Speech contests are an educational and entertaining part of the Toastmasters experience for those members who choose to participate. Each year, over thousands of members worldwide compete across a range of contest categories, with one eventually being crowned at the International Convention as the World Champion of Public Speaking.
Because we are an undistricted club, we only compete in the Video Speech Contest. This contest does not advance beyond the club level (Speech Contests).
If you are organising or participating in a contest, World Headquarters provides a range of resources to assist you with your role on the day.
- Speech Contest Rulebook – this is the official reference document for any member organising, or participating in, speech contests. Be sure to download the latest version as the rules get updated every year.
- Speech Contest FAQs – these contain answers to commonly asked questions about speech contests.
- Speech Contest Tutorials – these contain useful information about how to organise a speech contest, the responsibilities of the various roles, and how to be an effective contest judge.
- Speech Contest Resources – this is where you can find the latest versions of all speech contest forms and certificates.
Other Online Speech Contest Resources
There can be anywhere between 1 and 10 contestants, if there are more than 10 then there will have to be a second competition day.
To compete in the Video Speech Contest you have to:
Speech Contestant Profile form
Video speeches are recorded. The winner will be the club winner. The recording of the entire winning speech and introduction will be sent to World Headquarters, email@example.com before 5 p.m. Mountain Time, March 31. World Headquarters will choose an overall video speech winner from all the online clubs (2020-2021 Speech Contest Rulebook, p.19).
"At each level of a Toastmasters speech contest, a specified number of voting judges and officials are required. At club contests, a contest chair, chief judge, at least five (5) voting judges, a tiebreaking judge, two (2) counters, and two (2) timers are appointed, unless impractical." (2020-2021 Speech Contest Rulebook, p.9).
To be a judge at the Video Speech Contest you have to:
How to Be an Effective Contest Judge
To fulfil your role as either judge or tiebreaking judge download and use:
*Video Speeches follow the International Speech Contest rules.
- Make sure you have Green, Yellow and Red timing backgrounds (Toastmasters International - Timer Zoom Backgrounds)
- There will be 2 Timers. One will be timing and have their video on with timing cards during the Contest (cover camera, so that timing background covers entire screen and is clearly visible). The 2nd timer will be timing in the background.
- How to Be an Effective Online Contest Timer – to assist members serving in timer roles for online contests.
- Make sure you have the Speech Contest Time Record Sheet and Instructions for Timers ready to complete. *Both timers record the time on the timer’s sheet and submit it to the Chief Judge.
- Make sure you have the Counter's Tally Sheet ready to complete (to count the judges ballots and submit to the Chief Judge).
- There will be 2 Counters.
Sergeant At Arms / Usher / Zoom Master
Only voting judges and/or contestants may lodge a protests. A protest must be lodged with the chief judge and/or contest chairman before the results of the contest are announced. Protests are serious matters and must be handled promptly, efficiently and fairly.
There are three reasons judges and contestants may lodge a protest; eligibility, originality, and reference to another contestant’s speech.
Eligibility is checked before the contest starts (all contestant must be paid members of the club).
Originality: "Twenty-five percent or less of the speech may be devoted to quoting, paraphrasing, or referencing another person’s content. Any quoted, paraphrased, or referenced content must be so identified during the speech" (2020-2021 Speech Contest Rulebook, p.9). If judges deem that the speech is not original then they may protest via their ballot form.
Lastly, speakers may not reference another contestants speech, such as the person's speech before theirs.
The protest will be discussed by the judges. "The contestant must be given an opportunity to respond to the voting judges. A majority of the voting judges must concur in the decision to disqualify." All decisions of the judges are final. (2020-2021 Speech Contest Rulebook, p.15).