Conducting a Speech Contest

Responsibilities of the Contest Chair

The contest chair is responsible for briefing contestants, for determining speaking order, for explaining the contest to the audience and for introducing the contestants. In addition, for the Table Topics contest, the contest chair is responsible for determining the table topics question. An appropriate question is one that can be answered by all contestants and allows different approaches to be used in answering. The purpose of the Table Topics contest is not to try and stump contestants but rather to determine how well a contestant can organize their thoughts in response to the question. To the extent possible, the briefing should be held at least half an hour prior to the contest start. Contestants should be given the opportunity to practice in the speaking area and with sound equipment, if available. Ensure you have a copy of the current year’s rulebook present when conducting the briefing. Review this in advance to become familiar with the rule. Note any changes from previous years.

When briefing contestants:

Responsibilities of the Chief Judge

It is your responsibility as Chief Judge to select the judges. At a club contest, there must be a minimum of 3 judges with 5 if possible. To the extent possible, maintain a balance of male and female judges. It is also your responsibility to select a tiebreaker judge. This person should only be known to you as Chief Judge. Arrange to collect the tiebreaker’s ballot yourself or if you are having the ballots put in an envelope, mark the envelope so you will know which one it is. The tiebreaker ballot should only be looked at if there is a tie.

To the extent possible, the briefing should be conducted at least a half hour before the start of the contest to ensure that judges have the opportunity to review the judging form. Ensure you have a copy of the current year’s rulebook present when conducting the briefing. Review this in advance to become familiar with the rule. Note any changes from previous years.

When briefing judges and timers: