Speech Contests 2015

Speech Contest

Save the dates: September 2 and September 19 2015

Why do we have competitions?

Every year, Toastmasters International (TMI) advises clubs to have competitions at the Club Level, Area Level, Division Level, District Level and International Level. This gives the speakers a chance to showcase their talents and an opportunity to win and move ahead and represent the club, area, division or district at a broader level.


At our club, contests are held generally in the month of August/September. Unlike club speeches, the most fun part is you are not evaluated during those speeches. Some contestants find it a good way to push through their CC manual speech projects, and later get the evaluation after the contests.



What are they?


International Contest is an inspirational speech of 5-7 mins. The speech should be something inspirational/motivational. Contestants are judged on the criteria defined in the contest rule book. This contest is the only contest that prescribes the contestant to have 6 projects completed from the Competent Communicator Manual.

Table Topics

This is our Impromptu Speech Contest. However, unlike club’s Table Topics, here contestants are given one question and they have to give a 2-3 speech on that topic. There is no prior eligibility to this contest.


Typically Contestants are guided to a secluded room away from the contest area and called one-by-one and asked to give a speech.


Humorous Speech Contest is the most fun part of the contest. Here the contestants main aim is to add humour to their speeches. This is a 5-7 min speech and there is no prior eligibility.


In the Evaluation Contest, we have a guest speaker who speaks for 5-7 minutes and all the contestants then provide evaluation to the guest speaker. Like the Table Topics, the contestants are guided away into a room after the guest speaker finishes her speech and then given a 2-3 minutes to write their evaluation points.


They then provide evaluation to the guest speaker. The best evaluator is chosen by the judges based on the criteria as mentioned in the Contest Rulebook.

Why do I participate?

To learn

Contests are a tremendous opportunity to learn. You can also learn by being the audience, however, the participation in itself and the preparation would make you a different person. You learn so much about making a speech and just by observing the speeches of the other contestants, you get to take away so many key points.

To overcome fear

You might have joined Toastmasters to overcome the fear of Public Speaking, or be confident. In my view, fear can be removed only by desensitising. Contests provide you the ideal opportunity to remove the fear by giving the speeches and getting more stage time. Ultimately I promise you would be a different individual.

To win

Well, if you don’t participate how are you going to win. By participating in competitions, this is the logical way of winning. If not this time, but this experience gives you valuable life lessons you take it up for next time. But ultimately its a “win-win” situation if you participate.

To have fun

Contests are absolutely fun. You would be roaring with laughter just not at the humorous contests, but every other contest. This is really fun.



How do I prepare?


I won’t take much time. Look at project 9 and Project 10 of your CC manual. Build your speech loosely on those objectives of inspiration and persuasion. Add a bit of humour and practice each speech 3 times, refining your speech each time. Practice in front of an audience not the mirror. At the club we would be running Speechathons (8 speech meetings, No Table Topics) to help the contestants practice.

Table Topics

Read the daily newspapers, magazines. Read anything and everything. I read readers digest and that provides me a plethora of information. Look at simple quick win formulas to think quickly. Try the past-present-future formula, the then-now-then formula, the he-she-they formula for the Table Topics preparation. I generally try answering my 6 year old’s questions promptly. Its all about spontaneity.


This is a toughie. I would suggest use personal stories and incidents where you have met with unexpected results which are humours. Look around there is a lot of information in your life which we foresee. Now try to exaggerate, add colour, add smell, add “Gross yucky things” and you have a story. If no idea, watch Sienfield, Jim Carey and ask yourself, why did I just laugh. Just remember not to use any inappropriate words like most standup comedians do.


Get to other clubs. participate in their meetings and evaluate. Look into our website, I had put a brilliant article on Effective Evaluations. Read about it and do more of evaluation.

Where from here?

Finally, I urge you to sign in for contests. Don’t worry if you fail, because failure is just the stepping stone to success. As Darren Lacroix said in his international speech “Ouch” , “lets fail forward”. Contact me at vpeducation@chadstoneoaks.org.au. We the committee are all here to help and answer your questions.


Darren Lacroix’s Speech Video on Youtube:




2015 Contest Rule Book :



TMI Contest Resources:



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Meeting Details

When do we meet?

1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month at 19:30
Where do we meet?

Conference Room,
Phoneix Park Community Centre,
22 Rob Roy Road,
Malvern East 3145
(Entry via Children Play Area)