Everything You Wanted To Know About Contests But Were Afraid To Ask

Venkat Raman, District Contest Co-Chair
Ananda Sen, District Contest Co-Chair
Hans E. Thoma, District Chief Judge


Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition. Each year, thousands of Toastmasters compete in the Humorous, Evaluation, Tall Tales, Table Topics and International speech contests. Competition begins with club contests, and winners continue competing through the Area, Division and District levels. Winners of the District level International Speech Contest proceed to the Region Quarterfinals and the semifinals for a chance to take part in the World Championship of Public Speaking®.

The Toastmasters International (TI) Board of Directors has allowed Districts to decide contest format for the 2023-2024 Contest Cycle. All contests at the Area and Division with be VIRTUAL ONLY. Clubs can decide on their contest formats. 

The District level speech and evaluation contests for the 2023-2024 Toastmasters program year will be Hybrid. All participants at the District level contests can decide to be virtual or in-person on May 11, 2024.  Each contestant participates that chooses to participant virtually, from physically-distant locations, must use equipment that contestants obtain themselves.

General Toastmasters Rules and Updates – For All Contestants and Participants

2023-24 Contest Official TMI Rulebook D57 – Eligibility rules for contestants and participants – summary of official rules
  OLD 2022-23 Official TMI – Contest Best Practices (check D57 guides below and newest rulebook for some changes)
Judging Criteria for Speeches and Evaluations
Rules Verification Q&A by D57 Chief Judge

For Contest Chairs, Judges, Tech Host, Timers, Ballot Counters, Toastmasters, SAA – The materials below are either old, or offer suggested ideas, and may be adapted in accordance with the 2023-24 Contest Official TMI Rulebook.

Contest Checklist Judges Guide and Ballots Video
Contest Script – Contest Agenda Contest Overview and Roles
Dual Area Contest Script and Agenda Roles summary
D57 Contest Roles Training Schedule TMI Online Tutorials
TMI Speech Contest Materials TMI Speech Contest FAQ
When You’re The Judge

For Speech and Evaluation Contestants

Eligibility for Contestants Evaluation Contest and Guidelines – Summary
Speech Guidelines – Summary  

D57 Speech Contest Training Workshops
and older resources from previous contest cycles – The materials below are either old, or offer suggested ideas, and may be adapted in accordance with the 2023-24 Contest Official TMI Rulebook.
December 1, 2022 Video
(courtesy Maureen Filler)
For Judges and Contest Chairs – Eligibility and Rules review
For Zoom Tech Hosts
For Contest Chairs, Toastmaster, Sergeant at Arms – Nuts and bolts of the agenda and using a script.
TBD – [Link TBA] For Chief Judges – using digital ballots effectively
TBD – [Link TBA] For Chief Judges – using digital ballots effectively   

Date: Updated by Sally Philbin, District 57 Program Director
Subject: Area and Division contest dates

Clubs should do theirs between Jan 1 – Feb 1

Areas should do theirs between Feb 1 – February 29

Divisions should do theirs between March 1 – March 31
District Contests with BOTH occur on May 11, 2024
Please contact your clubs and inform them of these dates. Remember that even if a club decides not to have a contest, they can still nominate people (1 speaker and 1 evaluator) to proceed to the Area contest.
Area and Division contests MUST be scheduled on the D57 calendar page.  This allows the other directors to see when NOT to schedule theirs.  No Division contest is allowed to be on the same day as another Division contest.  
Here is the link to the scheduling tool – to schedule your Area and Division Contests
If an Area believes that turnout will be very low at their contest, they are allowed to team up with another Area to conduct a dual-Area contest.  This way you could increase turnout and have an easier time filling all the volunteer roles.  The way it works is as follows:  The contestants from the first Area would speak first, then the judges would vote, and the ballots would be counted.  Then the second Area contestants would speak.  I have attached an agenda and script from a dual-area contest if you’d like to take a look.



Change Log


Date Description Who
2023-01-13 Original Version LJM