Joining the Team (Fall 2018)
Tryouts are held at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters.
For those interested in speech events (persuasive/informative/poetry/prose), please perform a 3-4 minute piece (or speech). We ask that speeches be your original work, but poetry/prose need not be. Those interested in debate will be given two prompts at the start of the tryout and five minutes of preparation. They will then deliver a 2 minute opening argument to a hypothetical debate. The choice of prompt and whether to argue for (affirmative) or against (negative) it is completely up to you. We hope to make this process as stress free for you as possible.
Want to sign up for a tryout slot?
Sign up here.
Events We Compete In
A speech to convince, to move to action, or to inspire on a significant issue, delivered from memory. Maximum time is 10 minutes.
The contestant will deliver an original factual speech on a realistic subject to fulfill a general information need of the audience. Visual aids that supplement/reinforce the message are permitted. The speech must be delivered from memory. Maximum 10 minutes.
PROGRAM ORAL INTERPRETATION:
The contestant will present a mixed program of literature. Original introductory comments and transitional remarks are permitted. Programs may consist of single or multiple selections. Manuscripts are required. Maximum 10 minutes.
For each round, contestants will select one of three topics on current national and international events. The contestant will have thirty minutes to prepare a five to seven minute speech on the topic selected. Notes are permissible but should be at a minimum. Maximum 7 minutes.
AFTER DINNER Speaking
Each contestant will present an original speech whose purpose is to make a serious point through the use of humor. The speech should reflect the development of a humorous comedic effort, not a stand up comedy routine. The speech must be memorized. Maximum 10 minutes.
The contestant will perform dramatic literature, humorous or serious, that represents one or more characters from material of literary merit. This material may be drawn from stage, screen, or radio. Programs may consist of single or multiple selections. Manuscripts are required. Maximum 10 minutes.
Contestants will receive short excerpts dealing with items of general interest, political, economic, and social issues. The contestant will have a total of seven minutes to divide between preparation and speaking. Students should speak for at least three minutes. All contestants in the same section shall speak on the same topic. Maximum 7 minutes.
COMMUNICATION ANALYSIS/RHETORICAL CRITICISM
Each contestant will present an original speech whose purpose is to analyze a specific communication event through the lens of some communication theory. Visual aids that supplement / reinforce the message are permitted. The speech must be delivered from memory. Maximum 10 minutes.
Parliamentary Debate is a two-person, persuasive and impromptu, debate on issues related to public concern. It is a communication event, by which we mean the philosophy of the activity is consistent with that which governs other individual events. Competitors in Parliamentary Debate will be evaluated on their analysis, use of evidence, and ability to effectively and persuasively organize, deliver, and refute arguments.
1) Academic Enrichment: As anyone who has done forensics in the past will tell you, public speaking is an invaluable and universal skill. Speech and Debate makes you a better speaker, a better writer, and, overall, a better thinker. Many Penn Speech and Debate team members have enjoyed considerable academic success at Penn and beyond.
2) Research Experience: Penn places a huge focus on conducting original research, both inside the classroom and independently. Penn Speech and Debate can teach you the skills and give you the experience you need to become a successful researcher (and impress potential employers).
3) Exciting New Friends: Of course, most clubs at Penn will give you the opportunity to meet new people. But very few will give you the chance to really get to know these people by collaborating with them on research projects and traveling around the world to compete against other schools.
Have a Question?
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