Wednesday, July 17, 2013


This week I had the privelege of judging one of the preliminary speech contests. As a certified judge I have performed this task at different levels, but it has never been so difficult! In terms of speech delivery, the contestants really raised the bar. Most stepped away from the lectern and used few or no notes. They spoke with confidence and conviction. I'm sure some could have second careers as standup comics. Others aptly demonstrated their powers of persuasion. Very impressive!

If I could offer one piece of advice to the contestants, it would be to study the judge's worksheet. Is the category of your speech clear in your opening? Does the body support your thesis statement? Does your content appeal to an international audience? With less than 5 points separating the top and bottom speakers on my worksheet, these criteria were crucial to my decision. Tailor your content for maximum points.

Overall, I must say that this was one of the best contests I have seen - and amazingly, the final was even better! The speakers were a testament to their POWERtalk training. Well done, everyone!

Shelley Petley D C

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