Organizing your Toastmasters Club Speech Contest-5 Lessons Learned

Tonight we had the Fall Speech Contest at our local Toastmasters Club. Some things worked out well, but there some glitches as well. I wanted to write down 5 lessons learned from this recent contest which will help us next time around.

1. Send out instructions for major roles early

I composed step-by-step directions for each of the roles, including the contestants. That worked out well. However, the major roles such as chief judge were sent by e-mail only this afternoon and people need more time to absorb the information. Next time: send it at least one week in advance.

2. Enlist help from visitors from other clubs if necessary

We had several club members not show up, which left us shot-handed. But we decided to enlist the help of those who were visiting from other clubs, and that worked out well. So in the future, we should start visiting other clubs as well to ensure that we will have visitors from other clubs in the future when we may need them again.

3. Appreciate those participants from other clubs
I had Certificates of Appreciation made for our contestants, but not for the helpers from other clubs I mentioned in the last paragraph. Luckily I had an extra blank certificate printed up just on case I needed it, which I gave to the test speaker. In the future, I’ll print out several extra certificates and give them to those whose help we enlisted.

4. Have extra dialogue ready
There are times when the contest flow stalls, for example when the judges are not ready with their ballots yet. In those cases, rather than observe a “minute of silence” which is not interesting to experience as a guest, it is best to have some jokes or conversational tidbits ready to fill in those spaces.

5. Print extra agendas
Because it was a club contest night, there were more visitors than we normally would get. That’s a good thing! However, that also meant we almost ran out of meeting agendas, which are important for a visitor to receive in order to follow what’s going on. Next time, I’ll have extras printed up!

The spring contest should go even more smoothly if I keep these five lessons in mind!,


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