Are you ready for your contest?
Step 1. Resources
Even if you have organised a contest previously, familiarise yourself with the rules, the contestants, the competing clubs/areas. Always check the latest rules because the Contest Rulebook changes yearly and is generally posted by the end of July. Changes are marked with a triangle within the book.
The rule book contains the General Rules governing all Toastmasters speech contests, as well as specific rules covering the International, Evaluation, Humorous, Table Topics, and Tall Tales contests. Ensure that you have the latest version of the Toastmasters Contest Rule book.
Toastmasters District 91 Chief Judge Neil Coleman has created advice and scripts for you including how to run an online contest.
Toastmasters International also has a wealth of information and resources, to help you manage and run your contest, why not take a look at the following.
Remind your members of the dates of your contest, so that they can have enough time to prepare and practice their speeches before the contest. Don’t forget to check your contestants are eligible to compete or check with your VPE, Area and Division Director depending on which level they are competing.
Step 2. Find your volunteers, assign roles and prep them.
Whether you are running a Club, Area or Division contest, you will need a range of people to help you organise and ensure it is compliant. You will need at least a contest chair, chief judge, at least five voting judges, a tiebreaking judge, two ballot counters, and two timers. Start with selecting your Chief Judge and ask them to organise the judges. See the Eligibility section in the Contest Rulebook for Chief Judge eligibility requirements. The chief judge should also arrange all other roles, don’t forget to reach out to other Clubs, Areas and Divisions to help and then in turn, replicate their support yourself. Notify those taking roles or participating of the time and place of the contest and pre-contest briefings. This should be ideally two weeks before your contest. For more information watch the Speech contest tutorials
Step 3. Prep your judges and competitors.
Work with the Chief Judge to ensure all judges, and role-holders, including the tiebreaker judge, are eligible, recruited, and briefed. Remind your Chief Judge to provide and prepare all documentation, and eligibility forms for judges, and other roles. It is the contest Chair’s responsibility to notify the contestants and club presidents of the time and place of the contest and ensure all contestants are eligible and briefed, and prepare all the documentation and eligibility forms.
Step 4. Coordinate the logistics.
You’ve got your team and your contestants. Now, it’s time to promote the contest on your social media and Club website. Finalise the contest’s logistics and hospitality with including registration, hospitality, refreshments and room set up. Remind volunteers to arrive early, for briefing and paperwork. And why not nominate a photographer for the contest? Provide directions, including public transport and parking arrangements.
Step 5. Post-contest activities.
Complete your notification of winner’s documentation and pass this onto the next level, Area Director, Division Director, or District Complete your Promote your winners on your social media, and the next stage of your contest.