Technical speaking competition

Faculty Co-ordinator: Jason Grove

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:

  • Technical and engineering content
  • Organization
  • Visual aids
  • Presentation skills
  • Response to questions

There are two separate marking forms: a personal comment form and a relative marking form. 

Marking will be based on the guidelines for giving technical presentations prepared by past Faculty Co-ordinator Douglas Wilhelm Harder.

Applications for submissions

Students who are interested in submitting their presentation should e-mail their title, a short abstract (100 words to 200 words), and a set of proposed slides to the Faculty Coordinator with the subject "Sandford Fleming Foundation Technical Speaking Competition" no later than the Friday prior to the competition date. Students are, however, not required to use the identical set of slides for the actual presentation. A Microsoft PowerPoint file (.ppt) or an Adobe Acrobat file (.pdf) should be used for the initial submission of slides. The six students selected will be notified within a day or two of the competition date.

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.

Competition day

A computer with a presentation remote will be available at the competition.  Students wishing to use this computer should bring their presentation as a Microsoft PowerPoint file or Adobe Acrobat file on a USB memory stick. Students may, alternatively, bring their presentation on their own laptop computer provided that the computer has a VGA display adapter.  Food is provided during the competition.