Writing an Original Oratory

An Original Oratory is an event in Speech Debate which consists of, dependent on grade level, a 6-10 minute memorized speech written by the speaker! Original Oratory is an art, and Oratories are usually presented during competitions, so in order to succeed you must know how to properly create one. Here are 8 easy steps to writing a competitive Original Oratory. 

1. Pick something you’re passionate about! 

This was the first step my first debate coach always taught. Choosing an Oratory topic can be tricky. Make sure you stick to topics that YOU love or deeply wish others knew more about. This should be a topic that is important to you. Also, pick a topic you can get a lot of information on! Research is vital in creating a successful Oratory. 

2. Pick something that is easily relatable. 

No one wants to sit and listen to someone ramble on about something that they don’t care about. Maybe the audience isn’t as passionate as you are in the subject, but when you can find a way to connect to your audience (a key part in the Oratory ballot) then you will have no problem keeping their attention. 

3. Write it like a persuasive essay!

Most Oratories are of a persuasive nature, which is the most competitive form, and thus they are written in the form of a five-paragraph persuasive essay. Start with a hook to catch your audience’s attention and then signpost your three points. Move to your body paragraphs, or 2-3 points, from there. Make sure to use the Speaker’s Triangle (physically moving to a different spot in the room/stage, in an ultimately triangular shape, when you switch to a different point in your speech). Tie it up in a nice bow with your conclusion, which should include a call to action!

4. Use all three modes of persuasion!

Since Oratories are usually meant to be persuasive, make sure you use ethos, pathos, AND logos within your Oratory. Relying too heavily on one can cost you in a round. Make sure your speech is well-rounded by appealing to both your audience’s heart and mind, not to mention make sure you establish your credibility by citing sources (not only is this is an easy way to add ethos, but it’s also vital to avoid being disqualified for plagiarism). Make sure to use the CRAAP test to make certain your sources are all reliable (Blakeslee, Sarah (2004). “The CRAAP Test”. LOEX Quarterly. 31 [3]). Also remember that only 150 words of quoted material may be used in any given Oratory. You only need to cite who you got your information from, and where you procured it from. 

5. Stray from the excessively controversial. 

Though controversial topics are important and valuable Oratory topics, stray from those that are so incredibly controversial that they could easily anger your judge or audience depending on the position you take and your judge’s biasses. Yes, unfortunately, this can happen. I would recommend avoiding topics like abortion, gun control, or religious attitudes, since these can both be over-used and extremely delicate topics. 

6. Proof-read, proof-read, proof-read!

MAKE CERTAIN you use grammatically correct language and try using synonyms to common words. Make sure they fit well and you actually know their meaning. Effective and mature word choice can set one Oratory apart from another. 

7. Lose the trite phrases. 

“Since the beginning of time…” and “green with envy…” might have worked for the first people to ever say them, but they will not work for you. Stray from phrases that are over-used, cliché, or unoriginal. This is an Original Oratory, after all. And besides, you and your speech are too good to be labeled “trite.” 

8. Don’t forget a rebuttal!

This will add depth to your argument. Show you know how the other side feels and prove they are wrong! You are in debate, after all. Most people will place their rebuttal right before their conclusion. This can help if you are struggling to find a place to naturally fit it in. 

Writing an Original Oratory can be quite the feat, but with these simple steps you will be well on your way to writing a successful one. 

That’s all for now!

-Stephanie

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