Self-Guided Coaching Pages

AFA Event Descriptions


NFA Event Descriptions

Over the years I have noticed that a lot of coaching is repetition.  It seems that at the beginning of each year I find myself repeating the same information over and over as students learn about new events.  I developed these coaching pages to facilitate learning when there is no time left on my coaching schedule.
I have been working with a new web building software and it does not easily import previously developed web pages.  So everything may not be here.  I am sorry about that.

Public Speaking Events

Click on the link on the left for some basic information about pubic speaking events like where to find topics, what to look for in a topic, and how to conduct research.

After Dinner Speaking

ADS is my favorite event.  I believe if you can master ADS you can master just about anything.  I did my Master's Thesis on the evaluative criteria of ADS.  So it is no wonder that the coaching advice and insight for this event is...thorough. 

Informative Speaking

Informative is a challenging event because it is baseline public speaking.  That may make it seem like it would be a mundane event, but because it is a basic event it requires even more wordsmithing and attention to detail.  Language choices are every bit as important as topic choices in Informative.

Persuasive Speaking

Persuasion is considered by some to be the pinnacle form of rhetoric.  To be able to change someone's attitude, belief or value or get them to take an action is a powerful thing.

Rhetorical Criticism or Communication Analysis

This event is considered by some to be the most intellectual of the forensics events.  It asks you to find a rhetorical act (a heath care campaign, a political advertisment, a social movement, a cartoon, a song, a media event, etc) and explain why it was or was not effective by applying established rhetorical models to it.  That may be an over simplification of the event but that's why we have the links to the left.

Oral Interpretation Events

If you click on the link to the left you will find some basic information about oral interpretation events.  The link addresses things like where to find materials, what to look for in a selection and how to develop programs.  Scripts are required with all interp events.


This is defined as a cutting from a play.  It may be humorous, serious or (ideally) a combination of both.  The literature is define by genre not content. Drama focuses on character development even more than the other interp events. (Not usually offered at NFA nationals)

Dramatic Duo

Duo is unique in that it is the only individual event where you have a partner.  A duo is a cutting from a play or movie.  Really anything that was written to be performed in front of an audience (stand up comedy routines, radio dramas, etc.).  Off stage focus is used (you look off stage rather than at your partner).

Poetry Interpratation

Poetry can be a particularly challenging event.  The language of good poetry is more about images and ideas than it is about words.  To master poetry is to master language itself.

Program Oral Interpretation

POI (typically not offered at NFA nationals) requires that a student put together a program of literature with materials from at least two of the three recognized genres of literature (prose, poetry and drama) on a theme.  It is also one of the most creative interp events.

Prose Interpratation

This is baseline interp.  It is the art of telling a story.  But in the same way that informative was challenging because it was baseline, this is challenging because it is baseline.  In addition to typically being the largest interp event it also requires an interper who can captivate an audience through the power of voice.

Limited Preparation Events

Perhaps the most usful day-to-day skill you will learn through this activity is to be able to quickly and effectively organize your thoughts and ideas and present them to an audience to make an arguement.  That adaquately defines limited prep events.

Impromptu Speaking

Learn to pick up a famous quotation and give a five minute speech with less than two minutes of prep time.  While that might seem intimidating to the freshman speaker at the beginning of the season it we be quite managable at the end of the first year (and prep time will be well under two minutes).

Extemporaneous Speaking

If you have a basic understanding of current events and world politics (or would like to develop one) extemp is the event for you.  Armed with fiels of research on likely topics you will give a seven minute speech with 30 minutes of prep time.  

Some Forensic Journal Articles

If you are interested in learning more about forensics (beyond just performance issues) you might enjoy reading some of the scholarship in the forensics journals.  The link to the left will take you to a page of links to articles of note.  If you plan to make a career of forensics you might want to start reading some of this material now.  If you want I will also be happy to help you write an article for publication to get you started down that career path.  Undergraduates and graduate students have an important perspective to share with the community.


Accept No Substitutes