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Be sure to read and understand all rules and regulations prior to date of your speech.

Eligibility and Rules

1. A contestant must meet all of the criteria before being eligible for participation in the Novice Speakers Competition, and must complete the 
Entry and Eligibility Form and submit it to GOLDEN GAVEL Eligibility Committee by the deadline date set for the current Contest year as outlined on the Registration Page.

2. The competition is open to all residents on Vancouver Island or it's Islets. Contestants must be 17 years of age on the first contest date or older, new to public speaking and whose training in that capacity is limited to 18 months.

3. Applicants cannot have entered the GOLDEN GAVEL competition in the past.

4. The place and date of the competition will be designated by the Golden Gavel Committee.

5. Semi-finals may be arranged at the discretion of the committee.

6. Each contestant shall speak for not less than 4 minutes 30 seconds and not more than 7 minutes and 30 seconds on a subject of their choice.

7. Speakers are allowed to use notes (but should be used sparingly).

8. Plagiarism is not permitted and if an appreciable amount of the speech is found to be plagiarized, the contestant may be disqualified.

9. Each speaker shall present an original speech on a subject of his/her choosing.

10. A signed "Entry and Eligibility Form" must be submitted to the Eligibility Chair prior to speaking.

11. An outline or copy of each contest speech should be made available to the Eligibility Chair, who will pass on to the Chief Judge at the contest, a photocopy of the typed or hand written notes of the speech are acceptable.

12. The accepted opening address will be "Master of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen".

13. Winners of the preliminary speech contests must have a different speech to present at the finals.

Master of Ceremonies

The Master of Ceremonies shall preside over the competition as follows:

1. Supervise the drawing of lots for places on the speaking program.

2. Announce a brief resume of the rules before the competition begins so that all may understand them clearly.

3. Make sure all contestants know the location of the timing lights.

4. See all contestants speak from the the same place.

5. Announce the contestant’s name and the speech title, twice.

6. The Master of Ceremonies will make no preliminary remarks about any speaker or any subject.

7. Interview the speakers by name and in order of speech delivery.


1. Five active judges are sought for the preliminaries and seven active judges for the finals.

NOTE: The overall number of judges will be determined by the Judging Coordinator based on the number of contestants registered each year.

2. One “hidden judge” will be in attendance at each program.

3. Judging will be carried out using the current "Golden Gavel Judging Criteria" form and the "Golden Gavel Judging Summary" form. It is advised that both Judges and speakers review "The Helpufl Hints for the Judges" document.

4. The decision of the judges is final.


1. A speaker will be disqualified if he/she speaks for more than 7 minutes and 30 seconds, or less than 4 minutes and 30 seconds.

Time and Light Procedures

1. The Support Roles Chairs will appoint two official timers who will be provided with a timeing device and timing lights.

2. An official record of the exact duration of each speech will be kept in minutes and seconds. These records are given to the Chief Judge.

3. The timers will be seated in such a place that the timing lights will be visible to the speakers but not so as to distract the audience.

4. Timers will warn each speaker at the five minute mark with a green light, which will remain on for one minute.

NOTE: Timers will be advised prior to the commencement of the competition. If any contestants would like the "green card" at the four minute 30 second mark, then regular timing lights will still occur at 5, 6 and 7 minutes.

5. An amber light will be turned on at the 6-minute mark and remain on for one minute.

6. The red light will be turned on at the seven minute mark and will remain on until the speaker has finished. No other warnings of time will be given.

7. The speeches are to be timed from the moment the speaker says the first word or performs a significant gesture indicating the beginning of their speech.


1. The Support Roles Chairs will appoint two or more persons to collect and tally the results of the judge's votes.

2. The contestant having the highest number of points will be declared the winner. The contestant with the second highest score will be declared first runner-up, and the contestant with the third highest points will be second runner-up.


1. Each speaker shall commence his/her address with the following words, "Master of Ceremonies, Ladies and Gentlemen...".

2. The final results will be given to the person designated to present the awards and he/she will announce them in reverse order.

3. Only the winners of the first three places will be named. If there are less than 5 contestants in a specific contest only first and second place finalists are announced publicly and the third place finalist will be advised at the end of the contest.
Revised October 2016

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