What Does “Originality” Mean in a Speech?

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During our recent Area Contests, contestants and judges alike have been concerned with interpreting the clause on originality in the new Toastmasters International Contest Rule Book. In order to familiarize District 25 members with this new rule, I offer this interpretation found on the Toastmasters International LinkedIn page. I have requested further information from its author, Christine Ramirez, who is on the Speech Contests Team at Toastmasters International.

Dear Toastmaster,
Thank you for your patience. To support the provision in the rulebook, page 11 of the Speech Contest Judges Training presents the following examples of speeches that are not substantially original:

· A speech in which 25% is devoted to quoting another person or published work, even though the quote is properly attributed to its source.

· A speech in which part of the material is taken from another source that is not credited.

· A speech that has been taken entirely from another source which may or may not have been credited.

If more than 25% of your narrative is based on historical facts, opinions, anecdotes or stories that are not your own, there is a possibility that a protest will be lodged regarding the originality of your speech. Speeches are meant to be substantially original, meaning the majority of your speech should be content that is your own. Judges may view a speech where more than 25% of the content is a collective narrative built from several historical sources, whether those sources are cited or not, as unoriginal.

Please contact us if you need further assistance; we will be glad to help!
Kind Regards,
Christine Ramirez
Speech Contests

Here is the link where I found this discussion in case you would like to read the remainder of the comments. http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=98449&type=member&item=220556952&qid=31b07187-3064-44dd-a4a3-78cdfcb0cfc9&trk=group_items_see_more-0-b-ttl

Remember:  No more than 25% of your speech can be from an outside source, whether you cite the source or not. This does not mean that you cannot use such material, but that at least 75% of your speech must be your original material. 

I wish all our participants the best in our upcoming contests!

Bonne Stroman
District Governor