The purpose of a speech contest is to provide an opportunity for speakers to improve their speaking abilities, to recognize individual Toastmasters as an encouragement to all, and to provide an opportunity for all Toastmasters to learn by observing speakers who have benefited from their Toastmasters training. Each contest focuses on a particular set of skills, providing a terrific opportunity to learn about a specific area of communication.
District 58 holds speech contests twice a year; the Humorous Speech Contest and Evaluation Contest in the fall and the Table Topics Contest and International Speech Contest in the spring. Each contest starts at the club level and advances through Area and Division to the District. Only one contest competes beyond the the District level. up to The International Speech competes at Regional level and culminates in the World Championship of Public Speaking at the Toastmasters International Convention held in August.
In general, to be eligible for any contest, a contestant must be a member in good standing of a club in good standing (dues current). The International Contest has some additional requirements described below. If a member belongs to more than one club, the member may enter the club contest for each club where he/she maintains good standing. However, a contestant may not represent more than one club at the Area level, even if the clubs are in different Areas or Divisions. District officers may not compete in any contest.
Below is more information about each speech and the qualifications for each. If you are interested in competing, please ask your club President, VPE, or the Area Governor for more information.
Areas with four or fewer Clubs as of July 1st may send 1st and 2nd place winners from the Club contests to the Area level contest. Divisions with four or fewer Areas as of July 1st may send 1st and 2nd place winners from the Area contest to the Division contest. Clubs can elect to choose a representative rather than conducting a contest.
Fall – Humorous Speech Contest & Evaluation Contest
The Evaluation Contest features a 2 to 3 minutes evaluation of a target speaker. The target speaker gives a speech which all the evaluation contestants are to evaluate. The contestants are taken from the room and given five minutes to prepare their speeches and make notes. Then, their notes are taken away and they are brought back into the room one by one (at which time the contestant gets his notes back) to deliver their oral evaluation of the target speech. Since no contestant hears what another said about the target speech, the judges can compare the analytical abilities of the contestants.
The Humorous Speech is 5 to 7 minutes in length. Humorous speaking, which must be substantially original. Any quoted material must be identified during the presentation. The speech must be a thematic in nature (opening, body, and close) and not be an act or a monologue. It should e “clean” humor; avoid objectionable language, anecdotes, and material. Vocal variety, gestures, and speech content all play a part in a successful humorous speech.
Typically, clubs begin holding their contest in July. Area contests are held in August with the Division Contest in September. The District 58 Contest will be held at the Fall Conference held in October
Spring – International Speech Contest & Table Topics Contest
The Table Topics Contest is a 1 to 2 minutes impromptu response to a selected table topic question. All contestants are taken out of the room and brought back in one by one to respond to the same question. The question or topic asked should be general in nature and not require specialized knowledge which some contestants might have while others might not. Since no contestant hears the topic before his turn to speak on it, you can judge their impromptu speaking abilities by the way in which each person’s effort stacks up against the others. This contest competes as far as the District level.
The International Speech contest provides an opportunity for members to put all their skills together into a performance that can take them as high as the International level. Speeches that win are typically motivational or inspirational in nature. It is a 5 to 7 minute speech on any topic, so long as it’s original. It can be funny, or serious. It should be the best speech you can give, and it must be original. Did I mention that it must be original?
Eligibility Requirements for International Speech:
- Have been an active member in good standing since the previous July 1 of a club in good standing or be a charter member of a club chartered since the previous July 1. (The club must have been chartered before the Area Contest.)
- Have completed at least six projects in the basic manual.
Only required for the International Speech Contest.
- Not be an officer above club level.
- Not have won this contest at the International level
This is the only contest that goes as far as the International level. Each August, winners from all Districts compete at the International Convention for the World Championship of Public Speaking.