Over 25 people self-selected themselves for the 2005 HBS Public Speaking competition.
The contestants were then narrowed down to eight finalists through a demanding impromptu speaking competition in which contestants were randomly assigned a challenging speaking situation with only three minutes to prepare a two- to three-minute speech.
The topics in the qualifying round included tests of persuasive capacity like: “You are an advisor to the President of the United States. The CIA has recently uncovered information that suggests that President may be vulnerable to a terrorist attack if he attends the Pope’s funeral. Please convince him that he should not attend.”
Others required contestants to think quickly on their feet with situations like: “You have been selected to be the best man in a good friend’s wedding. However, the night before the wedding, sparks fly between you and the bride, and the two of you end up sleeping together. Address the groom.”
For the final round, held last Monday April 11th, each of the finalists gave a five-minute persuasive speech on a topic of their choosing. They were judged on both the quality of the speech’s content and on the quality of their delivery by two HBS professors. The audience also got to participate in determining the winner: the audience rankings of the speeches were averaged, and this collective ranking was used as the “third judge” for the competition.
A total of $1500 in prizes was distributed to the finalists.
The 2005 HBS Public Speaking Competition Winners:
1st place – PJ Kim (ND)
2nd place – Andrew Glass (OJ)
3rd place – Tamara Nall (OB)
Other winners (in alphabetical order):
Bram Duchovnay (OE), Adam Frost (OD), Kevin Kelley (OC), Steve Shaheen (OE)