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:

Preparation

  • 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?

Structure

  • 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?

Delivery

  • 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?

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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?

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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?