2023 Speech Guide Released

We are excited to announce the release of our new 2023 Speech Guide, and we’re even more excited to see what competitors will do with some of the new and creative options we’ve introduced.

The NCFCA Speech Committee works year round to develop and refine speech events that fulfill our mission and uphold our values. We invite and encourage affiliates to send input and ideas to [email protected]. The committee reviews input in light of event goals, research, discussion, and prayer before proposing new events or rules to the National Leadership Team. Upon approval, we introduce them to you! 

All ten of our speech events will return for 2023, but four will have significant changes: After Dinner Speaking, Apologetics, Biblical Presentation, and Open Interpretation.

A summary of changes is available in the 2023 Speech Guide, and the most substantial changes are explained in-depth below. Read on to catch a glimpse of the heart and thought behind changes to After Dinner Speaking, Apologetics, Biblical Presentation, and Open Interpretation.

After Dinner Speaking

The goals of ADS include: 1) learning to use humor effectively, 2) understanding how to convey an inspirational theme in the midst of a light-hearted speech, and 3) developing rapport with the audience. Based on several points of feedback, the Speech Committee decided to explore why some ADS speeches are both entertaining and meaningful while others are not. They discovered that effective ADS speakers understand their audience and tailor their message. In order to help facilitate the opportunity to do both, the 2023 Speech Guide features several changes for After Dinner Speaking. 

  • Definition. An After Dinner Speaking speech entertains with humor while communicating a relevant theme to a mock audience. 
  • Mock audience. Students will state a specific audience to whom the speech is delivered.
  • Humor AND Theme. Students will present a meaningful theme, keeping humor central.
  • Unlimited characterization. Students can (if they wish) deliver the speech in character. 

Let’s look at a few examples to spark your creativity. Students could:

  • Share the benefits of a low carb diet with an audience of fellow superheroes
  • Share the positive aspects of change at a retirement party
  • Share the qualities needed to stand out with an audience of literary characters
  • Address human rights with a group of zoo animals

If you’re ready to jump into After Dinner Speaking, register for our one-day After Dinner Speaking Intensive on Thursday, July 21st or purchase the recording package to use with your family or club.  


The goals of Apologetics include 1) learning the basic tenets of the Christian faith, 2) growing in grace and knowledge, 3) addressing the relevant questions of our day, and 4) defending the faith winsomely and persuasively. Apologetics captures the heartbeat of our mission: to challenge and equip ambassadors for Christ to communicate truth with integrity and grace. Which led us to wonder, “Why aren’t more people participating?” So we asked the question and heard:

  • It’s hard to get started. (There are too many topics and they’re hard to understand.)
  • The topics are disconnected from the questions asked in real life.
  • The topics are difficult to defend. 

After research, discussion, and prayer, we set out to evaluate each question with the following criteria: Is it accessible, relevant, and defendable?

Consider the following topic: “What is God’s omniscience and why is it significant?” Now ask yourself the following questions: Do you understand the question? (accessible) Have you asked or been asked that question? (relevant) What would your thesis and main points be? Does the question set you up to defend a position or explain a topic? (defendable) 

Now consider this revised topic: “Does God know everything?” This is a question that you might actually ask or be asked. It requires you to take a position. Your thesis could be, “Yes, God does know everything” and your main points could defend that position. You might still explain omniscience but you can also share how you know it to be true and what difference it makes in your life. Returning students will be able to use most of the research and ideas that they have already gathered. 

We now have 48 Foundational Questions and 48 Application Questions, so there are no plans to introduce additional topics before the 2023 National Championship. Check out the complete list of Apologetics Topics in the 2023 Speech Guide.

Whether you compete in Apologetics or not, we hope and pray that these new topics will encourage you to dive into Apologetics in your homes and your clubs! Watch for further resources that will help you get started. 

Biblical Presentation

The goals of Biblical Presentation include 1) memorizing, studying, and interpreting Scripture, 2) choosing selections that point to a common theme, 3) developing realistic characters and creating vivid scenes in the mind of the audience, and 4) learning to use a visual aid to enhance a speech. Throughout the year, the committee received two key pieces of input. First, the rules related to the number and the length of Scripture passages limited the passages that could be used. Second, the rules limited students to a single visual aid (the cloth) and thus, limited creativity. In order to offer more latitude for creativity, we’ve introduced some changes for the upcoming season.

  • Definition. A Biblical Presentation speech develops one, two, or three selections of Scripture and presents the selection(s) with a chosen visual aid(s).
  • Selections. Students may use one, two or three selections of Scripture.
  • Narrative words. Students may use up to 4 narrative sections with up to 350 total words.
  • Visual aid. Students may use visual aid(s) that fit in a lidded box with overall dimensions (length + width + height) of up to 35”. (No fire, weapons, or glitter, please!)  

If you’re ready to jump into Biblical Presentation, register for our one-day Biblical Presentation Intensive on Thursday, July 21st or purchase the recording package to use with your family or club. 

Open Interpretation

For several years, Original and Open have been combined into a single event. However, feedback consistently highlights the fact that writing a 10-minute script is an entirely different skill than cutting a 10-minute script from a novel. Therefore, after research, discussion, and prayer, the Speech Committee proposed and the National Leadership Team approved limiting Open interpretation to non-original published literature selections for this season while the Speech Committee works to create an event with greater flexibility and creativity for those who love to write their own scripts! Now is your chance to provide input for that future event.  Email your ideas to [email protected]

As always, we encourage you to review the rules and ballots in the 2023 Speech Guide BEFORE you begin writing your speeches. If you have questions about any of the changes, please feel free to email [email protected]. We are so grateful for their dedication to creating and refining our Speech events. 

Go and prepare well!