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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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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Ballot Counting FAQs

Mar 26

General Ballot Counting Procedure Ballot Collection Ballot counters should spread around room; wait for judges to hold up folded ballot slips and collect them. The judge should only provide the torn-off bottom slip; if they provide the entire sheet, tear off the large top part (the scoring rubric) and hand it back to them. Indicate to the chief judge how many ballots...

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Does the Audience Need to Wait for the Ballot Counters?

Mar 25

The final contestant for a speech event finishes speaking. Everyone waits in silence, allowing as much time as necessary for the quasi-anonymous judges to finish filling out their ballots and energetic ballot counters to run around and collect them. The ballot counters and chief judge leave the room. Then the Contest Toastmaster says “once the ballot counters...

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Contest Order Matters

Feb 08

Some Toastmasters are concerned that speaking order makes a huge difference in who wins or loses a contest—more so than actual skill. Unfortunately, they are right. Mike Raffety has numbers to show that speaking order makes a difference in Toastmasters contests. If you are a contestant, this is just one of many unintentional judging biases you will face. There...

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