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Public speaking 2011 british week 2011

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Public speaking 2011 british week 2011

  1. 1. PUBLIC SPEAKING 2011 BRITISH WEEK 2011 FINALS The winner and the runner-up will each receive a prize. A third prize will be awarded to the participant selected by the audience who may or may not be one of the other prize win- ners. This is the Audience Choice Award. Speeches and Adjudication Participants will deliver a prepared speech, inspired by the theme for the competition.The adjudicators’ decision is final. TIMING Each participant will be allocated 5 minutes to deliver their prepared speech. Adjudicators may penalise participants who overrun. Marks will be deducted for speeches which vary more than 45 seconds either side of 5 minutes and at the end of 6 minutes participants will be asked to finish their speech immediately. The timekeeper will record the lengths of speeches and give these to the adjudicators. The timekeeper will also give an audible sig- nal after 4 minutes 15 seconds, 5 minutes and 5 minutes 45 seconds. Each speech will be followed by a series of questions from the adjudication panel and members of the audi- ence. Each participant will be asked at least two questions by the adjudication panel and at least two questions by members of the audience. Question time will not last for more than 3-4 minutes. SEQUENCE At all stages of the competition, the order in which participants speak will be determined by the convenor. The chairperson will introduce each participant, giving their name and the ti- tle of their speech. After the participant has delivered their speech, the chairperson will in- vite questions from the adjudicators and the audience. These must be addressed through the chairperson. The question time will last for not more than four minutes so questions should be answered briefly and to the point. Accompanying guests of the participant may not ask questions following his or her speech. The participant will stand at the front of the room. The adjudication panel will be at the back of the room, behind the audience. The chairperson and timekeeper will sit at a table to the side of the room, next to the participant No visual aids or microphones are used by the chairperson, judges or participant. This in- cludes props of any kind. 1
  2. 2. PREPARATION While each type of public speech has different aims, we can still identify common purpos- es. In general, a public speech should seek to: • inform • entertain • persuade • inspire The most compelling and powerful public speeches do all four. For example, a politician could seek to persuade their audience by presenting lies, but the persuasiveness of that speech disappears once those lies are revealed. A speech that not only persuades, but accurately informs is far more likely to have an enduring impact on the audience. CREDIBILITY Credibility is fundamental to public speaking. Having credibility doesn’t have to mean being the most qualified or knowledgeable, but it does mean making good, valid and preferably strong arguments. Remember that your audience, including the judges, may not have detailed knowledge of your topic. A credible speech will not blind the audience with facts or assertions. If you want to use technical terms or complex facts, take time to explain them, and make sure they are relevant to your argument. Building a strong, good and valid argument will give your speech credibility with an audi- ence who neither knows you nor the details of your subject. CHOOSING THE TOPIC You MUST ask yourself the following essential questions: 1.Will my topic capture the audience ’ s interest? Your audience does not necessarily need to be interested in your subject before the speech. Indeed, most speeches that set out to inform will be on things that peo- ple know very little about, but the subject should capture their imagination. As your speech is only a maximum of five minutes, think about the ways in which interest can be captured within a few sentences. 2.Am I interested in the topic? Selecting a topic that you have an interest in means you will be more motivated when researching and composing it, and will therefore produce a better speech. Enthusiasm is an incredibly difficult thing to fake! On the other hand, if you already know a lot of detailed information, you may be tempted to show your depth of knowledge to the detriment of the structure of the speech. Picking a subject to speak on that is new to you will help you to produce a well-researched, interesting and engaging speech. 3.Am I able to research my topic effectively? You will need to use information in your speech to inform and persuade your audi- ence. Use a range of sources, which can include the internet, school or local li- braries, interviews or personal experiences. Refer to them in your speech so the adjudicators know you have a road base for your arguments. The questions that follow your speech are designed to test your knowledge and understanding of your chosen topic. Therefore, you should have carried out sufficient research to be able to answer questions relating to the subject matter of your speech. 4.Can I properly discuss my chosen topic in the limited time I have available? Some topics are unfamiliar to audiences and may require considerable amounts of background information simply to give context to your speech. OTHER POINTS TO CONSIDER 2
  3. 3. Statement of intent ‘If you can’t write your speech in a sentence, you can’t say it in an hour’. Remember that writing a speech is different to writing an essay. You don’t have the opportunity to go back and reread sentences or pause to consider a complex statement. Clarity is crucial to effec- tive delivery. To ensure that your speech remains clear, try to draw up what you believe will be the core of the speech; a few sentences that explain the purpose of the speech and its main points. Complete the following sentence: “At the end of my speech I want to have convinced the audience that... ” Give yourself a specific target. For example, rather than saying “At the end of my speech I want to have convinced the audience that global poverty is bad”, say “At the end of my speech I want to have convinced my audience that global poverty is bad, there are ways in which the audience can address it, and that they have a responsibility to do so”. This is your statement of intent. You do not have to include the statement of intent in your speech, but having one allows you to tie your main points to what your speech sets out to achieve. By way of example, find a public speech that you find appealing and one that you find unappealing or confusing. Try to write a statement of intent for each. The speech for which you find it easier to identify a core aim, will be the speech you find more appealing. Conflicting evidence and opinions Interesting speeches often make claims that are controversial. In the course of your re- search, you will discover information surrounding your topic that does not support your conclusion and opinions that differ from your own. Don’t ignore these! Take time in your speech to acknowledge, explore and recognise other points of view, be- fore comparing them carefully with your own evidence and reasons to come to a balanced conclusion. That is much more effective as a method of persuasion because it creates more credibility for you. When persuading the audience to adopt a particular point of view, think about the ways in which your arguments might be opposed, and try to incorporate the response to those arguments in your speech. After all, an audience is more likely to be persuaded by someone who understands the alternatives and can justify their position, than by someone who only knows or understands one view. Audiences aren’t passive; they think about and question the material that you present, and are more likely to be per- suaded by arguments that you have tested, and subsequently strengthened. 3
  4. 4. Researching your topic Researching your topic is essential. Even if you have prior knowledge of your chosen top- ic, you will need to broaden your perspective on the issue, considering a broader range of sources and alternative perspectives. When researching your topic, you should be mindful of the following points: • You should consider different types of sources, such as fact-based sources (e.g. ency- clopaedias), opinion-based sources (e.g. newspapers) and academic sources (e.g. jour- nals) • You should also aim to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information on your top- ic. The internet can be very useful for this (e.g. Google). • Where statistics are employed as evidence, you should aim to have two or more sources to support your argument. You do not need to quote these sources, but you should be aware of them, particularly for questions. • Anecdotal evidence (e.g. personal stories, myths and memories) should never be the primary source supporting your arguments, but may be a very effective way to demonstrate the human elements of your speech and in- spire passion or empathy in the audience. Anecdotal evidence is also, very often, enter- taining. TOP TIPS FOR CONFIDENCE Know what you are going to say and have clear and easy-to-follow notes in front of you. • Know your first sentence off by heart. • Breathe in before your first sentence and speak while breathing outwards. You will find that your voice projects much further and it is easy to capture the audi- ence’s attention • Avoid wearing uncomfortable clothes or distracting jewellery. Tie your hair back if necessary. • Have a sip of water before you go up to speak. Keep the glass near at hand. • Breathe deeply, using your diaphragm, not your chest (your stomach should move out if you are doing it right). • Start clearly and loudly from the very first word. • Make eye contact with the audience from the start. If you are too nervous to do that, look at the middle of their foreheads. They won’t be able to tell the difference! • If you stumble over a sentence, or momentarily forget what you were going to say, don’t try to talk your way out of it. Just stop, have a drink of water or simply pause, breathe deeply and start again. • Smile at the audience. They are not hostile. • Relax and enjoy yourself. Having a whole room of people listen to you is a rare experience and can be exhilarating! 4
  5. 5. ANSWERING QUESTIONS • Before your speech, think what questions are likely to be asked and consider how you might answer them. • Don’t be tempted to simply answer the question you had prepared. Always remember to answer the question that was actually asked. • Use the time in which the question is being asked to start formulating your answer. Don’t be afraid to pause before answering. You do not have to rush into an immediate response. • Do not feel that you have to say a lot to answer a question. Some of the best answers are very short. You should not spend more than one minute answering a question. • Although some questions may ask you to further explain, defend or justify your views, avoid becoming defensive or starting a debate with the questioner. Answer the question as well as you can and thank the questioner for their comments and for giving you the oppor- tunity to clarify your point. ENJOY EXPRESSING YOUR IDEAS AND OPINONS. THAT’S WHAT THIS WORLD NEEDS FROM YOU! 5

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