Four-Way Test Speech Contest 

The Four-Way Test

From the earliest days of Rotary, Rotarians have been concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional and everyday lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is the 4-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as Rotary International’s president) when he was asked to  take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. This 24-word test for employees to use in making decisions in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with suppliers and customers. The survival of the company is  credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, the 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions: 

Of the things we think, say or do:

Is it the TRUTH

Is it FAIR to all concerned


Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned

The Contest


The Clubs of Rotary District 7360 are holding speech contests at the Club, Region, and District levels in the spring of 2022. The Club winners will compete in a Regional Contest, and the Regional winners will compete in the Finals at a District event held on May 14th 2022. The District winner will receive $1000, second place $500 and the two runners-up will each receive $300.

Important Dates: 

Club Level Speech Contest: TBD by March 31, 2022

Regional Contests: April 9, 23, or 30 (depending on entries)

Final District Event: May 14, 2022, 2:00 pm in Bellefonte @ the American Philatelic Society facility.

RYLA Presentation: June 18, AM

The contest winner will be encouraged to attend the district RYLA event being held June 17th-19th in Shepherd’s Spring. The winner will be invited to spend the night, June 17th and participate in any programs that evening, and then give their speech to the RYLA attendees on Saturday morning, June 18th. If the contest winner is not able to attend, the 1st runner-up will be eligible to present at RYLA.


Each contestant should choose the topic of his/her speech. The purpose of the speech is to address an ethical issue using the principles of the Four-Way Test. The issue to be addressed should be something from the speaker’s personal experience or general knowledge. There are no restrictions regarding the choice of topic as long as it is not blatantly offensive. If a contestant or coach is in doubt about the appropriateness of a topic, he or she should check with the Club Contest Chair. The decision of the Contest Chair will be final. All speeches must be the original  work of the speaker. 

In the speech, the topic must be specifically related to the Rotary Four-Way Test. This must be addressed during the body of the speech and not reserved for concluding statements only. Each one of the four parts of the Four-Way Test should be addressed during the speech. They should be specifically stated, as the intent of the speech is to use the Four-Way Test to resolve an ethical issue. The use of each element of the test could be used to prove either a positive or negative point. However, more weight will be given to an overall positive application of the Four-Way Test rather than a negative one. 


Speeches must be at least 5 minutes and no more than 7 minutes in length. Penalty points will be subtracted for time infractions, at the rate of two points for every fifteen seconds or fraction thereof that a contestant’s speech runs either under the 5-minute minimum or over the 7-minute maximum. 


No props are to be used. Audience participation will be considered a prop. Penalty points will be subtracted for use of props or encouragement of audience participation, at the rate of two points per infraction. 

Speaker Aids:

At Club contests, a lectern and microphone may be provided, at the discretion of the Club. At the Regional contests a lectern may be provided and perhaps a microphone and at  the District Finals contest, a lectern and microphone will be provided. When provided, the use of the lectern is at the discretion of the speaker however the microphone should be used. 


Contestants may speak from notes at the club competition. 

At the Regional competition, only a single 3 x 5 card may be used. 

At the District final, notes will not be allowed

Infractions of rules will result in disqualification or point deductions. 


Public, private and home-schooled school students in grades 9 through 12 are eligible to enter the contest. No student may be a contestant in more than one Rotary Club speech contest in any one year. A club may sponsor a speech contest in more than one high school but may send only one representative to the Regional contest.

Previous winners of the District Level speech competition (District Champion) are ineligible to compete in subsequent years, but other  previous competitors may compete again.

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