Speech Contests

Upcoming Speech Contests

For the list of upcoming speech contests, see Upcoming Speech Contests (listed by date).

Why Are Speech Contests Important?

Speech contests provide the following benefits:

  • They provide an opportunity for speakers to improve their speaking abilities
  • They provide an opportunity to recognize the best speakers
  • They provide an opportunity to learn by observing other proficient speakers
  • They provide variety to the Toastmasters experience and also offer social benefits through district and inter-club events
  • They inspire and encourage us to grow

Each Toastmasters program year, District 6 conducts 2 rounds of speech contests.  The first round of speech contests is in the Fall (September-October), and the second round is in the Spring (March-April).  Speech contests start at the club level, then proceed through the area, division, and district.  Members in good standing with Toastmasters International may compete.

What Speech Contests Will be Held in Fall 2017?

The Spring 2017 round of speech contests will be Table Topics and Humorous Speech.  These contests will run from September-October, with the district-level contests held at the Fall Conference on November 3rd (Table Topics) and November 4th (Humorous Speech).  Descriptions of the speech contests are below, but all details on these contests can be found in the Speech Contest Rulebook:

  • Table Topics (1-2 minutes)

    • The Table Topics contest allows each contestant to provide a 1-2 minute response to a topic he/she has no advance knowledge of.  All contestants are given the same topic, and contestants are removed from the contest room until it’s their turn to perform.
    • To better understand how responses are judged, view the Table Topics Contest Judge’s Guide and Ballot.  This contains the criteria and point allocations that judges are directed to follow.  The judging criteria are included on the 2nd page.
    • This contest is open to all members who are paid members of the club, area, division, and district they’re competing within.  The club the member represents must also be in good standing.
  • Humorous Speech (5-7 minutes)

    • A 5-7 minute speech with a general purpose to entertain.  Humor should be appropriate for any audience and reflect the standards of Toastmasters.
    • To better understand how these speeches are judged, view the Humorous Speech Contest Judge’s Guide and Ballot.  This contains the criteria and point allocations that judges are directed to follow.  The judging criteria are included on the 2nd page.
    • This contest is open to all members who are paid members of the club, area, division, and district they’re competing within.  The club the member represents must also be in good standing.

Fall Speech Contest Toolkit

The resources below will help you conduct the Fall speech contests (Table Topics and Humorous Speech contests) in your club, area, or division.

Speech Contest Rulebook The source of rules and information for speech contests.  Most answers will come from this clearly written document.  Please read this and have a copy available at each contest.
Humorous Speech Contest Kit (digital) Contains all the forms needed for a Humorous Speech contest
Table Topics Contest Kit (digital) Contains all the forms needed for a Table Topics contest
Speech Contest Eligibility Checker For area, division, and district contests. Use this online tool to determine if a member is eligibility to compete or serve as a judge.
Toastmaster Contest Script An overall script for the speech contest, intended to help the contest Toastmaster in briefings and during the contest.  The Toastmaster and Contest Chair should become very familiar with this script since it covers the contest flow.
Chief Judge Briefing Script Script for the Chief Judge’s briefings at a speech contest
Contest Flyer Example An example of a simple flyer to promote your contest with
Contest Program Example An example of an agenda/program for your contest
Contest Sign Example A sign to help guests find the contest area/room
Certification of Appreciation Template A simple certificate to recognize and thank volunteers with
Contest Registration Sheet A simple, customizable registration sheet
Division Contest Staffing Worksheet Helpful worksheet to use when filling roles for a division contest
Area Contest Staffing Worksheet Helpful worksheet to use when filling roles for an area contest

Other Speech Contest Resources

Resource Description
Speech Contest Tutorials Contains several short, useful tutorials on contests and judging
Speech Contest FAQ A useful FAQ to consult for speech contests
All Speech Contest Kits Lists all speech contest kits available from TI
Hosting a Successful Speech Contest Theresa Kasel and Gretchen Coons prepared a great document on how to host a successful speech contest. It includes descriptions of the contest roles, checklists, and a template for a contest script.  Although some details have changed, the document is still an excellent general resource for speech contests.

What’s Important When Running a Speech Contest?

Speech contests should be run in a fair, professional, and consistent manner.  Similar to sporting events, elections, and other competitions, speech contests demand attention to the rules and procedure.  The rules and procedures involved with running a speech contest shouldn’t vary between contests.  Consistency and compliance with the rules and procedures are more important than creativity.  In professional sporting events, we (as fans) expect uniformity and consistency when it comes to officiating and the overall execution of the event.  Contestants and guests expect the same from Toastmasters speech contests.

Who Can I Ask for Help Regarding Speech Contests?

For any questions related to speech contests, ask your Area Director or Harold Osmundson, District 6 Program Quality Director.