Contest Season Is Here Again

Leaves are falling, all around me

Toastmaster’s preparing and having fun!

It’s the season of humorously speaking

and table topics contest everyone!

The Humorous Contest and Table Topics Contest at Waverley Communicators are held this upcoming Thursday (14th of September 2017) at the 28 York Place Hotel, Edinburgh.

Here’s the treat for you – a blast from the past – an article written by our DTM Moira Beaton in 2012.

Good luck everyone!


I’ll never forget  my first District Officer training in Stanstead (ah, the high life) when I was Area Governor. One of the District committee said he thought speech contests were a waste of time. I disagreed, and so did most of the other officers – vociferously.

Let’s face it, most of us want to win. Yes, that plays a big part and gives you the motivation to enter and do your best. But, if you speak to past contest winners, they will tell you that entering contests made them better speakers; and winning their club contest and progressing to the next levels catapulted their speaking into a whole new dimension.

But, if you just want to enter for the fun of it and not work too hard, that’s ok, you can do that too.

If, however, you do want to use the contest to improve your skills, you have to prepare.

But, I hear, you can’t prepare for Table Topics. Yes, you can. Here’s how:

1. Listen to experienced Table Topics speakers, not only in your club and other clubs but on Youtube – just search Youtube for ‘Toastmasters Table Topics contest winners.’ Listen closely and find out what draws you in, makes you listen, makes you laugh (if it’s funny).

2. Volunteer for a Table Topic at our club and other clubs you visit.

3. Use the resources at Toastmasters World HQ. Here’s one

4. Read this blog – there are  hints and tips on how to tackle Table Topics

5. If you’re really keen, ask your partner, friend, parent to ambush you with table topics at odd moments of the day and night. Ok, that may be taking it too far, especially if it’s the middle of the night. But, the element of surprise is key.

6. Be prepared – get a copy (from the VPE) of the TT contest judges’ ballot and find out what contestants are judged on and stick to the criteria during the contest.

7. Show DVDs of contestants at the District 71 Table Topics final – the crème de la crème of contestants in our District (UK and Ireland).

The Humorous Speech contest is different. This takes more preparation. Again, you can:

1. Search Youtube for ‘Humorous Speech contest winners’.

2. Read the club blog – there are videos of Humorous Speech contest winners.

3. Tell your mentor you are entering the Humorous Speech contest and enlist their help.

4. Spruce up and practise an old manual speech where the audience laughed and told you it was hilarious. You don’t have to prepare a new speech from scratch.

5. Prepare a new speech – find the humour in a situation and exaggerate it.

6. Laugh at yourself.

7. Practise.

On the night:

1. Prepare to enjoy the contest and have fun – yes, you really can!


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