About Outlook 1. There are very few finalists and only one winner.

Joining a competition like Outlook has many benefits. You make new friends. You develop new skills. You gain valuable experience working in teams and practicing your English in new situations. You have fun. If you only care about winning there is a 99.99% chance you will be disappointed. 2. Focus on what you can learn from participating in the competition. Always learn something. Never waste time. 3. There is more than one way to the top. Students with perfect American or British accents tend to do best in competitions – yes. Watching the national finals you get the impression however that that isn’t all there is to it. Many students in the finals do not have perfect accents. Some students are incredible debaters. They are logical and communicate well. Some students have very well-rehearsed and planned performances. Some students have impressive vocabularies. Some students are funny and likable. There is more than one way to win. What is your core competency? 4. Respect judges and rulings. Judges make many difficult decisions and do their best to be fair and impartial. Do not argue with rulings. The rules of each event are explained clearly before each event begins. If you have any questions ask them then. Do not ask a question after the event has started and never argue with judges. 5. Focus on your own performance – not other contestants. A contestant who reads from a paper is hurting himself. A contestant who speaks Chinese hurts his or her own score. It doesn’t affect your score. 6. Say nothing you have learned in school. Your teacher did not teach you a story about a rabbit and a fox. He taught your entire class. The judges have heard the story about the rabbit and the fox from twelve of your classmates already. I heard Edelweiss seven times on keyboards and flutes and from microphones. 7. Knowing the judge won’t help you. I know over half the students in the competition. Knowing my name or preferences or nationality is not a secret weapon. 8. The order of events is important. Prepared speeches and non-English presentations favor weaker students who are able to memorize and recite. It puts stronger students at a disadvantage. It does not show off their talents. 9. The order of groups is important. Judges are always more lenient on later groups. This is not bias and it isn’t anyone’s fault. The first time a judge hears a speech the judge does not have an accurate frame of reference for it. He doesn’t know if the speech is the best speech he will hear all day or the worst. If the first speaker makes a mistake the judge will deduct points. If the fiftieth speaker makes the same mistake – which all the other speakers have also made – the judge may not take any points off because “everyone made that mistake.” Renato Ganoza for EF Zhengzhou, 2009