Scholars of Speech Winter Rumble

2023 — Irvine, CA/US

How to Judge Public Address

Public Address at S.O.S. operates very similarly to the Original Oratory and Informative categories at the National Speech and Debate Association.

1) The judge will call up the first speaker and confirm their piece's title and if they want time signals.

Typically, the speaker will receive a 'fist at grace'--when they reach five minutes in the five-minute category, they have 29 seconds to conclude their speech (the 'grace period') or they cannot receive first place in the round. Similarly, if they reach 10:30 in the ten-minute category, they cannot receive first place in the round. The judge should hold up a fist at 10 minutes so the speaker knows to conclude.

2) The speaker should be evaluated based on their speech's originality (do they address the topic in a new, inventive way?), delivery (is the speaker personable, impactful, and compelling to watch?), and importance (do they convince you of the topic's significance?). This is a good rubric to use whether the speech is primarily informative or persuasive.

3) Speakers are not required to use props or visual aids; if they use them, the use of the visual aids should add to the performance.

4) The same process will be applied to every other speaker in the room.

5) Between speeches, check to see if there are any people who are double/triple-entered waiting outside. Give them a moment to come in and let students who are double/triple-entered in your room leave to go to their other categories. After the last person has spoken, if there are 'missing speakers' on your list, give them an additional 10 minutes to show up before marking them as a no-show.

6) At the end of the round, the judge will thank and dismiss the speakers. Then, they will rank the speakers (first place is best, fifth place is worst), give them speaker points (100 is best, 70 is worst), and submit their ballots. The judge will not give verbal feedback beyond generic encouragement during the round; this feedback will be written on the ballots.