Posted by: mrpeatie | September 4, 2009

Compete in Your Toastmasters Club Contests

TMLogoLast night I competed in the evaluation portion of the Area 63 Toastmasters Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contest. This was the 4th contest I competed in at the area level, which is the 2nd round of competition. This was the first time I competed in the evaluation portion. I was victorious and beat out 4 other very skilled and seasoned Toastmasters. I was very proud of my performance as I’ve never felt that evaluating was my strongest skill set. This post isn’t meant to brag but to encourage you to take advantage of your club’s contests. If after 6+ years of being in Toastmasters and competing in over a dozen contests at various levels I can still learn new things and be inspired by the skills of the other competitors, I’m confident you can get something out of it as well.

The beauty of the contests is that they change up the normal routine. It is very easy to get comfortable giving a speech in front of your club in a familiar environment. The contests add a whole new dynamic as you are being judged by multiple people and often competing in front of a larger crowd and at a different venue. It’s a challenge and can add some stress, yes, but that’s the only way you are going to continue to improve your public speaking skills.

Competing in these contests may not be something you are ready for early in your Toastmasters career. Luckily there are other ways to get involved without competing. You can volunteer to be a ballot counter or timer and get to watch a contest unfold. You can also give the target speech for the evaluation contest. This was my first experience in a Toastmasters contest. Having your speech critically evaluated by 2-5+ people can be a little daunting, but it’s a good way to see what speaking in a contest environment is all about without competing.

The last benefit to competing or just attending a contest, particularly an area contest, is that you get to meet and see Toastmasters from other clubs and see new speakers display their skills. I’ve seen a lot of speeches in my day, but I was blown away at the performances I saw last night. Most notably was the contestants use of props to enhance their speech and the masterful way the speakers used vocal variety and specific gestures to spice up their speeches. If after all these years I can still learn something new and get inspired at an area contest, I’m positive you will too.

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Responses

  1. Well said.

    The only thing I would suggest is not to be afraid to compete even if you are new to Toastmasters. I competed in our club contest after 5 speeches. What’s the worst that can happen? You might win and, if not, you’ve gained valuable experience.

    Toastmasters offers so many benefits, and contests are one of the most fun and most rewarding. Go for it!

    Kevin

  2. We once had a Toastmasters sign up and his very first official ‘meeting’ was evaluating in a humorous speech and evaluation contest. That’s bold.

  3. Thats very good to know… thanks


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