Debate Team

The Valdosta State University Forensics (speech and debate) team competes in regional and national level competitions. The team participates in NPDA or Parliamentary Debate, in addition, we compete in individual events. Such events include, impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, informative, persuasive, dramatic interp, dramatic duo, poetry interp, program oral interp, and others.

  • The team is open to all majors on campus and does not require previous experience.

  • Starting fall 2013 the Valdosta State Debate team will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30 - 5:00 p.m., and other arranged times throughout the week.

  • The team meets in the VSU forensics/debate squad room in Nevins 1025.

If you would like more information feel free to e-mail the Director of Forensics, Dr. Mike Eaves at You may also call 229-259-5116, or drop by his office at Nevins 1029.

Individual Events

Impromptu speaking

Competitors are given a topic, usually a single word or phrase that may be a person, thing, well-known saying, a less well-known quotation, current event, or an object. They then compose a speech based on the prompt. Impromptu speeches generally run about four (the minimum required speaking time at most tournaments) to six minutes in length, with anywhere from 15 seconds to five minutes of "prep time". However, at many other tournaments, there is neither a set limit to how much time you may use to prep nor a minimum to how long one speaks. Judging typically focuses on overall speaking ability (enunciation, pace, vocal variety, etc.), creativeness (pre-made or "canned" speeches are generally frowned upon), and overall balance of the speech (points of roughly equal length, appropriate length of intro, conclusion, etc.). In many states, impromptu speaking is often a contest combining wit and humor with actual insight; speeches should be funny but also must deliver a point. Acting out characters, as in drama events is

Extemporaneous speaking

Extemporaneous Speaking, Extempore Speaking, or simply Extemp, is a speech given at a tournament with little preparation.Extemp is a mainstay at most speech competitions. At the beginning of any round of extemp, competitors are usually given 3 questions relating to current events, and asked to choose one to prepare a speech on. The competitors have a preparation period, usually referred to as "prep time", during which they use periodicals they brought to the tournament to prepare the speech. This "prep time" is usually thirty minutes, and at the end of this time, competitors must present their speech without the aid of notes.Extemp speeches range from four to seven minutes in length.

In Extemp Duo, pairs are given three prompts that must be worked into a scene. The items must be a key element in the scene and not just mentioned in passing without any effect on the story. Competitors have 20 minutes of prep and 3–5 minutes to perform. Duo interp rules apply, and partners may not acknowledge each other in any way. Extemp Duo is not a common event


Informative Speaking is a speech meant to inform the audience. This speech can take on topics ranging from the newest, high-tech inventions from around the world that hope to cure cancer, to more light-hearted topics such as Wikipedia. The topic should be one that is timely and interesting, making it something that the general audience doesn't readily understand. It is the job of the speaker to make the complex topic easier to understand. In intercollegiate competition, the speech time limit is ten minutes and typically memorized. In high school competition, the time limits vary among different states. Informative Speaking is also referred to as


Persuasion is often considered the college corollary to Oratory. The focus of the event is to change, reinforce, or instill the attitudes, beliefs, and values of the audience. Although there are rarely rules that dictate what topics or formats are permissible in Persuasion, most persuasions are policy based: speakers advocate a specific policy proposal to address some need and offer their recommendation in a problem/cause/solution or cause/effect/solution format. In 2006, for example, the winning Persuasion topics at the American Forensics Association (AFA) and National Forensics Association (NFA) concerned ways to improve teacher retention and to encourage citizens to correspond with their Congresspersons, respectively.

Dramatic Interpretation

Dramatic Interpretation (DI) is an event in which the competitor interprets a selection from a dramatic theatrical script. A single competitor plays several parts, which are differentiated using "pops" between various positions and voices, each representing a different character. "Pops" are supposed to be as clean as possible, and each character should be clearly distinguishable from any other character. One can also play one character.

Prose / Poetry Interpretation / Read Speech / Literary Reading/ Oral Interpretation / Verse

Prose Interpretation, Poetry Interpretation, Read Speech, Literary Reading, Oral Interpretation and Verse are events that consist of an interpretation of another author's work. Competitors read the material from a small binder or book they use in performance. This binder is traditionally black and has a height of about 10". While books are not required to fit this description, competitors who utilize a different style of book are often ranked down for it. Because competitors interpret the literature via facial expressions and eye contact, memorization is generally helpful. In most cases, the literature is memorized and competitors are merely pretending to read the material. However, points may be deducted if a speech is "too memorized" and the competitor does not look at his/her binder enough. Time limits for these events range from six to ten minutes, depending on the organization hosting the event.

A common practice for Poetry Interpretation of late is to find a published piece of slam poetry (online or physical) and perform that. This, unfortunately, leads to many teams recycling the same poetry for their novices and the event is flooded with pieces that all look and feel the same because larger teams, which have a much larger student to teacher ratio, are trained to perform the poetry exactly the same way as the previous member of the team did through other members of the team. Notable examples include poetry written by J.J.Jonas, and Poetri Williams.