Recently I had the privilege to be a judge at Pompano Beach High School. I participated in the Prepared Speech contest which is organized by Business Professionals of America (BPA). This is my second year as a judge for this competition and it is always fun to listen to the topics which the students deliver.
I am an active member (and previous Board of Directors member) of my local Toastmasters International club, Power Speakers. Every Tuesday we deliver, listen and evaluate speeches. The speeches are both prepared and extemporaneous. I have also been a judge in several of the Toastmasters competitions as well.
The Business Professionals of America facilitates students demonstrating their career skills at regional, state and national conferences in competitive events. They held their local competition on Nov. 3, 2017, and the top 3 winners go on to compete at the state level. The competitors were all in high school, we did not know anything about them, not age, gender, ethnicity, not even their name or title of the speech until they walked into the room. We were informed to use a rubric to grade the speech performance on such items as preparation, delivery, subject matter, vocal projection, etc…
The most interesting fact that I noticed through the 4 hours that we judged the competition was the topic of the speeches. We had 11 speakers total, and while they all told very different stories, they could be categorized as follows:
1 Digital Marketing
3 Work ethics
11 Total Speeches
While 11 random speeches are by no way statistically significant, I do think it was interesting to see the very common thread on subject matter, especially for entrepreneurship. Some of the speeches touched on education and college (these were high schoolers), but they ultimately focused on the idea and inspiration that comes from the feeling of being successful on your own terms.
It was a morning well spent and I am looking forward to judging again next year.
The winners were awarded medals on November 15th and will prepare for the State Leadership Conference in Orlando in February. There they will compete against the winners from other regions throughout the state of Florida.
TheBusiness Professionals of America events that require judges are: interview skills, advanced interview skills, computer animation team, network design team, entrepreneurship, parliamentary procedures team, extemporaneous speech, prepared speech, financial analyst team, presentation management individual/team, global marketing team, human resource management, small business management team.
If you are interested in participating, please contact me.