There is an old story about a southern rural preacher who was very successful in public speaking. A reporter asked him for the secret to his success. He said, "I tell them what I'm going to tell them. Then I tell them. Then I tell them what I told them." If that form sounds familiar it is very similar to the format that you used in your essay and city narrative; introduction, body, and conclusion. We will discuss how to use that format to make an excellent team presentation. Remember to use the rubric to guide you.

Click here for presentation rubric

Outline

It is a good idea to prepare an outline as your first step. You will find that your outline is very similar to your city narrative so you may want to use that outline as a beginning point. However, in your team presentation you will use many more words than 500. This means that you will be able to expand on the points in your city narrative and add other material that would not fit in the narrative. Therefore, your presentation outline should be larger.

From your outline you should prepare a script for your presentation. Your script is the text of the speech that the team is going to present.

Hint: if you have access to a color printer, use a different color font for each speaker (greens, blues, and maroons are good choices) so that each presenter's speaking parts are clearly identified.

Your script should also show the stage directions in parenthesis. For instance, the script text would show the speaker presenting the description of the city's power facilities and in parenthesis show a teammate pointing to the facility in the scale model e.g. (Sammy points to power facility). You can transfer the key points from the script to note cards to practice. However, your goal should be to memorize the script and not use note cards in your final presentation.

In the introduction section of your script you should introduce the team members and their roles. You should also introduce your city and its location. You should also mention the size of the population, its climate, and, perhaps, it's landscape.

In the body of your presentation, you are going to sell your city, not just tell about your city (don't tell it, sell it). Describe the important points of your city and the community. For instance, technological advances, unique facilities, employment opportunities, key industries, your infrastructure, the educational level of the community, how you've met community needs, and the role that engineering plays in your city. Remember to include substantial information on the essay topic. Use your research, city narrative, essay, city plan outline, and community outline to build the body of your presentation.

Organize the information so that it has a logical flow. Make certain that you have smooth transitions between topics. You have limited time, so don't dwell too long on any one topic. However, make sure that your strongest selling points are heard. It is a good idea to let one person from the team discuss an entire topic. It limits the number of microphone handoffs and other distractions.

In the conclusion, you should summarize the important parts from the body of the presentation. Explain why your city is the best in the world and how it differs from others. List the benefits of living there. The last sentence of the script should make the judges want to grab the next plane to your city.

Remember to keep a copy of your script in the Team Presentation folder in the Project Archive.

Role-Playing

Role-playing is always a good idea for a team presentation. Roles should reinforce what you want to sell the judges. For example, if the primary emphasis of your city is energy production, your roles shouldn't be as professional athletes. Some roles that you might use are city council members, city planners, Chamber of Commerce representatives, or a trade delegation.

No matter what roles you choose, make certain that the script fits the roles. Speakers should talk within the context of their role. This means if one of the roles is chief of energy production, that person probably shouldn't be talking about parks and recreation. It is a good idea to do research on the roles that you plan to use so that you know the expectations of the judges.

Props

Your most important prop is your city scale model. You should plan to point out key features to the judges throughout your presentation (regular pointers are allowed, but because you don't know what the stage lighting will be, you should absolutely avoid laser pointers). Remember that the speaker should not be directly involved with props. Multitasking can be a distraction for you and the judges.

You can use flip charts, but the information on the pages must be clearly visible (use dark markers). Also, make certain that your writing does not show through to the next page. You can also use display boards, but they have size limitations. You may have one display board that is 60" W x 36" H or two display boards each measuring 30" W x 36" H. Remember, the speaker should not be turning pages on the flipchart or exchanging display boards on an easel.

Brochures are a fun idea and the competition limit is one 8.5" x 11" page for each copy of the brochure. However, you can fold the page. Microsoft Word has templates for brochures that you can download. Depending on the type of software that you have, you can add photographs and other clipart to your brochure.

A good place to get some guidance on how cities use brochures is to get brochures from the Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Bureau in a city near you. You can also use other types of handouts and small mockups, but they all must fit within a shoebox.

Dress

You should dress appropriately for your presentation. That means that your clothes should be neat and clean and so should you. You may choose to use costumes like hardhats, lab coats, or clothing unique to your city (Hawaiian shirts for Honolulu). The costumes should be consistent with the roles that you are playing (don't wear lab coat if you're the head of Parks and Recreation). Don't wear anything that detracts or distracts from your presentation. Over-the-top attire may be fun but it moves the attention of the judge from the presentation to the presenter. Minimize all distractions.

Rehearsal

There is an old joke about a stranger who asks a local resident how to get to Symphony Hall. The resident responds, "practice, practice, practice". When it comes to your presentation that should be your constant thought. Rehearse your script including all stage movements. (Don't forget the microphone handoffs).

Hint: an empty paper towel tube makes a good practice microphone.

A good idea is to video your rehearsals. If you don't have a camera there is usually a video camera built into cell phones. You can get the teacher-sponsor, a parent, or a fellow student to take the video. Review the video and make changes to your script to improve your presentation.

Hint: remove any slang or terms like "like", "you know", "Man!", "OMG", etc. from your presentation and your question-and-answer practice. You shouldn't ever say that you have, "Stuff" in your city. Make sure you use a specific name.

Each member of the team should present his or her speaking part to anyone who will listen. That means you can give it to Mom, Dad, grandma, Uncle Fred, your teachers, your BFFs or anyone else who will listen. Ask for their feedback and revise, if appropriate. You can voice record your presentation and listen to it. Adjust your voice strength and tone based upon what you hear. Re-record it and listen until you are satisfied that it is the best that you can do.

Hint: Cell phones and MP3 players usually have voice recorders in them. Those cell phones also have video recorders too. You should take a second to see what you look like on film. You might see things that you were not able to see before.

Anticipate the questions that judges might ask you. Ask your teacher-sponsor for a list of possible questions. Judges questions may include your city design, the essay topic, the technology you use, how you meet the community needs, how you work together as a team, and the Future City Competition Experience. Rehearse your answers as well as the script. Remember to speak calmly and in proper English when you respond to the question. Make sure that everyone on the team has an opportunity to answer questions.

You should rehearse until you're satisfied that your presentation is as good as you can make it. It is unwise to change your presentation less than two days prior to the competition. You will have little, if any, time to rehearse the changes.

Performance Tips

Here are a few tips to remember for the competition:

  • sleep well the night before the competition,
  • eat a good breakfast,
  • remain calm, no one knows your city better than you do,
  • minimize distractions during your presentation,
  • be poised and confident; there are no wrong answers,
  • maintain eye contact with the judges,
  • use smooth and few microphone handoffs,
  • use gestures so that you will know which teammate will answer a judge's question

Well, that does it. We've given you all the help that we can give. We hope that all the Compete webpages have improved the Future City Competition Experience for you. Everyone in the Future City Competition-Arizona Region organization works to give you the opportunity to compete and to succeed.

Click here for a helpful video

Best of luck!

We believe in you and we are proud of you!