ATKV Redenaars Guidelines

Top 10 tips for taking part in the ATKV Redenaars or similar competitions

We regularly receive questions about tips for the ATKV Redenaars or similar competitions. Here are our top 10 tips, short, useful and to the point:

1.      Your speech MUST be persuasive
This is the most important of all the tips! Make very sure that your topic is such that it can be argued for or against.  Persuasive speeches are, by definition, speeches which are aimed at persuading your audience of something.  If your topic is not formulated correctly, you've already missed the point.  The ATKV Redenaars adjudicators are especially strict about this.  
2.      Know your speech! 
There is no excuse for not knowing your speech properly.  
3.      Practice for the unprepared speeches! 
Taking part in a competition once or twice a year and using that as your practice for unprepared speech presentation is NOT enough. Speakers who wish to progress in the competition must practice an unprepared speech at least once a day. Just as you would practice to excel at any sport, cultural or drama endeavour, you must practice giving unprepared speeches.
4.      Speak naturally!
Remember that you are presenting your speech to people, so speak to the audience as you would to your family or friends when you are trying to convince them of something.  
5.      Speech structure
Make sure that your speech has a very good structure. It's very difficult for the audience to listen to a speaker and to try to understand what he / she is trying to say and what he / she is trying to persuade them of.  It is important to be precise in helping the audience to understand: This is my topic, this is what I am going to be speaking about, these are the 3 arguments I am going to persuade you with and this is my conclusion.
This does not mean that you have to say argument number 1, argument number two, argument number 3 - that isn't necessary, but you must present your speech in such a way that it is very clear where you are in the speech and what you are trying to persuade your audience of. 
6.      Maintain eye contact with the audience!
You can't communicate effectively with people if you do not look them in the eyes.  Many speakers are taught to look at their audiences' foreheads.  This works for younger children, but more experienced speakers should make direct eye contact.
7.      The introduction is VERY important! 
You only have 5 seconds to get the attention of the audience so that they will listen to the rest of your speech.  So make very sure with your presentation and words that you use that you give a very strong introduction.  
8.      The conclusion is JUST AS important! 
Many people (including adjudicators... - they are also just people) may stop paying attention during a speech and then snap back to attention near the end.  This makes it absolutely critical that you have a strong conclusion.  
9.       Sources
The ATKV is extremely critical when it comes to sources.  Make absolutely sure that your sources are relevant and complete. Why does the source support your argument and why is the source credible? 
(Example: title of the person and full name, name of the article, date and where the article was published and why the person is an expert in the field)
10. RELAX!
The audience can sense when a speaker is tense, so practice getting comfortable being in front of an audience. Also, keep in mind that it isn't the end of the world if you make a mistake.