National Public Speaking Competition 2019 – A Review of the Qualifying Rounds 2019
Last week, I had the privilege of taking up the role of Contest Chairperson for one of the sessions in the Qualifying Rounds of the National Public Speaking Competition 2019 (Secondary Category) on 22 and 23 October 2019 at YMCA Orchard Singapore. Beyond managing the proceedings and ensuring the round goes on smoothly, I had the golden opportunity to sit through not one, not ten but more than 70 creative speeches in two days!
The learning experience from sitting through the two sessions alone was rewarding. Every contestant delivered the product of their painstaking and persistent preparation, with panache and power. I was constructively engaged throughout the entire two days. Last week, I wrote a comparison guide on choosing the best platform for your child’s public speaking training, in choosing between the classroom, public speaking course or competition. Having had the opportunity to sit through the competition setting, I observed a few key points that every speaker (both adult and students) can take note of in their public speaking journey.
Here are some observations I made during the valuable two days!
Creativity in Numbers – Viewing Life and Speech Topics in Various Perspective
I would urge every speaker, who claim that they do not have the creativity to come up with a speech topic, to attend and sit through the Qualifying Rounds of the National Public Speaking Competition. Every speech was different in terms of its topic selection and the interpretation in a speech format. The creativity at show was astounding! Even though some of the speeches touched on the same broad topic (e.g. dealing with challenges), the contestants were able to pepper their speeches with unique elaboration, themes and experiences.
The use of stories or personal anecdotes, in particular, is an effective tool to distinguish your speech from others. Beyond creativity in delivery, creativity in content also ensures that your audience is thoroughly engaged throughout the speech. Every experience is personal and unique to the speaker – by layering these stories into your speeches, you add your personal flavour and signature to your audience’s experience.
***Check out our piece on “Discover The 3 Proven Strategies To Boost Creativity In Public Speaking” to see how you can be creative with your presentation/ speech!
Mastery of Content – Rapport and Relationship with Your Audience
Boy, was I glad that I was not a contestant! From the comfort of my seat, I could see our young public speakers determinedly rehearsing their speech with gusto and focus. Practice is an essential part of building confidence, especially as a young public speaker. Inculcating the habit of practising is a positive start to any public speaking journey. In rehearsing the speech, the aim is to be so comfortable with your speech materials that you can focus on the delivery itself. The stronger contestants during the Qualifying Rounds were able to comfortably wield their speech materials while creating rapport with their audience. It was as if they were having a great conversation with the judges and audience members!
Coherence, Cogency and Creativity – A Solid Structure
Speeches are like roadmaps for the audience – a confusing or complicated speech is unlikely to succeed in encouraging your audience members to follow you. The contestants were able to deliver well-crafted and structured speeches, weaving in stories, quotations and even jokes where appropriate. When done in a coherent, cogent and creative manner, speech structuring will help to create a memorable speech experience for your audience members.
Adding structure need not be a rigid process. For example, layering your speech with a few stories to demarcate specific messages or learning points will help your audience to follow your speech. Each story can be accompanied by its elaborated details and moral before moving on to another segment of the speech. Ultimately, a clear and strong structure will go a long way in your speech presentation!
Till Next Time …
The Qualifying Rounds for the National Public Speaking Competition (Secondary Category) were equal parts inspiring and impressive. Each of the contestants gave their best shot during their round, presenting their inspiring and unique stories. The Competition can only get better (and tougher!) from here, and I look forward to catching the next batch of young public speakers for the next Competition!
Congratulations and all the best to every single contestant who challenged themselves!
Check Out How The Contestants From The Past Editions Did!