Public Speaking

7 reasons why Toastmasters contests are for everyone.

Contests are not just for the competitive member, read about the many reasons for every member to get involved.

Winners at Ipswich Electrifiers contest, each with their own reasons

27th September was the club Humorous Speech and best Table Topic contest. For the competitive member taking part is a natural thing to do; for others there are many more reasons to get involved.

Benefits of competing

Creating and preparing a competition speech allows us to bring together all the things we’ve learned. It’s also a time to find out just what we are capable of. Winning at club opens a route to competing at higher levels, against other winning speeches and in front of a larger and less familiar audience. Whether you are someone who is highly competitive or just want to find your own ‘personal best’, in a contest you’ll see how you react outside the familiarity of the club. It’s a great opportunity for all.

Benefits of being contest chair

As members we learn to effectively lead a standard meeting but contest chair turns it up a notch. Organising the agenda, motivating the members, briefing the contestants, ensuring the paperwork is ready, signed and processed is no mean feat. It’s also your privilege to hand out the certificates. It’s hard to take this role on without growing as a leader and it’s also huge fun.

Benefits of being chief judge

As chief judge you organise and lead the team of judges, timers and counters. It’s up to you to ensuring that everyone understands their role and responsibilities. As chief judge you also need to deal with any disqualifications and ensure that you give out the right results. This role is practise in clear communication, efficiency and team leading.

Benefits of being a judge

A team of judges does the actual judging; they need to consider each speech against a strict set of criteria. Judging gives first hand insight into what makes a winning speech and it’s an effective way to practise your active listening skills.

Benefits of being a timer

In a standard meeting timing helps us speak to the time given, in a contest timing can be the difference between winning a contest and disqualification, which is why you’ll be one of two timers at a contest. As a timer you get to be a key part of the judging team and the speaker will be relying on your accuracy. Although the remit is straightforward it takes concentration to accurately time each speech. It’s also a great way to support the contest

Benefits of being a counter

Counters collect the judges ballots and tally the results under the guidance of the chief judge. In one respect it’s a simple role if you are comfortable with basic numbers but you’ll be seeing the different views across the judging team and will be one of the first few to see the results so it’s also a hugely exciting and insightful role.

Benefits of being in the audience

If the club is large enough and the turnout on the night is high enough you may find you don’t have a defined role. However, every speaker needs an audience. When the whole audience are busy timing, judging and otherwise ensuring the process is being followed the speaker can find the atmosphere a little ‘flat’. As an audience member you not only support the contestants and get a hugely entertaining evening but find there is a great deal to learn both from the speaker’s delivery and the content of their speeches.

We hold club contests twice a year, around September and April, and winners will go on to compete at higher levels within Toastmasters International.

Club winners September 2018

Humorous Speech
1st place : Julie Kenny
2nd place : Stefan Radu

Table Topics
1st place : Julie Kenny
2nd place : Ryan Shatwell

Last Updated on August 21, 2023