Contest Development

XI. Contest Roles

1. For each level, the following roles exist for facilitating the contest:

  • Contest Leader (or “MC”)
  • Contest Timer and Vote Counter
  • Contest Judges
  • Contest Tiebreaking Judge.
  • Contest Facilitator(s)
  • Contest Photographer(s)
  • Contest Recorder(s)
  • Contest Back-up(s)

2. All the roles except the tiebreaking judge must be announced in advance before the beginning of the contest.

3. All roles are volunteer roles. No payment of any kind may be received for performing any of these roles.

4. Contest Organizers may offer discounts on the convention ticket price for volunteers performing these roles.

5. During a Convention, different contests may take place. For each individual contest, all of the above roles must be performed by the same people, although they may change between contests, at the Organizers’ discretion.

Contest Leader

1. The Contest Leader is in charge of leading the Contest so that it proceeds smoothly and according to the rules.

2. The Contest Leader:

  • Briefs the judges before the beginning of the contest.
  • Together with the Contest Facilitator, draws the order of the contestants.
  • Instructs the Contest Facilitators to call each contestant to the stage when its turn arrives.
  • Introduces the contestants and gives the floor to them.
  • Presents the certificates of participation to each contestant, and presents the awards to the winners and runner-ups.

Contest Timer and Vote Counter

1. The role of the Contest Timer is to time the participations and provide timing signals to the contestants, as specified in the Contest Timing section.

2. Once the timed part of the contest is finished, the Contest Timer will assist the Meeting Facilitator in summarizing and tabulating the contest results.


Contest Judges

1. The role of the Contest Judges is to score the performances of the different participants as described in the Contest Judging section.


Contest Facilitator

1. The role of the contest facilitator is to ensure that:

  • The contest venue and stage are correctly prepared.
  • That the video and audio equipment works properly.
  • That all participants, judges and timers are seated in their correct locations.

2. The Contest Facilitator assists the Contest Leader in drawing the order of participation of contestants.

3. The Contest Facilitator gathers information about contestants with disabilities that require special assistance and ensures that they can participate in the contest as per the rules laid out henceforth. The Contest Facilitator informs the Contest  Leader and the Timer of those contestants that will require more time than the standard one for special actions  (such as getting to the stage, preparing the props, etc.)

4. The contest facilitator additionally collects the judges’ ballots after each speech.

5. There may be more than one person with the role of Contest Facilitator simultaneously.


Contest Photographer

1. The role of the contest photographer is to act as a reporter of the event.

2. During the contest, he/she should take pictures of the contestants at least during the following moments:

  • Entering the stage
  • Greeting the contest leader before the beginning of the speech
  • During the speech
  • Greeting the contest leader after the end of the speech
  • Leaving the stage
  • Receiving any awards by the contest leader (joint picture)
  • Holding any received awards (stand-alone picture)

3. Additionally, the contest photographer should take:

  • For each contest category, a group picture of all contestants with their certificates of participation, together with the Contest Leader.
  • A general group picture of all Contest attendees
  • Any additional pictures of interest during the event

4. The Contest Photographer must abide by all the rules applicable to event photography.

5. This role is optional for club and city contests and required for contests above those levels.

6. There may be more than one person with the role of Contest Photographer simultaneously.


Contest Recorder

1. The role of the contest recorder is to make video recordings of the contestant speeches and the event development in general.

2. The recording of contestants must be performed from a fixed location with a tripod and must include the full body of the speaker at all times, as well as the backdrop with the Agora logo.

3. This role is required for all contests at state and above level, and optional for those below them.

4. There may be more than one person with the role of Contest Recorder simultaneously.


Contest Backup

1. This role will be on standby to replace any of the above roles if needed during the contest.


XII. Order of Contestants

1. The order of the contestants in every contest level is randomly selected. To avoid giving any contestant advantage due to his knowledge of his speaking position, the order is drawn randomly at the beginning of the contest, but it is not shared with the contestants or the audience.

2. The Contest Leader, with the help of the Contest Facilitator, will proceed as follows:

  • All participant names will be entered as a list in https://www.random.org/lists/, and a random order will be generated by the Contest Leader and the Contest Facilitator.
  • Both the Contest Leader and the Contest Facilitator will take note of the order and verify that they have the same order.

3. The order will be kept secret.

4. For each turn of the contest, the Contest Leader will instruct the Contest Facilitators to call the next contest participant to the stage.

5. A contestant who is not present in the contestants' area when called on stage, or that - being present - fails to reach the stage within 2 minutes of being called (3 minutes in cases of severe disability) is automatically disqualified.

6. Contestants with disabilities may request assistance for guiding them to the stage.

XIII. Speech Props

1. Contestants are free to use any props they consider appropriate during the speech, as long as:

  • They comply with the venue safety regulations, as well as with all applicable local laws.
  • They can be prepared during the 2 min pre-speech time and removed within 1 minute of the speech conclusion. Contestants with special disabilities may have that time doubled.
  • They do not obscure the backdrop with the Agora logo.
  • They do not emit any obnoxious sounds, smells, heat or light.
  • They leave no trace behind after being removed.

2. Speech props may only be placed within the contestant area demarcation.

3. If the preparation and removal of the props require more than one person, it will be the contestant's responsibility to have such help ready. The contestant must not ask any of the other contest roles for help.

4. Contestants that after finishing their speech fail to properly remove their props within the allotted time will be disqualified.


XIV. Contest Timing

1. Upon being called to the stage, the contestant has up to 1 minute to prepare himself. The time will be doubled for contestants with special disabilities.

2. Timing of his participation begins when the contestant makes his first utterance or communication gesture, or automatically after he or she has been on the stage for the specified preparation time.

3. Timing is indicated by using four timing signals that have a distinct color and shape (to account for color-blind participants.)

  • A Green signal with a circular shape will be shown when half of the maximum time has been consumed, rounded to the nearest half-minute.

Green Timing

  • A Yellow signal with a square shape will be shown when there’s one minute of time remaining.

Yellow Timing

  • A Red signal with an equilateral triangular shape will be shown when the time is over.

Red Timing

  • A Black signal with an equilateral octagonal shape will be shown when the contestant is more than 30 seconds over time. At that moment, the contestant will be interrupted by the contest leader and ushered off the stage. Contestants who see the black signal are automatically disqualified.

Black Timing

4. The size of all shapes should be at least 15 cm wide and 15 cm high.    

Here are some examples of when the timing signals should be shown, depending on the maximum allowed duration of the participation.

  5 minutes allowed 7 minutes allowed 10 minutes allowed
Green signal at 2:30 3:30 5:00
Yellow signal at 4:00 6:00 9:00
Red signal at 5:00 7:00 10:00
Black signal at 5:31 7:31 10:31

5. Additionally, a countdown timer may be provided to the contestants. If that is the case, the countdown timer:

  • Must be initiated and stopped by the timer.
  • Must be facing the contestant throughout the whole speech.
  • Must only display the remaining time, using always the same font size, background and color.

6. The timer must always be located in the first row or equivalent of the contest venue and must be clearly seen from the contest demarcation area.

7. The timer must not wave, raise or otherwise try to draw the attention of the contestant to themselves.  It is the sole responsibility of the contestant to periodically look at the timing signals to make sure they are within the allotted time.

8. Timing signals must always be placed in the same location in the same way and should be as invisible to the audience and the recorders as possible. Under no circumstances will timing signals be raised above the head level of the timer or produce any loud sound when displayed.

9. At the end of the contest, the timer will provide a written report with the exact timings of each speech contestant to the Contest Leader.

Special provisions for blind contestants

10. Blind contestants may provide the timer with a set of four audible signals, to be used in place of the visual timing signals.
     a) The contestant must provide the timer with a playback device (and possibly attached loudspeaker) that has all the four audible signals pre-loaded and preconfigured.
     b) The device may not be larger than 25 cm on any of its sides.
     c) The recorded sounds may not be offensive or obnoxious.
     d) The contestant must instruct the timer, before the start of the contest, on how to playback each of the audible signals. The contestant must play in front of the timer all the timing signals.
     e) The device must not require from the timer any other operations other than playing back the signals. In particular, the device must not require turning it on, off, unlocking it, searching for the signals or any similar operations.
     f) If the sound signals are recorded sound files, they must be named "Green", "Yellow", "Red" and "Black".
     g)  Signals may not be longer than 1 second in duration.
     h) The contestant may – at his own responsibility – opt not to use any such device, in which case the timer will use the regular visual signals.

Special provisions for blind and deaf contestants

11. Blind and deaf contestants will be allowed to use any auxiliary tactile device they consider necessary for keeping track of the time. This includes the usage of mobile phones or tablets with a vibrating function.


XV. Contest Area Demarcation

1. Before the beginning of the contest, the Contest Leader will brief all contestants as to which is the allowed participation area.

2. If there is a raised stage in the venue, the participation area will be the whole stage.

3. If there's no raised stage, the participation area will be decided by the Contest Leader and demarcated visually

4. If at any point during his or her participation a contestant is fully outside the participation area, he will be disqualified.

5. The backdrop of the stage must always include the Agora Speakers International logo, as well as the convention logo and tagline. The logo must be visible slightly above the heads of the contestants.

6. The contest area demarcation must be clear of any third-party objects, including but not limited to:

  • Club banners
  • Posters, banners or any kind of signage of third-party organizations.
  • Furniture unrelated to the contest
  • Bags, clothes or any other personal items unrelated to the contest.

XVI. Contestant Location

1. Immediately before the drawing of the contestant order and the beginning of the contest, all contestants must be escorted by a meeting facilitator outside the contest room to a place (the "contestants' area") where the speeches delivered in the contest room cannot be heard.

2. Contestants must remain there until called by a Contest Facilitator

3. After delivering their contest speech, a contestant may sit in any available seat.


XVII. Photography and Recording


1. Contest Photography and recording is allowed and encouraged, provided that the following conditions are met:


  • Photographers and camera operators will provide the Agora Speakers International Foundation with an un-watermarked, full-resolution, uncropped copy of all their photographed/recorded materials and a royalty-free license to them.
  • Photographers and camera operators may not move during the participation of a contestant.
  • Any lighting used must be constant both in intensity, color and direction throughout the whole contest. In particular, flashes are not allowed.
  • All lighting equipment, tripods, and other static devices must be set up before the contest. No adjustments during the contest are allowed except in the case of equipment failure
  • The lighting should not be disturbing to the contestants. Once the lighting is set up, all contestants should be allowed on the stage to verify that it does not disturb them. Any complaints will be handled by the Contestant Leader, which may require that the equipment be repositioned, or may decide that the complaint is baseless.
  • All equipment must be configured to operate in silent mode. All DSLR and similar cameras must operate in mirror-lock mode.

2. At no point in time during the participation of a contestant may a photographer or camera operator be located between a contestant and the three rows (reserved for timers and judges), or on stage.

3. Photographers and camera operators that violate the above rules will be noted by the Contest Leader or Contest Facilitator and will be given a warning immediately after the contestant during which the violation occurred has finished.

4. If the rule violation occurs again after being warned, the photographer or camera operator will be escorted out of the contest venue as soon as the contestant has finished.


XVIII. Awards

1. All contest participants receive a Contest Participation Certificate.

2. For each contest, if there are more than 5 contestants, the 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place winners are announced.

3. If there are 5 or fewer contestants, only the 1st and 2nd place winners are announced.


XIX. Contest Agenda

The flow of each contest will proceed as follows:

1. The Contest Facilitator prepares the venue.
2. The Contest Leader briefs all judges, and the Contest Facilitator provides them with the necessary materials.
3. The Contest Leader and Contest Facilitator draw the name of the Tiebreaking Judge.
4. The Contest Leader briefs all contestants and allows them to inspect the lightning setup.
5. The Contest Leader collects all declarations of originality and model release forms from all contestants.
6. The Contest Facilitators invite the Contest
7. The Contest Leader and Contest Facilitator draw the order of contestants.
8. The Contest Leader starts the Contest and delivers a generic opening.

For each contestant:

9. The Contest Leader calls the contestant on stage by using a formula of his choice, which must remain the same for all contestants. The Contest Leader will encourage clapping while the contestant reaches the stage.
10. Once the participant is on stage, the Contest Leader will shake hands and repeat again the name of the speaker. After that, the Contest Leader will give the floor completely to the contestant and will withdraw from the stage.
11. After the participant has finished, the Contest Leader will once again shake hands and walk the participant off the stage.
12. A 1-minute pause will be announced so Judges can score the speech.

After all the contestants have participated:

13. The Contest Leader will give a 2 min pause for Judges to conclude their voting.
14. The Meeting Facilitator and Timers will collect the votes of all the judges, and together with the Timers will tabulate them.
15. The Contest leader will ask if there are any protests, and will handle them as per the described procedure
16. The Contest Leader will call all contestants to the stage and deliver the certificates of participation to each of them.
17. The Contest Leader will perform a short interview of each of the contestants.
18. At this point, the final results should be ready. It’s left at the discretion of the event organizers to whether to grant the awards at this time or at a later point (e.g.: during a gala dinner or during the post-dinner party)




Contributors to this page: agora .
Page last modified on Sunday January 12, 2020 22:17:19 CET by agora.