Uploaded by Mark Deaton

Preparing for Your First Speech Tournament

What to expect at your first Speech Tournament!
What to Bring
 A printed copy of your speech, with details on the source. You may want to review this before your
round. Some judges may ask to see a printed copy, but it’s not common.
 A notepad and pen/pencil for ideas during a round. As other students perform, you will think of things
you want to try for your speech. Writing them down will keep you from forgetting.
 A water bottle--it will calm your nerves to sip on it and it will keep your mouth moist for speaking.
 Food or snacks to munch on.
 Money for lunch. $10 should be enough. The tournament host typically sells pizza and other snacks.
 Some homework. There will be some open time between rounds.
What to wear
Dress for debate tournaments should be professional. Pretend that you are going to a job interview. Here are
some suggestions:
For guys:
 Slacks or khakis
 Shirt and Tie
 Suit jacket or blazer
 Dress shoes/dark socks
For girls:
 Slacks or pencil skirt
 Blouse
 Blazer (optional, but recommended)
 Flats or heels (No higher than 3 inches.
There is a lot of walking at tournaments)
 Wear hair so it is pulled away from your
How the day will go
1. For most tournaments, you’ll need your parents to drive you. For tournaments more than an hour
away, we may arrange carpools.
2. Get to the tournament by 8:15 am! The rounds start at 9 am. You'll need the time to get settled,
connect to wi-fi, think about your speech, and understand the layout of the school. If you are not
there by 8:30 am, I start to panic. I can't register our team for the tournament until all students
have arrived. Please be there by 8:15 am.
3. When you arrive, go to the cafeteria and look for our team. It will be crowded, and you may have
trouble finding us, so have somebody’s phone number.
4. Once our entire team has arrived, Mr. Deaton will check us in. You will receive a competitor
number. This will determine what order you speak in each round.
5. At approximately 9 am, you will receive your room assignment by text through Tabroom. This will
tell you which classroom to go to.
6. Go to the bathroom before your round or you will regret it!
7. Wait for the judge to arrive at your room before you enter. Feel free to chat with your competitors
in the hallway. You are competitors, not enemies. At this point, turn off or silence your cell phone.
8. There will typically be 5 – 7 students in a speech round. They will be milling around outside the
classroom door, just as you are.
9. Once the judge arrives, find a seat somewhere the classroom. The chatting can continue at this
point but remember that the judge is listening. Make sure you don’t make a bad first impression.
10. During the round:
 Before you begin speaking, ask the judge if they are ready. They may be writing comments and
ask you to hold a moment. If you want time signals, now is the time to ask.
 Look at the judge while speaking. They are the primary audience and the person you are trying
to persuade, not the other students.
 Completely blow away the audience with your amazing speaking skills! You have worked hard
for this moment, so try to enjoy it! Remember to keep your energy high, and project your voice!
 Politely watch the other competitors perform. If they say something funny, you can laugh, and
be sure to clap once they finish. Do not go over your piece while somebody else is performing,
and do not take out your phone!
11. After the round:
 Shake hands with your opponents and say, “good job” or “I enjoyed your speech/performance”.
It’s courteous and looks good to the judge.
 Shake your judge’s hand and tell them thank you.
 Look engaged and make eye contact if your judge gives you verbal feedback. (This won’t
happen in most rounds.) Judges will give written feedback, which you will receive after the
 Pack up your stuff and rearrange the desks back to their original configuration.
 Hide your emotion after the round, until you are sufficiently distanced from the other
12. Head back to the cafeteria and find your teammates. Now is the time to blow off some steam.
13. There are 4 rounds in a tournament: Two in the morning and two after lunch.
14. At the end of the 4th round, it will be about 3:30 pm. Come back to the cafeteria. Now, the
tournament officials tabulate results and prepare for the awards ceremony.
15. This is typically when the most waiting occurs. Tournament officials try to start awards ceremonies
by 4:30 pm, but they sometimes run late.
16. After the awards ceremony, you will receive your results and judges’ comments via Tabroom. Read
them closely. They will help you become better speakers. You may lose some rounds you expect to
win. You may also win some rounds you thought you were going to lose.
17. With each tournament, you will improve. Talk with your teammates about how they did.