Registration open for 13th annual Public Speaking Competition

Anna Crusselle, Managing Editor

Associate Professor of Communications and Speech Competition Director, Dr. Steve Stuglin, prepares for the 13th Annual Public Speaking Competition. “Speeches that are personal and delivered with passion are ones that advance. Passion is contagious,” says Stuglin. (Photo by Anna Crusselle)

The Public Speaking Competition, coordinated by the Communications Department, is an event that invites students to prepare and deliver a five to six minute persuasive speech on a topic of their choice. The speeches will be presented to an audience of fellow students, faculty, family and friends in the Cartersville academic building. 

Registration is open and students can enter by providing the title of their speech and a basic outline of its content. Students are encouraged to choose topics about political issues, but it is not required. 

Only those that have taken or are currently enrolled in a human communications or public speaking course will qualify to enter. All entries are due by April 21. 

Associate Professor of Communications and Speaking Competition Director, Dr. Steve Stuglin, will gather volunteer faculty and staff as judges who will determine the students that will advance to the semi-final and final rounds. Six students will advance to the final round, which will be hosted at the Cartersville campus in auditorium room A160.

Students will be divided into 10 primary rooms to give their speeches with 30 faculty judges spread out among those rooms. Students with the highest scores will advance to the semi-final round and present their speech again for different judges against other students.

The top students will advance to the final round and present their speech a third time to a different set of three judges.

Those interested will be communicating about a specific issue they care about. This year will be the first time the competition will be held in person since the COVID quarantine. 

Dr. Stuglin organizes the program, manages all the registrants and hosts the final round.

“The things that stand out to judges are very well-researched speeches with high-quality sources that are cited in the speech,” Dr. Stuglin said.

This year Leslie Johnson, dean of the Cartersville campus, is in charge of the hospitality suite that is put together for the judges and the staff. “We always have a hospitality room for making sure we look after our judges and our volunteers. This year it will be in our brand new Writing Center on the Cartersville campus in room 166,” Johnson said. (Photo by Anna Crusselle)

No technology is allowed and students are encouraged to have a visual aid.

The first place winner will receive an iPad, and cash prizes will be given to the candidates that advance to each round funded by the Rome Area Council for the Arts. Other prizes include t-shirts, gift cards for the campus bookstore and GHC merch for semi-finalists that advance to the second round.

Students can read more information on the GHC website, and view example videos of winning speeches from the past six years to prepare themselves and get an idea of the speeches that judges respond to. 

“I always love to see when a student implements the neat timing devices. For instance, circling back to something they said in the beginning, maybe it’s a story or anecdote. We look to see if you use a variety of evidence,” Cartersville campus Dean, Leslie Johnson, said.

As a past judge, Johnson suggested that students prepare everything the night before, apply what they learned in their courses and dress nicely.  

“Do you have a good organizational plan and do you have reputable sources cited?” Johnson asked.  

Johnson is in charge of this year’s hospitality suite that is put together for the judges and the staff. 

“When these first started 13 years ago on campus, I was a judge then and I always enjoyed getting to hear all the different presentations,” Johnson said. 

A lot of professors will give extra credit to their students for participating. “It started out with just about 15 students. Now we’re somewhere between 55 and 75,” Dr. Stuglin said.

“Ultimately, we want students to participate because it is outstanding practice for one of the most desirable skills in the workforce and one of Americans’ biggest fears, and we want students to do those things because of their intrinsic value,” Dr. Stuglin said.

​​Students should read the rules and instructions page carefully before submitting their entry.

The Cartersville auditorium room, where the final round of the 13th Annual Public Speaking Competition will be held. (Photo by Anna Crusselle)