This is a beginner’s guide to running the Club Speech contests. It is not intended to cover every detail but will direct you to the relevant resources you will need for the contests.
The club VPE is usually the person who organises the contest, but this doesn’t mean they have to organise every part of it. The VPE can get other members to help them.
One person might arrange catering. Another might arrange judges. Another might arrange all the printing of forms. This way the workload is shared and made it easier for all.
These will help you with organising the contest:
Set a Date
There are 4 contests in total:
- Table Topics
Often, two of these contests are held on one night, and then the other two on another night some weeks later. Normally it would be Humorous and Table Topics on one night, and then International and Evaluation on the other.
If there are not many contestants in each contest e.g. only 2 or 3, it might be possible to hold all four contests on one night.
Alternatively, all four contests can be held on a single day e.g. a Saturday or Sunday, although this is more usual for area and division contests.
There are normally eight judges. There is a Chief Judge, a Tie Breaker Judge and Voting Judges.
The best guide to the role of judges is the Contest Rule book. This is updated every year and can be downloaded from Toastmasters International.
The Chief Judge doesn’t vote. The Chief Judge is known to the audience but all the other judges are anonymous. The Tie Breaker Judge’s vote is only counted when it’s necessary to break a tie.
Regular club members can be judges at club level contests, and this is encouraged. People who are taking on judging for the first time need to be taught how to judge. More experienced members should explain the judging ballots and the rules some weeks prior to the contests.
Please note that the district will not reimburse any costs associated with gifts for judges. If you wish to provide a small gift to judges, this will need to come out of club funds.
BTW – the Notification of Winner form for each contest is filled in by the Chief Judge, and is then later given to the Area Director. This is quite important because the next person in line needs to be notified if a winning contestant can’t attend the next level of contest.
Learn more about judging responsibilities from Toastmasters International
To find external judges for contests:
- Contact other clubs in your area and offer to swap judges
- Contact your area director
- Post your contest details in the District 73 Melbourne Judges Facebook group
A Test Speaker is required for the Evaluation Contest. It is recommended that the Test Speaker be unknown at your club and hasn’t been previously heard by the contestants. The Test Speech must be a contest-type speech or a project speech from the Toastmasters learning experience.
Roles to Fill
For each contest, you will need a:
- 1 x Contest Chair
- 2 x Timers
- 2 x Ballot Counters
- 2 x Ushers (Table Topics and Evaluation contests only)
- 2 x Zoom Masters (Online contests only)
We have Contest Chair scripts for the International, Humorous, Evaluation, and Table Topics Contests which can be adjusted according to your needs. If someone has not been the contest chair before, it’s best to get someone to go through the script with them.
Download each contest kit from Toastmasters International. Yes, it’s an enormous waste of paper, but that’s how it is.
There are a number of forms that need to be completed for each contest and they are:
- Judges voting forms (x number of judges)
- Tie breaker judge form (x 1)
- Judges eligibility form (x number of judges)
- Notification of Winner (x number of contests i.e. 1 per contest)
- Counters Tally Form (x number of contests)
- Timers Report (x number of contests)
- Contest Rule Book (x number of judges)
- Evaluation form (x number of contestants, but as this is essentially a blank form anyway so each contestant are allowed a number of copies)
- Contestants Eligibility Form (x number of contestants)
- Participation Certificates (x number of contestants)
- First, Second and Third Place getter forms (i.e. 1 of each per contest)
- Online Timing Backgrounds (Online contests only)
As the contest meetings are a bit special, it’s usual to have a better supper at these events. It’s possible to ask a few people to contribute to the supper on that night. It could be organised by one person but whoever does this job needs to be reimbursed from club funds. The executive needs to set a budget for supper.
Clubs normally give the first place getters a small trophy.
Here is an example of the engraving –
Happy Valley Toastmasters Club
Amendments to Club Speech Contests – REGION QUARTERFINALS
Each year there is an increase in the number of districts represented in the semifinals. As a result, more International Convention resources and time are devoted to contests, at the expense of education sessions and other business.
Information about Region Quarterfinals can be found in the current Speech Contest Rulebook. Video recording rules for district International Speech Contests are included.
The new sequence that began with the 2018-2019 program year is: district contests, region quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.
Toastmasters members, contest officials and program quality directors should familiarise themselves with the current Speech Contest Rulebook and review the rules that are specific to region quarterfinals.
Program quality directors will submit the videos and forms. Toastmasters International will provide specific instructions in advance.
Two contestants from each of the 14 regions will advance to the semifinals, which are held at the Toastmasters International Convention.