Call Now: 254-947-9268

Section 224 – General Speech Information

Fine Art By-Laws
Sections 199-263

Rules concerning Eligibility, Representation, Substitutes, and Alternates are the same as those for the written tests (Section 204)

All speaking events will utilize the following rules.  Differences between types of speaking events will be listed under each individual event.

No Cell Phones or other electronic devices allowed in Contest room.


  1. Purpose. The purpose of speaking events is to encourage contestants to understand, experience, and share their personal interpretation and/or thoughts via the selections presented.
  2. Selections. Selections  must be from a printed, published sourceNo Internet sources are allowed except for research for Original Oratory and Persuasive Speaking.
    • Each TAPPS speaking event requires a different selection.
    • No selection may be reused during a contestant’s four year high school career for TAPPS Academics/Speech competition.
    • Failure to follow these guidelines will result in disqualification.
  3. Content Standards.
  4. In selecting material to be used in the contest, coaches and contestants must choose literature of high quality and literary merit.  The selection should be in good taste.  If in doubt, do not do it.
    • Material
      • should be high school level or above.  Lower level pieces may be performed subject to part b. below.
      • a degree of difficulty will be assigned by the judges to be used in overall ranking.
      • Avoid literature that is in poor taste. Not all material by an author is appropriate for competition.
    • TAPPS membership includes schools from across the state and with different standards for acceptable content and presentation.  While selections may involve content or themes that reflect a fallen world, directors should consider if the selection glorifies those themes or employs them merely for shock value. TAPPS shall determine if the resolution reflects a redemptive process, one in which good triumphs over evil or one which brings social awareness to an issue.  Finally, schools should consider if the integrity of the piece remains if permissible cuts or adaptations are made.   TAPPS has determined certain subject matter, themes, content, or portrayal including but not limited to the following list, will not be acceptable for performance in TAPPS competition:
      • Profanity or using the Lord’s name in vain (in an irreverent or disrespectful manner or as an expletive) even as euphemism is prohibited
      • Abortion
      • Adultery
      • Homosexuality
      • Incest
      • Suicide
      • Teen Pregnancy
    • Selections must not offend the moral standards of the community, contain profanity or sexually explicit language or actions, use the Lord’s name in vain, nor contain subject matter or actions that are offensive.
    • Coaches should revise or reject all selections that in any way fail to meet these qualifications.
    • Contestants violating these standards face disqualification at the discretion of the Meet Director.
    • Questions regarding literary merit/content should be directed to the TAPPS Office in advance of the meet.
    • Arbitration.  At the State Meet, if there is a question concerning a selection, the State Speech Director will appoint a committee of at least 3 State Speech Committee Members to discuss the contents/presentation of the selection.  After discussion, the State Speech Coordinator will make the final decision if a contestant is to be disqualified due to content/presentation.  The State Speech Coordinator will notify the State Meet Director of any disqualification.
  5. Documentation. Proof that the material is printed and published must be made available to the Meet Director on the appropriate form for all contestants prior to competition for Solo, Duet, Prose and Poetry.  Violation of this rule will result in disqualification.
    • Documentation must include
      • at least two of the following:  title page, table of contents, index
      • A full cutting of the manuscript to be performed must be submitted. The committee needs to see the original manuscript with the cuttings marked. Providing the performance manuscript is not necessary.
      • Internet publications are not acceptable. However, documentation from the internet which could include Library of Congress information or the books ISBN are acceptable forms of documentation- provided the piece is found in the book.   If an on-line data service is used for persuasive speaking research, the URL information must be included on the printed page.
    • Documentation must be available at time of contest.
    • The original source must be available at the state meet and shall be provided to the meet director/speech coordinator upon request.
  6. Introduction. A memorized introduction is required in Prose, Poetry, Solo, and Duet Acting.  See event information for Persuasive Speaking and Original Oratory.
    • The contestant must include the title and author of the material being presented in addition to appropriate commentary about the selection.
    • The introduction should not include the name of the contestant nor his school but rather should prepare the audience to listen to the selection by use of commentary which applies to the presentation.
    • While the introduction should reflect spontaneity, it should be prepared ahead of time.
    • An embedded introduction is allowed but must be completed within the first 2 minutes of the presentation.  (Embedded: A portion of the selection is presented prior to the memorized introduction.  After the introduction is completed, the selection continues.)
    • If there is no introduction or it is not memorized, the contestant will be disqualified.
  7. Manuscript. Note specific rules for each speaking event.
  8. Movement. Note specific rules for each speaking event.
  9. Presentation. A contestant’s performance must follow these rules:
    • No props or costumes are allowed. In Solo Acting one chair may be used and in Duet Acting two chairs may be used. Do not wear clothing suggestive of the role being portrayed.
    • No talking or disruptive noises may be made during another contestant’s performance.
    • During the contest, no coaching or prompting will be permitted.  Coaching includes verbal or body communication.  The penalty is disqualification.
    • Judges are not allowed to ask for a copy of any selection.
    • The judge’s opinion regarding style and delivery is final.  Prepare your students for the fact that perceptions of style and delivery will vary from judge to judge.
  10. Time Signals. Time cards will be held up to indicate time remaining for all events.  Time cards will count down.  Towards the end of the maximum, the contestant will be shown a 1 minute card, a :30 card and when the maximum time is reached a “Stop” card will be shown.  There will be no card shown when the end of the grace period is reached.  See times for each event under the specifications for that event.
  11. Disqualification. A serious penalty, disqualification will occur for the following:
    • Inappropriate subject matter (see Content Standards)
    • Inaccurate time (either over the grace period of 10 seconds allowed in all speaking events or under the minimum time required in all speaking events (except Persuasive) which includes a 10-second grace period).
    • Re-use of material. A selection may be used only once throughout the contestant’s four year high school career in an Academic/Speech event.
    • No introduction or if the introduction is not memorized or does not include required content.
    • No documentation or inappropriate documentation, including failure to provide original source.
    • Being absent at time of roll call at the discretion of the Meet Director. (Sect. 209, A, 2)
    • Coaching a student during his performance will result in the student’s disqualification.
    • Any use of items deemed a prop or costume.
    • See individual events for event specific disqualification rules.
    • Any rule not addressed here will result in a drop of rank.


  1. Judges. Judges should be competent and have training in the field of speech.
    • The Meet Director shall appoint an odd number of judges or one critic judge.
    • Coaches and/or sponsors should not be used to judge rounds containing students from their schools.
    • All Judges should view the TAPPS Training Module prior to the event.
    • At the State Meet, an attempt is made to use three judges in the preliminary, semi, and final rounds whenever possible.  If this is not possible, one critic judge will be used.
    • Duties of the Judge.  See Conducting the Contest Part E.
  2. Timekeepers. A timekeeper will be provided.  (See Conducting the Contest Section E as well as specific times for each event)
    • The timekeeper will use a stopwatch to time each contestant and will display time cards to indicate time remaining.
    • The length of time used by each contestant must be recorded on the contestant’s ballot by the judge(s) and recorded on the Master Ballot.
  3. Doorkeepers. If noise in the hall presents a problem for the contestants, the Meet Director shall assign an individual to maintain order/quiet in the halls.


  1. Sections. If there are more than ten (10) contestants, preliminary rounds should be held.  Finals for each event will be held in a single room after all preliminary results have been determined.
  2. Speaking Order. The Meet Director will determine and post the speaking order in a prominent place for all contestants to view.
  3. Assembly and Roll Call. At the designated contest time, roll is taken.  Substitutions may be made at this time with certified alternates. Once roll is completed, no late contestants will be allowed to enter the contest room without prior approval.
  4. Audience. Audiences will not be permitted.
    • Contestants must remain in the room following roll call until all contestants have performed.  This rule does not apply to Persuasive Speakers.
    • No talking or disruptive noises may be made during another contestant’s performance.  Clapping when the performer has finished is encouraged.
    • No filming, recording or taping of presentations will be allowed.
  5. Timing. When the contestant begins to talk, timing begins.  The timekeeper will use cards to display remaining time.  If a contestant exceeds the maximum time limit, he will be disqualified.  If a piece is under the minimum time, then that piece will be disqualified. (See rules for individual time requirements under each event).
  6. Judges. Judging will be by an odd number of judges or one critic judge.
    • Responsibilities of the judges include
      • evaluate the performance
      • write on ballot constructive suggestions/criticisms to individuals; praise where praise is due
      • denote inappropriate selections and/or presentations on the ballot
      • report to the tabulation room before the beginning of the contest to pick up ballots and contestant roster plus substitutions
      • record time of each contestant on ballot and Master Ballot at the close of the round, rank all speakers from first (best) to last without discussing with the other judges.
      • when ranking speakers, note any potential problems or potential disqualifications on the ballot.  The Speech Director must officially make this decision.
      • no ties are allowed
      • use only the ballots provided for each event
  7. Ranking and Ties. Judges will rank contestants from first to last.  In the case of panel judging, the following criteria, in the following order, shall be used to determine all ranks: (1) lowest sum of total ranks; (2) judges’ preference.  The contestant with the lowest sum of ranks shall be awarded first place.  If at this point two or more contestants tie with the same low sum of total ranks, the tie shall be broken by the use of judges’ preference.  The judges’ preference is written, not oral.  (See procedure H in this section of the manual).  If a  tie existed for first place, after breaking the tie by the above methods, the person who was tied with the first-place winner is automatically given second place.  Once a place has been determined, the Speech Coordinator shall revert back to the first criteria (lowest sum) to determine the next rank, unless there is another tie, whereupon all contestants who tied shall be awarded a place before going on to another contestant or place.
  8. Judges’ Preference. Following is an example:Suppose contestants A and B had the same total number of points, hence neither could be ranked separately except through use of judges’ preference.  Remember, use of judges’ preference is written, not oral.

Contestant       Judge #1          Judge #2          Judge #3          Total                Preference    Final

Ranking           Ranking           Ranking           Points              of Judges      Rank

A         2(+)                 5(-)                  3(+)                 =10                  + – +             2nd

B         4(-)                  2(+)                 4(-)                  =10                  – + –              3rd

Explanation: Contestant A is ranked higher (or receives higher preference) than Contestant B by two of the three judges (#1 and #3) and thus is awarded the higher place.  Contestant B shall be awarded the lower place before any other contestants or places are considered. When all other options have been exhausted to break the tie, the tie will be broken by a blind draw.

         9.  Protests. If a coach wants to lodge a protest they must put their complaint in writing and submit $20 in cash to the Meet Director to have their protest heard.