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The guide to running a contestEdit

Timing guidelinesEdit

  • Allow at least 5 minutes per contestant for the introduction, speaking time, applause and minute of silence following.
  • Allow 5 to 10 minutes for the welcome by chair, remarks by Chief Judge and explanation of contest procedure.
  • Allow 5 to 10 minutes for the wind-up, including interview with contestants and presentation of participation certificates.
  • In a contest with four contestants, allow at least 40 minutes; in a contest with seven contestants, allow at least 55 minutes.

Brief the contestants. Edit

(See notes on specific contests below)

  • Make sure that each contestant has filled in completely the biographical information and the speaker's certification of eligibility to compete as a member in good standing of a club in good standing.
  • Show the certification forms to the Chief Judge to verify their eligibility to compete.
  • Mark slips of paper with numbers (or use playing cards)
  • Have contestants draw the slips to determine their speaking order.
  • Allow the contestants to practice walking up to the lectern, wearing a microphone if available, and observing the timing lights.
  • Inform the contestants of the recommended speaking area and overhead lighting.
  • Any contestant not present at the briefing foregoes the briefing.
  • Check the equipment. Make sure the timing lights, stop watches and microphones are working well, and that back-up equipment is in place.
  • Ensure that the timers are ready before signaling the sergeant at arms to begin the contest.
  • Remind the audience to remain seated during the contest, turn off cell phones, etc., so as not to disturb contestants while speaking.
  • Remind the audience that there will be 1 minute of silence between speeches for judges to fill out their ballots.
  • Announce the order in which the contestants will speak, according to the draw prior to the contest.
  • Ask for any questions regarding procedure. Hearing none, proceed with the contest.

Conduct the actual contest Edit

  • Sergeant at arms calls the meeting to order exactly at the appointed time and introduces the Contest Chair.
  • Contest Chair welcomes everyone, and states the purpose of the contest, as given in the rulebook.
  • Contest Chair introduces the Chief Judge.
  • Chief Judge summarizes the rules as stated in the rulebook regarding the eligibility of contestants, timing instructions, reasons for disqualification, etc. Remind the contestants, timers and audience that timing begins with the contestant's first deliberate verbal or non-verbal communication with the audience. This usually will be the first word uttered by the contestant, but would include any other communication such as sdound effects, a staged act by another person, etc.
  • Ask whether there are any more questions, If none, proceed with the contest.
  • At the conclusion of the contestant's speech, lead the applause, but give no other transition statement or remark or any kind.
  • Announce the first contestant by stating the contestant's name, speech title, speech title and name, exactly in that order, and with no other introduction of any kind. This is important.
  • Do not mention any qualifications the speaker has (such as CTM, DTM or anything) nor of any of his or her achievements (this is the person who won at Region last year) or of their position within Toastmasters (Our Division C Governor)
  • Lead the applause as the contestant approaches the lectern.
  • Call on the timers to signal the end of the 1 minute of silence for the judges to mark their ballots.
  • Ask for audience silence for one minute
  • After all speakers have participated, call on the timers to signal the end of 2 minutes of silence while the judges complete their ballots.
  • Remind judges to fill in their ballots completely and to sign the ballot before tearing it off and holding completed ballots in the air for counters to collect.
  • Pause while the ballots are collected and the Chief Judge and the counters leave the room.

After the Contest:Edit

  • Call all contestants up to the lectern.
  • Interview each one according to the biographical information they filled out prior to the contest.
  • Present each with a certificate of participation.
  • Lead the applause after each speaker.
  • End the interviews at the appointed time, even if this means reducing the time for the contestant interviews and the presentation of participation certificates.
  • If there is time remaining, call for scheduled announcements only, as time permits.

Announcing the Contest Results:Edit

  • After the ballots have been counted and tallied, the Chief Judge will re-enter the contest room and give the results and the winners' certificates ready for presentation to the Contest Chair.
  • The Contest Chair reads out the name of the third place winner, calls this person forward and presents the certificate. Glance at the Chief Judge for a nod to confirm that you have read out the name correctly.
  • Read out the name of the second place winner, call this person forward and present the certificate. Again, glance at the Chief Judge for a nod to confirm that you have read out the name correctly.
  • Read out the name of the first place winner, call this person forward and present the certificate.
  • When there are 5 or more contestants, the third place winner (if wanted), the second and first place winners will be announced. When there are 4 or fewer contestants, a second place and first place winner will be announced.
  • If a contestant has been disqualified because of timing, say "A contestant has been disqualified because of timing" without revealing the contestant's name or amount of time concerned.
  • Remind judges to destroy their judging guides and not to discuss the contest results with anyone. Adjourn the meeting.

Procedures for The Table-Topics ContestEdit

Specific briefing notesEdit

  • Advise the contestants where to stand as the table topic is being read to them.
  • Inform the contestants that the table topic will be said twice, after which they must move directly to the speaking area and begin delivering their speech.
  • All contestants except the first will be escorted from the contest room by the sergeant at arms.
  • They will be escorted back one at a time.
  • Each contestant will speak on the same table topic.
  • The table topic will be said twice, after which the contestant must move directly to the speaking area and begin delivering the speech.
  • All contestants will speak from the same area.
  • Whether or not to use the lectern is the option of the contestant.
  • Instruct the sergeant at arms to escort all contestants but the first from the contest room.
Repeat these steps for all contestants
  • When the contestant is in place, say the topic twice.
  • Call on the timers to signal the end of the 1 minute of judges to mark their ballots.
  • Ask for audience silence for one minute
  • During the minute of silence, the sergeant at arms will lead the next contestant into the contest room.
Repeat from: when the contestant is in place, say the topic twice

Procedures specific to the International Speech ContestEdit

  • Remind speakers they may remain in the room during the speeches of the other contestants, or may leave the room if they wish, escorted by the sergeant at arms.

Procedures specific to the Evaluation ContestEdit

Brief the demonstration (or "test") speakerEdit

  • Brief the test speaker.
  • Ask the test speaker about any special requirements for room setup, such as how to place the lectern or props before introducing him or her. Tell the sergeant at arms of the request.
  • Ensure you have the speech title.
  • Inform the test speaker of the recommended speaking area and overhead lighting.
  • Ask the test speaker to stand while each contestant is being introduced and remain standing until each contestant indicates that he or she recognizes them.
  • Check the equipment. Ensure the timing lights, stop watches and microphones are working well, and that back-up equipment is in place. Ensure that the timers are ready before signaling the sergeant at arms to begin the contest.

Describe the procedure Edit

  • First, a test speaker gives a 5 to 7 minute speech. Lead the applause as the test speaker approaches the lectern.
  • At the conclusion of the test speech, lead the applause for the speaker.
  • Instruct the sergeant at arms to escort the evaluation contestants from the room.
  • The sergeant at arms escorts the evaluation contest participants from the contest room to a quiet room for 5 minutes to prepare their evaluations.
  • When they have left, call up the test speaker for a 5-minute interview and presentation of certificate of appreciation.
  • After the 5 minutes, the sergeant at arms takes away their notes and gives them back to each contestant as they are about to re-enter the contest room to give the evaluation.
  • The sergeant at arms escorts the first contestant to the designated position.
  • Announce the name of the first contestant twice and lead the applause as the contestant approaches the lectern.
  • All contestants will speak from the same area.
  • Each evaluator may use the lectern.
  • At the conclusion of the contestant's speech, lead the applause, but give no transition statement or remark or any kind.
  • During the minute of silence, the sergeant at arms leads the next contestant into the room and returns their notes.
  • Process each contestant.

Procedures specific to The Humorous Speech ContestEdit

The procedures are exactly as for the International Speech Contest.

See also

Contest MaterialsEdit

Contest Materials Shop Home

Contest Kits

Contest Additional Materials

Contest Award Certificates

ALL Contest items

ReferencesEdit


Are you funny enough? Click on Humour for tips on humorous speaking, or click on any of the eight (8) links below
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Tips Per Assignment Leadership within Toastmasters
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