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The purpose of a speech contest is to provide an opportunity for speakers to improve their speaking abilities, to recognize individual Toastmasters as an encouragement to all, and to provide an opportunity for all Toastmasters to learn by observing speakers who have benefited from their Toastmasters training. Each contest focuses on a particular set of skills, providing a terrific opportunity to learn about a specific area of communication.
District 57 leaders organize two contest seasons each year: one in the spring and the other in the fall, as follows:
Spring Contests: International and Table Topics
Club Contests – held in February
Area Contests – held in March
Division Contests – held in April
District Contests at the District 57 Spring Conference – early May
International Speech Contest – 5 to 7 minutes in length:
This contest provides an opportunity for members to put all their skills together into a performance that can take them as high as the International level. Speeches can be on any topic at all, and those that win are typically motivational or inspirational in nature. Some speeches are funny, others are serious, but it should be the best speech you can give, and it must be original. The winner at the District level will compete at the International Convention in August.
Table Topics – 1 to 2 minutes in length:
All contestants are taken out of the room and brought back in one by one to speak on the *same* topic, which will be general in nature and not require specialized knowledge which some contestants might have while others might not. Since no contestant hears the topic before his turn to speak on it, their impromptu speaking abilities will be judged by the way in which each person’s effort stacks up against the others.
Fall Contests: Humorous and Evaluation
Club Contests – held in August
Area Contests – held in September
Division Contests – held in October
District Contests at the District 57 Fall Conference – early November
Humorous – 5 to 7 minutes in length: Must be substantially original. Any quoted material must be identified during the presentation. The speech must be thematic in nature (opening, body, and close) and not be an act or a monologue. It should be “clean” humor; avoid objectionable language, anecdotes, and material. Vocal variety, gestures, and speech content all play a part in a successful humorous speech.
Evaluation – 2 to 3 minutes in length:
The speech will be an evaluation of a target speaker. The target speaker gives a speech which all the evaluation contestants are to evaluate. The contestants are taken from the room and given five minutes to prepare their speeches and make notes. Then, their notes are taken away and they are brought back into the room one by one (at which time the contestant gets his notes back) to deliver their oral evaluation of the target speech. Since no contestant hears what another said about the target speech, the judges can compare the analytical abilities of the contestants.
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