuclear war with a tenuous connection, I'm not going to vote on it (the impacts should be big but they have to be real). Truth > tech not because I don't understand but because that shouldn't be encouraged and if that's what you're looking for go to Policy. If you use a theory that does not quote the rulebook, or spread or run a k, I will sign the ballot immediately and give both competitors 26 speaker points max (if another team does any of these, please do not respond. They have already lost the round, but I would like discussion to continue for the educational value). Explain to me why you are right but if you attempt some sort of theoretical explanation of the event it will not land well with me. I will nod along with you, understand, and vote you down. One part of the case that I am especially interested in is the framework. I view framing the debate at the top as critical to accessing impacts and if I don't have framework I will default to a very restrictive view of what is topical which will likely hurt your case. If only one team gives me framework (and it is somewhat reasonable), I will default to theirs. If both teams give framework to me, winning (or at least tieing) that clash is essential to me letting you access your impacts.
I have never done Policy/LD, and I am not used to spreading. Please make sure I can understand, obviously if I can't, there is no way I can base my vote on whatever you are saying. I know that Policy/LD has a tendency to focus some arguments on things that don't relate to the resolution, and that is fine; I'm judging a Policy/LD round, and I will try my best to abide by the events conventions. But, please make sure it's clear why I should vote on something not pertaining to the resolution. In cases where other judges might just get it, make sure it's clear to me.
I hate the trend in speech and debate where competitors look up their judges to find out what their politics are. However, it is sadly necessary for a variety of reasons. I have had my fair share of judges that voted me up or down based on opinion. So, I'll tell you upfront that I'm a libertarian. You can find my twitter here if you really want to check it out. But I promise that I will try not to judge you based on my political opinion.
Don't be a bigot. This includes misgendering competitors. You will lose the ballot.
I generally give relatively high speaks due to the subjective nature of speaker points and the issues therein.
Remember to time yourselves and your opponents.
At invitationals, add me to the email chain using email@example.com .
In all forms of debate, I value logical argumentation and strong analytics supported by credible evidence. Speed, if clear, is fine, as long as it remains at a level that works for all debaters in the round. Out-spreading an opponent kills education.
Policy (and Policy-Style Parli)
I am open to theory arguments and will rarely vote on T , but you need to explain them clearly and thoroughly in the round. I studied critical theory as applied to literature in both undergraduate and graduate school, so I have a strong background in feminist, Marxist, deconstructionist, queer, and psychoanalytic theory. I enjoy a well-executed K, but only run kritiks you know well -- not something you grabbed off the wiki/open ev.
I strive to evaluate the round using the framework agreed upon by the debaters and do not have a particular preference regarding stock issues, policy maker, etc.
Support and bring everything back to your V/VC -- even if you're running a plan (for non-CA LD). Evidence certainly matters but evidence without analytics will do very little for you.
I'll accept theory arguments when necessary to address in-round abuse, but please proceed with caution. I still value Public Forum as a form of debate that can be understood by lay judges, so please don't spread or run a K, and keep the jargon to a minimum.
In extemp, I want to see your introduction connect clearly with the topic and the rest of the speech (bring it back briefly at the end). Please clearly sign-post your main points and cite your evidence (ideally with more than just "According to the New York Times this year..."). Don't be afraid to use humor -- even if it's a little dark. Most of all, be authentic, engaging, and keep things flowing.
I will give time signals in extemp and impromptu.
In original oratory, original advocacy, & informative speaking, I look for well-crafted speeches delivered with fluency and appropriately varied tones.
If you're competing in an interp event, your intro should make me care about the topic at hand and should, of course, be your original words. Also, if you're competing in oratorical interpretation and the original speech includes cursing, please say the actual words or select a different speech (e.g., AOC's 2020 address to Rep. Yoho in which she quotes his profanity).
Hey y'all! I'm Valor (they/them), a varsity extemper who's participated in DI, Commentary, and Impromptu (though I've coached Oratory and Informative)! I know speech paradigms are rare, but here's my words of wisdom:
-PLEASE SPECIFY YOUR TIME SIGNALS! Even if you don't, I will most likely ask anyway.
-I'm more well versed in limited prep events, so I am biased towards natural speakers that don't sound rehearsed :) even if it's a memorized speech, make it your own!
-If you're in a limited prep event, make sure to utilize the space both with your movement and eye contact- we should be graduating past the 'stare at a spot in the back of the room'
-I care less about you messing up than how you choose to recover, don't let one little slip-up throw off your message. Trust me, it's not as noticeable as you think it is :)
-Delivery > content > organization, though all are important
-Short speeches will be ranked low (I don't enforce grace period super strictly unless it's like way over), though if you have a well-timed organization that doesn't feel rushed, I'll understand
-If you're in an interp event, take big risks! If I see you're playing it safe, I'll rank you lower than someone who's not afraid to throw themselves into the character (yes, yes, I'm a theatre kid)
-Don't feel like you have to appeal to me by picking a specific point of view; judges are meant to be subjective and I want to hear your genuine take on the issue.
-Be confident and own the stage!! You've got this :)
Hey, I'm Aidan! I competed in Public Forum and Extemporaneous Speaking at Benilde-St. Margaret's School from 2019-2023. Though I competed primarily on the Minnesota local circuit, I have a functional knowledge of current national circuit norms in Extemp.
Structure is a prerequisite to analysis and delivery. That's because answering the question is a structural matter: the thesis must answer the question, taglines must support the thesis, and content must support the taglines. Clear substructure is separate and nonessential.
Analysis ought to be simple and specific. It's your job to distill complex issues to an easily digestible package, preferably one that highlights interesting or under-appreciated elements. Nuanced engagement, even if it appears to dilute your point, is never a bad thing.
Delivery ought to blend Extemp's commitment to education and advocacy, to inform and to perform. Unfortunately, current norms often amount to irresponsible reliance on pathos and unoriginal/immature comedy. Prioritize responsible engagement over cheap laughs.
I compete in Extemp and Congress in DTX
EXTEMP I don’t have any strong political affiliation, and I’m more than welcoming for political jokes (all in good spirit of course). I value good fluency, good rhetoric, and good tags. Extemp should be entertaining. Obviously, make sure your links are clear, and have good content and evidence. Anything over 7:20 will probably have you ranked down. 7 minutes is the limit and grace is to help you finish your last sentence or two. Please follow good structure, 99% of your extemp speeches should have 3 points. Anyways please be yourself, as a competitor I can easily tell when you try use canned jokes that don’t fit.
CONG Please act in character, as soon as you walk in you are Senator blahblah or Representative blahblah. Congress is mostly about content, but good speaking will always help you. Going over 3:10 is a no-no in my book, please understand that grace is time to wrap up and give your tag. I tend to rank PO’s very highly if they do well, but understand that good speakers bring equal if not more value than the PO to me. Be respectful in questioning, and understand that as a questioner you need to ask your question and give a response to their response is necessary (don’t extend your case). Please use refutations and avoid rehash.
Always thankful to be your judge, you are the future of this activity. Be proud of what you accomplish and follow your heart in this very confusing circuit.