Original Events

As the name implies, Original Events are entirely the work of the student. Most original events are what we call "platform events", or rather a more formal persuasive or informative speech. One of the key things that judges will be looking for in the original events is the degree of originality and creativity displayed in their writing and delivery. 


GENERAL RULES: The selection must be the contestant’s own work, and must be a new speech written during that competition year on a topic different from any they have used in the same or other original events. Competitors are not allowed to leave the stage during the presentation.

QUOTATIONS: Up to 150 words of the speech may be directly quoted from another source. All sources must be documented with the manuscript, any quotations of at least 50 words must be cited verbally in the speech (yes, that includes OPP).  

TIME LIMITS: 10 minutes, with a 30-second grace period. No time signals are necessary, but may be given upon request.

AIDS: The speech must be delivered from memory. With the exception of Informative, no visual aids of any kind are allowed.



OO Persuasive Prose (Oratory) Persuade / Motivate None
EXP/INF Informative Prose (Oratory) Inform Allowed
OA Persuasive Prose (Oratory) Call for legislative action None
OPP Drama / Humor Prose, Poetry, Drama Entertain None



These events will be available at almost any tournament.

(Original) Oratory

In this event, the conpetitor chooses to highlight a problem or concern in the world, generally of a personal or inter-personal nature (materialism, laziness, sexism, etc.). It is the competitor's job to persuade the audience that the problem they have identified is important to address, and to then convince them to do something about it, whether that be a physical action or a change of opinion.

It is possible that OOs may touch on a subject that is uncomfortable or with which the judge has personal experience; judges should ideally try to keep their personal biases out of their rankings and judge solely on the strength of the student's writing and oratorical skill.

Learn more about Original Oratory [PDF]

Expository / Informative

The primary purpose of these events is to inform — to describe, clarify, and/or explain an object, process, or concept to the audience.The speech itself must be delivered from memory, but the competitor may choose to make use of visual aids such as display boards and handheld props to enhance the speech.

Note, there is some confusion about the difference between the two events. The Expository event as used in California is essentially the same as the event the NSDA calls Informative. The NSDA has an Expository speaking event, but it is only a 5 minute speech and does not allow for the use of visual aids. If you compete in this event, make sure you know which form the tournament is offering.

Learn more about Informative Speaking [PDF]



These events will be available at all league tournaments (CFLs), the state competition, and many (but not all) invitationals in California. 

Original Advocacy

OA is fundamentally quite similar to OO, but with a more directed purpose. An OA can address any issue, but must do so from the perspective of advocating for a specific legislative change. The "audience" of the speech is typically the US congress, but any legislative body within the United States that is capable of enacting the proposed plan can suffice. In the course of the speech, the student must show concrete evidence that the problem exists, is significant, current, and widespread. The competitor must then propose a specific legislative solution (either an actual bill or one of their own design) to remedy the issue. For obvious reasons, once a law is actually passed on the subject, there is no longer a point to advocating for it.

Since the topics dealt with in this event are those of public policy, is it very possible that the speech may touch upon topics the judge has strong feelings about. It is imperative that judges try to remain objective and open-minded, judging the speech on the merit of its writing and and the skill of the student's delivery.

Original Prose and Poetry

OPP is possibly the most varied of all speech events. It may take the form of a short play, stories, poetry, essays, or any combination thereof, and may be both serious and/or humorous. The student may use a single narrator or make use of multiple characters, and if the latter must clearly differentiate those characters. Ultimately, the point of this event is to showcase the creativity of the student, both in their writing and the skill with which they deliver it.