Preparing for Your Next Public Speaking Competition (Part 1)
Ever wondered how judges evaluate Original Oratories? When we think about sports like tennis or basketball, it’s pretty easy to judge each game. Strict rules, clear lines, and even modern technological systems such as the Hawk-Eye are present, which ensure every point is judged precisely. But what do you do when the rules of the game don’t involve lines and computers but ordinary people, like in Original Oratory?
If you’d like to know, well, you are on the right page. In this article, you’ll learn how judges evaluate Original Oratories and how you can use these judging criteria to assess and improve upon your own performance.
Are you ready? In Original Oratories, students get ranked from first to last. But how do judges determine these rankings? The golden rule is to judge by comparison. This means that your ranking in the round is based on how other speakers perform relative to you. Instead of giving you a ranking straight away, judges will listen to your speech as well as all the other speeches in the round before considering how your speech compares in terms of the importance, relatability, and originality of the topic and overall performance. These are the three OO evaluation criteria we’ll be checking out. First, importance, meaning a topic with value or consequence. You can work out how to maximize the importance of your speech by asking yourself three questions.
1. How much will your target audience care about this topic?
When selecting a topic, you want to pick something that has a significant impact on the lives of your audience, and thereby, the judge. That’s why you should explicitly flag in your speech, why your topic matters and what the consequences are should we choose not to care. If you’ve selected a topic that affects a vulnerable stakeholder, addresses a pressing concern, or impacts many people, then you’re probably on the right track. For instance, a speech about eliminating racism amongst police units would really speak to the needs of a 2020 American audience. Why? Because it impacts groups of people who have been and are still being marginalized. Even if your audience isn’t American, they can still agree that protecting basic human rights is significant or important to maintaining a fair and safe society.
2. Is the thesis clearly established?
This question will help you establish the importance. When presenting your topic, as you already know, you want to use a thesis that is clear and easy to understand from the perspective of the judge. Remember, your judges will be lay-judges, most likely they will have no prior experience with Original Oratory. Because of this, you want to make sure that your thesis statement doesn’t sound too complicated so that they can easily understand what your speech is all about.
3. Does my delivery assist in establishing the importance of the topic?
You can select the most important topic in the world, one that the judge will truly care about, but if you don’t emphasize its importance in your delivery, you might come off as less-than-convincing. For instance, you might be talking about issues surrounding mental health. This is a very important topic and you want to make the judge take note of its importance by emphasizing the keywords and being expressive with your body, voice, and eye contact. You want to show that you truly care about and believe in what you’re saying. If you deliver your speech in an indifferent tone or don’t tag important ideas with appropriate body language, the importance of your topic might be lost on your audience. That’s all you need to know when it comes to assessing importance. As you’ve seen, importance includes evaluation of your topic selection, thesis statement, and delivery.
There you go! Cover up these criteria in your preparation and you’ll surely get a better chance at winning. In part two of this blog post, you will learn the two other criteria used in OO: relatability and originality.