PUBLIC SPEAKING GUIDE

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1 PUBLIC SPEAKING GUIDE Please direct all queries to Jordi Lockhart, the competition convenor, who can be contacted at:

2 2 CONTENTS INTRODUCTION PAGE 3 ADVICE FOR PREPARED SPEECHED PAGE 4 ADVICE FOR IMPROMPTU QUESTIONS PAGE 5 THINGS TO AVOID PAGE 6 HOW TO GET STARTED PAGE 7 REGISTER TO COMPETE PAGE 8 FURTHER INFORMATION PAGE 8

3 3 INTRODUCTION Welcome to Voice, the innovative and exciting public speaking competition of UN Youth Australia! This annual event is an exciting opportunity for students in years 7 to 10 to broaden their knowledge of global affairs and international relationships, while developing their presentation and diplomacy skills in a unique forum. Voice gives you the chance to make your voice heard on key international issues that are shaping the future of your society. Through the presentation of a prepared speech and answering impromptu questions, you will explore topics of global and personal significance as you persuade, entertain and inspire your audience. So that you re not thrown in the deep end, the competition includes an evening public speaking workshop where you will be given public speaking training from some of Western Australia s best public speakers. You will also be introduced to the idea of pitching a solution to a pressing global problem, and defending your solution to the judges. All students will attend a second evening event following the public speaking workshop where you will deliver your speech. You will speak about matters of significant global importance utilising the skills and knowledge gained from the public speaking workshop in addition to that gained from your own research. We are also excited to announce that, for the first time ever, the four highest placing students from each division of Voice WA will be invited to represent their school and state in the Voice National Finals, to be held in Sydney in This guide contains a few tips to get you started on public speaking. Remember that you ll receive more comprehensive training at the public speaking workshop held on Tuesday 9 September!

4 4 ADVICE FOR PREPARED SPEECHES Speeches should flow easily Interesting speeches are expected to move from example to example, idea to idea. However, the links between these ideas should not be forced. You should avoid moving between unrelated topics unless there is a clear and well-explained transition. Speeches should be engaging To keep an audience s attention for three to five minutes you will have to use all the resources at your disposal. Focus on using the tone of your voice, your hand gestures, as well as interesting content Speeches should be rehearsed and refined You have had time to practice your speech and this should show. Before your presentation you should know how you want each section to sound. You should have fixed any awkward phrases or links and be satisfied with the result. Speeches should be structured Each part of your speech should have a goal, whether you re setting out the issues, highlighting a particular idea, or explaining an example. You should avoid saying lots of words that don t convey much meaning. Speeches should say something Your pitch needs to move away from describing a situations, and move towards delivering a solution to the problem. The solution doesn t have to be completely unique, nor does it have to be perfectly comprehensive. It should be thoughtful, interesting and original. This might mean presenting a re-interpretation of existing solutions, or coming up with something new. Speeches should have rise and fall As much as we would like to, we can t always be presenting a great line at the top of our voices. Great pieces of rhetoric or powerful points are important, but you have to work for them. It is more effective to build up to a few powerful points in your speech, rather than writing a speech that can only be shouted. Additionally, sometimes a softly spoken phrase can be just as powerful as a loud one.

5 5 ADVICE FOR IMPROMPTU QUESTIONS Answers should be clear and direct Since your speaking time is limited (30-60 seconds), get straight to the point. Engage directly with the question right at the outset. Answers shouldn t have too many things in them Cramming too much into your answer may mean the audience is overwhelmed and confused. A well explained point is much more powerful that three superficial ones. Make your answer simple, and explain it well. Answers should be delivered confidently Since you are being put on the spot, a confident delivery will impress the judges. Take your time; don t forget to focus on clarity, tone, hand gestures and eye contact and you will be rewarded. Answers don t need to begin immediately Don t be afraid to stand in silence for a few seconds while you think about the question and quickly prepare your answer in your head. These moments of preparation will be invaluable and will ensure that your answer is neat and structured. Additionally, if you don t understand the question or would like it repeated, ask the judges for clarification. You won t be penalised for doing so. Answers should show evidence of research Questions are going to be directly relevant to your chosen topic and the content of your speech. You might be asked to explain an aspect of your solution a little more. Or you might be asked to consider an aspect of the problem that you didn t cover in much detail. Either way, it s important that your degree of familiarity with your topic goes beyond just what you spoke about. The best impromptu answers will show that you understand the link between the question and your speech, and that you have done an appropriate amount of research to answer the question properly. If you don t think you can answer a question posed to you by the judges, you can choose not to. However, this is to be avoided as it won t be looked upon favourably. It s better to have a go and say anything you can. Your answer doesn t have to be long or complex - even the simplest response can be very effective. Remember, you ll be taught more about pitching solutions and defending them in your answers to impromptu questions at the public speaking workshop. It s not as hard as it might sound!

6 6 Don t try to do too much THINGS TO AVOID The aim of a speech isn t to fix all the world s problems in three to five minutes. Often, reaching to too much in a speech leads to simplistic arguments and unconvincing ideas. Try to focus on specific issues and providing interesting, engaging solutions. It s also important to stick to the topic and keep your ideas relevant. Don t debate In debating, speeches are broken up into different arguments. While you should consider different points of view when preparing, your speech shouldn t be argumentative. Remember, you want to get your audience on side rather than outsmart an opponent! You ll also find that listing points is not very effective your ideas should move smoothly from one to another. Don t be boring Describing a situation like a news report is informative, but not engaging for an audience. Avoid facts and statistics unless they are interesting and help you illustrate part of your speech. Judges won t be impressed with a speech that resembles a Wikipedia page. Don t move unless it s for a reason Hand gestures to emphasise points are expected. However, pacing around the floor can often be distracting. Unless you think it will help emphasise a point, standing confidently with feet shoulder width apart should be your default position. Don t talk into your palm cards Using palm cards doesn t give you an excuse not to know most of your speech with a high degree of familiarity. If you re constantly looking down at them instead of at the audience, you ll quickly lose their attention. Palm cards are meant to be used as prompts, or as a backup if you find that you ve forgotten a line. Don t use unnecessary language The audience only gets one chance to hear your speech. Unless a complex word or phrase makes your meaning clearer, avoid complicating your speech with it. Don t restate common knowledge Most people know about issues such as global warming, so explaining what it is will not be particularly interesting. To make these topics interesting, you should provide creative and original solutions and ideas.

7 7 Choose a topic and stick to it HOW TO GET STARTED Don t labour over selecting the problem you ll address. Be decisive and you ll give yourself much more time to work on your speech. Chances are you ll perform similarly with most topics as long as you have enough time to develop your ideas. Choose the best of your ideas Start by listing possible ideas and views. Sort through them and be as critical as possible. Think about which solutions are the most original, engaging and feasible. Focus on a few good ideas, rather than many stale ideas. Choose the most interesting evidence Support your ideas with carefully chosen quotes, facts and example. These should be just as interesting as the ideas themselves. Remember, you can make examples interesting with the manner in which you describe and explain them. Once again, avoid crowding your speech with facts over explaining one carefully chosen fact. Give yourself time to practice Even if you write an amazing speech, finishing it the night before is doing yourself a disservice. Speeches are not read; they are presented. You only get one chance to present yours. Take the time to make sure that your presentation does your speech justice.

8 8 REGISTER TO COMPETE To register as a competitor in Voice WA, head to the website at /event/voice-wa. Before registering you should talk to your coordinating teacher, as your school may be registering students as a group. The registration fee for Voice WA in 2014 is $30 per student. Students competing in regional rounds are eligible for a discounted fee of $20. Payment may be made by individuals or by schools. FURTHER INFORMATION Remember, this public speaking guide is only meant to contain basic tips to get you started. You ll receive more comprehensive training and have the opportunity to ask questions at the public speaking workshop. If you are prepared, public speaking is not difficult and easy to get better at. Voice WA is the only competition of its type to include a comprehensive educational component and we are committed to providing you with the opportunity to greatly increase your public speaking skills. If, after reading the delegate guide and viewing the website at /event/voice-wa, you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Jordi Lockhart, the convenor of Voice WA. Jordi can be contacted by at

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