Elocution Contests, festivals and exams

Speech and Drama Festivals/ Elocution contests/LAMDA, New Era, Victoria College, Trinity exams

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To do well in an elocution contest, Speech and Drama Festival  or Exam you must speak clearly, loudly and with expression. If you can manage to master all three of these skills you will stand a very good chance of doing well. This page has help and information for people taking part in competitions and those who have to judge the contests. This page gives help to both competitors and judges. 

Speaking Up

The first thing you have to do is make sure that the audience can hear you. There's no point in speaking clearly with expression if no one can hear you.

If you open your mouth wider than you do in ordinary everyday speech the sound will be able to get out.

Another thing that will help the audience to hear you is if you speak slowly. Your voice will have to carry quite a long way so the sound needs time to get to the listener. Make sure you finish all of your words, say every 't' and 'd' at the the of the words, particularly in words like 'and', 'but' and 'get'. These are common everyday words so we tend not to give them any thought. Don't let bet be confused with bed or beg - they all begin the same but they have different endings and the audience need to hear those endings.

Clear articulation will also slow you down - which is good.  I have  some voice exercises for you to practice.


I cannot over emphasise the importance of pausing. This gives you a chance to take a breath and gives your listeners a chance to take in what you have said. Everyone should pause at a comma, full stop, exclamation mark and before an important word or after an important word.

Having said that you need to slow your speech down, you also need variety. Variety of pace, power and pitch. This will make what you say sound interesting and easy to remember.


Once you've picked out the important words you need to make them stand out. This can be done by pausing, by saying them louder, by using inflection in your voice, by using facial expression and by altering the pitch of your voice.

When you're speaking to an audience make eye contact with the audience and judges from time to time. If you're reading out loud this will be on the important words, if you're speaking from memory this will be most of the time.

Memorizing the words

If you have to speak from memory make learning the words your very first priority. Until you know the words, they cannot become part of you and you will find it very hard to speak with expression if you're still struggling with the words.

If  you need help and advice my courses will help you for the really low price of only £9.99. Improve your (or your child's performance). All of my courses are short and to the point - no waffle! Learn quickly.

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Voice exercises/pronunciation    

How to judge an Elocution Contest

If you have been asked to judge an elocution contest, what should you look for?

  • First of all you need to be able to hear the competitor. 
  • Listen to see if you can hear the words clearly, are they being articulated well. Are the 't' and 'd' sounds being put on the end of the words. Is the competitor using his tongue correctly to get the 'th' sound or does it sound like 'd'?
  • How fast are they speaking?
  • Is it too fast for you to enjoy the performance? 
  • Can you catch every word they say, are they giving themselves time to correctly pronounce every word?

These technical skills are important but a person could be technically brilliant and still sound boring.  A good speaker needs to sound interesting, they need to be able to put expression into their speech.

  • Is the person you are listening to using expression in their voice. 
  • Are they varying the pitch, pace and power of their voice?
  • Are they making the important words stand out?
  • Would you like to listen to them read or perform more?

If you have to judge an elocution contest and have a question for me about how to judge it please contact me with your question.

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What people say about my courses

'Recommend to all speakers of the English Language who wish to improve or correct their pronunciation. The Teacher has a great way of explaining concepts and the reasons why a pronunciation should be correctly pronounced in a certain way. I like the tutor's way of teaching,which is a traditional style,that has substance and clarity. Video and Audio quality is very good.' - Shaun, Aug 2018

'I had a mumbling issue which led me to go to a speech therapist and pay £100 per session, after losing £200 and still not having a solution, I came across this course and I had quickly found the solution to my problem. Over and above that, I got a lot more out of this course, more than anything a real enlightenment as to how I speak, how that comes across and how I can improve my speech to get better outcomes out of conversations and speeches. Thank you Serena.' Reuben, Aug 2018

What people say about me .....

You are a "Guru" (teacher) in the true sense of the word, as you impart and share your knowledge in totality, and I'm lucky to have you as a teacher. Kavita.

'....explained everything professionally well and honest she gave very good useful tips and has this unique charm and engaging voice that soothes my fears of always being afraid to speak to others because they might judge me and she was thoroughly precise and to the point and she gave quite a lot of useful longevity tips for everyday use. IMPRESSIVE 5 STARS!!'  Laurie , Aug 2018

I’m lucky enough to have had some elocution classes with Serena face-to-face some years ago in Bournemouth. Having English as a second language I used Serena’s knowledge and professionalism to help me, at first, to understand that an accent can be a part of your character and this gives your speech some flavour. The important bit is to understand and learn how to speak every single word clearly, with a good pace, with high and lows which make your speech interesting. It was enlightening, and now I have found online all those wonderful classes with a genuine English lady. This is priceless. Thank you Serena! - Newton, Feb 2018