Original Oratory: What Not To Do

We live in a society of acute political correctness.  Words, phrases, attitudes, even manner of thought is trying to be regulated.  Particularly with competition--we compete, we cheer a team, yet some want to shy away from the word "lose" and find it dirty.  Anything labeled negative is deemed wrong and not to be spoken.  Well, not this time.  This Original Oratory article will bluntly tell you some definite speaker traits to avoid in this event's delivery.  Original Oratory's goal is to inform the audience of the truth, and that's exactly what you are getting.

  • Do NOT have shifty feet.  Often when people are nervous they shift their weight from food to foot.  This causes you to look as if you are performing some odd, Original Oratory dance called The Lack of Confidence.  Keep your feet shoulder width apart and equally distribute your weight to both feet.  You will feel stable and less on edge while looking like the round is yours.
  • Do NOT over gesture.  An audience wants to be focused on your speech.  They truly do.  But if you are one of those Original Orators that insist on using the same hand gesture (such as the Hand-Extended-With-Palm-Up classic) repetitively then people will be drawn to your hand.  Movement captures a human's interest.  It's active.  Gestures possess emphasis.  Do not abuse them.  Do so and suffer an audience who gets pulled away from your words to laugh about your gestures.
  • Do NOT speak meekly.  Your audience wants to hear your piece.  Honestly, they do.  Especially that guy who is sitting in the back corner.  Always imagine filling the room with your voice.  Even if loud background noise is present, there is no excuse to not being heard.
  • Do NOT mumble.  An Original Oratory you cannot hear is awful.  But what's worse is one you can hear but not understand.  Annunciation is critical for Forensics.  In practice over-exaggerate the hitting of consonants and vowel sounds in order to improve your diction quality.  As you get better, begin to speak "normally" but with your focus to your articulation.
  • Do NOT speak too quickly.  This is not a New York City auction house where everything must go.  Slow down.  People usually think they are talking at a normal speed until someone asks them to repeat what they have said.    
  • Do NOT roam.  Plan your movements.  Designate specific moments in the speech where you move stage left or right, whichever place you are to relocate.  Giving yourself explicit instructions decrease the chances of you roaming and pacing in front of the room to deliver your work.  Again, this level of control helps to establish your confidence and planning.
  • Do NOT lack emotion.  Original Oratory can become boring if delivered with an attitude of detachment.  This is your piece.  You dreamed, researched, wrote, practiced, and lovingly delivered this baby of your intellect into the Forensics round.  Show you care.  Do NOT act out your Original Oratory, but if there is a joke, please smile.  If something is truly horrid or appalling please reflect that.   
  • Do NOT avoid eye contact.  One of the most powerful tools an Original Orator can use is that of eye contact.  Scan the room and make direct eye contact on parts of the speech you wish to emphasize.  Even as you scan the WHOLE room spending a few seconds of time on a person is a good idea.  Eye contact draws an audience in because you are engaging.  Just be sure not to stare down people and make the room uncomfortable.     

So there it is.  An Original Oratory list of what NOT to do.  And these are common Original Oratory speech delivery problems.  Correction: now they were common Original Oratory speech delivery problems.  It's nothing glamorous, but you have some information to compete well.