come watch MIT students compete for prizes in the "MIT Can Talk: Speaking Competition" on Feb 1st from 2-4pm in 34-101! Participants give a 4-5 minute speech in English that relates to this year's competition theme. Material must be original, but it can include excerpts from other works (a speech, a literary work, a poem, a story, etc.) so long as sources are properly attributed. Prizes will be awarded by a panel of judges to those who are best able to deliver their material to a live audience. The event is open to everyone in the MIT Community, and audience members can also win door prizes!
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Competition Theme: "Against the Grain"
To innovate is to disrupt. A truly innovative idea can revolutionize, but innovation not always warmly received. This year's theme is all about going against the grain - i.e. breaking away from that which is traditionally accepted in order to create a world of new possibilities.
Your material can speak to any aspect of the theme (and does not have to be restricted to innovation).
Except for winners of previous MIT Can Talk competitions, any current MIT student is eligible to enter. You must register for the competition by 12noon, Wed January 30, 2013. Registration begins January 1, 2013.
The first 20 students that 1) register, 2) qualify for the preliminary round by attending the prerequisite number of workshop hours, and 3) participate in the preliminary round will get an "MIT Can Talk" Tshirt (while supplies and availability last)!
Prizes will be awarded to the top three speakers. There will also be an Audience Choice Award. The prizes are as follows:
First Prize: Xbox+Kinect+$500 Second Prize: Xbox+$400 Third Prize: Kinect+$300 Audience Choice: $300The Xbox and Kinect prizes are donated by Microsoft.
After registering, competitors should:
More on each below.
Competitors are required to attend at least four hours worth of the MIT Can Talk workshops, but are encouraged to attend more. They address different aspects of speaking, so may help in your preparation for the competition. Make sure you sign in.
The Clinic is an optional resource available to you should you want to do a no-risk dryrun and receive feedback. The Clinic will be staffed by individual(s) who are not involved in any of the judging. The Clinic will likely be held from 6-8pm on January 30th in 32-144. Come anytime; no appointment necessary.
There will be a preliminary round of judging to narrow down the pool of competitors to the Top 15. Preliminary rounds will take place on January 31st, in the early evening, 6-9pm in 32-141. Judges are recent MIT Alumni and possibly, current graduate students.
You must fulfill the workshop requirement in order to qualify for the preliminary round.
You will be assigned a 30 minute block within the preliminary round period, and you must BE present for the entire half hour block - i.e. as you will speak sometime during your assigned block (random order) and serve as an audience members for the other competitors speaking during the same block.
If you have a conflict with your assigned block, we will try our best to reschedule you, but there is no guarantee we can accommodate every request to reschedule. Competitors will be notified of their assigned block via email; this email will also contain instructions for whom to contact in case of conflict.
The Top 15 will be notified that same evening - i.e. you will know that you are in the Top 15, but not what ranking. All competitors in the Top 15 are expected to attend the Final Round, but NOTE THAT only those ending up in the Top 12 will actually be competing in the Final Round.
The Final Round will take place on Friday, Feb 1st from 2-4pm in 34-101. Final Round judges include Professors Albert Meyer, Emilio Castilla, Alan Brody, Lawrence Susskind and Matthew Wilson.
Since finalists are selected based on the performance of their preliminary round speech, the judges are expecting finalists to use the "same" speech in the final round. By "same" speech, we certainly do not mean that the two speeches must be exactly identical word for word - we encourage you to improve the speech between rounds and to speak extemporaneously from an outline (so that for example the words you use, your delivery and even the storyboard may vary). However, a finalist that passes the preliminary round with one speech, and then competes with an entirely different speech (as determined by the judges and organizers) may be disqualified.
The Top 12 competitors will be competing in random order chosen the morning of the competition. If a competitor is not present when their name is called, they will be disqualified.
Once the Top 12 have competed, and while the judges have left to deliberate, the remaining competitors from the Top 15 have a chance to speak. Everyone in the Top 15 will have indicated beforehand if they'd be willing to speak should they not fall within the Top 12 - those that do would be eligible for the Audience Choice Award.
This competition emphasizes delivery more than content - aside from the fact that a competitor's material must be appropriate and speak to the competition theme, the judging criteria is skewed more towards the competitor's ability to successfully deliver the material to the audience.
This is an exercise in direct address, not theatrical performance. In other words, the audience is not a spectator watching a dramatic performance; rather the audience should feel like an active participant because the competitor should directly engage and address the audience.
As a result, competitors should know their material. You can use notes if you like, but be aware that (1) holding notes or a script can interfere with gesturing, (2) referring to them will affect eye contact, and (3) excessive use of notes will certainly adversely affect both the audience's and the judges' experiences. Note that no one will be checking to see if your material is correctly recited verbatim; so if you happen forget a word or phrase, paraphrase and move on!
Things that the judges will look for include the following, in no particular order:
Questions or concerns can be directed to the organizers at mitcantalk[at]mit[dot]edu.
Last Modified: Jan 26, 2013