About the Competition

The 2020 Voice Competition will be held entirely online for the very first time, using Zoom and a digital video submission!

Voice is a unique public speaking competition running throughout Term 4 that invites New South Wales high school students to solve real issues that affect our community, our country and our world. Whether it be homelessness, climate change, civil conflict or planned obsolescence, we want to hear you pitch your big ideas. Voice asks students to think outside the box and put their design thinking skills to the test in order to develop innovative and creative, yet feasible, solutions to real world problems.

Usually, the Voice Competition is only open to students in Years 9-12. In 2020 however, the Voice Competition will be, in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, open, for the very first time, to students in Years 11 & 12. Unfortunately, Year 11 & 12 students will not be able to progress to the UN Youth Australia Voice National Finals, to be held in April 2021, given that the national Voice Competition is only for students in Years 7-10. We encourage anyone in Year 11 and 12 who is interested in public speaking and real world problem solving to participate in the 2020 Voice Competition!

How Voice works in New South Wales

Speech Format
The competition is split into two parts — the Pitch and Question Time.

The Pitch:

This is the portion of the competition where participants deliver a prepared speech on one of the topics provided on the topic list. This speech will outline the participant’s original solution to the given world problem contained in the topic they have selected. Students may present new solutions to long-standing problems or new solutions to largely untouched issues. In this section the judging panel will be assessing the  ability of participants ability to provide tangible and innovative solutions to the problem at hand, rather than just identifying their chosen issue in the abstract and delivering a call to action.

Students will need to record a video of them delivering their speech and submit that to the Judging Panel in an mp4 file prior to the Video Submission Date (Sunday 11 October at 11.59PM AEDT). All students will be emailed the link to the video submission platform at the time of registration.

Question Time:

In this portion of the competition participants will answer two impromptu (unseen) questions asked by the Judging Panel, lasting for approximately one minute each, on the solution they presented in The Pitch.

Question Time will take place on Zoom. All participants will need to attend one (1) Question Time round. There are ten (10) Question Time rounds to choose from and the registration form will ask students to select all rounds that they are available for. Students will be notified via email which Question Time round they have been allocated to four (4) weeks before that round. Students who register less than four weeks before the date of the round they have been allocated to will receive their round allocation email shortly after registration. Each Question Time round will last for two (2) hours, but students will be given a fifteen (15) minute time-slot within that two hours and will only need to be present on the Zoom call for those fifteen minutes.

Speaking Time
Junior Division (Year 7 and 8): 4 minutes
Senior Division (Year 9 and 10): 5 minutes
Advanced Senior Division (Year 11 and 12): 5 Minutes

Question Time
Junior Division (Year 7 and 8): 1 minute preparation, 2 minutes speaking time
Senior Division (Year 9 and 10): 1 minute preparation, 2 minutes speaking time
Advanced Senior Division (Year 11 & 12): 1 minute preparation, 2 minutes speaking time

Students will be emailed the set topic list four (4) weeks prior to the Video Submission Date. Students who register less than four weeks before the Video Submission Date will receive their topic list via email shortly after registration. It is encouraged that students register as early as possible so that they have the maximum possible time to prepare for the competition.

Students are to choose one of the topics from the topic list and present a solution to the issue contained in the topic they have selected. The topics are the same for ALL three divisions. Please note that you only need to deliver a speech on one (1) of the topics from the topic list. These Sample Topics from 2016 will provide you with some information on the types of questions Voice asks students to grapple with. 

Important Info:

Check out our FAQ’S for more information about the Voice Competition and the Judging Criteria to ensure your speech ticks all the boxes.

Why compete in Voice?

  • Develop skills in public speaking, critical thinking, design thinking and research
  • Hone your ability to think on your feet, assisting you in leadership positions and debating
  • Build an increased knowledge about areas pertinent to you as students and citizens of the world
  • A chance to meet likeminded and engaged young people who share a passion for our world

Need more info?

Get in contact with our 2020 Voice Convenor, Selena You, at selena.you@markandstav.com.

Registrations are opening soon for Voice 2020!

Fill out my online form.
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