After-Dinner Speaking

Official Description: An original humorous speech by the student, designed to exhibit sound speech composition, thematic coherence, direct communicative public speaking skills, and good taste.

or STE (Speech to Entertain) in Phi Rho Pi

The speech should not resemble a night club act, an impersonation, or a comic monologue. Audio-visual aids may or may not be used to supplement and reinforce the message. Notes are permitted. Maximum time limit is 10 minutes.

What you should expect to get out of this event:

  1. You will learn a great deal about an interesting topic.
  2. You will learn how to research a topic to find useful information.
  3. You will learn how to structure information for clear and effective presentation.
  4. You will enjoy sharing your observations, insights, and sense of humor with coaches and team members in rehearsal, and with audiences in competition.
  5. You will learn more about humor - what kinds there are, what makes it funny, and what makes it persuasive.
  6. You will learn greater control of your voice and body, making both more expressive.
  7. You will learn self-control and poise under pressure.
  8. You will read more widely and perceptively, sorting and gathering material which you can use in your speech.
  9. You will develop your memory, learning to depend on it to provide you with the latest version of your speech.
  10. You will learn to become a better observer of the world around you, staying alert for information and viewpoints that will make you a better thinker and speaker.
  11. You will come to a better understanding of yourself, searching your own experience to help you find worthwhile things to say.
  12. You will learn a lot by watching excellent after dinner speakers.


Special features of this event in competition:

While at some tournaments this event is rather small, it always attracts excellent speakers. It also attracts audiences; the room is always packed for ADS finals. Judging is often unpredictable; various judges have different senses of humor.


What you will do to be competitive in this event:

Initial preparation: about 4 weeks

  1. select the After Dinner event
  2. find a good topic area 2-3 days
  3. develop a humorous approach 1-2 days
  4. develop an effective thesis statement 1 day
  5. create preliminary outline 1 day
  6. extensive research to support outline points 1 week (and brainstorm ways to make it more funny)
  7. write the speech 2-3 days
  8. rewrite for timing and polish 2 days
  9. memorize the speech 2 days
  10. practice delivery 4-5 days

Between-tournament preparation:

  1. Additional research to strengthen, keep up-to-date
  2. Rewrite to strengthen, clarify, make it more funny
  3. Re-memorize new version
  4. Continue practicing delivery

Hints for finding good topics:

ADS is sometimes defined as a speech that makes a serious point by using humor. The point should be obvious throughout (not just brought in at the end), and the humor should be abundant throughout as well. Almost any good informative or persuasive topic can become an ADS if it is developed in a humorous way.