Summer Speech Guide: Preparing for a killer season

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The forensics season is over; Extemporaneous files put aside, Prose and Poetry binders placed on the shelf, and speeches lay half written. Summer can either be a time of speech atrophy, or you can find fun ways to improve yourself and your craft. No, you do not have to sprawl out your Original Oratory and stay trapped indoors for hours a day. Instead, try an activity from this list and enjoy your summer speech training.


Read Whole universes are caught between the pages. Fiction or non-fiction, pick your pleasure. By reading throughout the summer, you can keep your mind active and sharp so you do not lose your critical thinking edge. You also are inadvertently scanning for future piece and topic ideas. Grab a novel, short story, play, biography, or newspaper and enlighten yourself.


Write Any writer can tell you that the only way to get better is to set aside time everyday to write—even if it is a mere paragraph. If you do an event that involves writing or creating a speech with little prep (Original Oratory, Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking), than making a commitment to write a few times a week is a great idea. Keep a journal, write a story, freelance for a local paper. Whatever. Any form of writing will better your skills so that you can excel not only for speech but also for school.


Keep Current Knowing what is happening in politics, major local/national/world news, attitudes and fears of our culture, etc, can help you in selecting a culturally significant piece of high interest. Reach the masses and then you’ll have an attentive audience. To stay current, watch the news, read the newspaper, or stream on-line. And yes. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report count—just pick out the jokes for relevance.


See a Play; or Be In One Any speechie has that inner performer. You need it to be able to do what you do. The most effective way to keep that performer inside of you interested in performing is by feeding off of the energy of other performers. Go see a play and get inspired to move and captivate an audience like the actors on stage. Or better still, be in a play and work on your acting. Either way, you’ll learn about presentation, connect that knowledge to your event, and then improve your skills.


Be Curious Be adventurous and try new things. Eat new foods, go to a museum, try new activities, or go someplace new. Open your mind to what’s around you and possibilities you have never thought of before. This can help you find new passions and strengthen those you already have. By doing this you let in new fire and ideas that can fuel your soul for the upcoming speech season. It’s kind-of like a personal reboot. This also unlocks doors for new speech topics you might have never thought of before.


Work On a Cutting/Research If you already know what you want to do for the upcoming season, why not start on it? Read the entirety of the work and think of what section you want to do. Try different options; you have time. Perhaps get a working cut together so that when the season starts you can jump right in with analysis and performance practices. If you do not have a piece, maybe some light summer research is in order so that you are set once the season starts. Beware though of getting too far ahead. If you plan on doing this piece all year, you might want to slow down so you do not tire this piece out and become stale. If this is just a starter piece to be replaced, then press forward.


Update/Reorganize This mostly goes for Extemporaneous people with their epic files, but ALL who store materials can benefit from this. Those speech supplies you have scattered around your house, grab them and organize them so when speech season starts you are not stuck wasting time looking for that black construction paper you use for your binder. Get that Extemp file organized so you know what newspaper clipping goes where. Also, if you have anything that can be updated (Extemp people strike again!), please do so now. True, you most likely will add once school starts, but get done what you can now so it takes minutes to update/organize once in school, not hours because papers are everywhere.


Practice Perform that old piece periodically during the summer. Have a mock Impromptu/Extemp round when it’s raining. I am not saying spend hours a week practicing. That will just tire you out. However, when you feel the itch or fear you might lose your edge, use your imagination and pretend you are in a round. You already have your piece/event down—hopefully—so rust prevention is all that is necessary.


Forensic Summer Camp Okay, this takes a devoted speechie. And I do not expect many to jump at the idea of spending a week of summer break working on speech. Are some of you waving your hand and saying ‘nay’ to my assumption? Fabulous! Because those of you speech camp bound are in for a delight. Colleges with forensics teams near you might have summer camps designed to broaden a speechie’s mind. Sure, some of this is basic—this is camp for all levels. But even professionals take something away from reviewing the basics. You’ll learn about selecting a piece, how to cut a work, tips on analysis, tricks for performing, make friends, and most likely get to choose a secondary event to take classes on so you can learn more about an event you fancy. Camps do cost, but talk to your coaches and see if your school offers any scholarships for speech camp. I did camp for two summers, and I never regretted a single day.


RELAX Enjoy your summer. Once school starts your days and evenings will be filled with class, homework, activities, and sleep. Take your summer and become one with nothingness. Do the stuff that interests you most which you hardly find time for during school. Spend time with your friends because hanging out will be cut-down. Let go, embrace your wildness, and do all you can. No one wants to regret summer by being inactive, realize they cannot do anything once September hits, and then be cranky for the first few weeks of school. Your speech team will not appreciate your absentmindedness. Do it all during summer so you have your focus when speech begins. There you are; ten enjoyable summer ideas to not only have a good time but also to train yourself for the upcoming season. These are undemanding tactics to use to advance your mind for speech and life. Now, get out there!

I absolutely agree. The only way anyone can succeed is if they have fun with their speech. If you view forensics as a 9 to 5 job, you will find yourself quickly asking..."When is this going to be over?"

I second your comment. I also would like to add that if you do view forensics as a job then not only is the fun gone which leaves the piece flat and lacking real energy, but odds are you over-practiced and now look so rehearsed you're wooden.

Besides, if an extracurricular is no longer fun the real question you should be asking is why are you still doing that activity?

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