Speech competitions may be an interesting way to practice and get some critiques of your speaking ability and a fun way to really put yourself out there and force you to grow as a speaker.
Here are some videos of people doing there speech competitions. These are all gaijin’s doing speeches.
I took a look at some of the criteria for judging for one speech contest they were.
From various competitions I looked at around the internet it looks like most competitions are sponsored by Japanese Embassies. Being that I have never considered there to even be speech competitions for Japanese not sure if this is normal or not, but interesting non-the-less.
What was real funny is one of the applications, not all, had a waiver and mentions specifically falling and suffering severe bodily injury they are not liable. Not sure if I would want to go to that particular competition.
Looking through many competitions it also looks like most of the competitions, at least in the US, are for non-native speakers; or they have 2 categories. I think it would be better, personally, to pit up against native speakers or at the very least where parents do speak Japanese. Gives us that learn from scratch a bit more of a challenge.
Some of the awards I saw were really cool anything from $1000 cash to full year scholarship for college. Don’t remember which one, but there was one offering a job if you won and fit the other criteria. Basically the speech was the interview.
So the question now is would you ever consider doing a speech in Japanese?