Speechwriting Event Guidelines

Why Speechwriting

Speechwriting is one of the most powerful skills.  In order to be a great public speaker, you need to be a great speechwriter.... or hire a Speechwriter! Indeed, every President, Prime Minister and Head of State has a speechwriter or team of speechwriters to help them with their speech. In fact, as a college student you can apply to be a White House intern in their Speechwriting Office! That was one of my first job opportunities as a college student.

About our Speechwriting Tournament

In this event students will submit a written original speech on the monthly topic. Besides being your own words, the only other rule is our word limit. Elementary Students should have 200-500 word speeches. Middle School, High School and College students should have at least 500 words (about 1 page) to 1000 words. Reminder, you can participate in both events - Speechwriting (written) and Original Oratory (video).

Our Topic

You can find the Speech Topic for the month by going to our website's "Tournaments" tab and each month's topic is listed there.

Tournament Begins

The Tournament begins on the 1st of each month. Students can submit their entries on this date.

Tournament Ends

The Tournament ends on the last day of each month at midnight (Eastern Standard Time). No new entries are permitted after that time.

Written Submissions

Please submit your speech through our online form. If you have any issues you can contact us at greatdebatersonline@gmail.com. You can upload most documents (Word, PDF) or even type the speech on the online form itself.

What Your Speech Should Include

Your speech should be 200-1000 words long.  Elementary Students should have a 200-500 word speech. Middle School, High School and College level students should have a 500-1000 word speech.

What Your Speech Should NOT include

Please do not include any personal information on your actual video. Your entry will not be accepted. If we have enough time we will try to contact you to resubmit your speech, but we cannot guarantee this. So please please just include your speech. The rest of the online form you submit will have all your personal information which will only be seen by staff. Only the written speeches will be shared with our volunteer judges. So for your personal privacy and safety, as well as to not influence the judges with any information that could bias them (ie your school name, country, etc) please do NOT include any personal information in your speech - name, address, school, city, etc.  We just want to read your speech!


After the deadline (the last day of the month), volunteer judges will review and adjudicate speeches.  Judges will be evaluating speeches based on the factors below. See "Key Elements of Speechwriting." While your speech does not have to have everything, we encourage you to try to include as many elements as you can.

Winners and Awards

Everyone is  winner. You are developing the most important superpower in the world - the power of your voice. We also email e-certificates online to everyone. We also will mail trophies, medals, and/or ribbons to the top winners in each division as well. Additionally, there are School Sweepstakes prizes as well for the schools with the most participants. Winners will be announced shortly before our next tournament takes place. Our time frame for each tournament is about 2 months - 1 month for students to submit their entries and another month to judge entries.

Key Elements of Speechwriting:


Research.  Unless you are a Genius who knows absolutely everything, everyone else needs to do research and find evidence on the monthly speech topic! Thanks to the internet you do not need a fancy degree or library to do some basic research. I always start with Wikipedia which is a free online encyclopedia that does know everything!  And of course I always check out Google. We will have more resources and workshops on research and evidence. We will also be sending out resources on the monthly topics. 

Evidence.  After researching, make sure you include some evidence in your speech. Cite some statistics on the topic, quotations, stories, etc. Make sure you cite where your evidence is from. No need to write an entire paragraph on the source. A simple, "The New York Times reported on March 7th of this year that.... "  or "Dr. Fogel of Harvard University stated," ........"  Evidence shows that (1) you have done your research, (2) know what you are talking about, (3) you have supporters on your point of view.

Organization. A safe bet for a speech is similar to a persuasive argumentation essay. You should have: (1) an Introduction that should have a hook or attention getter. This could be a quotation, story, statistic or anything to get your audience's attention. You should also state the topic in your introduction. And you may even want to give a Preview of your primary points of your speech.  (2) Your Main Points.  After your introduction you should have 2-3 main points about your topic. Advanced speeches may have subpoints as well.  (3) Conclusion.   And never just say "That's it!" or "That's all folks!"  Make sure you have a powerful conclusion. This can repeat the organization of the Introduction. For example, you can return to your "attention getter" or "hook" or bring up a new one. Leave the audience with something very powerful. You should remind the audience of your topic and main points as well. And finally you should always thank the audience.

Language, Words, Figures of Speech. The pen is mightier than the sword! Make sure every single word has meaning. Speeches are short and sweet. The word limit is pretty short compared to major research papers and essays, because speeches should be short. But every single word is there for a reason.


Now throw out everything we just talked about! Be You! Everyone has their own style. Use it in your speech!  As a student, I had teachers who would sometimes give me a "Rubric" and told me I had to have these things in my speech or in my essay. I hated rubrics! I never wanted to think inside a box. I always tried to think outside the box!  So embrace your style! Do your own thing! Experiment! Try your speech on others ie family members, friends, or email us (greatdebatersonline@gmail.com) for feedback, suggestions, tips.  Check out the speeches of great orators you admire to get some inspiration. But in the end find your own style.  All the great orators like Martin Luther King Jr. , Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and so on - they never followed a rubric. They spoke from their hearts. That's all we ask of you!


But most importantly have fun! Otherwise it will probably be your last time on this website if you don't like it. Have fun with the monthly topics. Learn new things. Try new things in your speech. Check out the speeches of other students!  Speaking. Competing. Winning. Losing. Ribbons, Medals and Trophies. Current Events. The world of speech and debate is like sports but for the brain. So have fun and best of all you are learning and practicing the most powerful skill in the world - the skill of public speaking.

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2020 NYC Elementary School Speech & Debate League