The level of this year’s contestants was really quite high. The speeches were well written with very few language errors. This made it very difficult to make the selection for this year’s contest. That said, there are a few points that we would like to point out to all of the contestants.
- Even if you have a well-written speech in terms of grammar and vocabulary this will not guarantee a good result. The message of your speech should be strong and interesting. Leaving an impact on the listener is important, too. The organization of your speech can also help or hinder its level of impact, so be sure to also think deeply about the most effective way to structure your speech.
- As mentioned, many speeches had good vocabulary. Word choice is important, but using unnaturally difficult words can leave the audience confused. Don’t forget to think about the audience who should be able to understand your message easily.
- The content is a major part of the speech, as we have seen in the previous points. It is impressive to use quotations and references, but don’t forget that it is a speech and not a research report. Use them sparingly to enhance your speech and add impact.
- The audio submissions were also of a high quality with good pronunciation, intonation, and rhythm. Some contestants had obviously put a lot of practice time in. Although it is not a major part of the decision, as there is still time to practice and improve before the actual event, it does show that the speaker has prepared and is not just reading the speech for the first time.
- One final comment is to be careful of being “overdramatic”. It is a speech and the judges want to see and hear how you present your ideas. Being “overdramatic” is seen by some judges as a negative. Try to be natural and stress the points that are important to your message.