Technical speaking competition

Faculty Co-ordinator: Allyson Giannikouris 

The technical speaking competition is held in the Spring and Fall calendar terms. Announcements will be made in terms when competitions are held. At the competition, as many as eight Waterloo engineering undergraduate students will give 12-15 minute technical presentations, each followed by an opportunity for questions from the audience. Students are eligible to compete during academic terms and during their co-op work terms.

The topic of the technical presentation must demonstrate either engineering design or analysis based on personal work done by the student either as part of a co-op work placement or research project. Technical presentations which are confidential will not be accepted.


Judging will be based on the following five aspects:

  • Organization
  • Quality of Presentation Slides
  • Presentation Style
  • Engineering Design and Analysis
  • Response to Questions

The assessment form to be used to assess presentations is named  technical-speaking-grading-s2017.pdf.  In the event of a tie, the judging panel will select the presenter that is deemed to best represent the university at the Ontario Engineering Competition.  In many cases, this decision will be based on the societal impact of the engineering design problem chosen, the quality of the engineering design and analysis, and the overall presentation quality.

Intended audience

The intended audience is typically a 2nd- or 3rd-year engineering undergraduate student.  You may assume that the intended audience has a knowledge of

  • Calculus,
  • Chemistry,
  • Circuits,
  • Co-op experience,
  • Differential equations,
  • Engineering as a profession,
  • Engineering economics,
  • Engineering writing,
  • Linear algebra,
  • Mechanics, and
  • Programming.

Students from all levels of engineering are encouraged to participate. Keep in mind that talks should demonstrate engineering design and analysis at a level suitable for a 2nd year or 3rd year engineering undergraduate student. The talks should also be accessible to a general engineering audience.

***Fall 2020 Altered Guidelines for a Virtual Competition***

Applications for submissions

Presentations will be pre-recorded and reviewed by the judges ahead of the live question period. Submissions must follow these guidelines:

  • Between 8 to 10 minutes in length
  • You must be in the video (ideally waist up - we want to see you face and hands)
  • A separate copy of the slides in ppt(x) or pdf format must be submitted
  • Ideally, the video should prioritize you as the presenter over the slides. Judges should be able to tell what slide you are on but can use the submitted copy to actually view the full slide contents. If using a picture-in-picture format, it is prefereable that the presenter should be the larger screen. An alternative option is recording yourself presenting with a monitor or TV in the background showing the slides. As a last resort, If you are unable to include the slides directly in your video, you may use comments like “On slide 3 we see that ….” to help the judges follow along using the slides you submitted.

Videos and slides must be submitted by 10:00 pm EST on November 16. They can be submitted to Allyson Giannikouris using Send-It.

Competition date

Presentations are usually followed by questions from the judges. While the talks will be submitted ahead of time, questions to each presenter will be asked live from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm EST on November 19. Participants will be sent a link to join the virtual meeting and a schedule for questions once all submissions have been received. If you cannot attend during this time send Allyson Giannikouris an email to discuss possible alternate arrangements.