There are a number of different events in which to compete in the world of forensics—different kinds of speeches or performances to give or forms of debate in which to engage. They can generally be subdivided into the following categories:

A platform speech is probably what comes to mind when you think of someone giving a speech to a crowd (a commencement speech, TED talk, sermon). While platform speeches are prepared and memorized well in advance, limited preparation speeches are given more on the spur of the moment with research done ahead of time (discussions of current events, apologetics). Interpretations tend to exercise a performer’s acting skills (plays, monologues, poetry). Finally debates are where two or more individuals clash when arguing either in favor of or against a particular resolution.

Each of these four categories develop and hone different sets of skills in the individuals participating in them. Though there’s a tendency to prefer one type of event over another, students improve best by participating in at least one event per category. Improving your skills in one area will improve your abilities in all areas.