There are two basic general categories of speech, Public Speaking and Interpretive. Full descriptions of the 13 competitive categories can be found in the Rules of the Minnesota State High School League.

PUBLIC SPEAKING events are those that are based on conveying facts or information. They teach or convince the listener about a topic and are written for the most part by the student.

Original Oratory is a persuasive speech intended to get its listeners to think or feel or certain way about a particular topic.

Informative is a speech intended to educate its audience about a meaningful, worthwhile topic.

In Extemporaneous Speaking, the topic, national or international current events, will be different each time the student writes and presents an original speech.

Great Speeches is a category of speech where the intention is to take a great speech from history and examine why it was great through the student’s own analysis and perhaps some expert support.

In Discussion, students are to do research surrounding policy topic so they become educated and well-informed. At each round “the task” is different.The goal of the round is for the students to “solve the task” they have been presented.

INTERPRETIVE EVENTS are designed to have to speaker convey moods or emotions to the audience from a piece of literature.

In Extemporaneous Reading, the story or poem will be different each time the student speaks. He or she must draw 3 stories or poems from this year’s book and choose 1 to read.

In Storytelling, the storyteller should re-tell the story from the MSHSL storytelling book in there own words.

Creative Expression involves performance of a speech that is at least 80% original (written by the speaker).

In Serious Prose, Poetry or Drama, students convey the meaning of the published story, poem or play selection through use of vocal, facial, and limited bodily expression.

In Duo Interpretation, two students compete using a script from any genre of literature.

Humorous is an essentially funny speech and it can be taken from any published prose, poetry, or a play. It is not written by the student.

While the coaches will provide direction and make the final decision as to the category and piece for each student, the students are involved in the selection of their category and their piece. Younger students will receive considerable guidance and assistance from their individual coach. Veteran students such as juniors and seniors are expected to be responsible for script selection and editing.