Communication Students Participate in Public Speaking Contest


Greeting hugs, jumps to shake off nervousness, “Good luck”s, deep breaths, and, above all, nerves were noticeable during the minutes before the start of the final contest for the “Public Speaking” course. 150 Communication and Digital Media students gathered for the first time ever. On March 22, the two classes from Madrid were present, as was the one from Segovia, who made the effort to come to the final contest held in the tower’s auditorium.

The setup of the competition

The assignment was simple: talk about any topic for five minutes. However, while this may seem like an easy job, it actually required a lot of creativity and workflow among the team members.

Two teams per class took to the stage to perform their speeches. These teams, of which there were two per class, had been pre-selected by their classmates some weeks ago during a session in which all class members presented their speeches on a single topic. 

This being said, those who made it that far really deserved to be given credit because, from my experience as a BCDM student, it is already hard enough to speak in front of forty people who stare you in the eye for the minute you have to persuade them. Now, imagine doing it with triple the amount of eyes on you!

Finally, after an abundance of hard work, preparation, and practice, the time had come to fight for the top spot of best public speakers in the career.

The lights began to dim until they went out completely, and people ended their conversations and proceeded to put away their phones to the sound of a video beginning to play on the screen. With spectacular special effects, the video showed freshman students from both IE campuses mingling.

Next, three presenters, one from each class, broke the ice by acknowledging all the people involved in coordinating and organizing such an important event for the university’s Communication department. 

But before starting the contest itself, there was a speech about the importance of preparing a speech beforehand and the meaning of “ums” when speaking, which detracts from the speaker’s credibility and engagement.

The contestant groups

“Birth Control for Men”

The first group started very strong and set a high bar. Named “Birth Control for Men,” they taught the audience several unknown and interesting facts about the possible contraceptive methods available to women and men. They left us considering that society should rely more on birth control for the male sex, as these methods are less harmful to the human body and are available in many forms, such as condoms, sperm-retaining pills, and gels.

It was interesting how this first group created an uproar among the Public Speaking students, as they finished the speech with the words “The End.” Our teacher, Neringa Kalpokas, has repeated to us throughout the semester that we should NEVER end by thanking the audience, as it seems like they are doing us a favor by being there. However, “the end” also sounded strange to some, so I thought it would surely be the first thing asked during the next Public Speaking session.

Cat speech

The second group had a totally different focus, choosing to talk about cats. Although the topic might have been a bit difficult for some to approach, as cats are not well-liked by many people and allergies to them are common, the group managed to convince the doubters to get a cat–myself included. Did you know that spending 10 minutes with a cat boosts your mood and significantly lowers stress levels? Surprising, isn’t it? In addition to the interesting facts, this group deserved an extra point for including a phone number and email of an actual shelter to adopt cats immediately after the contest.

Some technical issues arose when the microphones were given to the members of the next group. Meanwhile, a presenter asked the public some questions related to communication. Surprisingly, we discovered that most Communication students experience discrimination from students in other degrees due to stereotypes about our field. 

“Communication is not Easy”

This stereotyping was the exact point of Segovia’s first group, “Communication is not Easy.” They stood up for everyone in the room who felt that their degree had less support than the rest. They explained that the critical thinking skills acquired in the degree are vital in any professional field. They also touched on the hurdles Communication students have to overcome, such as trying to convince an audience of a point in just five minutes without slides to back it up.

They explained that Communication students often rely solely on their message, voice, and body language, just as the students were doing during their speech. Judging by the claps and cheers at the end of their speech, the audience strongly identified with them. It seemed that they had a high chance of winning.

“Plants Have Feelings”

“Plants Have Feelings” was the next presentation, which reminded us how plants are living beings just like humans. The group explained that contrary to what we might think, plants have feelings but just communicate them differently from us. The group, to demonstrate their idea, explained an experiment in which a researcher cut some leaves from a tree in a forest. After only 52 hours, the experiment revealed that the trees closed their leaves as a defensive response due to feeling threatened and vulnerable. The trees then communicated this risk to their entire community as a result.

Halfway through the exciting competition, probably the best part of the event took place. I am referring to the dance between speeches. Volunteers from Segovia’s class took the initiative to transform the speech floor into a dance stage and performed a medley of songs that even got the student body up and moving for a while. 


After so much movement, it was time to relax before continuing to listen to the remaining speeches. The group “Meditation” made a very appropriate start by asking the crowd to breathe in and out. In addition to this inclusive and captivating exercise, the group differed from the rest by presenting themselves as more natural and relaxed by wearing tracksuits and yoga leggings instead of previous attire, such as suits and blazers.

With their speech, they managed to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere in the room. By presenting a QR to download a meditation app, they made it easier than ever to get started in an activity that helps so many people but can be hard to engage in.

“Why Communication is the Best”

Finally, “Why Communication is the Best” also broke stereotypes about the Communication career. 95% of students agreed with some of the stigmas mentioned by this group. However, halfway through the speech, their topic was doubted as they started talking about American food being the most popular. This ended up being an exemplary lesson to show that these food chains succeeded because of their communicators. So, the next time someone judges a Communication student, this is a good example to show them that our career is the best, as they themselves commented.

The moment awaited by all

When it came time to vote, the respondents had so much difficulty choosing between all the groups that they were given extra time to decide which box to check on the survey. 

In addition to the students’ choice, an independent podium of three judges was selected. These included an IT innovation manager, a development specialist, and Neringa, a professor at IE Business School and BCDM’s three “Public Speaking” classes.  Together, they emphasized that it was very difficult to select the winners, so they would focus on those groups whose call to action was noted not only at the end but also from the beginning. 

From there, the winning groups’ results were “Birth Control for Men” in third place, “Plants Have Feelings” in second place, and finally, “Communication is not Easy” in first place. Some students stated they expected this outcome. 

The event concluded with students from the winner’s class getting excited and cheering “Sego” as they stood up and approached the stage. Segovia students joined the winning group and celebrated the victory together.

Overall, the podium result was very fair, considering that first place was awarded to those students who put effort into gathering arguments in support of all BCDM students. Their victory speaks for all the students present in the room and also for other senior years.

Photo courtesy of Lorena Rebollo

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