“Don’t focus on winning. Focus on your message to the audience.”

– John Zimmer 

Speech Contests and District 26

Speech Contests are one of the many ways toastmasters can grow and perfect both speaking and leadership skills. Contests are conducted in a safe, fair environment that encourages speaking and leadership growth.

Empower Your Speaking

Participating as a contestant in a contest can take your speaking skills up a notch and help you overcome some of those speaking fears. There are four types of Contests that require speakers:

  • International Speech
  • Table Topics

There are additional roles at contests to practice your speaking:

  • Toastmaster
  • Chief Judge
  • Sergeant at Arms


Empower Your Leadership

Every part of a contest requires volunteers filling key roles. These volunteers have responsibilities per Toastmasters International Rules and Regulations for conducting a fair contest. Learning about and executing these roles while working with others helps strengthen Leadership skills. Below is a list of some contest roles.

  • Contest Chair: Oversees all aspects of the contest, briefs Contestants.
  • Chief Judge:  Briefs Judges, assigns tie-breaking Judge and ensures ballot counting is handled correctly.
  • Toastmasters: Makes sure contest is running per Toastmaster International I guidelines, sets a fair environment for all contestants.
  • Judges *: Go through on-line training, listen carefully and rate contestants without bias.
  • Ballot Counters: Collect and count Judges ballots.
  • Timers: Notes each contestants time as well as judging times.
  • Sergeant at Arms: Ensures contest starts on time, prepares speakers props, escorts contestants as needed, ensures no interruptions are made during contest.
  • Snack/Food Chair: Coordinates food and beverages for contest.


Contest Information

Each contest has multiple opportunities to expand your skills.  If you would like to learn more about contests or are planning a contest, follow the links below for additional information or contact the Program Quality Director.

Looking for trained Judges?  email PQD1718@D26Leaders.org

* District 26 asks that all Judges complete Judges training either online or in personYou are encourages to take the online training or attend a TLI training  when offered so you are prepared if asked to be a judge. This training enhances your skills, keeps you up to date on new rules and adds to the credibility of contests at all levels. 

4 Responses to SPEECH CONTESTS

  • Beth says:

    The guide to the International Speech and Table Topics contests is not available. Is it being revamped?

  • pcowen says:

    Ditto! I would really like to have the guide to the International Speech and Table Topics contests here for a reference and have sent members of my home club here for guidance. Does anyone read these comments? I see someone else was looking a month ago.

  • Rhea Thompson says:

    The new guide for the Table Topics and International Speech Contests is now available on the District 26 Website! Check out the Contests page which is being updated frequently.

  • Marcia Wood says:

    The revised guide for Table Topics and International Speech Contests is now available. I added bookmarks to the PDF to make it easier to find the individual sections.

    In addition to Area and Division Contest instructions, you will find Appendix G which has specific directions for Club Contests.

    If you spot any errors or have questions, please contact me at PQD1718@D26leaders.org.

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D26 Members

Join the Bureau

Current Toastmasters members may join the Speakers' Bureau to get more opportunities to speak outside of their clubs.