By: Roberta Craig, District Director
Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition. Competition begins in the club, and winners continue competing through the Area, Division and District levels. District 32 will once again host both an Evaluation Contest and International Speech Contest. Winners of the District International Speech Contest proceed to the region quarter final. Following region quarterfinals, winners advance to the semifinals for a chance to take part in the World Championship of Public Speaking®.
Contests provide an opportunity for your members to grow as speakers by exposing them to audiences outside the comfort zone of the club. They are also an opportunity to market your club to prospective audiences. Have your members invite their friends and co-workers to attend. Advertise your contest to businesses in your area. It is a great opportunity to showcase the benefits of Toastmaster membership.
IT BEGINS AT THE CLUB
Clubs in good active standing, in eligible Areas*, are encouraged to submit contestants to their Area Director no later than January 31. Clubs have the choice of hosting a contest per Toastmasters’ guidelines or nominating primary and back-up contestants to move on to the next level. If for any reason the primary contestant is unable, or chooses not to compete, the subsequent back-up contestant may compete in their place.
To be eligible to compete beyond the club, contestants must be a paid member of a club in good standing in the Area, Division, and District in which they are competing. The only way to maintain your contestant’s eligibility is to make sure your Club Treasurer submits dues to World Headquarters by March 31. Clubs should begin planning now how they will support their contestants by ensuring their club will be in good active standing with eight or more paid members for the current renewal period — at least three of whom are renewing members.
In addition to the paid membership requirement, International Speech contestants must have earned certificates of completion in Levels 1 & 2 of any path in the Toastmasters Pathway learning experience or earned a Distinguished Toastmaster. Click here to see other rulebook changes. Certificates of completion must be documented in Club Central to certify contestant eligibility.
COMPETING BEYOND THE CLUB
This year, clubs may submit two contestants each for the Evaluation and International Speech Contests. Clubs must submit their contestants to their Area Director by January 31 using the Notification of Contest Winner form 1182, along with Speech Contestant Profiles form 1189. This will allow the Area Director to certify contestant eligibility and coordinate with the Contest Chair and Chief Judge. See the 2022/2023 Leadership page for your Area Director contact information.
If a Toastmaster competes and wins first place in multiple club contests, they can only move forward to ONE Area Contest. The competitor will need to choose which Area Contest they will compete in and inform the other club and area contest officials so subsequent place winners may compete in their place for those other clubs and Areas.
Once again, Brian Bezenek has agreed to serve as District 32’s Chief Judge. Check out the Speech Contests page at https://d32toastmasters.org/speech-contests/ for additional resources and updates on Area, Division and District contest dates.
Lights, camera … now let the contests begin!
(*Clubs in Area 41 and 51 are not eligible to host contests or participate in Area/Division/District contests.)