Competition season is in full swing again. At Toastmasters there a 4 types of competition: The Humorous Speech, Evaluation, Table Topics and International Speech Competition.
When I first joined Toastmasters I thought ‘why on earth would I put myself through the pain of a speaking competition’. However, after a while I saw the light; if I really wanted to grow my skills competing would be an excellent vehicle to really push me out of my comfort zone but still in a safe environment. Competing has really helped me to hone my presentation writing and delivery. For me it is all about delivering my speech to the best of my ability rather than worrying about winning or losing.
I’ve learnt competitions add huge value both to those competing and to those facilitating the process. It really demonstrates how the Toastmasters organisation pulls together both within and across clubs.
To run a successful competition you need many hands on deck volunteering for the various roles and a competent organiser/contest chair. Assisting as a judge, timer, ballot counter, zoommaster, contest chair etc is very fulfilling and can provide the opportunity to get to know people across other clubs as clubs tend to help each other out.
In this blog I’ve asked people across Windsor Speakers to provide thoughts on their experience:
‘Taking part as a contestant in a competition is an experience, win or lose. I remember winning my first Table Topics area competition, being my first event in front of a large audience I was aiming just to make the time and concentrated on that alone! Division was a different matter, I was completely thrown by the question being a subject matter I knew nothing about, but I took the chance to take in the audience and try things a little on the wild side that maybe I wouldn’t have done I had known the topic.’ WG
‘I feel the best thing about attending competitions is getting to know people from outside of your club you wouldn’t normally meet.’ SB
‘If you’re a good organiser or want to develop your organisational skills then being Chief Judge is the role to consider for any Toastmaster speech contest. Next to the Contest Chair, the role comes with a number of responsibilities. The Chief Judge is in charge of the judges, speech timers and ballot counters and includes co-ordinating the paperwork associated with those roles, ensuring the team is fully briefed prior to the contest and assisting with the management of logistics during the contest. I had the pleasure of being Chief Judge at our last speech contest and it was very satisfying to see everything come together to make for a successful evening.’ JH
‘The last year has challenged us in how we deliver the same great experience to our members and guest, albeit all from the comfort of our own homes. We all had to very quickly get to grips with Zoom and all it has to offer. As Zoom Master, I’ve learned new skills and discover something different every time I use it. We have adapted our ways of working and Zoom has been at the forefront of keeping us together as a club. I look forward to see how we can keep using the technology at hand to reach a diverse number of people once face to face meetings are allowed again.’ YC
Other Support Functions
‘As a new member of the Windsor Speakers Club, I had the opportunity of attending three speech contests including Windsor, Wokingham, and Burnham Speakers clubs. I was amazed to see the level of skills Toastmaster speakers have and how well the Evaluators had listened to the speeches and provided detailed feedback. I wish I had joined Toastmasters at the start of my profession.’ UT
I hope these words of wisdom from Windsor Speaker members will encourage you to consider playing a role in a Toastmasters speaking competition.