Things You'll Need
- Book of quotes
Deliver a message, reveal your perspective, relay your personality, and do it all in about a minute. What separates a pageant speech from every other type of speech is that you have to pack a lot of punch into a short burst of time. Enhance your talk with gestures. Start with intrigue, build interest, and tie it all together at the end. Fight your nerves with constant practice. Pose beautifully, stand confident, and invest time in preparation to score points with the people who matter most, the judges. Mrs. Michigan America 2006 Jody Bernhardt says the judges score about 50% on speaking ability.
How to Write a Pageant Speech
Ponder the topic and relate it to your message. Decipher what you want the judges to know and how it relates to the pre-selected division topic. If the chosen topic is vague, think beyond what's typical and select a slant that other contestants may not consider. Give it a personal touch. Relate it to you.
Open with a famous quote, a question, or even a joke. Search quotes by topic. Choose a famous person or an everyday hero. Get the audience thinking by beginning with a question. Set them at ease with a touch of humor. Capture their attention with the unexpected.
Expand on the opening sentence and deliver that information in just a few sentences. National CoEd Speech finalist Samantha Hoy advises young women to make every sentence count. Say something about yourself with every word, making the most of your limited time.
End with impact. Tie the middle to the end and circle back to the beginning, all in one powerful sentence. Challenge the listeners. Engage their thinking. Emphasize the message and leave them with an impression.
Draw attention to important words by adding gestures. Bring importance to the meaning with small movements without taking center stage over the message. Add presence with small hand movements, or slight body movements. Bend your knees or rise up on your toes as appropriate.
Stand straight and tall in a T-stance. Place your left foot sideways, with the right foot in front of it and facing forward. Bend knees slightly. Practice with a microphone if possible. If one is not available, grab a large spoon and pretend. Handling a live microphone will be second nature after you’ve been practicing with an object in your hand.
Time your speech. Utilize as much of the time without going over and risking disqualification. Rodeo Queen Bobbie Ward Hinds cautions contestants to stay well within the time limits.
Take your time when selecting the topic, giving it plenty of consideration. When using a quote, apply it to yourself in a personal way.
Stick to the topic and don’t digress. As a rule, contestants will speak faster while on stage, so factor this in when timing your speech. Keep jokes family friendly and don’t risk offending judges or onlookers with jokes that are rude or inappropriate. Avoid sweeping hand gestures and distracting movements.
- Toastmasters.org: Speaking Up at Beauty Pageants, by Julie Bawden Davis
- Samantha Hoy, Three-time speech finalist for National Co-Ed Pageants
Toni Hoy has written articles on child welfare for “Rise Magazine.” She has made presentations to state departments, legislators, and advocacy groups on mental health care. Her video, "He's My Son" is gaining national attention. She holds a B.A. degree in communications from Thomas Edison State College.