Speech contests, which begin at the area level September 22, give us a chance to validate our tagline of Toastmasters: “Where Leaders are Made.” By getting involved, you’ll grow your skills, gain friends, and help make these contests beneficial for all. Please consider the following roles you can perform:
Contestant or test speaker: We’d like to see at least one contestant in each area contest category from each club. Please consider competing; you’ll be a winner no matter how the judges vote. Or, if you want to get a strong sense of your progress as a speaker without worrying about where you place, you can be a test speaker. You need only have completed a few assignments in the communications manual.
Contest Chair: If you want to stretch your leadership skills, this is an ideal role that involves orchestrating the contest. If the role is taken already, ask to shadow or interview the chair so you’re ready next time.
Facility Chair: In this role, you assess the assigned contest site and help decide what happens where. You may or may not be involved in site selection, but we’re always looking for suitable facilities, so if you want to know the criteria, or have suggestions, please contact me.
Helper: As a ballot counter, timer, or sergeant-at-arms, you’ll have fun and gain insight on what happens in a speech contest—without having to tackle a highly challenging or time consuming assignment.
Judge: If you don’t want to compete or aren’t eligible, but want to attain some of same benefits as the contestants (i.e., learning what it takes to win), serve as a judge. Contact our District Chief Judge, Diana Pittman, to convey your interests and availability, or to inquire about training.
Toastmaster: If you’ve given a few speeches and attended a few contests, you can consider this role. The main requirements are a good voice and the ability to be engaging in contestant interviews. You should also be able to stick to the script and make adjustments, if needed, to stay on schedule.
Successful speech contests demand an army of trained, enthusiastic volunteers. You can help yourself and your district colleagues if you’ll jump in and join that army. With your involvement, we can hold speech contests that truly showcase our best speakers and leaders.
Please contact me or our District Contest Quality Chair, Debra Sanford, if you have questions.
Lt. Governor, Education and Training
By Julie Cosgrove