Chairman's and such...

Okay so here’s what went down…

The person who wrote our team’s chairman essay is not going to be able to go to our regional competition and i am giving the presentation. No one on the team, including myself, has any experience giving the chairman’s presentation. I am a junior who is going to be the captaian/leader of the team next year. Why don’t I have any experience? The class ahead of me has been the leaders of this team this year and the previous one.

Can someone just give me a little insight in to what goes on at a chairman’s presentation at a regional and/or nationals? Thank you so much.

Good work on getting a submission in!! And dont worry too much, a lot of teams have different writers and presenters, some people are better at writing, others are better at presenting, some are good at both.

Quick rundown:
*You sign up for a Friday timeslot - usually they will have the signup in the pit sometime on thursday. If you want to put any strategy to what timeslot you pick, get there early!
*Make sure to arrive prepared 15 minutes before your presentation time (the regional will tell you where to go). If you have a laptop, speakers, anything like that, make sure it is fully ready.
*When you get in the room you have 10 minutes TOTAL, that includes your setup time, so have your setup well rehearsed, whether its starting a presentation, handing out packets, putting up posterboards, etc.
*There are usually 3 judges, but I think I have heard of there being up to 5. If you bring anything to hand out, its smart to bring 5-8 copies.
*Use your 10 minutes wisely, standard format is 5 minutes for the presentation, 5 for Q&A. Some events will let you run over the 5 minutes by a little, some cut you off at 5 minutes… so its best to have a presentation that is exactly timed to 5 minutes. They may or may not have a timer or clock, so you may also want to wear a watch, as they might just have someone outside timing for them.
*At some regionals the judges will go around and talk to the top 3 or so teams, at some they dont. Its up to the judges and if they feel they need more detail or not.

*If you didnt write the essay, know it by heart (or at least what is in it by heart). They will likely ask you questions about it, so you should know how to answer it.
*Know your team history (at least the last 3 years), know all the events the team has been involved in, how many students/mentors, etc
*Bring 2 other members with you!!! You say that You are presenting, well it doesnt show a lot of teamwork if its just one presenter. Even if they dont say as much as you do, they are there to help answer questions and show that you are a team.
*Provide detail on what you HAVE done… all the things you plan to do are nice, but its really what you have already accomplished that is important to them. Get as much detail into your presentation as possible. Saying “we held demonstrations this year” isn’t as powerful as “we held 22 demonstrations for over 4,000 people”
*Bring Handouts!! Make a small easy to flip through packet of some of your biggest accomplishments. Any news paper articles, brochures your team made, etc. The judges can use this after the fact to remember some of what you talked about or understand more of what you do.

okay thanks

yeah im not just the one presenting it is me and a senior. i didn’t know there was that strict of time restraints. hmmm lots of preparation is in order. Thanks again!

If you didnt know that, I would HIGHLY suggest reading THIS DOCUMENT, outside of some the advice, everything I wrote came from there.

It also gives you all the criteria that they are going to judge you against, so if any of those criteria are missing from your essay you can use your presentation to cover that.

Also note that they may never see your video, so DON’T rely on it telling more of your story. They may only use it to display if you win.

Good luck!

thank you so much. This helps a ton. See we actually are a chairman’s team, but it won in the early 90’s. That generation has come and gone and its been tough because there has been an over focus on the robot and not enough on chairman’s and spirit. this will all change next year. See you at the comps!

Definitely do not rely on your video to tell your story. The judges will have a copy of the video and can watch it on their time. You have 10 minutes to use wisely, so use it to add information above and beyond what is in the video, and to underline and highlight important information in the video.

Also, relying on your video for the presentation will leave you stumbling for 10 minutes if there are technical difficulties and you cant show the video. Sometimes the best approach is low tech with less room for problems. The RCA judges are the best of an elite group of people who judge, they know how to listen for the important information, so give it to them. Like Kim said above, numbers and evidence in your presentation is more important than flashy adjectives.

Finally, you are telling a great story about your team. Just the fact you are presenting your Chairman’s Award is a great accomplishment. Be proud of what you and your team have done, tell the judges about it, and you will do fine.

thats awesome thanks for the support. In the Q+A portion of the presentation will they be asking us about Dean’s homework for this year? what goes on in the Q+A besides just elaborating about your team and the essay?

Questions are different for every team as far as we have found. Some may be similar across teams, but they generally come up with more specific questions based off of your essay and presentation. So make sure there are things that spark their interest and make them want to know more.

We have gotten some good and bad questions… one question was “what awards have you won”… that one was kind of annoying because we thought they got that from all the judges info ahead of time and we didn’t think it was relevant to being a CA team. So we started putting a list of our awards in the packet we hand them so we can quickly brush over the topic and get them to ask better questions.

Others were more specific: tell us more about project girl wrench, tell us more about how you run a demonstration, tell us more about your FLL involvement, who organizes your community service events? who came up with the idea for your integration meetings? etc etc.

Basically just know your stuff, know your team, know your essay…

They tend to be most concerned with the last three years, so it makes it a bit easier on student presenters, in theory you can have students that were there for the last three years.

Another thing I thought of is that Judges are often given time ahead to go do research on your team, and the easiest way to give them more info is THROUGH YOUR WEBSITE!! So make sure your website tells your story, and tells why you should be a chairmans team.

In addition to the great advice you have received so far, here is a link to MOE 365’s Chairman’s Slides and script our presenters used a few years ago, when we won the Philly Regional and Championship Chairman’s Award. There are many different ways to proceed. Make sure your way is comfortable to you and the other presenter(s).

All the best.


Practice practice practice practice practice practice sleep practice practice practice.

Practice is incredibly important to giving a good presentation. Know your part, and your partners’ parts, inside and out, backwards and forwards. Don’t make it sound robotic and over-rehearsed, but rather have it be fluid and conversational. The judges aren’t big and scary, they’re regular people too. Treat them as such, as your presentation will tend to go much better.

Don’t simply mimic your essay, either. Put new and different information in your presentation, they’ve already read your essay and don’t need it twice. Keep the themes and general topics the same (or at least complimentary to one another), but don’t repeat the exact same statistics and examples time and time again. There are certain key issues that you’ll likely want to bring up again (whatever the focal points of your candidacy are), but try and present them in a slightly different fashion to what you did in the essay to keep them fresh and interesting.

The questions vary from team to team, judge to judge, year to year, and regional to regional. You’re never going to be quite sure what you’re going to get. Some will focus on your team and your essay/presentation. Some will be generic to all teams. Some will be specific, some will be broad and overarching. A couple I recall from the presentations I did as a student include:

“What would you like to see change about your school’s role with your team in the future?”
“What type of relationship have you fostered with some of your sponsors?”
“What caused you, personally, to become involved wtih FIRST?”

Formats will vary from event to event, slightly. Some judge crews are very strict about the 5 minute presentations, some are not. On rare occassions, I’ve had judges ask questions during the presentation (though not the full Q&A), rather than wait 'til the second half of the interview session. Some “tones” have been more formal, while others have been more light-hearted and friendly. Be prepared for anything.

But remember, just have fun doing it. It may be a pressure situation, but it’s not the end of the world. Be loose, be excited, and be interesting. Don’t clam up and sound, no pun intended, robotic. If you’re not excited about what your team accomplished and confident about your chances, why would the judges be?

Yes, yes, yes. That’s also the number 1 thing that will make you feel comfortable when you actually go in front of the judges.