Speech (Individual Events)

Here you will find information about what the UNI Speech Team is like for students, graduate assistants, how to join, and who to contact.

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The UNI Speech Team:

Details: The Individual Events program at UNI offers students many opportunities and is open to anyone with an interest in improving their public speaking skills. There are 11 different events to choose from in interpretation/acting, platform speaking, and limited preparation. The squad consists of 15-20 members, and travels nationally to weekend tournaments throughout each semester, culminating the season with the American Forensic Association and National Forensic Association national tournaments in early April.

Involvement/Events: With a coach, students can choose their own level of involvement, determining how many tournaments in which they wish to compete, and in which events they would like to compete. 

Perks: In addition to improving a student's performing, researching, and writing skills, providing a fully equipped squad room with computers and work space, receiving academic credit (COMM 1940: Applied Forensics; COMM 3940: Applied Forensics), receiving individualized coaching, and emphasizing the balance between education and competition, UNI Forensics provides monetary support for tournament travel (entry fees, hotel costs, transportation, etc.). UNI is also able to offer an array of scholarships to competitors as a means to defray tuition expenses. Visit the Scholarships page or contact Dr. John Fritch to learn more.

How to Join (Students):

Come to one of our Tuesday squad meetings at 5pm in Room 218 in Lang Hall and check us out!

For questions or details, contact the speech team director:

Sadé Barfield
Director of Individual Events
326 Lang Hall
Department of Communication Studies
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0139
319-273-2217

Information for Prospective Graduate Students:

Click here for the Communication Studies Graduate Program webpage.

For questions or details about the team and program, contact the Director of Forensics:

Dr. John Fritch
Dean, College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences
University of Northern Iowa
(319) 273-2725

Or contact the speech team director:

Sadé Barfield
Director of Individual Events
326 Lang Hall
Department of Communication Studies
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0139
319-273-2217

For questions or details about the graduate program, contact:

Dr. Kyle Rudick
Graduate Studies Director
(319) 273-2525

Speech Event Descriptions:

[From the AFA-NIET Event Descriptions pdf found on their official website.]

Interpretation Events

Prose Interpretation - An original or selections of prose material of literary merit, which may be drawn from more than one source. Focus of this event is on the development of the narrative/story. Play cuttings and poetry are prohibited. Use of manuscript is required. Maximum time is 10 minutes including introduction.

Poetry Interpretation - A selection or selections of poetry of literary merit, which may be drawn from more than one source. A primary focus of this event should be on the development of language. Play cuttings and prose works are prohibited. Use of manuscript is required. Maximum time limit is 10 minutes including introduction.

Dramatic Interpretation - A cutting that represents one or more characters from a play or plays of literary merit. The focus of this event is on the development of characterization. This material may be drawn from stage, screen, or radio. Use of manuscript is required. Maximum time limit is 10 minutes including introduction.

Program Oral Interpretation - A program of thematically-linked selections of literary merit, chosen from two or three recognized genres of competitive interpretation (prose/poetry/drama). A primary focus of this event should be on the development of the theme through the use of narrative/story, language, and/or characterization. A substantial portion of the total time must be devoted to each of the genres used in the program. Different genre means the material must appear in separate pieces of literature ( e.g., A poem included in a short story that appears only in that short story does not constitute a poetry genre.) Only one selection may be original. Use of manuscript is required. Maximum time limit is 10 minutes including introduction.

Duo Interpretation - A cutting from one or more texts of literary merit, humorous or serious, involving the portrayal of two or more characters presented by two individuals. The material may be drawn from any genre of literature. This is not an acting event; thus, no costumes, props, lighting, etc, are to be used. Presentation is from the manuscript and the focus should be off-stage and not to each other. Maximum time limit is 10 minutes including introduction.

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Platform Speaking Events

After Dinner Speaking - An original, humorous speech by the student, designed to exhibit sound speech composition, thematic, coherence, direct communicative public speaking skills, and good taste. The speech should not resemble a night club act, animpersonation, or comic dialogue. Audio-visual aids may or may not be used to supplement and reinforced the message. Minimal notes are permitted. Maximum time limit is 10 minutes.

Communication Analysis/Rhetorical Criticism - An original speech by the student designed to offer an explanation and/or evaluation of a communication event such as a speech, speaker, movement, poem, poster, film, campaign, etc., through the use of rhetorical principles. Audio-visual aids may or may not be used to supplement and reinforce the message. Manuscripts are permitted. Maximum time limit is 10 minutes.

Informative Speaking - An original, factual speech by the student on a realist subject to fulfill the general aim to inform the audience. Audio-visual aids may or may not be used to supplement and reinforce the message. Multiple sources should be used and cited in the development of the speech. Minimal notes are permitted. Maximum time is 10 minutes.

Persuasive Speaking - An original speech by the student designed to inspire, reinforce, or change the beliefs, attitudes, values or actions of the audience. Audio-visual aids may or may not be used to supplement and reinforce the message. Multiple sources should be used and cited in the development of the speech. Minimal notes are permitted. Maximum time limit is 10 minutes.

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Limited Preparation Events

Extemporaneous Speaking - Contestants will be given three topics in the general area of current event, choose one, and have 30 minutes to prepare a speech that is the original work of the student. Maximum time limit for the speech is 7 minutes. Limited notes are permitted. Student will speak in listed order. Postings of topics will be staggered.

Impromptu Speaking - An impromptu speech, substantive in nature, with topic selections varied by round and by section. Topics will be derived from quotations. Speakers will have a total of 7 minutes for both preparation and speaking. Timing commences with the acceptance of the topics sheet. Limited notes are permitted.