Webster Thomas

2023 — Webster, NY/US


Abbreviation DEC
Format Speech
Entry Fee $5.00
Entry 1 competitors per entry

Event Description:

Time Limit

• Maximum - 10 minutes, including at most a 60 second introduction to the selection. If the speaker goes over a 30 second grace period, that contestant must not be awarded first place. No minimum time.

Judging Criteria

  • Introduction: The introduction should name the work and author, provide necessary background information and establish the mood. If using a teaser or if lines from the selection are used in the introduction, the speaker must adhere to the rules of the event.

  • Presentation Style: The speaker should convey the message in a sincere, honest, and realistic attempt to recreate the spirit of the original presentation. Although the style of delivery chosen by the speaker should be judged in light of the purpose of the speech, artificiality is to be discredited. The message should be conveyed credibly and convincingly as if the words were the speaker’s own. This event is an interpretation, not an impersonation.

  • Vocal Delivery: The speaker should be articulate and fluent. The speaker should make use of contrast, making use of the elements of vocal variety: pitch, volume, rate, pausing, phrasing, stress, and tone. The speaker should be conversational and concerned, passionate and pleasing. The speaker should be in control of the words and the emotions. The speaker should sound confident and self-assured, and seem eager to enlighten the audience. The speaker should convey the message in a sincere, honest, and realistic style in an attempt to recreate the spirit of the original presentation.

  • Physical Delivery: The speaker should be physically open to the audience and use body language that invites the audience into the world of the declaimer. The speaker should vary facial expression to accentuate the natural flow of thoughts and feelings. The speaker should make eye contact with the audience. The speaker’s stance should be erect and controlled without distracting movements. Movement, if used, should be motivated by transitions in thought or mood. Gestures should be visible, effectively used for emphasis, and varied.

  • Overall Effect: The speaker should project an understanding of the speech’s message. The speaker should instill in the audience a concern for the speech’s content. The original speaker’s message should not be overshadowed by the delivery. Consideration should be given to the oratorical merit of the selection.

    Additional Judging Criteria (from the Bylaws)

    • Any non-speaking expressions such as singing or dancing should not be excessive or dominate the performance. Judges ranks may reflect if non- speaking expressions have dominated the performance.

    • The speaker should develop the ability to convey the message in a sincere, honest, and realistic style. The mechanics of speech should be observed faithfully: poise, quality of voice, effectiveness and ease of gesture, emphasis, variety, and enunciation. In addition, the speaker should be able to interpret the meaning of the speech and be able to carry the interpretation over to the minds of the listeners. The speaker should be able to interest the listeners and to hold their attention.