The English-Speaking Union National Public Speaking Championship

ESThe English-Speaking Union National Public Speaking Championship:
March 22nd, 2024 Report

Theme: A Great Leader Can Change the World in an Instant
Jacqueline Einer, Itır Beğen, Kassandra Robertson and Eylem Bütüner

The English-Speaking Union National Championship held its prepared speech heats on March 22nd, 2024. The competition followed an adjudication process to determine the participants advancing to the grand finale. Jacqueline Einer was the Head of the Jury Panel and the other SL instructors were members of the jury. 

Adjudication Process

Prepared Speeches: The theme for the prepared speech heats was "A Great Leader Can Change the World in an Instant." Participants were free to interpret the theme in their own way. The adjudication process ensured a fair evaluation based on clear criteria. Each heat comprised roughly four participants delivering five-minute speeches on the chosen theme. Adjudicators evaluated speeches based on four key criteria:
Expression and Delivery (35 points): Clarity, audience engagement, and effective use of language and body language.
Reasoning and Evidence (35 points): Logical arguments, supported by relevant evidence and analysis.
Organisation and Prioritisation (15 points): Clear structure, logical flow of ideas, and emphasis on key arguments.
Listening and Response (15 points): Ability to answer questions effectively, demonstrating knowledge and responsiveness.

After each heat, adjudicators discussed their individual rankings and scores before reaching a consensus on the candidates who will be competing in the final round.

The Final Round:
First, the competitors were presented with topics and two minutes to formulate and deliver a compelling impromptu speech. This report provides an analysis of the competition based on the defined criteria.

ESExpression and Delivery (40 points):
Clear purpose and impact: Effective impromptu speakers establish a clear goal for their speech within the first few seconds. Did the participants grab the audience's attention and introduce a well-defined message?
Verbal and non-verbal skills: Strong delivery relies on clear articulation, appropriate volume and pace, engaging body language, and confident eye contact. How effectively did the participants use these elements to enhance their message?
Language and style: Impromptu speeches benefit from concise and impactful language. Did the participants demonstrate a strong command of vocabulary and deliver their thoughts with clarity and style?
Confidence: Effective impromptu speaking requires confidence and poise. Did the participants appear comfortable and in control during their deliveries?

Reasoning and Analysis (40 points):
Clear statement of intent: The speaker should clearly state the main point they aim to convey throughout the speech.
Evidence and examples: Supporting arguments with relevant examples and analogies strengthens the message. Did the participants use these techniques to bolster their impromptu arguments?
Logic and engagement with different viewpoints: Strong reasoning requires a logical flow of ideas and acknowledging, even briefly, opposing perspectives. Were the participants able to logically construct their arguments and demonstrate awareness of potential counterarguments?
Credibility: A compelling impromptu speech establishes the speaker's credibility within the short timeframe. Did the participants present their ideas in a way that resonated with the audience and established themselves as knowledgeable on the topic?

Organisation and Prioritisation (20 points):
Structure: Even impromptu speeches benefit from a clear structure, with an introduction, main body, and conclusion. Did the participants demonstrate an ability to organize their thoughts and deliver a well-structured speech under pressure?
Prioritisation of arguments: Effective speakers know how to prioritize their most compelling points within the time limit. Did the participants present their most impactful arguments first, ensuring their key message was delivered?
Control of timing: Sticking to the allotted time is crucial in an impromptu speech competition. Did the participants demonstrate good time management skills?
Then, the competitors gave their prepared speeches one more time in front of the whole audience and were evaluated once again with the prepared speech criteria.

The Results:
The English Speaking Union National Championship's impromptu speech competition undoubtedly showcased the quick thinking, adaptability, and communication skills of the participants. Analyzing their performance based on the defined criteria provided valuable insights into their strengths and potential areas for improvement.
The winners:
1st Place: Saba Koca of UAA
2nd Place: Defne İnci Ulus of IELEV
3rd Place: Zeynep Ada Apaydın of FMV Işık Erenköy

The champion will be competing in The English Speaking Union International Public Speaking Competition in May, in London, The U.K.