The other day, I judged an English speech contest. The contestants were school students. I judge the contest every year. This year was my 11th time. There were about 30 students in the contest. As usual, I was very impressed with the standard of the speeches.
In speech contests, while pronunciation is important, it is also important to think about non-verbal communication and the impact your speech has on the audience. Factors such as eye-contact and gestures are important. Some students used too many gestures, which was unnatural. Others used them well – adding expression to their speech.
When practicing the speech, it is important to ask yourself “what impact do I want to have?” “How do I want the listeners to feel?” The students who scored highly in the contest gave moving speeches. They successfully communicated their feelings, not only their words, to the listeners.
I was impressed with all the contestants though. It must be very difficult for a teenager to stand up in front of everyone and give a speech in a foreign language. I’m sure I couldn’t have done it when I was their age!
Heather @ I Talk You Talk Press