• Summer hours for in-person registration are Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Register online 24/7

Frequently asked questions about the speech competition

  • First Round: April 2, 2020, 12:30-1:30 pm
  • Final Round: April 23, 2020, 4:00 pm, C211
  • Awards: April 23, 2020, 5:00, C211

First Round Registration in Lobby near Public Safety at noon. Competition in classrooms on first floor “L” and “S” Wings.
The top 5 speakers will compete in the Final Round

  1.   Who can participate?
  • EVERYONE!   All currently enrolled students at Bergen Community College are encouraged to enter the competition – full-time, part-time, in any major or area of concentration.
  • If you are enrolled at the College, you are eligible to enter.
  • All students who participate in the First Round will receive a certificate of recognition.
  1. What are the prizes?  When will they be awarded?
  • The top 5 speakers from the First Round will compete in the Final Round for cash prizes. Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony, which will follow immediately after the student speeches at 5:00 p.m., Thursday, April 23, 2020.
  • The Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs is sponsoring a total of $2,500 in awards for the top 5 Speakers who compete in the Final Round on April 23, 2020.
    • 1st Place: $1,000
    • 2nd Place: $700
    • 3rd Place:  $500
    • 4th Place: $200
    • 5th Place:  $100
  1. What are the guidelines and procedures for the First Round of competition?
  • The First Round of the Competition will be held on Thursday, April 2, 2020 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Pitkin.
  • Come to the sign-in desk in the lobby, outside the Public Safety Office, between 12:00 and at 12:15 p.m. to sign in and you will receive your room assignment.
  • The classrooms are clustered in the “L” wing and “S” wing.  There will be 5 or 6 students in each competition room, and there will be 2-3 judges from the faculty or college administration.
  • When you arrive at your classroom, fill out your index card (given to you at Registration) with your name and the title of your speech and present it to the judge.
  • Once all of the speakers and judges are present in a classroom, the competition can begin.  Everyone will be finished by 1:30 p.m., in time for 1:45 p.m. classes.
  • Note that use of Power Point and other electronic visual aids is NOT allowed.
  • Speakers do not need to submit an outline or notes to the judges.
    After all speakers have finished, you will be asked to fill out an anonymous survey about your experience participating.  This will help us plan the next competition. Please return the survey to the Registration area.
  • The Director of the Competition will tally the scores of all the speakers.  The top speakers will be notified within 48 hours.
  1. What are the guidelines and procedures for the Final Round of competition?
  • The Final Rounds will be held on Thursday, April 23, 2020, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m., Pitkin, C-211
  • Speakers should arrive at 3:30 pm.
  • The top 5 speakers from the First Round will compete in the Final Round.
  • Note that use of Power Point and other electronic visual aids is NOT
  • Speakers do not need to submit an outline or notes to the judges.
  • Speakers present the same speech that they did in the First Round at the Final Round.
  • There will be an audience at this round of competition.  All students who participated in the First Round of the competition are invited to attend.   Faculty members and college administrators will also be present. Approximately 50-60 people will attend the Final Round and the Awards Ceremony.
  • After the students have presented their speeches, there will be a reception while the judges determine the winners.  Winners will be announced at 5:00 pm at the Awards Ceremony.
  1. How do I decide on a speech topic? What is the time limit?
  • You can speak about any topic of significance and relevance to the audience.
  • There are many academic projects across many disciplines that would make a good speech, from art and biology to philosophy and political science.  You may be working on an essay or a paper that you could modify into an informative or persuasive speech.
  • You may present a 6 minute informative or persuasive speech on a topic of your choice that you deem significant and worthy of the audience’s attention.
  1. What if I’ve never taken a Communication course?
  • You do not have to have taken COM 100 Speech Communication or COM 102 Public Speaking to participate.  The competition is open to all Bergen students.
  • There is a textbook on reserve in the library that has information on how to prepare a speech:  Essentials of Human Communication, 4th Custom Edition for Bergen Community College, by Joseph A. DeVito.  Chapters 11, 12, 13 and 14 detail how to prepare a speech to inform and a speech to persuade.
  • There is material on the Speech Competition website on how to prepare a speech, in the tab “Preparing your Speech.”  It has a summary of “Steps in Preparing a Speech” and a worksheet that you can use as you outline the main points of your speech.

7. What is appropriate attire to wear for the competition?

Business casual or business formal attire is recommended. No T-shirts, jeans, sneakers or hats should be worn.

  1. How do I sign up?      

Fill out the online Student Registration Form (the link is in the “Sign Up” tab) or you can pick up the form at the Communication Department office, A-336.   This form must be completed in order to compete.

  1. What is the deadline for registering?

The deadline to sign up is March 31, 2020.

  1. Will I get a confirmation that I’ve registered?

 You will receive a confirmation by e-mail from the Director of the Competition, Professor Gina Costa.

Good luck!  I hope you find the experience of participating in the Speech Competition to be very rewarding and enjoyable.  Please e-mail me if you have additional questions.


Professor Gina Costa

Director of the Competition
Office: L336