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Before the Contest

Obtain biographical information on Chief Judge so that you can introduce him/her.
  • Obtain the list of specific door prizes to be given out at the contest.
  • Obtain a full list of all door prizes for acknowledgement during the contest.
  • Determine with the Chair who will advise the audience to check programme insert for the acknowledgement list of all sponsors and door prize donors and encourage the audience to support the businesses and individuals who have supported Golden Gavel.
  • Decide in advance, with the Chair, who will advise the audience to check the brief history of the Golden Gavel on the back of the programme.
Confirm all contestants have arrived then call all the speakers together (at least 15 minutes before the contest start time) and select speaking order (use playing cards) Advise speakers they will be introduced to the audience as follows:
    - "Ladies and Gentlemen, our 1st speaker is (name) with his/her speech (title)"
    - The Master of Ceremonies will lead the applause; as the speaker comes to the front.
    - The Master of Ceremonies says: "(repeating the title of speech)",(repeating speaker's name)"
    It is important to introduce all speakers exactly the same and to NOT make any reference to the speakers affiliation or any other subtle remarks.
Advise speakers that the timing process will start with the first word spoken or big non verbal gesture. The timing range is not less than four minutes, thirty seconds, nor more than seven minutes, thirty seconds. A green card will be displayed when the speaker has reached four minutes and thirty seconds (if requested by the contestant). Any over or under time will be mean automatic disqualification of a speaker (this is not made as a public announcement for a specific contestant).

Ask if contestants wish to have their speeches taped. If so, ensure that they have signed the Photograph and Video Release form. Ensure you have blank copies of the form on hand.

Advise speakers about water and the 2 minute silence after each speaker is finished to allow the judges to complete their ballot forms/rules regarding the competition.

Ask if contestants have any special requirements (such a lecturn, flip chart requirements,etc.)

Ensure the Sergeant at Arms is also present so that this information is passed on.

Ensure the Chair signed and put participation certificates in speaking order.

Put biographical information sheets in speaking order, and ensure you have the contestants correct speech titles.


During the Contest

Prepare and make brief opening remarks to the audience. Thank the Chairman for their introduction and warm up the audience, encouraging them cheer on all contestants through clapping, by giving their undivided attention to the speakers and by sitting back and enjoying a truly fun contest.

If not done by the Chair, advise the audience to review the programme insert for the acknowledgement list of all sponsors and door prize donors and encourage the audience to support the businesses and individuals who have supported Golden Gavel.

Introduce Chief Judge and ask if his/her team has been briefed.

If not done by the Chair, advise the audience to review the brief history of the Golden Gavel on the back of the programme.

Advise the audience there will be 2 minutes silence between speakers for judges to complete their forms and that the audience will have a chance to stretch after the 2 minute judging silence immediately following the 4th speaker (if there are 7 or more speakers) - and request all to stay by their seats.

Advise the audience how the speakers will be introduced and suggest that all clapping occur as the speakers are making their way to the front of the room.

Provide the speaking order.

Request any set up be done for the first contestant if applicable Begin the contest. Remember to lead the applause.

Thank the speakers after each person has given his/her speech.

After the final speaker, ask the audience to remain silent for approximately two minutes; and to remain seated until all ballots have been collected and the Chief Judge and counters have left the room.

Remind about the survey completion and for everyone to ensure they have a door prize ticket for the draws immediately after the intermission.

Call for a round of applause for the speakers.

Call a 15 minute intermission while the tallying is being done and request the timers let you know when the 13 minute mark is reached, to start heading people back to their seats.

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After the Break

Reconvene the contest on time. Give a 2 minute advance warning so that people start to head back to their seats. Ensure you have received the signed finalist certificates from either the Chief Judge or the Calligrapher before the contest reconvenes. If they have not returned, have the Chair keep an eye out to get certificates when the Chief Judge returns.

Go ahead and draw for all the door prizes, mentioning the specific donors.

Ask the Chair to assist in awarding the certificates and trophies, and in announcing the winners. Determine this ahead of time by talking to the Chair so that the process flows and is seamless to the audience.

Preliminaries - Call the speakers up in the same order they spoke to receive their participation certificates and trophies.

Finals - Call the speakers up in the same order they spoke to receive their participation certificates

Introduce them:

    - by name
    - use the "bio" sheet to conduct your brief interviews Maximum 1 question),
    unless there was something about their speech that you wanted to follow up on
    - give out participation certificates (for preliminaries and finals)
    - ask the speakers to remain on stage for the awarding of the finalist certificates

Acknowledge that judges have made their decisions, then call on the Chairman to make the awards in reverse order (2nd runner up; 1st runner up; finalist). (Again decide in advance who announces the names and who will hand out the certificates and trophies/book(s) including the Golden Gavel trophy).

After the main awards have been given, lead the applause and have speakers return to their seats (once all/any pictures have been taken). Ask the Chief Judge to thank his/her team. (The chief judge thanks by “title” not individual names ~ judges, shadow judge if applicable, ballot counters, timers, awards and printing, calligrapher and photographer/videographer)

As MC, thank the other support roles (sgt. at arms, any greeters, persons manning the door, facilities and the Chair). Remind the audience to review the programme insert for the acknowledgement list of all sponsors and door prize donors and encourage the audience to support the businesses and individuals who have supported Golden Gavel

At the Preliminaries
(if not done by the MC before they return control of the meeting to you – confirm in advance who will mention)

Thank the audience for coming out in support of the speakers and encourage them to come back and bring their friends.

Remind the audience of next contest date and time.

Also remind the speakers that the top 3 finalists will go forward to the finals on February 22, 2014 with a NEW speech.

Ask people to complete the survey if they haven’t had the opportunity yet.

At the Finals
(if not done by the Chair before you return control of the meeting to Chair– confirm in advance who will mention)

Thank the audience for coming out in support of the speakers and encourage them to come back and bring their friends next year.

Acknowledge and thank the Golden Gavel Committee.

For the Finals, acknowledge and thank ALL sponsors and door prize donors one more time by referencing the list in the programme and encouraging attendees to support the companies.

IMPORTANT – At the Preliminaries - remind the winners that the speech they give at the "finals" must be a totally new speech. The persons placing 1st to 3rd go on to the finals. However, in the event either any of the 3 preliminary finalists cannot be at the finals, the 4 runner up etc will be contacted and will be offered the opportunity to attend instead, and therefore, should try to have a new speech prepared as well.

Brief closing remarks.

Turn the meeting back to the Chairperson.
Revised October 2016

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