We expect the following criteria as a basis:
- An organized, eloquent and fluent delivery of the speech.
- Someone who shows a great deal of poise and confidence in a public speaking situation.
- A timely or relevant topic that is applicable to the audience as a whole.
- A minimum of 3 sources CITED verbally during the speech (these sources are assumed to be from legitimate, reliable sources).
- A speech that is between 4-6 minutes.
- Visual aids, if they are used, are professional and neat and used in an efficient and effective manner.
- A formal style of dialogue that sounds conversational.
- A speaker who adapts to her/his audience when necessary, and who offends no one (as much as possible).
- A speaker who speaks from brief notes, not from a manuscript or from memory (as this extemporaneous style allows for the most audience adaptation).
- A speaker who cares enough about the importance of the event to dress nicely (a.k.a. appropriately) for the occasion.
- A speech with a clear introduction, body and conclusion.
What we shouldn’t see from a Speak Off finalist:
- A speaker who gives little or no eye contact.
- A speaker who is memorized or speaks from a manuscript (as this is counterintuitive to the goals for CN 150).
- A speaker who presents a non-informative speech (i.e. one that is persuasive or entertaining in nature).
- A speaker who disrespects a specific group or who employs generalizations or stereotypes in a non-constructive manner.
- A speaker who presents a topic that lacks applicability to the audience.
- A speaker who is incapable of adding sufficient nonverbal communication behaviors to accentuate the importance of particular aspects of the speech.
- A speaker who employs very few sources (i.e. not enough to justify assertions or fully support main points).
REMEMBER: This is a basis, not the be-all, end-all list or criteria.