Drill: Improving your Summary Speech

Ever wondered how you could improve your Summary speech? Here is a quick and simple exercise you can do after any debate round. While I suggest doing it after practice rounds, you could always apply this analysis during a tournament if you have the time.

What you need: Notes from an old summary speech you have given, the corresponding flows from that round, a fresh sheet of paper or laptop to type on, a person to review your changes (preferrably not your partner but someone familiar with debate.

  1. Write out speech that you have given (approximate – don’t correct) or record a speech and transcribe it later. You want to work with what you normally do – don’t start improving it before the revision step.
  2. Give it to your reviewing partner to review. Have them note the following once they have read the speech on the same sheet of paper/word document.
    1. Main clash or comparisons you made
    2. The most important issue you highlighted
    3. The “theme” or main idea of your speech
    4. Did you use framework? how? was it applied well?
  3. Read what your reviewer wrote and ask yourself:
    1. Did your speech achieve what you wanted?
    2. What did you not convey clearly enough?
  4. Rewrite your speech to better achieve your goals. Also, require yourself to include the following:
    1. Number your grouped arguments/clash.
    2. Use taglines for all numbered items and for the arguments you refer to.
    3. Use the phrases “compared to” and “must weigh” at least once.
    4. Use the phrase “Remember….” at least once to remind the judge of something important.
    5. Extend at least once key piece of evidence.
    6. Use the phrase “the biggest issue is…” once toward the middle of your speech.
    7. Use the phrase “We better achieve the framework of X by Y…” where “X’ is your framework and “Y” is at least one of your offensive arguments.
  5. Have your reviewer read the speech again. Have them answer the questions:
    1. What improved?
    2. Are you more persuaded by the second version?
  6. Read the new speech aloud for yourself – does it feel different?
  7. Apply what works to your next Summary speech. All of the inclusions are meant to help you better organize your speech and build in persuasive rhetoric along the way.
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