Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition. Each year the members of Founder's District Toastmasters compete in the Humorous, Evaluation, Tall Tales, Table Topics and International speech contests. Competition begins with club contests and winners compete upward through the area, division and district levels.
In the spring, the winner of the International Speech Contest at the District Conference will move on to compete in the semi-finals for the World Champion of Public Speaking held at the Toastmasters International Convention in August. The contests provide members another venue for speaking which further helps build speaking skills. Because of the level of preparation that can go into these speeches, it is often said that competing at the District level is equivalent to almost a year of normal club speeches!
Planning a Successful Speech Contest
The following are some helpful tips on planning a successful contest.
- When preparing for the speech contest, be sure to read the official rule book provided by Toastmasters International.
- As soon as possible, determine the date, time, and location for the contest. During contest season, everyone is clamoring for locations and if you delay, your options will become limited. Get there and reserve your spot before someone else does.
- Form a committee and determine how the contest tasks will be divided. You should not try to do everything yourself. Use a checklist to keep track of who is responsible for each task.
- FOLLOW-UP!, FOLLOW-UP!, FOLLOW-UP! You must never assume everyone is doing their job. Frequently ask for status reports from everyone involved.
- Lead but don't micromanage. Communicate your vision and let everyone do their job.