UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 19, 2024

Pansy Hardy competition helps speakers gain confidence

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The Pansy Hardy Speech to Entertain competition is here again to reward talented student speakers with trophies, refreshments and, most importantly, money. 

Students need to sign up by Thursday to be eligible to participate in the competition on April 2. The first, second and third-place winners will receive $1,000, $300 and $150 scholarships. Students must be prepared with an eight to 10-minute speech that can entertain an audience but also be informative.

“It’s not a stand-up comedy routine,” said Kathleen Briggs, an administrative secretary for the communication department. “They are supposed to learn and inform the audience, but in an entertaining way.”

Students give their speeches three times before different judges. Then the judges tally the scores they’ve given, and the three finalists give their speeches again before the winners are announced.

Briggs said in the past many of the speeches she heard, including the winning speeches, were personal anecdotes.  

Sally Hardy, a senior communication major from Spanish fork, was a contestant in last year’s competition and adapted one of her own experiences to use as a speech.

“It was one of my most embarrassing moments,” Hardy said in an email.  “I had told a lot of people about it and they would ask me to tell it again and again. I took that story and related it to a moral concept.”

Hardy said she plans on entering again this year.

Besides the scholarship money, Briggs said there are other benefits from learning to speak in front of audiences.

“It translates into lots of different presentations,” Briggs said. “Anything that you do before a group, it would help you to just be judged on it and get input on how well you do.”

Hardy said when she entered, she had the opportunity to learn and grow by getting out of her comfort zone.

“You also get to meet some amazing people,” Hardy said. “People who enter these contests are adventurous and brave just like you. And, the refreshments are yummy.”

Even though she said she broke into a sweat just signing up for the competition, Hardy said that it was important to face her fear. She ended up taking third place in 2014.