Speech contests are an integral part of the Toastmasters program. Contests provide an opportunity for speakers to improve their speaking abilities, recognize Toastmasters who compete as an inspiration to us all, and provide an opportunity for us to learn by observing speakers who have benefited from their Toastmasters training. Contests also provide new leadership opportunities for those members who are part of the team that plans the contest and makes it happen.
Contests begin at the club level. Club winners compete at the local Area Contest. Area Contest winners compete at the local Division Contests. Division Contest winners compete at the District Conference. District International Speech Contest winners go on to represent the District at the International semi-finals at the annual Toastmasters International Convention.
On this page you’ll find resources to help you plan and hold a contest at any level.
- The Contest Checklist provides a timeline for planning a contest
- Secrets for Running a Great Speech Contest provides a categorized outline of what needs to get done
- The Contest Planning Template is a spreadsheet to keep track of all the essential roles
- The Contest Rule Book is the official document that governs speech contests in Toastmasters
- The Contest FAQ answers common questions about all aspects of speech contests in Toastmasters
One frequently-asked question concerns the effect of Pathways on contest eligibility:
To be eligible to compete in the International Speech Contest, a member must have completed six speech projects in the Competent Communication manual or have earned a Certificate of Completion in Levels 1 and 2 of any path in the Toastmasters Pathways learning experience. However, a charter member of a club chartered less than one year before the club contest is permitted to compete without having completed this requirement. The club must have officially chartered before the area contest.
To be a chief judge, voting judge, or tiebreaking judge at a Toastmasters area, division, or district speech contest, the member must have completed a minimum of six speech projects in Competent Communication or have earned a Certificate of Completion in Levels 1 and 2 of any path in the Toastmasters Pathways learning experience.
- The Contest Working Agenda is a step-by-step guide to the order and timing of events on the night of the contests.
- The Contest Script should be used (with minor modifications) for contests at any level. It ensures the contest rules are followed and keeps the proceedings fair and unbiased for all the contestants. For 2018, use this script:
Tall Tales and International Contest Script.
- The Chief Judges Briefing Checklist should be used by the Chief Judge when briefing the contest officials before the start of the contest to ensure all necessary items are covered.
- The Contestant Briefing Checklists should be used by the Toastmaster when briefing the contestants before the start of the contests to ensure all necessary items are covered. For 2018, use these checklists:
- The Speech Contest Kits from Toastmasters International provide the materials needed to hold a speech contest. There is a kit for each possible contest: