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5 May 2001

World Public Speaking Championships Rules

World Universities

Public Speaking Championships Rules
(as passed at Worlds Council on 1st Jan 2001)

Part 1— Introduction

1.1 Format:

1.1.1 The competition shall consist of four rounds:

(a) Rounds 1 and 2 shall be contested by all registered participants

(b) The semi-finals shall be contested by the top twelve competitors.

(c) The final shall be contested by the top six competitors.

1.2 Speech Length

1.2.1 Speakers should deliver their speeches within the time limits set down below:

(a) Speeches in Rounds 1 and 2 should be between 3 and 4 minutes in length.

(b) Speeches in semi-finals should be between 4 and 5 minutes in length

(c) Speeches in the final should be between 5 and 6 minutes in length

1.3 Preparation

1.3.1 Speeches in one of the opening two rounds shall be on an impromptu topic, and on a pre-prepared topic in the other

1.3.2 In the impromptu rounds speakers will be given their topic immediately before the preceding competitor's speech, i.e. 3-5 minutes beforehand.

1.3.3 The topic for the pre-prepared round will be publicised at the beginning of the week, including at registration and at the main debaters' and adjudicators' briefings.

1.3.4 Topics for the semi-finals and final may be impromptu or announced in advance, at the discretion of the competition organisers.

1.3.5 Speakers will speak in an order to be drawn randomly, either at the briefing or upon assembly in their respective venues. This order may not subsequently be changed by the speakers, whether by mutual agreement or not, without the consent of the chair of adjudicators for that round.

1.4 Timing

1.4.1 The timing of speeches is primarily the responsibility of the individual speaker. Speakers will be given a time signal (a single knock of the gavel) at the beginning of the optimum speaking time and then again (a double knock) at the end of the optimum speaking time.

1.4.2 Speakers should note that speeches concluding substantially below the first gavel knock (more than 20 seconds early) or substantially after the second knock (more than 20 seconds late) will be penalised for poor time management.

Part 2— Topics

2.1 Choice of topics

2.1.1 Topics used in rounds of the Public Speaking Competition shall reflect the dignity and integrity of the competition and shall encourage and demand those qualities in both speakers and their speeches.

2.1.2 Topics may be selected by the hosts for theie particular local or national significance, but should in all cases be chosen with the international nature of the competition in mind.

2.2 Types of topic

2.2.1 Topics may be worded in the same manner as motions for debate.

2.2.2 Topics may be formed of quotations, famous sayings, phrases or proverbs.

2.2.3 Topics may be formed of lines of poetry, prose, song lyric or dramatic literature.

2.2.4 Topics may consist of objects, artefacts or other physical material.

2.2.5 Topics may consist of visual materials such as projected slides, photographs, artwork or other pictures.

2.2.6 Whatever form they take topics must offer speakers a clear and definite thematic line along which the speech may be developed.

Part 3— Elements

3.2 Matter

3.1.1 Matter refers to the substance, content or material developed during a speech. It includes the issue or issues that provide the thematic base of a speech, together with the ideas, arguments, evidence and support developed during the speech.

3.1.2 Elements of matter include arguments, ideas, observations, propositions, statements of opinion, facts, evidence, quotations, and sxamples of any kind.

3.1.3 Matter should be relevant to the topic, in so far as it is clearly linked to it and developed in a clear and logical fashion.

3.1.4 Matter will be assessed in terms of its effectiveness, both in communicating the speakers ideas, and supporting the speakers arguments.

3.1.5 Adjudicators should not allow bias to influence their assessment and should disregard and specialist knowledge they may have on the subject.

3.2 Manner

3.2.1 Manner refers to the style and delivery of a speaker, together with the overall structure of a speech.

3.2.2 Style may be characterised by a speakers persuasive skills, sincerity, confidence, rapport with the audience and ability, where appropriate to generate an emotional or intellectual response from them.

3.2.3 Elements of style include eye contact, voice modulation, hand gestures, language, the use of notes, rhetorical style and confidence, humour, and any other elements which enhances or detracts from the effectiveness of the speaker.

3.2.4 Use of humour should be rewarded by adjudicators where it is appropriate and complements the content, presentation and flow of the speech.

3.2.5 Structure may be characterised as the prioritisation of ideas and arguments, the provision where appropriate or clear linkage between material, and effective allocation of time.

3.2.6 Speeches should be structured in such a way as to optimise their effectiveness. This shouls include an introduction, development of argument or ideas and summary.

3.2.7 Manner will be assessed in terms of its effectiveness in aiding the speaker's communication, persuasuveness, and general presentation.

3.2.8 Adjudicators should be aware that at a World Championships there will be many styles of public speaking that are appropriate and should not allow bias to influence their assessment.

Part 4— Adjudication

4.1 Grading and marking of speakers.

4.1.1 Speakers should be assessed by adjudicators with the provisional award of a grade or mark at the end of each speech.

4.1.2 Once all the speakers have left, adjudicators will confer and agree on the ranking og the speakers from first to last. They should also agree on a grade for each speaker, according to the folloeing guidelines.

A 90 - 100: Excellent to flawless

Definately finals material. The speaker makes an excellent speech in almost every respect.

B 80-89: Above average to very good

The speaker might be expected to break to the semi-finals. A very good speech, possibly with some minor weaknesses, hesitation or lack of confidence.

C 70 - 79 Average

Unlikley to break to semi-finals. THe speaker has the major components of a speech in place, but also has major weaknesses.

D 60 - 69 Below average

The speech has serious flaws, may be poorly developed and delivered, and only minor strengths.

E 50-59 Very Poor

The speaker has fundamental weaknesses, and the speech is badly delivered, irrelevant, hesitant, and makes little or no connection with the audience.

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