The 2018 Spring Contest Season


It’s that time of year again THE SPRING CONTEST SEASON, making this my blog topic for January.  Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition, each year thousands of Toastmasters compete in speech contests. Competition begins with club contests and winners continue competing through the area, division and district levels.  The International competition has two additional levels—the semifinal and the World Championship of Public Speaking.  In District 30 the on-going tradition is to hold the Table Topics and International Speech Contests within the Spring time frame and that tradition in being continued this Spring.  The Information I will provide in this blog will help in understanding more about these two speech contests and give some additional guidance for the planning process.

The Table Topics Contest is an impromptu speech, all contestants are assigned the same topic, told to them when they are introduced by the contest chair.

The International Speech Contest is where Contestants present a five- to seven- minute speech on any subject they choose. All districts must conduct this contest. The Toastmasters International Convention culminates in the crowning of the World Champion of Public Speaking.


The Spring 2018 Contest Time Frame is as follows:

  • Club = January 1st – February 28th
  • Area = March 1st – March 23rd
  • Division = March 24th – April 8th
  • District = April 20th and 21st at Spring Conference


Within both of the Table Topics and International Speech contests the following functionary roles will need to be filled in order to have a successful contest:

  • Contest Chair
  • Toastmaster
  • Chief Judge
  • 3-5 Judges for a club contest
  • Tie Breaker Judge
  • Timer
  • Ballot Counters
  • Sargent at Arms (At least 2)


***As a Program Quality Director side note, don’t forget that serving in the roles of a contest chair, toastmaster or timer within a contest can help in completing projects within the Competent Leader Manual.  All members should make sure and record their progress and receive credit for the roles being filled.



Role of the Chief Judge

During the planning phase of a speech contest, it is important for the chief judge to choose fair and impartial judges and train contest officials appropriately.

Issues related to judging arise at lower levels of competition, especially because of a lack of training.

Many contest judges don’t understand their role.

The chief judge chooses contest judges and prepares them for the role.

***The following links can be used for the Chief Judges Reference (all forms needed for contest) bit.ly/2w0YI0b     Link to 2017 Contest Rule Book  bit.ly/2w3xa9y


The Speech Contest Rulebook divides speech contest rules into the following categories:

  • Speech Contest Policy
  • Eligibility
  • Selection sequence
  • Speech subject and preparation
  • General procedure
  • Timing of the speeches
  • Protests and disqualifications
  • Use of props


Link to Contest FAQ’s



Consult with Others
Always run your speech by at least one mentor or trusted advisor to help in having a successfully run contest. .

Could you be the next World Champion?

Each year, the Toastmasters International Convention culminates in the final round of the International Speech Contest, where the World Champion of Public Speaking® is chosen. In this exciting event, 10 contestants from all over the world deliver 5- to 7-minute speeches that are evaluated by a panel of experienced Toastmasters. After a year of competing in club, area, district and semifinal competitions, these contestants have advanced for the chance to win this prestigious accolade.

This year the International convention is being held in Chicago and wouldn’t it be great to have the World Champion of Public Speaking be from Chicago?



For any additional information please refer to the tutorials available on the Toastmasters International website at the following link bit.ly/2uSeyFu  or reach out to me with any additional questions you might have concerning contests.

I look forward to seeing you at a contest in the near future!


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