“Tiffany Talks Toastmasters!” – Blog #2 (August 2017)

“Fall Contest Season”


The Fall Contest Season is in full swing and everyone is participating! Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition and every year, thousands of Toastmasters compete in the hopes of becoming a District Champion. Competitions begin at the club level and winners continue competing up through Area, Division and finally…DISTRICT!. District 30 is proud to continue its rich-tradition of holding both the Speech Evaluation and Humorous Contests this Fall season and the Information I will provide in this blog will help in understanding more about these two speech contests as well as give some additional guidance for the planning process.

In the Speech Evaluation Contest, contestants first observe a 5 to 7 minute “test speaker” and then, present a 2 to 3 minute evaluation. In the Humorous Speech Contest, contestants present a humorous speech that must be thematic in nature and include an opening, body, and conclusion (not a monologue or series of one-liners) for 5 to 7 seven minutes.


The Fall Contest Time Frame is as follows:

  • Club = Jul 1st – Aug 31st
  • Area = Sep 1st – Sep 22nd
  • Division = Sep 23rd – Oct 15th
  • District = Nov 4th (during the Fall Conference)


Within both the Speech Evaluation and Humorous Speech contests, the following functionary roles are needed in order to be successful:

  • 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 PQD side note, don’t forget that serving in the roles of a Contest Chair, Toastmaster or Timer at a contest count as credit towards completing projects within the Competent Leader (CL) manual.  All members should record their progress and take credit for the role they fill.


Role of the Chief Judge

While planning a speech contest, it is important for the Chief Judge to choose fair and impartial judges who can train contest officials appropriately. Issues related to judging often arise at lower levels of competition because of a lack of training. A knowledgeable Chief Judge will select the best contest judges and prepares them for the role.


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



District 30 has added a treasure chest of contest resources for your Contest Chair, Chief Judge and Toastmaster. Feel free to download and share:



The following 6 rules of humor came from a multiple award-winning Humorous Speech Champion and can help you in drafting your next successful humorous speech:


Find Humor in Everyday Life
Think about your everyday life and things that may have a humorous twist to them.

Know Your Audience
This is particularly important when trying to land a punchline.

It’s a Humorous Speech Contest: Be Funny!
The best Humorous Contest speeches use humor throughout.

Use Props
Think about effective props that can enhance your humor.

Don’t Step on Your Laughter
One of the greatest challenges a humorous speaker faces, aside from producing laughter, is to avoid stepping on it. It takes practice, but you have to allow your audience the time to laugh and soak in the humor. You can kill a joke entirely by rushing too fast to tell your next one. Effective pauses also enhance jokes.

Consult with Others
Always run your speech by at least one mentor or trusted advisor.


For additional information, please feel free to reach out to me directly. I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming contest!


Tiffany Howard DTM is District 30’s Program Quality Director for 2017-2018. She joined Toastmasters in November 2009 and has served in various Club and District Officer roles. She is a member of Niles Township Toastmasters Club and Speaking of Success Advanced Toastmasters Club. You can reach Tiffany at tiffany.selinko@gmail.com

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