Chairman's Presentation

**Team 2660 is preparing to submit for the Chairman’s Award for the first time this year! However, we’re a little unclear on what a presentation to the judges should look like and wanted some input.

What will/has your team done in those five minutes? Is it worth it to play the video or should it be able to stand on its own without a presenter’s help?


My team presented Chairman’s for the first time last year. We used a computer with a short powerpoint and a short outline of the points we wanted to cover. What happened was we sat down and talked for the five minutes.
I am very interested in hearing other ways to present Chairman’s.

Some suggestions in a power point from a workshop on Judging 101. You can find it through NEMO here:

Chairman’s Award presentation from Senior Mentor calls (featuring National Judge Advisors for FRC) here:

Lots of suggestions in other threads on this topic.

You can see all of 1511’s past Chairman’s essays & presentations posted here:

They generally went with some sort of theme and tried to discuss more detail & personal stories about important topics that covered impact & partnership.

Some hints
-DONT reiterate what is in your essay… the judges will have read it. You can add more detail to points that are in there, but use this time to say what you didnt have the chance to in the essay.
-Make it personal! Judges love to know how each of the presenters contributed to the impact, or were impacted by the program. Don’t spend the whole time on their stories, but add a little personal anecdote here or there.
-Have some sort of theme or take-away message, something that will stick in the judges heads (and try to use this message in the presentation, video & essay in some form).
-DONT bother playing the video. It will suck up all of your presentation time, and the live presenters will be more impressive than a canned film. That said, if you want to embed short video clips in a powerpoint, you can.

  • HAVE FUN - this is the most important. If you are having fun while you are presenting, you passion will shine through, and the judges will know how important this is. There is no sense getting stressed, yes you are competing for a big award, but this is just the culmination of all your team does. If they are deserving, it will show, whether or not you stumble on 5 words :slight_smile:

Does it have to be a powerpoint? Do judges mark you down if you do some other form of presentation such as a skit?

Your presentation media is up to your team. Although we have a “computer magnet” program in our school, we always used posters for our presentation. Posters do not have to be booted up, there are no batteries and… sometimes a Powerpoint presentation is a distraction, not an asset.

We always felt that somehow, our presentation would have to stand out and stick in the judge’s mind. A skit is a creative idea. They will remember your presentation!

We used posters as well (this was in the pre-video days however). They can be seen at our (newly redesigned) web site at

(The Chairman’s video linked in my signature was made AFTER winning - Paul Lazarus worked with the winning teams then to create a video the year after you won.)

So if we already made the video and if we’re not presenting it during our presentation then when are the judges going to see it? Can we quote the essay at all? Or would it be better if we were 100% original in our presentation

Haha, so I didn’t have the opportunity to mentor my team for chairman’s so I’m going to take my chance :smiley:

I believe they see it while judging discussion is going on. Also there was some mention somewhere that it’s used as a tie-breaker of sorts. Regardless, what you say in person will have much more impact than something pre-recorded, so I would suggest to make sure YOU present and not your video.

Of course you can quote your essay, nothing to really limit you against it. And I wouldn’t say 100% original because you’ll definitely have some basic vital stuff on your essay that should be repeated. BUT add to what your essays say. Add personal stuff, and try to get a connection with your judges <- Public Speaking 101. The more the audience feels that you are real and not just a dummy that’s saying words that you’ve rehearsed forever and ever, their more prone to actually listen.

The best way to make it un-rehearsed and make you real, is to talk about what you’ve personally been through, especially because everything you’ve been through has been real, and I’m sure you have good stories and experiences that judges would love to hear.

So as a summary, the three of you going into that room have a combined so many years of experience in FIRST and that is a VERY important thing that should be addressed.

I know I put a lot of emphasis on YOU YOU YOU, but it should only be maybe about a minute or even less COMBINED. This is still after all a TEAM award, and you should make sure you highlight how and why your team is a role model FIRST team. So make sure you guys take turns throughout the presentation talking about yourselves, and trying to link it to a certain aspect of the team.

It says in the manual, the judges may or may not view the video. I’m not sure if they do or don’t. I think the video is to show everyone else about you. Don’t count on them seeing it, but I have heard teams get marked down if their sole presentation is their video.

You can do a skit, a formal presentation, or whatever your team likes. We generally try to put it into some skit format. Just remember to watch your time. Our judges started the timer when they opened the door to invite the kids in. So, be prepared for that. Have fun with it, and just relax! :slight_smile: Good Luck!

You give the judges a copy of your video, so they can watch it after your presentation, and they already have a copy of your essay, so this is the time you should be 100% original. On our team, we always have a themed presentation, with props and/or costumes to match. Generally, for us, this is our theme for the entire year, so all of our actions and activities match that year’s theme. The important thing you want to do, is to give the judges a sense of who your team is, what is important to your team, and what things you do that you believe are a role model for other teams. Your presentation can be anything you want, you could do a skit, you could give them some object and then tell a story around that object, you could put something together in front of the judges, as you tell your story, (I saw one group pretend to mix a cake, with the ingredients of the cake being parts of their team - they were even dressed as bakers! - and at the end gave the judges a cupcake with their team number on it), etc…

Generally, your presentation should do the following:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you did this year
  3. How are you a role model for others
  4. Make an impression on the judges
  5. Watch the time
  6. Have fun!

Copies of our chairman’s submission, can be found on our website at:

A copy of our video can be found on youtube at:

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions!


**Look at your presentation from a judge’s perspective. **

If I’m a judge, I’ve already read your submission. So why am I looking at your presentation? Because I want to know if YOU and your team believe it, if YOU and your team are excited about it, if YOU and your team own it. It is unlikely that you will add material that is not already in the written documentation. We believe that video and powerpoint presentations are barriers between you and your team connecting with the judges. We use simple printed graphics to support the speakers.

The video:
The purpose of the video is not to show to the judges or convince them of anything. The purpose of the video is to give you an opportunity to explain to other teams how your team is pursuing the Chairman’s Award. Your audience is other teams. Not the judges. This is why it is shown after the awards to the audience. It is a mandated requirement that you turn in the video.

Our chairman’s submission is here

Video is here

edit: I personally don’t ‘get it’ on this issue of plays, skits, costumes, etc. It doesn’t have anything to do with answering the Chairman’s questions, it doesn’t address what you are doing as a team to support FIRST core values, and is a big distraction. imho.

The most important part of your presentation is the content. Props, costumes, etc are nice and can be memorable, but if you don’t have the content all the extras don’t matter. And be prepared for questions from the judges for more details on aspects of your program. If, to make up an example, the judges ask “how many FLL teams came to your tournament” one of your presenters better have the answer.

And to go off of what Carol said a bit more here a good way to practice the question aspect, is to ask each other questions. Present your chairman’s award to your whole team as if they were all the judges. I can guarantee you will get questions that you would have never even thought of.

But, the most important thing of all for your presentation is, be you! If you go to competitions with a bright blue mohawk with a thousand buttons on your shirt, then go into the judges room that way, but if your team is more professional and you wear your teams polo shirt and jeans or khakis, then do that. The judges want to see who you are, that’s one of the most important parts!

edit: I personally don’t ‘get it’ on this issue of plays, skits, costumes, etc. It doesn’t have anything to do with answering the Chairman’s questions, it doesn’t address what you are doing as a team to support FIRST core values, and is a big distraction. imho.

Sometimes costumes/themes can connect your essay, presentation and video all together and make it more interesting for judges to watch, as well as make it more memorable.

For example, the first year that The Killer Bees won the Chairman’s Award, their theme was sort of Discovery Channel-ish. The students borrowed uniform shirts from Rainforest Cafe (who were very excited to support us) and their presentation was done in goofy accents as if they were explorers or safari guides who were looking to discover the secrets of the Killer Bees’ hive. It was really cute, fun, but also educational. The video was similar, giving a small tour of our shop area while explaining some of our team’s values.

Last year one of our students wore his Boy Scout uniform because one of our main activities was working with Boy Scouts to teach them how to earn their Robotics Merit Badge.

Costumes, skits and themes can be very appropriate when linked together and used in a way that makes sense to your team.

Since teams are supposed to create a 3 minute video prior to competing for the CA, our team specifically used the exact video in our presentation, but without any sound. The presenters became the narrators during that time.
The extra 2 minutes outlined our entire team.

We carried pull-up banner props which gave a full visual of what we were presenting, to give the judges something else to see while the team spoke. We also carried in 2 15 pound 5 inch binders that highlight our entire program.
Even though the judges dont see it during the presentation…we planted the seed that it existed, in case judges wanted to come by later to find out more about our program.

I would stress dressing professionally, with or without a theme.

You can find our banners and binders at the RCA HOF booth this year.
In addition, we will display our 2011 video in addition to other clips at the booth as well. There isnt much more we can bring since we are flying everything there, with our options narrowed because of it.
With all of the suggestions presented, what’s most important is preparation and sticking to your foundation points of your team. No matter what question(s) are asked, it always goes back to your key points.
Also, because of the short 5 minute of presenting and up to 5 minutes of Q/A, give judges a reason to come back to find out more about your program in the pit. Its a way to get additional informal interview time. :slight_smile:
I think ultimately though, its your presenters that are the X-factor. They set the tone and the dynamics of how great your presentation can/will be. Our team was VERY lucky to have 2 girls that were very poised, mature, and polished under pressure. In fact, one of our girls co-MC’ed the Hawaii regional this year with Mark Leon, and is running for Miss USA Hawaii in 2013.*

My team, 2486, usually comes up with some sort of theme and uses it for our essay, presentation, judges packet, and video. We usually do a presentation with “props.” Last year, our theme was sort of based on graduation, since our founding members were graduating. We designed a “yearbook” type judge’s packet with all of our info. This year our theme was a time capsule. We made our video as if we were speaking about ourselves to a future rookie team. In our presentation, with each subject, alumni, outreach, ect., we would place one momento into a time capsule that we made. For our essay, we told a story of a rookie team who found our time capsule, along with our team information inside. Then at each regional that we have been to this year, we have actually given a time capsule to a rookie team. As far as I know we have not used a power point or video in our presentation, and we have been very successful that way.

I agree completely. Some of the best presentations I’ve seen have been skits. :slight_smile: