TEDxRutgers club organizes ‘Speech Craft’ competition for public speakers


Kaila Lim said she wonders what would happen if people did not doubt themselves.

Lim, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, was one of the speakers at “Speech Craft,” a public speaking contest held by the TEDxRutgers Club last night in the Center Hall of the Busch Student Center.

The winner of the contest would become the student speaker for the TEDxRutgersU in March, said Akash Mitra, co-president of the club.

Students at the competition were picked after sharing their experiences and stories, he said. 

“We looked at the most inspiring stories we could get,” he said. “We looked at people [who] had something to share with the Rutgers community.”

The winning speaker was chosen based on both content and delivery, he said. Other factors included body language and timeliness. 

Students could use props such as a chair or a small desk, he said. Despite this, the most important factor was whether they could engage the audience.

The winner of the competition would be announced after a few days, Mitra said. 

Nishant Gidvani, the club’s treasurer and co-founder, said 15 students were chosen to speak during the evening. Each speaker was given three to five minutes to present.

Audience members voted for their favorite speakers by texting speakers’ names to a short code the club set up, he said.

The theme of the event was “Makes You Wonder,” he said. All of the contestants had to base their talks around this theme. 

Lim was doubtful when applying, she said. She based part of her talk around a typical high school experience other students could relate to.

“I knew my audience,” she said.

Dean Thomas Papathomas, one of the club’s sponsors, said the organization was created to ensure continuity when planning future TEDxRutgers events. 

Speech Craft is one of several events he hopes to see throughout the year leading up to the main event this Spring, Papathomas said.

While several campus deans were involved with the organization, it was run entirely by students, he said.

The deans provided financial backing and assisted with coordination between the University and the club, he said. The rest was up to students.

“We are hoping to draw in the range of 500 people to the event,” he said.


Nikhilesh De

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