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We are Public Speaking Contests

Tournament Rules

Downloadable PDF of the Tournament Rules

General Rules

Competitors will conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times.  Profanity and abuse will result in immediate rejection and disqualification from the Tournament and could also result in legal action.

Presentations containing religious, political, sexual, discriminatory, profanity, vulgarity, pornography or pornographic language, other obscenities or otherwise controversial/offensive content will be disqualified.

The Tournament is conducted in English only.

The speech must be thematic in nature (opening, body, and close), not a series of one-liners.

Competitors must prepare their own speeches. Each speech must be substantially original.

Twenty-five percent or less of the speech may be devoted to quoting, para­phrasing, or referencing another person’s content. Any quoted, paraphrased, or referenced content must be so identified during the presentation.

The Tournament Organizers will appoint a:

  • Tournament Chair who will oversee and conduct the Tournament.
  • Chief Judge who will oversee the collection and documentation of the scores for the speakers and coaches during the Tournament.
  • Time Keepers who will track and record the time of each presentation during the Tournament.

All Competitors will speak from the same area designated by the Tournament Chair.

All Competitors (Speakers and Coaches) and the Chief Judge will be advised of the speaking area before the Tournament begins.

A lectern will be available. Use of the lectern is optional.

If necessary, an appropriate microphone shall be made available.

Competitors are responsible for arranging their preferred setup of the lectern, microphone, props, technology and other equipment in a quiet manner during the three (3) minutes of silence between Competitor speeches. Competitors may enlist the Tournament stage hand to help them with props.

Competitors will be informed of the speaking order prior to the Tournament.

Before the Tournament, Competitors will be briefed on the rules by the Tournament Chair.  If a Competitor is absent from the briefing the Competitor will be disqualified.

Before the Tournament, the Time Keepers will be briefed on their duties by the Chief Judge. Time Keepers will receive the Tournament Time Record Sheet and Instruction for Time Keepers.

There will be three (3) minutes of silence between Competitor speeches, during which the Coaches will mark the scores for the Competitor.  All Coaches will evaluate all Competitors; the Chief Judge does not evaluate Competitors.

When the last Competitor finishes speaking, the Tournament Chair will ask for silence until all Coaches have competed marking the scores.

After the final speaker in the group has completed their speech each speaker will hear an evaluation of their presentation by one of the coaches.

Each coach will present a three (3) minute evaluation of a designated speaker assigned by Tournament officials. Coaches will be evaluated by the eight (8) speakers.

All scores will be tallied.

The four (4) speakers and the four (4) coaches who receive the highest scores move to the next round.

Timing

Speeches must be between four (4) minutes and 30 seconds and five (5) minutes and 15 seconds.

  • Timing is strictly adhered to.
  • A time violation will result in disqualification.
  • A timing light will go on at four (4) minutes and 30 seconds. At five (5) minutes and 15 seconds a second timing light will go on and the MC will start to clap. You have been disqualified.

Evaluations must be between three (3) minutes and three (3) minutes and 15 seconds.

  • Timing is strictly adhered to.
  • A time violation will result in disqualification.
  • A timing light will go on at three (3) minutes. At three (3) minutes and 15 seconds a second timing light will go on and the MC will start to clap. You have been disqualified.

Upon being introduced, the Competitor shall proceed immediately to the speaking position. Timing will begin with the Competitor’s first definite verbal or nonverbal com­munication with the audience. This usually will be the first word uttered by the Competitor, but would include any other communication such as sound effects, a staged act by another person, etc.

The speaker should begin speaking within a short time after arriving at the speaking area, and is not permitted to delay the Tournament unnecessarily.

Any visually impaired Competitor is permitted to request and must be granted a form of warning signal of his or her own choosing. Acceptable warning signals would include, but not be limited to: a buzzer, a bell, or a person announcing the times for Competitors in the Speaking Division.

If any special device for such signal is required, it is the Competitor’s responsibility to provide any and all devices.

All devices must be pre-approved by the Tournament Organizers.

In the event of technical failure of the signal or timing equipment a green and a red card will be held up.

 

Props

Competitors who plan to use props (including any sort of electronic device), must notify the Tournament Chair prior to the Tournament.

All devices/props must be pre-approved by the Tournament Organizers.

Competitors must abide by any venue restrictions on the use of props.  All props must be set up during the three (3) minutes of silence prior to the Competitor’s speech and removed from the stage in the three (3) minutes of silence following the speech.  Competitors may enlist the Tournament stage hand to help them with props.

Competitors must demonstrate to the Tournament Chair prior to the Tournament that the props can be set up and removed in the allotted times. If a Competitor is unable to demonstrate this, the props cannot be used during the Tournament.

Competitors may not use digital or other devices during the Tournament to gain an unfair advantage.

Final Four

The four Competitors who advance to the final round must present an entirely new and different speech than any they presented during the first three rounds of the Tournament.

The final four coaches will be evaluated by the final four speakers.

During the Tournament

No-one will be allowed to enter or leave the room during any presentation.

The taking of any photographs and/or videos or recording with any device during the Tournament is strictly prohibited.  Anyone doing so will be asked to leave immediately!

Competitor’s Checklist

Before the Tournament

  1. Select a topic and prepare your own substantially original speech.
  2. Attend the Competitor’s Briefing.
  3. Inform the Tournament Chair of any props you plan to use.
  4. By entering this Tournament, you certify that you have read and understand the rules regarding eligibility and originality.
  5. All speakers and coaches must attend the Speaker’s Rehearsal and take note of the speaking area. Any Competitor missing the rehearsal is disqualified.

During the Tournament

  1. You have the three (3) minutes of silence before your introduction to set up any and all props and visual aids. Competitors may enlist the Tournament stage hand to help them with props.
  2. After your introduction, proceed immediately to the speaking area and begin your speech.
  3. Check the timing signals regularly during your presentation.
    When the signal is activated:
    ~~ speakers have 45 seconds
    ~~ coaches have 15 seconds
    to wrap it up, even if you’re not finished with your presentation.
  1. Immediately following your speech, remove any props or visual aids from the speaking area. Competitors may enlist the Tournament stage hand to help them with props.