Elocution Contests, festivals and exams

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

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.  Listen to me recite a poem.

If you are the person taking part in the contest or exam look here for help

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. Then 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?

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.

Do they have variety in their pace and pitch?

Do they make 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.

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 here 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.

Listen to me now.....

Below is a video of me reciting 'Daffodils', if you would like to learn how to say this poem please enrol in my online course for only $9.99.

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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.

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!

At the end of last term my son went for head boy and delivered an amazing speech, something we never imagined he would put himself forward for. The teachers were taken aback by his confidence and presence, he buzzed with excitement for days afterwards and said he loved speaking in public. It is through all your hard work that he has this turn around in his approach to speaking and for this we will be forever grateful. Elaine

Don't miss this amazing offer -Join my online 'Speak clearly & Confidently' course AND if you still feel you need a lesson with me after you have watched 100% of the course your first Skype lesson will be half price. The course covers all of the basics and is just like having a lesson with me for just $9.99 The course also has a 30 day money back guarantee - you can't lose!