How to take part in SLAM ONLINE 2020!

An online SLAM is a little different than an in-person one. First off, you don’t have to travel to get there, and it’s easy to sign in to view just the events and contests that you are most interested in. 

If you and your friends or family would like to be able to view SLAM online, or participate in any of the contests, please contact your Club Chairperson who will manage your club’s registration for the event. There is no fee charged for registered viewers. We are insisting that viewers be registered, in advance, so the privacy of the event can be maintained. 

Registered viewers can watch any time, all day, for free. 

While viewer registration is free, for clubs submitting entrants to the contests, there is a $10 entry fee, per entrant, per contest. In many clubs, member dues cover SLAM entry or contest fees. Contest entry requests should be received no later than May 22, 2020. (Viewer names can be submitted up through May 29, 2020.) Due to the time constraints of the event, we may end up having to place potential contestants into a lottery to see who will be able to compete. Club Chairpersons will only be required to submit payment for entrants after their members’ competition spots are secured and announced on May 23, 2020. A waiting list will be started when slots are filled. Payment for contest entries must be submitted by the deadline of May 25, 2020 by the Club Chairperson, and are non refundable.

To register viewers and contest entrants, Club Chairpersons should submit a document listing the names and email addresses of attendees broken out by “viewer only” or specific contest(s). Club Chairpersons should register themselves, as well. Club Chairpersons should direct question to SLAM@speakersleague.com.

Details about the SLAM ONLINE Contests

Note: Number of contestants may be limited due to time constraints.
Rules may be adjusted prior to the event. If you have signed up to compete, you will receive notification.

Impromptu Contest – 2 minutes
Open to Speakers League and Skill Builders members. Judging panel determines the winner.

View judging panel tips (advice may need to be modified for online SLAMs): https://youtu.be/z5hLyVxPVcg 

Contestants will be “held” in the virtual waiting room until it is their turn in front of the judges. One at a time, the contestants are transferred into the main online meeting room to receive the contest question. Just like in a regular Speakers League meeting, contestants must reach the red signal (2-minutes) but not the bell (rung at 2 1/2 minutes) to be eligible to be voted for by the judging panel.  

Impromptu Contest FAQs

 

May I use visual aids?: No. Just like in a Speakers League meeting, you should keep your hands free for gestures. Also, no screen sharing or annotation.

May I use notes?: No. Just like in a Speakers League meeting, you would not use notes. Also, no screen sharing or annotation.

What do I get if I win the contest?: An engraved trophy will be awarded. This will be mailed to the winner within a week of the event.

Humorous Speech Contest – 5-7 minutes
Open to Speakers League members, (and Skill Builders members with their Chairperson’s prior approval). Judging panel determines the winner.

The object of this speech is to use humor to get your audience smiling and laughing. There are lots of techniques that speakers use to add humor to their speeches:

Do the Reverse
This kind of humor comes from surprising your audience by staking out a position that is the reverse of what would be considered normal. If you are giving a speech on candy, talk about how candy is a vital part of our diet because it gives us energy. Giving a speech about nursery rhymes? 
Talk about how they promote dangerous behavior by children – jumping over lit candles??! The absurdity of your topic will get them laughing.
Change it Up
Lots of things can be funny, and variety can also keep your audience surprised and amused. Puns, physical humor, exaggeration, irony, sarcasm, and word play are available to you.
Finish with a Winner
In a humor speech you want to start strong to get the audience warmed up, but don’t use all of your best material and leave a weak ending. Be sure to close your speech with a final joke or observation that ties it all up well. 
Circle Around
In speaking, there is a technique called a “callback.” When using this technique, you reference something from earlier in your speech. This helps tie your speech together and can be used to great comic effect. For example, you could mention that your teacher wants homework turned in by email and that this makes it hard to come up with the old “my dog ate my homework” excuse. Later in the speech your “callback moment” is when you mention that you call your computer Rover because it has seemingly eaten so much homework every time it has crashed.

Other things to remember for a humor speech

Even with the best preparation, some parts of your speech may not go as well as you planned, in terms of audience laughter. Don’t scold the audience for not “getting” your humor or let this negatively affect the rest of your presentation. Just keep going and give the audience more chances to see and hear the humor. When they do laugh, be ready to adjust to it. Don’t talk over it, and keep in mind that laughter will affect the length of your speech. Build in some time to account for audience reaction, and be prepared with a few things to cut from your speech in case you risk going over time.

Humorous Speech Contest FAQs

 

Can my speech be longer or shorter than 5-7 minutes?: To be eligible to win, your speech must meet the standard eligibility point for a 5-7 minute speech at a club meeting, meaning you need to reach the green signal (5 minutes), but not reach the bell (7 1/2 minutes.) If you attempt to exceed 7 1/2 minutes, you will be muted.

May I use visual aids?: Yes, but only physical ones where you are located. No screen sharing or annotation.

May I use notes?: Yes, but, all things being equal, the judging panel is likely to prefer speeches presented with minimal or no notes.

What do I get if I win the contest?: An engraved trophy will be awarded. This will be mailed to the winner within a week of the event.

Extemporaneous Speech Contest – 30 minutes prep time, 5-7 minutes speech length.

Open to Speakers League members who have given at least three speeches in their current club. Judging panel determines the winner.

Only students who are able to conduct research and prepare a speech independently are recommended for this contest. A panel of judges will determine the winner.

Technology may be used to prepare the speech (you must have your own device with internet access). The only visual aid permitted would be use of the Zoom whiteboard feature. If you anticipate using this feature, you are responsible for making sure you are already familiar with its use. Speakers are only permitted to use or carry one 4×6 index card while presenting. Have one of these available prior to your prep time. 
Contestants will be “held” in the virtual waiting room until it is their turn in front of the judges. Speaking order will One at a time, the contestants are transferred into the main online meeting room to receive the contest question. Contestants must reach the green signal (5-minutes) but not the bell (rung at 7 1/2 minutes) to be eligible to be voted for by the judging panel.
 

You will receive three questions on current events from which to choose and 30 minutes to create a 5-7 minute speech. Questions are often yes/no, but if open-ended, you must still answer definitively. You are expected to cite a minimum of three credible, recent sources, with full dates. A diversity of sources is also desired. More sources will lend credibility to each point and will be considered in judging criteria.

INTRO

Attention-getter – A story or parallel example that leads into… “…and that is what I thought of when presented with the question______” (Example: Will ______ be president?) 

Thesis – The question, read verbatim, followed by a clear answer. “…and my answer is____ (no)

Preview – State what your 3 main points that support your answer to the question will be. “To explain my answer, I will first explain______ (scandals have followed this person’s career); then I will consider_______ (this person has little chance of gaining the independent vote); finally I will argue ______(the incumbent historically has a stronger chance of winning).” The 3 main points are generally claims, or arguments that you will support with your sources, and that all support your answer to the question.

The intro should take between 1:15 and 1:30. Then go into the…

BODY
Expand on the three main points that you previewed above. You need to speak about 1½-2 minutes on each, and include at least one source for each.

CONCLUSION
Restate the question and summarize your main points (“So today, I have answered the question, Will _________ be president? And I answered no. First, I explained that scandals have damaged her reputation; second, that she has lost the independent vote; and last, that there are opposing party candidates that are stronger”
Return to attention-getter story.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO PRACTICE?:
For best success, be at least somewhat aware of current events. You can practice at home based on whatever is in the news. Here are some topics that have been used in similar contests in the past:

  • Election 2016: What will be the most important issue?
  • _______ (Insert candidate): Can he/she win the Presidency?
  • Should America build a wall on its southern border?
  • Should we invest taxpayer money in a manned Mars mission?
  • Should self-driving cars become a common source of transportation in the US?
  • Combating ISIS: Should the U.S. arm the Kurds?
  • ISIS: Should the U.S. do more?
  • Agreement with Iran: Is it good for America?
  • Is Common Core the answer to America’s educational problems?
  • U.S. Education: What is the solution to poor educational outcomes?
  • Police excesses: What can be done?

Extemp Speech Contest FAQs

 

Can my speech be longer or shorter than 5-7 minutes?: To be eligible to win, your speech must meet the standard eligibility point for a 5-7 minute speech at a club meeting, meaning you need to reach the green signal (5 minutes), but not reach the bell (7 1/2 minutes.) If you attempt to exceed 7 1/2 minutes, you will be muted.

May I use visual aids?: The only visual aid permitted is the use of the annotation feature on the Zoom whiteboard. If you anticipate using this feature, you are responsible for making sure you are already familiar with its use.

May I use notes?: As mentioned above, Speakers will only be permitted to hold or refer to a single 4×6 index card with notes on it.

What do I get if I win the contest?: An engraved trophy will be awarded. This will be mailed to the winner within a week of the event.

About the SLAM judges and Other Key Helpers

Maggie Cook-Allen
Debate Tournament

Maggie Cook-Allen participated in debate for 3 years at Southern Methodist University. In addition to her Policy debate experience, she specialized in IPDA debate and won national awards in the novice, varsity, and team divisions. Maggie graduated with honors with a double-major in political science and philosophy in 2020. She now works full time as a Senior Analyst in the compliance department of an auto-finance company in Dallas. 


Stephen Frantz
Debate Tournament

Stephen Frantz has 8 years of experience in speech and debate programs. With the Southern Methodist University debate team, he received multiple national awards in Varsity competition, including 4th place speaker at the IPDA National Championship. Stephen graduated Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in Philosophy, Political Science, Statistics, and Human Rights. Currently, he is pursuing a Masters degree in Statistics.


Rachel Harris
Impromptu Contests, Extemp Contest, Humorous Speech Contest

Rachel was the founding Chairpes for Skill Builders, our public speaking club for younger children, or those needing more time or assistance. Rachel first entered into the field of Special Needs in 1992 working as a volunteer at Whittier Area Parents Association for the Developmentally Handicapped (WAPADH) her experience there led her to become one of it’s Co-Directors.  Leaving the organization to raise her three children, it was in 2005 that her youngest son Joshua was diagnosed with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).  This life altering event led Rachel back into the special needs field learning Neurodevelopmental treatments, specialized diets, DIR Floortime and other various communication methods for the past ten years.  Both professional and personal experience has given Rachel the opportunity to learn how to tailor resources in academics for various abilities which is a goal of  Skill Builders Speakers League. 


Sarah Harris
Impromptu Contests

Sarah Harris became a Club Mentor in 2019. She was a founding member of the Downey Homeschool Speakers League club, and has the distinction of having been a member of more different Speakers League clubs than any other member. Since being in Speakers League she has been working through her first year of college, and the skills she’s taken from Speakers League into her everyday life are obviously speaking in front of an audience along with speech writing and essay writing, and improved  communication skills with my peers and professors.


Sarah Harnden
Extemp Contest

Since her time at Speakers League, Sarah has received an AA in History and a Commercial Music Certificate from El Camino College. While at El Camino, she received the Presidential Scholar Award in her division, and had to give an impromptu acceptance speech- so she was very grateful for all those impromptu speeches at Speakers League. Sarah is now studying at UC Santa Cruz, pursuing a degree in European History and a minor in Music. Researching topics and information to present at Speakers League has set Sarah up for success in her college career. 

Lily Horrocks
Humorous Speech Contest

Lily achieved Club Mentor status in 2019 and was the 2018 SLAM Humorous Speech Contest winner. She is a 19 year old Sign Language Interpreting major. Music is one of her biggest passions, and she released her first professionally produced song last year. She has been greatly benefited by her experience in Speakers League through her college career. It helped her to break out of her comfort zone, and prepared her for making good presentations in school. Her confidence has grown for good, and she owes it all to the practice and tools that Speakers League gave her! 

Cullen O'Donnell
Timekeeper

Cullen became a Club Mentor in 2019 and can be seen growing up in many of the Speakers League videos. He was one of the earliest members of Club #1 and is always ready to contribute. He appears to have a  large hat collection.


Price Morgan
Debate Tournament, Extemp Contest, Humorous Speech Contest

Price T. Morgan is a twelve-year veteran of speech and debate programs. As a member of the Southern Methodist University debate team, he won several debate championships including the 2018-2019 national championship title in Junior Varsity IPDA debate. Price graduated Phi Beta Kappa with dual degrees in economics and public policy in 2019, and now works in public health.


Connor Pittman
Debate Tournament

Connor Pittman is a three-year veteran of debate at Southern Methodist University. As a member of the team, he has been one of the strongest novice and junior varsity debaters. In high school, he was a successful extemporaneous speaker in the Tidewater Forensic League which included several public and private schools in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. He is a senior at Southern Methodist University double majoring in political science and journalism with a minor in history. 


Nicole Reeves 
Impromptu Contests

Nicole is a 16 year old sophomore at Esperanza Highschool. She became a club mentor in 2019, and was a founding member of the Fullerton Homeschool Speakers League club. She runs cross country and track and loves painting. Speakers league has helped her to be more confident and she uses the skills she learned in Speakers League almost every week when giving presentations in class. 

Contact

Phone: + 1 214 972 8046
Toll Free in USA: + 1 877 725 8880
Email: info@speakersleague.com
PO Box 866092 Plano, TX 75086