Speaking in a contest

March 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm Leave a comment

If you’re a Toastmaster, you know about speaking contests, not just the ones in the club, but beyond them too.

A club hosts a contest, and members participate as contestants (if they’re a little bit crazy and a lot brave) and others take positions as judges, contest chair, chief judge and counters. The rest are  audience members, and we need those too.

The purpose of contests in Toastmasters is to celebrate the best in speaking. That’s what the rule book says. But I call it a lesson in bravery of a different type. The speech takes over your life for weeks as you write it, practise it and refine it still further. It takes over brain cells and the body on the day of the contests, because believe me, a contest stands apart from delivering a speech anywhere else, in public or in  your club. You can think of nothing else but the speech and the contest.

And so it was that our club hosted its two contest meetings, with the evaluation contestants judged on their evaluation of a test speaker, and  for the International contest, a speech that inspired and entertained.


This time there were trophies, sometimes it’s a certificate!

Second place in Evaluation contest and second in International

When members take first place in the club contest, they go on to the next level—the Area contest. As it turned our, our first place contestant, Suzanne, in one of the contests was about to set off for a vacation, and so that’s where I came in, representing our club. Mahtot would move on for the Evaluation contest for the Energetics Toastmasters club and I would be there for the International Speech contest. And so we  were both excited about the prospect and anticipating it with a variety of feelings.

After the contestants have given their speeches and while the counters and chief judges determine the winners, all contestants return to the stage for the interview portion. The audience learns a little more about the contestants, their interests and accomplishments. It’s as enjoyable as the contest speeches and a little more relaxed.

Evaluation contest 2

Our Evaluation contestant, Mahtot, shaking hands with contest chair, Melanee.

This was Mahtot’s  first contest and I was so proud of her for stepping up and doing it so well.

International Speech contest 5

Interview time for International Speech contestants: Apparently I talk with my hands too.

Contest chair, Bud, asked me about a  recent accomplishment and so I told the audience about my book, Once Upon a Sandbox, and its finalist position in a writing contest in 2012. Also where people can buy it. Here I was describing the biography wall at Chapters (Waterloo).

Next on my right is the first place winner of the International Speech contest, Neil Dunsmore, for Area 61, who will go on to Division level, along with Jeremy Tracey, who will represent our area in the Evaluation contest. Good luck to both of them!


Photos © Carolyn Wilker, unless otherwise noted. Photos 2 & 3 of this post  by permission of Gabriela Coman.


Entry filed under: arts, authors, entertainment, leadership, photography, public speaking. Tags: , , .

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