Litsoc: Elocution


by Sashikanth Bezawada


Elocution this year was a fun event.  All that was required was a little patience to make for a very enjoyable evening being in the audience. There were a wide variety of topics that were chosen and presented by a total of 38 participants. These included Steve Jobs’ inspirational speech at Stanford,  advantages of being a woman,  superiority of men over women, a geek’s guide to flirting, a poem on pigs, Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood and a propaganda for a new religion.

Though all the topics had potential, some weren’t presented as well as one would have liked them to be. There were some boring stretches with amusing pieces thrown in to keep the audience’s enthusiasm alive.  And some of these amusing pieces were worth the wait. The best of these was delivered by Dheeraj from Mandak (a humorous critique on public speaking) for which he got the first position. ‘Teen sensation’ Rebecca Black figured in a few pieces and these were greeted with much enthusiasm from the crowd.

There were some serious, contemplative speeches as well – though only a few of them had the intensity required to be impressive.  Aloy’s (Mahanadi) piece on the simplicity of God’s creation and Ayush’s (Ganga) piece on Steve Jobs were the few good ones among them and not surprisingly, they got 4th and 5th positions respectively.

There seemed to be some things that seemed to be conducive to getting participants placed in the top 8. Prominent among these was the Sitcom effect – having a group of people ready who will laugh at every joke. This seemed to have worked well for a few participants, considering there were points for engaging the audience.

The event was judged by Krish Ashok and Aditya Maheswaran, two popular bloggers in the Indian Blogosphere.  Krish Ashok, apparently, didn’t know how to judge an elocution contest and so he did what any sensible man would do – Google search. It  gave him results such as separating the ‘educated from the uneducated’ and ‘electrocution’.  In the end,  however, the attributes that he based his decision on were: Heart, Diction, Memory, Expression and Overall Effect. Aditya Maheswaran judged the participants based on the speech content, audience reaction (sitcom effect), body language and the voice (pause, pitch, volume etc).

Aditya explained that there is a subtle difference between talking and speaking. Talking is when one is talking one on one to a person, speaking is being able to connect well with a crowd. He went on to say that IITians talk well but only a few speak well and it was those few who had won. He encouraged the participants to look at and employ public speaking methods like transportation. According to the judges, the event was organized much better than it had been organized a few years ago. The judges felt that there should be a second round where every participant is given the same piece, a really boring one and judgment is based on how interesting they make it.

There were a few suggestions from the participants to improve the event’s format.  They felt that people should not be allowed to carry scripts as some of them just ended up reading from them. A few of them cribbed that the podium was too tall and that they had to stand on their toes to be able to look over it.

All in all, the event was what it promised to be – fun. This year’s Lit-soc has been doing well so far and it is hoped that the events to come will be even better.

Freshie category: 1. Aloy 2. Ayush 3. Vishwajeet
General: 1. Dheeraj 2. Kavita 3. Pojo 4. Aloy 5. Ayush 6. Pranathi 7. Nitya 8. Kasai

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