Contest Rules & Resources

Update: September 25, 2019

Below are some crucial (and updated) information regarding the two Speech Contests taking place in the 2019 - 2020 Toastmasters year in District 96. 

At the Annual 2020 Conference in Richmond (April 17-19, 2020), we will hold the Evaluation and International Speech contests. ().

In preparation for our Annual Conference, the deadlines for all prior levels of contests are as follows:

  • Clubs should complete their club contests during January 1-31, 2020.

  • Areas should complete their area contests during February 1-28, 2020.

  • Divisions should complete their division contests during March 1-31, 2020.

  • The District 96 International Speech Contest will be held on Saturday, April 18, 2020

  • The District 96 Evaluation Contest will be held on Sunday, April 19, 2020

The District International Speech contest will be videotaped. The winner's video will be sent to Toastmasters International, where it will be judged virtually for the Quarter Finals of the International Speech Contest. An international panel of judges will determine which speakers will move on to the semi-finals and finals that will take place at the 2020 International Convention in August (in Paris, France).

Speech contests provide an opportunity for Toastmasters to gain speaking experience as well as an opportunity for other Toastmasters to observe proficient speakers. There are also leadership opportunities embedded within the process of running a speech contest. Win-win for everyone involved.

Important Information

  1. If a club can't hold a contest, they can appoint/nominate contestant(s) to compete in the area contest. 
    Club contest is the only level where contestants can be nominated to move on to the next level; areas and divisions must hold a contest in order to send a contestant up to the next contest level even if they only have one contestant in their contest. In special circumstances, the club may be able to send two contestants to the area contest (see item #3 below).

  2. If a Toastmaster competes and wins first place in multiple club contests, they can only move forward to ONE Area Contest. 
    The competitor will need to choose which Area Contest they will compete in and inform the other club and area contest officials so the second (or subsequent) place winner may move on in their place. Contest Officials, see #6 below regarding notification of winners.

  3. Eight weeks prior to the Area Contest if an Area has four or fewer assigned clubs in good standing: 
    clubs can send the top two winners from each club speech contest to compete at the area speech contest. Currently, the clubs that qualify are in the following Areas: B20, B23, D41, D42, D43, D45, H69, H72, H73, H76, H97, J80, M92, M94, N70, N74, S24, S26, S27, S79.

  4. Eight weeks prior to the Division Contests if a Division has four or fewer assigned Areas, Areas can send two winners from Area Speech Contests on to compete in the Division contest. Areas can send top two winners from each Area speech contest to compete at the Division speech contest. Currently, the Divisions that qualify are: Division D and Division M.

  5. Since District 96 has 7 Divisions, Divisions can only send one winner on to compete in the District contest.

  6. At ALL contest levels, when sending the notification of winners to the next / higher contest level, be sure to list ALL of the contestants, not just the top three winners. Life happens and some competitors can't make it to the next level. Please be kind enough to leave an option for the next contestant in line to compete in that circumstance. See Notification form

  7. Makes sure you read The current Speech Contest Rulebook is the guide for the fall and spring contests.

  8. Remember to have FUN! Cheer your fellow Toastmasters on as they compete!

Additional Resources

Need a starting point on how to conduct a club speech contest? Check out this Contest Chair resource page created by Rodney Denno, DTM.

For digital versions of all of the contest paperwork files, check out Toastmasters Digital Library on the Toastmasters International website.

If you are a Contest Chair, you will find all the checklists and forms that you need in these contest kits:

If you are a contest judge or Chief Judge and would like to learn more about the judging roles, you can email the District 96 Chief Judge Linda Lee. There will be a workshop “How to run an Effective Contest” at the next District 96 Toastmasters Leadership Institute hosted by TBC. In addition, Linda Lee will host the Judges’ Training at the next TLI on November 16, 2019.

Learn more about judging and speech contests through Toastmasters Speech Contest Tutorials. Each lesson is quick to review and learn.