Speech contests are a vital part of Toastmasters’ educational program. They provide an opportunity for Toastmasters to gain speaking experience, as well as an opportunity for other Toastmasters to learn by observing proficient speakers.
Each year, more than 30,000 Toastmasters compete in the Humorous, Evaluation, Tall Tales, and International speech contests. Competition begins with club contests, and winners continue competing through the Area, Division and District levels. Winners of the District level International Speech Contest proceed to the region quarterfinal level. Following region quarterfinals, winners advance to the semifinals for a chance to take part in the World Championship of Public Speaking.
Speech contests are governed by rules and standard procedures issued annually by Toastmasters International. These instructions are distributed via the Speech Contest Rulebook that contains General Rules, Contest Checklists and Additional Resources.
The International Contest is held annually and must be conducted in English only. In addition, the following contests may be held at the discretion of each District:
Contests originate at the Club level and then progress to Area, Division and District. Districts (including Areas and Divisions) may conduct up to three additional English speech contests each year. Likewise, they may also conduct up to four non-English speech contests each year.