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Everything you ever needed to run a successful contest.

Refer to this documentation when planning & organising your Area Contest.

For the day of the contest, refer to the Run Sheet in the Contest Files.

After your contest, refer to Area Contests: Wrapping it all Up.

Step-by-step task list: 8+ weeks out

PriorityTaskResponsibilityExplanation & TipsMy Notes
1
  • Finalise contest date and time
 
  • Have you checked in with the clubs in the Area and got their sign-off on the date?
  • Have you checked your date with your Division Team?
ie. waiting for response from 2 clubs
1
  • Book Chief Judge
 
  • Usually this will be your Division Director - otherwise it will be a nominee approved by the Program Quality Director.
 
1
  • Book a venue
 
  • When booking the contest at the venue of a regular Toastmasters Club, the venue may prefer to be approached by that Toastmasters Club
  • Get written confirmation of the booking, pay a deposit or the full cost as needed
 
1
  • Select a host club
Area Director
  • Consider history - who has hosted previous contests?
 
1
  • Organise RSVPs
 
  • Who will receive and manage RSVPs - yourself or a member of the host club? Select that person now!
  • How will the RSVP list be managed - via a spreadsheet, an online site such as Eventbrite (only recommended for free events), or via email?
 
1  
  • Seriously. Just do it. At least once, and at least TWO (2) months prior to your contest. You'll thank us later...
  • Support the clubs in your Area by highlighting rule changes (see Info box below), and reminding them of eligibility issues, such as International Speech Contestants needing to complete SIX (6) Competent Communication manual speeches prior to their club contest (Charter members of new clubs which charter before the area contest do not have to satisfy this requirement)
 

Note the major changes in the 2016/2017 Rulebook:

  • Contestants can no longer be charged - nor can the Club/Area/Division they are competing on behalf of be charged a fee (p.5 of the Rulebook, additional specific confirmation regarding Areas and Divisions provided by Peter Crosby DTM on  )
  • Contestants must plan to use props in advance, and set them up in a particular way (p. 14)
  • Table Topics are selected by the Contest Chair (p. 16)
  • Evaluation Contestants must only use the Evaluation Contestant Notes proforma (p. 16)
  • Contest Chairs now announce the results using the Results Form proforma (p. 12)

Click here for a complete breakdown of rule changes

Step-by-step task list: 6-8 weeks out

  • Due date 

PriorityTaskResponsibilityExplanation & TipsMy Notes
1
  • Prepare budget
 
  • Contest budgets are usually done either on the basis of contributions from clubs in the Area, or a payment at the door
  • Confirm what the arrangements are (check what the clubs usually do and what they're happy with) both in terms of cost-splitting and other arrangements such as catering
  • If clubs are contributing, all clubs must agree on the contribution to be made by each club.
 
1
  • Organise trophies, awards, certificates, etc
 
  • Collecting perpetual trophies from past winners: Ask for this information early, then get in touch with the winners and arrange to collect the trophies, either before or on the day of the contest
  • Ordering awards (certificates, personal trophies, etc) from Supplies Australia: make sure this is covered in your budget, and remember that Certificates are now available as a Digital Download from www.toastmasters.org
  • The words "Toastmasters" and "Toastmasters International" can only be used on trophies purchased from Supplies Australia or World Headquarters.
 
1
  •  Select a Contest Chair
 
  • While this can be you, by sharing the contest responsibilities with another person you will likely find it more manageable and enjoyable
 
1
  • Enter your Contest into Division Calendar on Confluence
 
  • Include the Host Club, location details, etc
 
1  
  • Flyers for Area Contests cannot be uploaded on the website, but submission of event images is encouraged: review the What's On page for examples
 
1
  • Prepare and Distribute Contest Flyer
 
  • This is a great job to delegate to a budding leader! Don't miss an opportunity to ask for help with it...
  • Usually it will be distributed via email and in hard copy at club contests
  • Invite special guests (local member, delegates from the Board at RSLs and similar venues)
 

Which clubs in my Area need to approve my budget?

  1. If clubs are not making a financial contribution to the contest (ie. a door charge will be paid by attendees), then only the Host Club President needs to approve the budget (obtain a signature on the form).
  2. If clubs in the Area are being asked to make a financial contribution then all clubs must approve that contribution unanimously - and the Area Director must keep a record of that approval.

Step-by-step task list: 4-6 weeks out

  • Due date 

PriorityTaskResponsibilityExplanation & TipsMy Notes
1
  • Obtain budget approval from clubs
 
  • Get approval from the Host Club President (if club contributions are not being made), OR unanimous approval from all clubs in the Area (if they are making club contributions)
 
1
  • Submit budget at least 28 days prior to District
 
  • It goes to the Budgets Officer Linda Said DTM: budgets@d70toastmasters.org.au
  • Remember all contestants are non-paying guests and clubs cannot be charged an entry fee for their contestants
 
1
  •  Confirm Judges
Division Director
  • You must have either (p. 9 of the Rules):
    • an equal number of voting judges from each club in the Area, OR
    • a minimum of FIVE (5) voting judges
  • You must also arrange a tiebreaker judge
  • In addition, all judges must meet the eligibility criteria outlined on p. 7.
  • It is recommended you arrange at least one reserve judge if possible
 
2
  •  Arrange catering
 
  • Suggest you discuss with: host club, venue and caterer.
 
1
  • Confirm the venue
 
  • If there is anything outstanding to confirm to lock in the venue, do it now before it's too late to make alternative arrangements
 
1
  • Arrange Test Speaker for Evaluation Contest, OR
  • Arrange Table Topics

Area Director

Contest Chair

  

 

Step-by-step task list: 2-4 weeks out

  • Due date 

PriorityTaskResponsibilityExplanation & TipsMy Notes
1
  • Arrange forms
Division Director
  • You will need forms for judging, tiebreaking, timing, counting, winner notification, biography, speaker's certification, certificates ALL of which can be found in the relevant Speech Contest Kits on the Toastmasters website.
  • Once you've selected the relevant kit, click on the digital download at the bottom of the page.
  • Remember to include the Results Form and Evaluation Contestant Notes (not currently in the Digital Contest Kits at time of writing).
 
1
  • Send contestants info
 
  • A contest is all about the contestants. Many of them will be nervous - and you can ease that pressure by getting in touch with them early, congratulating them and giving them the information they'll need (such as reminding them to read the Speech Contest Rulebook)
  • Advise the time and place for the Contestants' Briefing
  • To send information, you'll need to confirm exactly who is competing - for example, if the 1st place is not competing, confirm with the 2nd place getter and so on.
  • Include other relevant info - for example, will there be a raised stage? Will there be sound?
 
1
  •  Organise Required Contest Personnel
 
  • You must appoint THREE (3) Counters and TWO (2) Timers (p. 9 of the Rules).
  • While a number isn't specified in the Rulebook, it is suggested to have at least TWO (2) Sergeants-at-Arms (the venue may also play a role in this - if the room where Table Topics/Evaluation Contestants are waiting is a long way, you may want to appoint THREE (3))
  • Due to the work involved for the Contest Chair, it is recommended that you appoint (TWO) 2 Contest Toastmasters (one for each Contest). This also provides more opportunities for member involvement in the running of the contest.
  • Ensure the Chief Judge advises the voting judges, counters and timers of the time and place for the Judges' Briefing.
 
2
  •  Organise banners
    (Club and Area)
 
  • Preferably with the stands as well...
  • Don't leave this too late, because a lot of clubs collect their banner from storage at a meeting to bring it to the contest. If you ask so late they don't have any club meetings left before the contest, they may not be able to bring the banner.
  • Consider where/how the banners will be set up at the venue
 
1
  • Confirm trophies
 
  • Check that you have the personal trophies you ordered, as well as the perpetual trophies (or arrangements to collect them on the night)
 
2
  • Organise other Contest Helpers
Host Club
  • This includes: Registration table helpers, Raffle leaders, Toast, Welcome, Vote of Thanks
  • As well as optional personnel: Calligrapher, Photographer, Sound Technician (if using microphones etc).
 

 

Step-by-step task list: 1-2 weeks out

  • Due date 

PriorityTaskResponsibilityExplanation & TipsMy Notes
1
  • Prepare and send contest agenda and run sheet
 
  • A sample agenda can be found here
  • A sample contest run sheet can be found here
  • Once drafted, email to all Contest Personnel, Contestants & Judges (via Division Director) (see next step)
  • Ask everyone to confirm the spelling of their name!
 
1
  • Send Contest Personnel their responsibilities
 
  • In the same email with the draft Contest Agenda and Run Sheet, include the following:
  • Ask for an acknowledgement that they have received and read this email!
 
1
  •  Organise equipment
 
  • Lectern
  • Gavel
  • Stopwatch (plus a spare, only one being allowed to be used in a contest)
  • 2 sets of Timing lights (1 is spare)
  • Back up set of timing cards
  • Extension cords and power boards for sound or timing lights as needed
  • Microphone and sound equipment if using sound (best to leave the organisation of these to the Sound Technician you have appointed)
  • Speech Contest Rulebook (either downloaded to your device or printed copy)
  • Clipboards for: Judges, Counters, Timers, Contest Chair and Contest Toastmasters
  • Briefing notes for Chief Judge, Contest Chair and Contest Toastmasters (it's always worth bringing a spare hardcopy of each)
  • Numbered cards
  • Thank you notes for Judges, Toastmasters, Contest Personnel and Helpers
  • Where possible, obtain biography and Speaker's Certification of Eligibility and Originality forms from contestants PRIOR to the contest (less to think about on the day, and you can send biography information to Contest Toastmasters to help them prepare)
  • For the evaluation contest only, organise a gift and/of certificate of appreciation for the Test Speaker
 
1
  •  Confirm eligibility of all judges and contestants

Division Director

Area Director

  • The Division Director will confirm the eligibility of judges, check in with them to ensure this is done
  • Notify any contestants who have been disqualified on eligibility
  • The Area Director should confirm that clubs and contestants are in good standing (especially now that the grace period has been removed)
  • The Area Director should confirm that International Speech contestants have completed SIX (6) Competent Communication manual speeches prior to their Club Contest
 
2
  • Confirm catering with caterer
 
  • Provide an up-to-date list of attendees and confirm arrangements
 
2
  • Confirm room setup with venue
 
  • Now you approximately know how many people are attending, confirm the room setup with the venue.
  • Check what time you can arrive, and what setup will be done for you (so you know what you need to plan for)
 

 

Step-by-step task list: The Final week

  • Due date 

PriorityTaskResponsibilityExplanation & TipsMy Notes
1
  • Prepare Contest Certificates
 
  • If you are not engaging a Calligrapher, pre-print the Contest Certificates of Participation
  • Print the date, contest and presenter information on the First, Second and Third place Certificates (so that all you have to fill in on the night is the name). Bring spare certificates in case of last-minute changes, or errors made on the certificates on the night.
 
1
  • Confirm Contest Chair has Table Topic ready OR
  • Confirm with Test Speaker
 

 

 
1
  •  Finalise and print the programs and run sheets
 
  • Refer to the RSVPs to determine how many programs to print
  • Consider who needs a copy of the run sheet- Contest Chair, Chief Judge, etc.
 
The day before...
1
  •  Prepare attendance list for door attendant

 

  • Sort the information (ie. alphabetically by first name)
  • Make the text large enough to see clearly (ie. size 12 font)
 
2
  • Confirm numbers with caterer
 

 

 
1
  • Pack for the contest
 
  • These items should be packed ready to go to the contest with you, or you should not who is bringing them. Tick them off as you go for a final checklist:
    • Lectern
    • Gavel
    • Stopwatch (plus a spare, only one being allowed to be used in a contest)
    • TWO (2) sets of Timing lights (1 is spare)
    • Back up set of timing cards
    • Extension cords and power boards for sound or timing lights as needed
    • Microphone and sound equipment if using sound (best to leave the organisation of these to the Sound Technician you have appointed)
    • Speech Contest Rulebook (either downloaded to your device or printed copy)
    • Clipboards for: Judges, Counters, Timers, Contest Chair and Contest Toastmasters
    • Briefing notes for Chief Judge, Contest Chair and Contest Toastmasters (it's always worth bringing a spare hardcopy of each)
    • Numbered cards
    • Thank you notes for Judges, Toastmasters, Contest Personnel and Helpers
    • Where possible, obtain biography and eligibility forms from contestants PRIOR to the contest (less to think about on the day, and you can send biography information to Contest Toastmasters to help them prepare)
    • For the evaluation contest only, organise a gift and/of certificate of appreciation for the Test Speaker
 

 



 

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