Technical speaking competition

Faculty Co-ordinator: Ada Hurst

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.

Competition date

This term, the competition will be held on Wednesday, November 20th @ 5:30 pm (location TBD).

Applications for submissions

Students who are interested in submitting their presentation should e-mail their title and a short abstract (100 words to 200 words), and a set of proposed slides to the Faculty Coordinator with the subject "SFF Technical Speaking Competition" no later than Friday, November 15th. 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 students selected to compete will be notified by the end of the day on Monday, November 18th.

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 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 their computer has the required adaptors to connect to the projector in the room.  Food is provided during the competition.