Don’t Wish Contestants “Good Luck”

Sep 20

Around contest season, I often find people wishing me “good luck” or hear them saying it to other contestants. That always seemed strange to me, especially when a contest Toastmaster announced it to every contestant in the room at once. That’s as silly as telling every contestant that you hope they can win. Obviously, they can’t all...

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Avoid These Common Speech Contest Mistakes

Sep 17

Over the years, I’m sorry to say I’ve seen certain easily preventable challenges occur time and again. Don’t get me wrong: I know running a contest is very hard work. It takes a lot of effort from a lot of people, and so much can go wrong. I’ve ran the most efficient triple-area contest in District 55. I’ve ran the largest club contest...

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The Five Minute Rule

Sep 17

How long does it take after the meeting starts before your prepared speaker begins? How long after the first opening sound of a conference keynote before the keynote speaker begins talking? How long after a speech contest opens before the first contestant begins? IMHO, five minutes should be a hard and fast maximum. In my experience, however, often it climbs up to 15...

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Start on Time

Sep 17

“We’ll wait a few more minutes for more people to show up before we start the meeting.” “This meeting is now called to order. Now we will recess for five minutes while we prepare to begin.” “Oh, we just list that as our start time so that people show up in time for our real start time, which is 15 minutes later” Do these...

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How Do I Get More Members to Sign Up for Speeches?

May 19

Some fortunate clubs are packed full of eager speakers competing for limited speaking slots. However, others find themselves challenged to get multiple speakers on the agenda for each week. What can you do when you regularly face the prospect of meetings without any speeches? Be warned; it’s possible to go too far with these tips! In one club where I was VPE, I...

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Special Halloween Meeting Ideas

Oct 29

Hopefully you try to have fun themes for your Toastmasters meetings. But how can you go above and beyond that, for special meetings like the one closest to Halloween? Costume Parties What a great time to get everyone to dress up! This can be especially fun if there is a connection between the speeches and the costumes the speakers wear. Also consider a theme for the...

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Use the Right Questions for Your Table Topics Contests

Oct 05

All contestants must compete on a level playing field, as much as is possible. Not only does this mean everyone should have identical competition situations (as much as possible), but that those conditions should not unduly favor any particular type of contestants. An inconvenient contest location may favor local contestants. A location that is noisy or has poor...

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