Event Rules & Instructions

Group of students participating in Speech Competition

Student Qualification Requirements

  • In order to submit an entry for the competition, students must currently be enrolled at Georgia Highlands College (at any campus location or fully-online, for any number of credits).
  • In order to submit an entry for the competition, students must be currently enrolled in or have already completed one of the following Communication courses: COMM 1100 Human Communication or COMM 1110 Public Speaking.

Considerations for your Speech

  • Speeches submitted to the persuasive category must be persuasive in nature, with a central claim you will argue or position you will take. Competitors are encouraged, but not required, to choose speech topics that connect to political issues and/or elections, or to choose other issues on which reasonable people often disagree
  • Speeches submitted to the informative category must be informative in nature, with a central idea you will teach to an audience presumed not to already know it. Competitors are encouraged, but not required, to stick to informative explanations and avoid making an argument. Judges may choose to take into account in ranking a speech that is overly persuasive but submitted in informative
  • All speeches must adhere to a 5-6 minute time limit, and speeches that are too short or too long may be disqualified by judges. Note that the time limit has changed from previous competitions.
  • Sources and references must be orally cited within the speech.
  • Students must type a brief outline into their event entry form. Extreme deviation from the submitted outline (i.e. change of topic or change of most of main points) will be grounds for disqualification.
  • All speeches must be delivered extemporaneously, which means the speech must be prepared in advance of the competition and delivered with minimal reliance on notecards. If a student chooses to use notecards the cards must be standard 3″x5″ size. Students may not use electronic devices for speaking notes.
  • Students may not use audio-visual technology during the speech (including but not limited to Powerpoint, DVDs, etc). Any non-AV form of visual aid, such as posterboards or props, are allowed. Please note that visual aids are an extension of speaker credibility, so you are strongly encouraged to use professional looking visual aids or none at all.

Considerations for your Primary Round Recording

  • Practice and feedback will help you improve your speech. You are strongly encouraged to practice your speech as many times as you need in order to feel comfortable, and to solicit feedback from peers and/or your Communication/Public Speaking instructors to help you improve.
  • Your judges will only ever see the single recording of the speech you submit. They will never know how many takes or how many recordings you have that you did not submit. It is in your interest to practice the speech as much as you can. If you mess up, record another take!
  • However many attempts it takes to get the speech recording you submit, it must be a single, uninterrupted, live take of the speech. Videos that have been edited, spliced, mixed, combined, or in any way altered to give even the impression that there is more than a single, uninterrupted, live take of the speech presented in the video may be disqualified.
  • Judges, like all audience members, determine the professionalism and credibility of a speaker by, in part, considering that speaker’s appearance and clothing. Business professional dress is required for your recorded speech. Some garments may seem fashionable to you but may seem a distraction to others. Choose your attire carefully.
  • Judges cannot help but notice how you have chosen to frame your speech video, so you are strongly encouraged to consider how you are framed in the shot during the speech. If able, you should be standing, not sitting or lying down. Set your recording device down and step back from it so that the camera captures most of your body as you speak (belly button to top of head is the minimum requirement). Position the recording device higher than usual, using a stack of books or something similar, so that the camera lens is level with your face. Record a brief part of your speech and then watch the playback. Are you framed well? Is the lighting good? Are there objects in the background that distract from you? Can you be heard clearly? Are there any distracting noises in the background?

Submission Rules for Event

  • The only speech format accepted for the primary rounds of the event will be a link to your Youtube version of your speech. If you have never done so before: how to upload to Youtube.
  • It is strongly encouraged that you set your Youtube video to ‘unlisted.‘ The judges will be able to view the video because they have the link, but it will not show up in your profile or in searches. You may also choose to submit a video that is set to ‘public.’ Competition entries that link to videos set to ‘private’ will be disqualified.
  • Your delivered speech is allowed to deviate (within reason) from the planned outline you submit on your registration form.
  • Once your entry form is complete and your video is submitted to the competition, you are responsible for keeping the video posted (unlisted or public) to Youtube for the duration of the event. If at any time during the judging process your video is unavailable because you have removed it or changed its listing type, it will be disqualified.


  • All submissions must be complete, including viable Youtube links to videos with good playback, by the submission deadline posted on the event home page
  • Primary rounds of speeches are judged virtually the week after the deadline, and winners are notified as soon as possible.
  • Selected primary participants will be invited to deliver the same speech in a semifinal round in person at the Academic Showcase (typically held at the end of the Spring semester at the Cartersville campus).
  • Any invited primary round entrant that is still enrolled at GHC for the Spring term may participate in the semifinal and compete for further prizes, including a place in the final round and the grand prize.
  • The semifinal and final round will be judged by GHC faculty and staff in person.


  • Prizes for the online primaries may be delivered to a campus of the student’s choice for pick-up or may be mailed, depending on the prize.
  • Prizes for the semifinal and final rounds will be delivered at the Academic Showcase as part of the Awards Ceremony, or may be mailed as needed.
  • Some prizes, such as prize money, may be mailed to finalists as a check following the final round.