Original Oratory: Structure and Rules

The speaker chooses a topic of interest to them, researches it, writes a speech about it, and then delivers it in competition. An introduction is required during the performance. Speeches can be eulogies, an alert to the audience about an imposing danger, a strengthening of an accepted cause, or most often a persuasive topic. Try to be somewhat original. A judge does not want to hear three similar speeches on animal rights in one round.

The rules are:

• Speech is to be memorized
• Eye contact is critical
• An introduction is required (topic, gives any necessary information, and sets the tone) and given after a minute or so of the piece has been delivered, at a natural break-point
• No notes are allowed
• Time limits are to be adhered to (generally, time limits range from 7-10 minutes)
• No more than 150 quoted words or 30 seconds of quoted speech
• No props, diagrams, charts, etc
• All gestures, movements (as transitions/emphasis), facials, intonation/vocals, etc. need to be clear and help support the piece
• Must be truthful, honest, and factual
• Speech must have excellent support
• Speech effectiveness will be judged—did the speech clearly present an idea, motivate, etc?
• Your passion on the topic will help you rank higher; be enthusiastic
• Judged solely on the “effectiveness of development and presentation” according to the National Forensic League
• Speaking skills (such as diction, tone, loudness, intonation, etc.) will be used as part of the ranking