Each year, starting at the club, contestants compete for the opportunity to represent their clubs in one of four speech contests. In the fall, is the Table Topics and Humorous Speech contests are held. In the spring, it is the Evaluation and International Speech contests.
Speech contests are an important part of the Toastmasters educational program. They provide an opportunity for Toastmasters to gain speaking experience, as well as an opportunity for others to learn by observing proficient speakers.
Holding a contest can seem like a daunting task, but it is an educational opportunity for many members of the club. There are several roles that support the contestants as they compete to see who will be the winner.
- Contest Chair – organizes the contest and makes sure all the resources are in place to have a successful contest.
- Contest Toastmaster – introduces the speakers during the contest and interviews each contestant while waiting for the results.
- Chief Judge – responsible for overseeing the conduct of the contest and to ensure adherence to the rules.
- Contest Judge – responsible to listen and score each speaker using the worksheets provided and fill out their ballot to indicate their choices for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.
- Contest Tiebreaking Judge – a special judge who fills out a ballot that determines a winner in the event of a tie.
- Timers – provide timing and record the times for the speeches.
- Ballot Counters – help the Chief Judge tabulate the scores that determine the winners of the contest.
- Sergeant At Arms – looks after logistics. Especially important for Evaluation and Table Topics contests where contestants are escorted from the room and brought back one at a time to compete.
Each of these roles are a leadership opportunity for members to be involved in the contest. The contestants rely on the contest officials to provide a fair playing field for all speakers to provide their best performance in hopes of winning the contest.
The Speech Contest Rulebook is your definitive source of information on the rules of the various
contests. You can find it on the Leadership Central – Speech Contest page https://www.toastmasters.org/leadership-central/speech-contests. For example, To help plan and organize a speech contest, check out ourdistrict publication https://d42tm.sharepoint.com/PQD/_layouts/15/guestaccess.aspx?docid=047046e368ea34928b6bbf089fb0c4743&authkey=Ad_YORUrrRtC6n7f1W5U7os.
If you have any questions regarding speech contests, please don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions. Your Area or Division Director can also be a great resource. Additionally, you can contact your Program Quality Director at email@example.com for questions related to speech contest rules and procedures.