5 Lessons Learned in Preparing for an Area Speech Contest


Last year, I helped our Area Governor put on an Area Speech Contest for our local Area in Toastmasters International.

That experience helped me this year when I myself became the Area Governor. Here are 5 points which I found helped me prepare for the contest.

1. CREATE A PROJECT PLAN

Let’s say your contest “season” is going to start at the end of August. When should you create a project plan? Ideally it should be at the beginning of July or the middle of July at the latest.

Why? The hardest parts of organizing the contest are a) securing a venue, b) securing a test speaker for he Evaluation Contest, and c) securing the Judges you will need. You need enough time to accomplish these.

2. TEAM UP WITH OTHER AREA GOVERNORS

You know, the last two items I mentioned in paragraph 1 above take one because the test speaker and Judges need to come from outside your Area. If you get together with your other Area Governors on your Division, and agree to be each other’s Judges, you’ve got the problem mostly solved! Also agree to get them test speakers of they agree to get you yours.

3. TELL THE AREA CONTEST DATE EARLY TO THE CLUBS

This is important because the winner of each club contest will have to be free on the date of the area contest in order to represent their club. In my area, I had one person cancel due to something that came up, but all the other contestants are going through with the contest, so it will still be a good one.

4. ORGANIZE YOUR PAPERWORK

I found that pre-printing all the documents needed for the roles, then putting them in clearly marked folders for each role, helps on contest day. Also, print out first and second place (plus third place if you need to) certificates with each contestant. They will each get a nicely printed certificate rather than one with a hasty signature attached.

5. SPREAD THE REFRESHMENT BURDEN AROUND

To entertain a crowd, food and drink are sure-fire crowd pleasers. But you will also need all the “infrastructure”, meaning plates, cups, utensils, etc. Also, bring a plastic tablecloth or even use colorful sheets of tissue paper to put over the table. Buy it on separate occasions and don’t wait until the last day. If you can get clubs to each contribute something towards the refreshments, so much the better!

I hope these pointers help you if you end up running your own area speech contest!

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