Harvesting Online Training Resources: Contests

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Harvesting Online Training Resources: Contests

Club Contests

  • How do you prepare for land based Club or Area Contests, as a Club Officer?
  • What resources would you recommend to assist in the training of Contest Chairs, Contest Judges and Area Director teams?
  • How would you plan, schedule and facilitate contests for Online Clubs?

During September I have been searching for useful sites and resources to recommend to club officers in Toastmasters clubs, especially during times when the focus is on Contests. The following websites from our Australian and New Zealand districts may be useful for you.

District 17 Western Australia site lists club officer resources including information on all seven executive roles for traditional land based clubs. One collection you may find really useful at this time of the year is the page for Contests, thank you David Nicholas, webmaster.

District 69 Queensland pages required a little more digging to get to their nuggets of information, however there are some very useful resources for Area Directors. I was especially pleased to find a collection of these that could be used for Area Director teams.


District 70 New South Wales and Canberra has a great set of web-based Contest Chair Checklists and an excellent set of templates, scripts and running sheets in the repository of Contest Files.

District 72 New Zealand provided a list of video tutorials and many more useful resources for my research into Contests. Some of these are part of the Toastmasters International site, but were not known to me before today. In particular I liked the Contest Tutorials: an overview of The Contest and Roles, instructions about When You’re the Judge and guidance in completing the Judges Guide and Ballot – I will be sending these to my team of Judges.

District 73 Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania resource pages include a great set of Frequently Asked Questions about the Contest Rules.

District 90 New South Wales, District and Club Officer resources pages provide very useful downloadable templates and documents for your Contests. For example this Contest Budget Template or this spreadsheet for your Area Contest. From their website you can link directly to the websites of other Australian and New Zealand Toastmaster Districts.

Finally, you would be wise to join the Resources for Toastmasters Facebook Group where you will find shared resources and great discussions about them.

Online Contests

  • Online Club Contests, is this possible?
  • How can we run contests online for the global online clubs?
  • Online Area Contests, is that really a potential?
  • What would we need to get those happening?

The Firebirds Collective recently conducted a successful Club Contest for Humorous Speeches. Three of our advanced members stepped up to compete and prepared their 5-7 minute humorous speeches. The event was scheduled in easy-Speak using a special Contest template where speakers, judges, and other roles could be self-selected.

The speaking part was easy; the judging part was a little more complex. Prior to the contest date, speakers were asked to complete their eligibility forms and send to the Contest Chair, and all judges were asked to complete their eligibility forms and send to the Chief Judge. All participants and audience met in our GoToMeeting room and we used the Online Club Contest process as a ‘lesson’ for all Firebirds.

The Contest Chair briefed the speakers on screen prior to the contest start, and used an innovative method of selecting their speaking order. The Chief Judge briefed the judges on screen in the segment prior to start time and all agreed on a simple process for submitting their votes privately to the counter, off screen. (Clever use of technology in the background.)

Contest Chair, listeners and timers were present on screen as the Speakers were introduced and then each speaker delivered their speech in the order selected. The usual minute of silence was used in between to allow the judges to deliberate.

Speakers were interviewed whilst we awaited the vote count and the results to be delivered by the Chief Judge offline. All contestants (Svetlana Rakhimova UK, Isabel Carter NZ, and Brian Dodd CA) were shown their Contest Participant certificates and the first and second place winners were shown their certificates, on screen. The two winners were able to announce their success in social media.

I can envisage how any online club might do the International Speech contest in a similar way, and I am sure they can successfully run a fair Evaluation contest online. However, I am now looking for innovative ideas now on how to run a fair Table Topics contest online. Post your ideas here or in the Online Training for Toastmasters Facebook group.

Then, of course, the next question is, can we schedule an online Area Contest for Division O, Area 1?

I am working on that! This will be one agenda item for the current leaders of the ‘onliners’ in the first ever Online Area Council meeting in November!




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