Rules & Regulations

Contest policy

HWUM Public Speaking Contest shall only be conducted in English. To avoid a lengthy contest, we expect 4 contestants from each house (16 contestants in total). Speech must be original and contestants are not allowed to talk about controversial or otherwise inappropriate about sex, religion or race issues. Contestants are not permitted to use notes, physical or digital.


To be eligible to compete in HWUM public speaking contest, a contestant must:

  1. Be a student of HWUM 2019/2020.

  2. Each contestant must be physically present to compete.


Timing of the Speeches

  1. Two timers are appointed. One is provided with a stopwatch and the other with a signaling device that displays green, yellow, and red colours. (HWUM Toastmasters Club owns one and will provide it for contest purpose)

  2. The signaling device must be in full view of each contestant.

  3. The timer managing the timing device ensures that contestants are able to view an accurate green, yellow, or red signal at appropriate times during the speech.

  4. All speeches delivered by contestants must conform to the timing guidelines for the contest.

    • Each speech shall be from five to seven minutes.

    • A contestant will be disqualified if the speech is less than four minutes 30 seconds or more than seven minutes 30 seconds.

  5. Upon being introduced, the contestant shall proceed immediately to the speaking position.

    • Timing will begin with the contestant’s first definite verbal or nonverbal communication with the audience. This usually will be the first word uttered by the contestant but would include any other communication such as sound effects, etc.

    • The speaker should begin speaking within a short time after arriving at the speaking area and is not permitted to delay the contest unnecessarily.

  6. Timers shall provide warning signals to the contestants, which shall be clearly visible to the speakers but not obvious to the audience.

    • A green signal will be displayed at five minutes and remain displayed for one minute.

    • A yellow signal will be displayed at six minutes and remain displayed for one minute.

    • A red signal will be displayed at seven minutes and will remain on until the conclusion of the speech.


General Procedure

  1. Before the contest, contestants are briefed on the rules by the contest chair. Contestants will then draw for their speaking position with contest chair.

  2. If a contestant is absent from the briefing, the alternate speaker, if present, are permitted to attend the briefing in place of the primary contestant.

    • If the primary contestant is not present when the person conducting the contest is introduced, the primary contestant is disqualified and the alternate officially becomes the contestant (if there is an alternate contestant).

    • Should the primary contestant arrive after the briefing but before the person conducting the contest is introduced, the primary contestant is permitted to compete (Reports to the contest chair upon his/her arrival).

  3. Before the contest, HWUMSA president has to select a person to act as a tiebreaking judge (Person is having no bias to any houses, he or she could be lecturers or university staff).

    • The identity of the tiebreaking judge is secret and known only to HWUMSA president and contest chair.

  4. Contest chair introduces each contestant by announcing the contestant’s name, speech title, speech title, and contestant’s name. (For example, Jeremy, A horrible experience, A horrible experience, Jeremy).

  5. There will be one minute of silence between contestant speeches, during which voting judges and a tiebreaking judge will mark their ballot.

  6. When the last contestant finishes speaking, the contest chair will ask for silence until the ballot counters have collected all ballots.

    1. In order for a ballot to be valid, judges shall:

      • Complete their ballots by entering their first, second and third place.

      • Sign and write their names on the ballot.

      • When voting judges and tiebreaking judges have finished marking their ballots, they shall tear off the bottom portion of the ballot, fold it and wait for ballot counter to collect.

  7. As the voting judges and the tiebreaking judge are completing their ballots at the end of the contest, the timers complete the timing record sheet and hand it to contest chair.

  8. Once all of the ballots have been collected, the ballot counters and the chief judge will leave the contest area and proceed to the counting room.

    • In the counting room, the ballot counters will tabulate the results of the contest using the Counter’s Tally Sheet.

    • On the Counter’s Tally Sheet, each contestant receives points for being ranked first, second, or third place on a voting judge’s ballot.

      • Three points are scored for each first-place ranking.

      • Two points are scored for each second-place ranking.

      • One point is scored for each third-place ranking.

      • Once all points are entered, the ballot counters compute the total points for each contestant and enter the totals on the bottom of the tally sheet.

      • In the event of a tie, the chief judge will consult the tiebreaking judge’s ballot.

  9. Once the results have been tabulated and verified, the chief judge records the ranking of all contestants.
    • All ballots and the tally sheet will be kept by the contest chair until after the winners have been announced.

    • After the winners have been announced, the contest chair will destroy all ballots, the timing record, and the tally sheet.

  10. The contest chair announces the winners of the contest in reverse order (fourth-place winner to the first-place winner).

Use of Props

Contestants who plan to use props (including any sort of electronic device) must notify the contest chair prior to the contest. All props must be set up during the minute of silence prior to the contestant’s speech and removed from the stage in the minute of silence following the speech.

  1. Contestants may enlist someone to help them with props, but it is not the responsibility of the contest chair or any other contest official to do so.

  2. Contestants must demonstrate to the contest chair prior to the contest that the props can be set up and removed in the allotted times. If a contestant is unable to demonstrate this, the props cannot be used during the contest.



A contestant can be disqualified on the basis of originality. A majority of the voting judges must concur in the decision to disqualify. C. The contest chair can disqualify a contestant on the basis of eligibility. All decisions of the voting judges and qualifying judges are final.