Contests

There are lots of rules for contests. If you are helping to put on an Area, Division, or District contest, it is very important that you follow all the guidelines. These can be found at the district (www.d4tm.org) or the international (www.toastmasters.org) web sites.

Remember that putting on a contest does qualify for credit in the various leadership projects – both for the basic and advanced leadership levels.

That said, in a club environment, you have the choice to be more relaxed.

Depending on the type of contest, the contest may be held in lieu of TT and/or regular speeches. We may have formal judges and/or ballots, but we don't have to do so. If you want to use the official ballots, then you can get them from the above sites.

A contest is YOUR way to identify how competent YOU are as a Toastmaster. If you think you are so good that you don't need to keep attending, consider the following as way to gauge your actual skill:

  • If you win a club contest – you have graduated into middle school
  • If you win an area contest – you have graduated into high school
  • If you win a division contest – you have graduated into college
  • If you place in district contest – you have graduated from college
  • If you place in the international conteest – you have earned a Phd

Only the international speech contest goes to the international level, all the others end at the district level. If you think you are good, try to get all 4 bachelors degrees. If you can do that, then you can consider yourself good enough to stop attending TM. But if you can't do that, you still have some work to do.

If you are tasked with putting on a contest, consider the following:

  1. Will you have judges or just use the regular ballots?
  2. Plan to have the GE have time set aside to open the floor to all the members to provide additional comments to the contest winner (even if they gave a speech and were evaluated.)
  3. Remind people that, unlike a regular meeting where we focus on how much someone has improved in our voting, for a contest, we really want to have the best person represent our club.
  4. For the evaluation contest, it's best to get an outside speaker. The speaker doesn't have to be good, just someone who is new to the contestants (just so it's fair for all.) In fact, if the speaker isn't that great, it can be good to see how well the contestant identifies those points and delivers them in a positive light. The Area Governor can help you get a speaker.
  5. For TT contests – you will have 1 question that will be asked of all contestants – so the contestants (other than the first) must leave the room during the competition. After they have spoken, they may remain in the room
  6. Use a way to randomly select the order in which the contestants present
  7. Start planning the contest well in advance. This way, you can get more contestants and they have more time to prepare. Also, suggest contestants pay close attention to people who perform in the area in which they will be competing to get some ideas of techniques the contestants may want to include during the competition. Try to have at least 3 contestants for your competition (although more is better.)