RULES & FAQ
- The Cicero Speechwriting Awards are open to any speechwriter from the public or private sector interested in winning recognition for their work.
- Eligibility – Entries may be text or video or a combination of both. But it must have been delivered orally, live or virtually, during the 2021 calendar year.
- Award Nominator – A speech can be nominated by the speechwriter, the speaker or anyone on his/her behalf. Please note: The person submitting the entry will be our permanent contact throughout the course of the awards program, and will receive all correspondence, including receipt of entry and winning entry acknowledgements.
- Choosing categories – Entrants may nominate their speech in one or multiple categories. There is a fee for each category entered. Judges reserve the right to change an entry to fit the appropriate category. And all entries are eligible for the Grand Award.
- Entry procedure – Entries must be received online. Submit your entries here.
- Entry fees and deadlines – The fee for each entry received by January 28, 2022 is $149. The fee for each entry received by February 25, 2022 is $249. Members of the Professional Speechwriters Association receive a 25% discount on entry fees (discount is automatically applied when members are logged in).
- Return of materials – All speeches submitted to the awards program become the non-exclusive property of the Cicero Speechwriting Awards and may be used for promotional purposes and may be published or excerpted in These Vital Speeches, the annual compendium of Cicero winners and honorable mention recipients. Entries will not be returned.
- Awards notification – Winners will be notified by email the week of April 18, 2022. Should your entry place as an award winner, your award certificate will be personalized this way: Category Name, Speechwriter Name and Speech Title.
- Questions? – Contact Benjamine Knight by phone at 312-585-6383 or send an e-mail to [email protected].
- Who should enter?
The competition is open to any speechwriter or speaker from any area of the public or private sectors.
- Why enter?
Among the benefits of winning a Cicero Speechwriting Award:
- Certification (and rare public recognition) that you are the best at your craft
- Winner’s certificate suitable for framing
- Publication of your speech in our special edition winners ezine (for Grand and Category Winners Only)
- Speech featured on our website and in a press release to national media outlets
- Winner’s logo provided for you to promote your win on your website
- Celebration of Cicero Speechwriting Awards at the World Conference of the Professional Speechwriters Association and other communication-industry events
- Cicero Grand Award winner receives free registration to the World Conference
- What are Cicero judges looking for in a speech?
In the tradition of Vital Speeches of the Day, the Cicero Speechwriting Awards judges speeches one-by-one, avoiding formulas and asking mainly: Does this speech powerfully make the point it set out to make. Along the way, we look for:
- Style The speech makes effective use of rhetorical devices and other writing techniques so that the flow is effortless and transitions are seamless. The style accentuates the message rather than getting in the way. Stories are woven in gracefully and illuminate the ideas.
- Substance The thesis of the speech is supported by accurate research and facts. Supporting elements fit the audience and occasion. The speech will not be judged on the point of view of the writer or speaker, but rather on the merit of its written presentation.
- Coherence As the most basic means of maintaining audience interest, the structure of the speech is clear and coherent. The thesis for the speech is well presented and defended, and the conclusion follows logically from it.
- Humanity Is this a speech that anyone could give to any audience at any time? Or is it a truly personal piece of communication, a special delivery from the mind and heart of one human being on a topic of real relevance to a well-chosen audience.
- What’s the mission of the Cicero Speechwriting Awards?
We’re here to honor speechwriters for their contribution to the public conversation. Judged by experts in the communication and rhetoric, the Cicero Speechwriting Awards celebrate all aspects of an unforgettable speech: Style, substance, coherence and humanity.
- Is the awards competition open to speeches delivered in any language?
The Cicero Speechwriting Awards competition is open to speechwriters worldwide, however the speech must be submitted in English. If the speech was originally given in a different language, it is still eligible if the text of the speech is provided in English.
- What if I wrote my speech in December 2020 but presented it in 2021? Does it still qualify?
Yes, as long as your speech was presented between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021, it is eligible.
- Are all entries eligible and considered for the Grand Award?
Yes, though if for some reason you wish to enter your speech only in the competition for the Grand Award, you may do that.
- What if I have an idea for a category that is not currently listed?
Additional categories will be added for next year’s competition and we welcome your suggestions. Just send an e-mail to [email protected] to let us know what categories you would like us to consider.
- What if I have additional questions?
For more information call Benjamine Knight at 312-585-6383 or e-mail her at [email protected].