years later and I still get to explain what speech is

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I haven't done speech for years.  So the other day when I was speaking with a new acquaintance, mentioned I did speech, and got that blank stare most of us encounter at some point I couldn't help but bust out laughing.  I almost forgot what that face looked like hehe!  "So you wrote speeches?"  hehe nope.  Bt you could...and then you have to give this long explanation which still leaves them confused.  HAHA I missed that.  From an outsiders perspective, speech team would seem bizarre.  Not many people I knew in high school wanted to give up their weekends and spare time to perfect a public address or performance.  A performance that is hard to explain too because rarely is it as simple as saying "it's a monologue."  Getting to talk about speech brings up all those memories I love too. 

Anyone still have those moments?  What do you say/do as a reaction?

Anony's picture

my favorite is when speech comes up in that "getting-to-know-you" conversation and both of you were on a team.  instant way to find somehting in common and talk for at least 10 minutes!  i also love that when this happens, both of you get really you were in some secret society and found another member HA

Anony's picture

haha that happened to me just the other day...

i had to explain forensics to my extended family over christmas va-k and that same blank loook spread across their faces. but it is always such a joy to explain it of my many hobbies

I'm about ready to make handouts and keep them with me at all times that explain what "speech" and "forensics" are.  Or just let people think I was on a CSI club in high school.  "Why yes...I even used to put shades on and walk away into the sunset on a weekly basis."  

same thing with debate. the responses are quite varied, but almost unanimously misguided. quite frustrating.

What do people say about debate?  Like any specific examples?  It's just...debate seems to be the one thing people usually say whenever you say "i did speech."  "oh, like debate?"  lol, i just assume most peope have an idea what debate is sorta like.  I'm prolly wrong though :P

Anony's picture

I almost exclusively did Policy Debate in High School and College so my experience is biased towards Policy Debate.

People, even in inside the Foreniscs community do not realize that debate is not about rhetoric. It is about evidence and ideas: research, analysis, and comparison. Most rounds are already really "won" before they begin, and that is only because one side has substantially better arguments and/or evidence about the topic of the debate. In most areas I have been, rhetoric and ability to clearly communicate are secondary considerations to the quality of evidence and strategic decisions made within the round. One assumption that bothers me is that if one has done competitive debate,  others seem to assume that the debater must also posess strong rhetoric skills. However, I do not feel these are well developed in Policy Debate, because of the focus on speed and evidence. I also do not feel Policy's technical oriented style is not a bad thing, it just goes against the grain of everyone's preconception of debate.


TL/DR? I feel that all speech and debate activities develop different skills and are worthwhile. People seem to assign "debate" with different skills than what are really gained.


Did that help clear anything up? I realize that "Policy Debate" is experienced very differently across the country. I am talking of my experience, in more-or-less "National Circut" Policy Debate. 

This is a great post!

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