Democracy! Amherst College’s 2024 Speaking Competition

Democracy Speech competition poster.

Amherst College’s annual Speaking Competition was held on Thursday, February 22, 2024. Student finalists (from all class years) wrote persuasive speeches based on this year’s theme, “Democracy.”

2024 Award Winners

  • Best Overall Persuasive Speech: Kamil Mahmood ’27
  • Best Content in a Persuasive Speech: Spencer Michaels ’24
  • Best Delivery of a Persuasive Speech: Jaimie Han ’26

Photos and videos from the Speaking Competition


Competitors are evaluated on the following components:

Content and Organization

  • Topic and specific focus were appropriate for the audience (Amherst community).
  • Clear organization was followed consistently throughout the speech.
  • Speech consistently used evidence that was appropriate for the topic (e.g., narrative, statistics) and was cited as appropriate.
  • Language use was appropriate (e.g., avoided jargon) and suited to the occasion.
  • Logical connections were clearly made between ideas within the speech.


  • Speaker’s use of vocal qualities (volume, pitch, emphasis) enhanced the presentation.
  • Nonverbal behaviors (gestures and eye contact) enhanced the presentation.
  • Speaker was fluent (e.g., avoided fillers such as “um”) and conversational.

Overall Impression

  • The speaker was engaging throughout the presentation.
  • The overall presentation was consistently persuasive.