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Note: Tips for 2010, Part 1.

By this time of the year, most of you should have chosen a case topic and have a written 1AC. Take a second, open the document or grab your binder and look at it—you are looking at hours of research, thought, revisions and powerful facts, condensed into only a few pages. However, you want to be willing to make any revisions necessary to improve this speech—it is, after all, the very first thing your judge will hear, and you want it to be the best it possibly can be. You want it to grab their attention so much that the judge can hardly believe you are a homeschooled high school student. I want to share a couple tips that will help you achieve that goal.

When I took a hunters safety course several years ago, my instructor emphasized the necessity of wearing neon orange clothing. In his words, the color doesn’t blend in with anything—it reaches out, grabs your eyeballs and shakes them around. You cannot help but notice this color. This is exactly what your 1AC should be like. You want it to be the absolute best speech ever written (or pretty darn close); convincing, informing, witty, and researched.

1. Opening Quote

This part of your speech should be rather self-explanatory, but some debaters chose to include exceedingly long introductions, while others have a single sentence of introduction to open their speech. A ten-to-twenty second introduction is what you would want to aim for. Remember, the words in your introduction of the 1AC are the very first words of the very first speech in the round. Make them epic. : )

2. Transitions

Transitions are super important, and judges do notice good transitions and bad ones. And they will let you know that they noticed. There really are no strict rules about how to make a good transition, but make it as conversational and smooth as possible. Good transitions and bad transitions will often separate people who sound professional from those who don’t sound so professional—scripted vs. conversational and persuasive.

3. Evidence

There are a couple things to say under this point…

1) Don’t be afraid to summarize cards, instead of reading the evidence word for word. Make sure that you include the card and citation in a footnote, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with summarizing evidence.

2) Don’t have super long or super short cards. Here why. Super long cards make everyone start to take a sometimes much-needed napppp. this is a bad thing. super short cards can sometimes make your opponents call into question the ethical-ness of your evidence—whether it’s in context or not.

4. Language

Depending on the case topic that you have chosen, use language that fits the policy you are talking about. For example, if I were running a case that dealt with the constitution, liberty, et cetera, I would want to use educated sounding vocabulary, emphasize certain phrases like “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”… Don’t do this to the point of reciting cliché catch-phrases, but you should be able to get the jist of what I’m saying.

However, if I was making a policy change that dealt with things like job-creation, reducing poverty, and so on, things that would be directed toward laymen and the middle class, sophisticated language wouldn’t fit the topic– I wouldn’t want to sound like a politician or a university professor. Rather, I would want to use common-man people talk. This is just a little something that might not necessarily be noticed if you do do it, but it will almost definitely be noticed if you don’t do it.

The 1AC should be next-to-perfect, and you should want to make it that way. Impress the judges, when you are making changes to it, give it all you’ve got, and you will be satisfied with how well it will do.

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