Forensic Team Event Descriptions

Performance / Acting Events

The first 5 events are performance based.  They should all use selections of literary merit, and they are all 8-10 min. long – including introductions and any transitions.  No costumes or props are used, but students do hold a black book with the manuscript in it. 

Prose -  You prepare and deliver one selection of prose (short stories or longer fiction-plays are not eligible.)  If more than one selection is used, original transitions should be used as needed.  Limited movement is acceptable.

Poetry – You prepare and deliver one or more selections of poetry.  Each program is to have an original introduction, transitions if necessary, and if multiple selections are used, they should center on a unifying theme. 

Dramatic Duo – You and a partner present a cutting from a play involving the portrayal of two or more characters.  The focus of the presentation should be off-stage, and symbolic movement or staging is allowed.

Dramatic Interpretation (DI) – This event must use material from the stage, screen or radio.  You can represent one or more characters and must use a manuscript. 

Programmed Oral Interpretation (POI)—For this event, you perform a program of thematically linked selections from at least two of three recognized genres of competitive interpretation (prose, poetry, drama).  A substantial portion of time must be devoted to each of the genres used in the program. 

Prepared Speech Events

The following 4 events are all originally written and memorized 8-10 minute long speeches.  For each, multiple source citations should be used. 

Informative - You deliver an original, factual speech to fulfill the general purpose of informing the audience.  Visuals are optional, but should look professional.

Persuasion - You will present an original speech to convince, to move to action, or to inspire the audience about a significant issue.   It often shows a harm, identifies a cause, then pushes for a solution.

After Dinner Speaking (ADS) - Each contestant is to prepare an original speech whose purpose is to make a serious point through the use of humor.  The presentation should not be a string of jokes, but an organized, developed speech.  Props are permitted, but should enhance the content and not be a substitute for it.

Rhetorical Criticism / Communication Analysis - Contestants will deliver an original critical analysis of any significant rhetorical artifact.  Any legitimate critical rhetorical methodology is permissible as long as it serves to open up the artifact for the audience. The speaker should limit quotations, summary, and paraphrase of the analyzed artifact to a minimum.

Limited Preparation Events

The final 2 events are limited preparation events that require a LOT of rehearsal work.

Impromptu – You will receive quotations, editorial cartoons, or objects of a general nature and will have seven minutes to divide between preparation and speaking.  It is suggested that the contestant's speaking time be at least three minutes, but most speakers prepare for less than two minutes and speak for five minutes.

Extemporaneous- You will draw three topics on current national and international events from which you will select one.  You then have thirty minutes to prepare for your seven minute speech on that topic.  Prior to the tournament, students should save and organize a large amount of articles so you can speak on almost any topic.  Notes should be used at a minimum.

Debate – Parliamentary (Parli) or Lincoln Douglas (LD): Parli is a two person debate, and Lincoln-Douglas is a one-person debate on various issues.  It is a communication event in which you  are evaluated on your analysis, use of evidence and ability to persuasively organize, deliver, and refute arguments. Parli teams are given the ‘resolution’ 15 minutes before the round begins, so rehearsal is a must. Debate is a tough category, and it costs the school a lot, so only teams that have practiced a lot can go.  OCC usually also caps the teams at one or two.

These descriptions are based on the National Forensic Association and American Forensic Association websites.


Carole Bennett
27055 Orchard Lk. Rd.
Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Office G-107