Adjudicators' Criteria

Prepared speech (worth 60% of the total points)

The panel of adjudicators are looking for a prepared speech which engages the audience, uses Plain English and demonstrates social awareness.

They use a set of criteria for the prepared speech that covers the following:


  • Does the speech demonstrate research and planning?
  • Is there evidence of supporting material for the topic (for example, statistics, examples, quotes)?

Subject Matter

  • Does the speech demonstrate social awareness?
  • Is the speech original and intelligent in its exploration of the topic?
  • Does the speech have a convincing message that engages the audience?


  • Does the speaker develop the argument and line of thought logically and effectively?
  • Is the topic or purpose established early in the speech?
  • Does the speech have a satisfactory conclusion?
  • Does the speech have an overall sense of structure?


  • Are the speaker’s views stated clearly and in Plain English? This is evident when the speaker avoids:
    • ineffectual repetitions, e.g. 'Ladies and Gentlemen'
    • pompous or condescending language
    • over dramatic expressions
    • awkward pauses
    • conspicuous use of notes, reading, shuffling palm cards
    • inappropriate quotations
    • irrelevant or inappropriate humour
    • cliches
  • Is the language appropriate for the topic and the audience?
  • Is the delivery audible and articulate?
  • Does the speaker use pitch, pace and pauses effectively?
  • Is the speaker's style confident, fluent and natural?
  • Does the speaker avoid extravagant gestures or movement?

Back to Top

Impromptu speech (worth 40% of the total points)

In the impromptu section the adjudicators are looking for speeches which have a structure, and move beyond the speaker’s personal experience to the wider arena (local and/or world events).

They use a set of criteria for the impromptu speech that covers the following:

  • Does the speaker demonstrate a broad general knowledge?
  • Does the speaker show that they can think clearly and creatively under pressure?
  • Is the speaker able to structure a speech in a relatively short time?
  • Does the speaker use Plain English?

Back to Top

Overall impression

The combination of all the various components of speechmaking leaves an impression on the audience at the end of the speech. Adjudicators will ask:

  • Was the message clear and engaging?
  • Was it worth listening to?
  • Did the speaker appear to believe in what he/she was saying?
  • Did the audience appear to show understanding and appreciation?