Five Principles for Success at Speech Competitions (C.L.A.S.S.)Oct 26, 2023
Public speaking tournaments can be exhilarating, nerve-wracking, and ultimately, incredibly rewarding. As a competitive K-12 student, you're no stranger to the intense preparation and dedication it takes to succeed. To stand out in the world of competitive public speaking, you need more than just eloquence and charisma. You need a strategic approach that encompasses consistency, luck, authenticity, strategy, and support - the CLASS method.
These principles help guide the ModernBrain program, the #1 team in the National Online Forensics League. See our awards here.
In this blog post, we'll delve into each element of the CLASS approach, providing you with valuable insights to elevate your performance in every tournament.
Consistency: The Key to Excellence
Consistency is the cornerstone of success in any competitive endeavor, and public speaking is no exception. It's not just about practicing your piece; it's about knowing it inside out, every word, every pause, every gesture. Consistency breeds confidence, enabling you to deliver your speech with poise and precision, even under pressure. Remember, mastery comes from repetition, so make sure to dedicate ample time to rehearsing your piece until it becomes second nature.
Luck: Embrace the Unpredictable
In the world of competitive public speaking, judges are as diverse as the topics you'll encounter. Some may instantly connect with your style, while others may not. Understanding that luck plays a role in the judging process is crucial. Instead of fixating on pleasing every judge, focus on what's within your control: your message, delivery, and presence. Embrace the unpredictability, and trust in your ability to shine, regardless of who's in the audience.
Authenticity: Connect with Your Audience
Authenticity is the heart and soul of compelling public speaking. Your message should resonate with your audience on a deep, emotional level. Don't be afraid to show vulnerability and sincerity; it's what sets you apart and makes your speech memorable. Craft your message with genuine passion and belief, and you'll find that your authenticity will leave a lasting impression on judges and listeners alike.
Strategy: Choose Wisely, Speak Strategically
To excel in competitive public speaking, you must be strategic in your approach. Select arguments and pieces that are not only impactful but also competitively viable. Understand the standard arc of storytelling - establishing a problem and describing efforts to address it. Research what wins on a national level and incorporate these elements into your speech. A well-thought-out strategy sets the stage for a compelling and memorable performance.
Support: The Power of Community
Being a successful public speaker isn't just about mastering your own craft; it's also about being a supportive member of the community. This includes being a good audience member for your peers, prioritizing your mental and physical health, welcoming constructive feedback, and expressing gratitude for the opportunities you have. Remember, a strong support system can be the driving force behind your success.
Mastering the art of competitive public speaking requires more than just eloquence; it demands a holistic approach that encompasses consistency, luck, authenticity, strategy, and support - the CLASS method. By integrating these elements into your preparation and performance, you'll not only elevate your competitive edge but also leave a lasting impact on your audience and judges. Embrace the journey, trust in your abilities, and let the CLASS approach be your guide to success in every tournament.