By: Roberta Craig, Program Quality 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 are encouraged to submit contestants to their Area contest. 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 completed Pathways Level 1 & 2 in Club Central, or 6 speeches in the legacy Competent Communicator program. Only members who joined Toastmasters prior to the rollout of Pathways in their region can apply speeches from the Competent Communication manual to speech contest eligibility.
COMPETING BEYOND THE CLUB
Clubs must submit their contestants to their Area Director by February 27 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.
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 the second (or subsequent) place winner 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. He will be hosting a contest training on January 8, 2022. Register on Eventbrite. Also 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!