Speech Tips and Scoring Guide 2012

Speech Tips and Scoring Guide
Before your speech:
Practice! Practice in front of a mirror, in front of a relative or friend, or simply read your speech aloud behind closed
doors. Practicing helps you to hear the flow of words and identify problem areas –those where you stumble or stutter. It
also allows you to make notes about when to slow down, speak up, etc.
By practicing, you will probably begin memorizing the speech. You do not have to memorize the entire speech, but
memorizing the first and last lines of each paragraph tends to give the audience the impression that you have memorized
the entire piece!
On the day of the speech:
 Dress the part. Presentation dress is the expectation.
 Make direct eye contact with your audience when possible. If you are extremely nervous, give the impression of
making eye contact by focusing on the tops of their heads. Most audience members can’t tell the difference!
 Gesture naturally and watch for overactive arm movements; these can be distracting.
 Stand flat on both feet and do not lean on the podium. Feel free to walk away from the podium, if you are
comfortable doing so. If you choose to remain behind the podium, try to take a few steps during the presentation;
remaining statuesque is usually not a good idea. According to the Northwest Arkansas Community College
website: “Movement helps you channel your energy in a positive manner and helps keep your audience focused.”
(Hey, that was an easy way to cite a source for an unoriginal idea!)
 Speak loudly and clearly. Enunciate.
 Correctly pronounce each word in your speech. Errors detract from your credibility.
 Be aware of and avoid vocal fillers (uh, um, etc.) If you feel yourself stumbling, stop, take a deep breath, and pan
across the audience. This will give you a moment to regain your composure. Chances are, they’ll think it was a
planned part of your speech.
 Try to sound conversational. Speeches that are story-like are usually easier on the ear.
 Be sure to cite all unoriginal material. Tell the name of the author, the source of the quote, if possible, and the
year, if known. (Example: In President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Inaugural address, he said: “And so, my fellow
Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”)
Content of Speech
How do you look?
Are you engaging?
Is it on topic?
Does it make a point?
Does it contain adequate
facts, statistics and details?
Does it make sense?
Is it interesting?
_______/7 subject
_______/7 theme
_______/7 content
_______/7 logic
_______/7 color
Delivery &
Are you clear?
Can we hear you?
Do you use gestures to
make or support key
Are you speaking to us?
Do you mean what you
Are you stressing
important points through
changes in delivery?
________/5 voice
________/5 volume
________/5 pronunciation
________/5 gestures
________/5 eye contact
________/5 sincerity
________/5 emphasis
Overall Effectiveness Penalties
Do you appear to be
prepared and organized?
Do you get our attention
and keep it?
Are you happy to be our
Is your speech good
enough to hear again?
______/2.5 appeal
______/2.5 impression
______/2.5 attitude
______/2.5 effect
1. Failure to announce the
official topic - 3 points
2. Failure to identify nonoriginal material disqualification
3. Use of props, etc. –
4. Time penalties – 1 point
for each 15 seconds or
fraction of over or under
the allotted time of 3-4
5. Self-identification – 5
points or fraction of based
on degree of identification