The English Speaking Union’s International Public Speaking Competition 2021
The Senior competition, held online on Friday 26th March 2021 through the Zoom platform, had judges Henry Scullion from Toastmasters, Király Márton, competition winner in 2018 and Orsós Botond competition winner in 2019. The competitors were Rum Veronika from Révai Miklós Gimnázium és Kollégium, Győr, Boukydis Anna Margaret from Budapest II. Kerületi Móricz Zsigmond Gimnázium, Lőrincz Sarolta an individual entrant from Városmajori Gimnázium, Budapest, Ecsédi András from Bolyai János Gimnázium, Kecskemét and Palóczi Dániel from Szigetszentmiklósi Batthyány Kázmér Gimnázium.
The winner, who will represent Hungary in the online International Final was Lőrincz Sarolta (Third from the left in the third row down in the picture below). The runner up was Ecsédi András (third row down, right hand end). Overall the competition was a great success though it was the first time the competition has been held online.
The Junior competition, held online on Thursday 25th March 2021 through the Zoom platform, had judges Dezsényi Balázs and Bába Kitti Klaudia (top row centre), both former winners (2013, 2016 respectively) of the competition and three competitors; Gyurkán Lili living in Abu Dhabi (top right), Herman-Nagy Zsófia from Szigetszentmiklósi Batthyány Kázmér Gimnázium (2nd row left) and Gőcze Máté Farkas from the Magyar-Angol Tannyelvű Gimnázium, Balatonalmádi (2nd row second left). The other online participants were teachers involved in and organisers of the competition.
Theme for Hungary Final: “The world is bigger and smaller than it’s ever been”
The organisation of this year’s competition
Due to the COVID situation we have been required to change the format to one of a remote, online competition through the medium of Zoom, a platform suitable for the IPSC and the one being used by the London ESU for its final.
The finalists will be sent an invitation by email and will have to log onto Zoom, which can be downloaded free. Your teachers may be familiar with the system but certainly your friends will be. We would ask you to follow the following instructions carefully so that the event can run smoothly.
Speakers (Junior and Senior competitions)
This is a public speaking competition and the rules are, therefore, the same as in the competition in previous years. Competitors are asked to wear clothing which is suitable for making a public speech, smart perhaps, without logos or badges.
You will need to set up a zoom ‘studio’ which consists of a room as shown in the diagram. When delivering your speech, it will be important to speak clearly so you can be heard. The day before the competition itself, Wednesday 24th March beginning at 2pm and lasting until 5pm I will set up a technical meeting so you can test out your system. This meeting is for both Junior and Senior participants to iron out any problems. I will set up a zoom call time and send you an invitation for this set up period. You should enter as soon as you can but this set up may take from a few seconds to half an hour if there are problems.
The Senior Competition
The main competition will follow the pattern of previous years i.e. a 5 minute speech (minimum length 4m 30s, maximum 5m 30s) with bell warnings at these 3 times. Speeches are to be given without ‘props’, displays or other devices (If in doubt ask the organisers) however the speaker may use brief notes. A speech should never be read.
On Friday 26th March (from 2pm) for the Senior competition speakers, judges and organisers will receive an invitation to join a zoom meeting. There will be up to 8 speakers, 3 judges, a timer and the organiser. In addition there may be teachers logging in as well. It is useful to get someone to deal with the technical side of things. When you try to enter the meeting, I will have to admit you, so be patient as a number of people will be entering at the same time.
The speeches will be recorded individually on the day. Unless you are speaking your microphone should be muted. Once a speaker has finished and answered questions, they are free to watch the other speakers but with their microphones muted.
Once each speaker has taken their turn, the competition is over. The organiser, Steve Jones, will address the competition and then close the session. Everyone except the judges and organisers will be asked, temporarily, to leave the meeting.
The judges and organisers will then continue, scheduled for an hour or so, to deliberate and decide on the winner and runner up. Competitors will have been given a time, at the end of the speeches, when they should try to re-enter.
Announcing the winners
Using the same zoom invitation, the speakers should log back into the meeting to be addressed by the judges and receive the results. The first and second places only will be announced. Debriefings can be arranged with the judges at the convenience of the speaker and judge allocated. Steve Jones will then wind up the session with thanks and further information.
The winner will be asked to take part in the International Zoom Final, organised in London. Further details will be made available to the winner (and runner-up as reserve).
The Junior Competition
The junior competition Thursday 25th March (from 2pm) is for those who are too young to enter the main competition. This gives an opportunity for younger speakers to practise in front of an audience with feedback in a competition situation.
Everything will be the same for the organisation – the layout, muting microphones etc – except that there will be no questions at the end of the speeches and the duration will be 3 minutes. As in previous years the judges will give immediate feedback and participants can watch and listen to the other speakers.
Steve Jones will wind up the competition after the judges have completed their individual comments and any further general comments they might like to make.
The organiser of events for the International ESU in Hungary is the chairman, Steve Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org). Information on the ESU can be obtained on the website www.singlish.hu. The organiser to whom all entries should be sent and enquiries should be made is Judit Borszéki (email@example.com).
Below are some suggestions for participants given in a letter previously.
A bit of good advice for participants
“The world is bigger and smaller than it’s ever been”
The subject of your speech is of your own choice but based on the title given above. Try to make your speech …
- Of length 5 minutes (minimum length 4m 30s, maximum 5m 30s)
- Supported by crib cards indicating (using single words or brief phrases) the next point
- Without the use of props other than your crib cards
- Personal to you – perhaps with an anecdote or based on your own experience.
- Exciting with a good beginning designed to get the audience’s attention
- Well structured with sound logic and explanations
- In a clear voice at a good tempo with suitable breaks and silences
- Humorous in parts and serious in others
- End in a suitably memorable way – related to the topic and your personal aims
Questions will be asked at the end of your speech so be prepared and know your subject. Try to anticipate questions which might be asked but don’t repeat the question before answering as this may annoy judges. Try to structure your replies clearly.
When preparing all of this, try to get your friends or teachers to question you on your speech so that you can get used to answering the question asked, briefly and precisely. Make your answers short and to the point. It will not help your case if you ramble on and around the topic.
There are some things you should try to do:
- Dress in an appropriate manner and make sure you have everything you need
- Try to remain calm throughout the speech
- Use movement to illustrate your speech – but remember too much movement may be distracting
- Identify several people in the audience and direct your speech to them, not to the judges. (Online this is not as relevant)
- Practice speaking to a person or group of people and make sure you can be heard clearly
- Answer the person asking the question but remember everyone wants to hear the answer so keep your voice up
- Use appropriate language throughout both the speech and the questions – the use of slang might be part of your speech but should not be part of questioning
- You are not an actor playing a part so keep your speech very much in the realms of reality.
- Try not to talk over the audience – if the laugh etc – but repeat, if necessary, any point which was lost in such audience response (Online this is not as relevant)
- Make your speech fit the timing precisely. The judges will expect you to finish within the time allocated.
- The end of your speech should be quite obvious – there is no need to thank the audience for listening or for their attendance
The competition sponsors are:
- Steve Jones who has covered all of the costs of the competition in the UK and travel for the winner
- Oxford University Press which has provided prizes for the competitors
- Toastmasters who have provided native speaker judges for the semi-finals and final.