Imagine — You are in the contest. Your name is called and your subject is announced. (It’s the same speech you had to prepare for class anyway.) You rise, walk to the front of the room, and set your note cards on the podium. You are nervous. It’s the same feeling you get before parachuting out of an airplane. Some of your friends and classmates are in the audience quietly rooting for you. You feel better.

You also feel good because:

  • You’ve given the speech before
  • Your instructor and classmates have pointed out your good points and have made suggestions to make it even better
  • You’ve rehearsed the talk and know it will last about 4 or 5 minutes
  • You’ve received a pep talk from your instructor and fellow classmates
  • You’ve accepted a challenge!

You give your speech, answer some questions, and receive the audience’s applause as you sit down. You feel good about yourself. You have a feeling of exhilaration that comes from confronting your fears.

Accept the challenge of HYDE PARK FORUM. And remember Herbert Otto’s words: “We are all functioning at a small fraction of our capacity to live fully in its total meaning of loving, caring, creating, and adventuring. Consequently the actualizing of our potential can become the most exciting adventure of our lifetime.”


Hyde Park Forum is designed to give students “outside of class” speaking experience. Many students have made great progress. Sometimes they wonder, “Is it just because I know everyone now, or have I really improved my ability to speak in front of groups?” The Hyde Park Forum gives students the opportunity to find out that the answer is “Yes, I have indeed improved.”


Each speaker will be assigned to a classroom. There will be 8-10 speakers per room. Each speaker will give a short persuasive speech, after which there will be 2 minutes of questioning allowed from the audience. The audience may move from room to room during the questioning period.


The contest will be held in a number of different classrooms simultaneously.


Each classroom will be assigned one student timer, one moderator, and at least two judges. The judges, from faculty and staff members, will determine first, second, and third place speakers. A plaque will be awarded to each of the first, second, and third place speakers. All speakers will receive a Certificate of Achievement.


  1. Speakers are to present a 4-6 minute persuasive speech.
  2. Speakers’ scores will be deducted five (5) points per thirty (30) seconds over or under 4-6 minutes. Timing begins when the speaker utters his or her first words.
  3. Speakers may use notecards or a manuscript or nothing at all.
  4. Speakers may speak any way they want, that is, from behind the podium, sitting on the table, or in front of the podium.
  5. Judges have been instructed to judge the speech —- and NOT the response to questions. Judges will be totaling a speaker’s points on their ballots during the questioning by the audience.
  6. Persuasive speeches need not follow the Motivated Sequence.
  7. Speakers will be disqualified if they deviate from their previously announced topic — NO IMPROMPTU SPEECHES.


  • 6:40 p.m. Judges, timers, and moderators meet in LSF 02.
  • 6:45 p.m. Contestants determine your room number and speaking order by checking the lists posted in front of the LSF lounge.
  • 7:00 p.m. Contest begins in a number of different classrooms in the Schwarz Building.
  • 8:30 or/ 9:00 p.m. Reception is held in LSF 02 for everyone. Awards Ceremony. Refreshments will be served.