Saturday, August 25, 2007

Speech Contest Logistics

Steve Rock brought up some good questions about Speech Contests and the answers to his questions regarding Area & Div. contests (in Div.A) have been added to the text of his email below.

On 8/21/07, Steve wrote:


Being new to Toastmasters service at the Area level I have a few questions for you regarding our fall contests:

Who orders, pays for and brings to the contests the:

    • Trophies for each contest in each Area? Out of which budget do the funds for them come? Is there a need for those ordering the trophies to coordinate their styles and sizes, as well as content engraved on the plates (for the sake of consistency)? Trophies for the Area and Div. Contests are provided by the District and paid for by the District's budget which comes from International based on a percentage of the dues paid to TI. (I think the District gets 25% of the dues, but I could be wrong.) The trophies are handed out at the monthly District meeting and since this month we are doing an online meeting, I would expect that the trophies would be handed out to the Area & Div. Governors at the meeting Sept. 15th (location TBD).
    • Certificates of Participation for each contest in each Area? Out of which budget do the funds for them come? Same as the trophies (see above).
    • Refreshments? Out of which budget do the funds for them come? Can we verify that refreshments are allowed at the contest venue? And, if so, to what degree? For the most recent Area A2 / A4 contests, the refreshments have been provided (free of charge) by the host club, WestConn Toastmasters. Since they will not be hosting, we may want to see who would like to bring refreshments (once we nail down the venue and date).

    • Is there a lectern and/or dais at the venue? Depends on which venue is chosen. I know that Socially Speaking, if chosen for the venue, has a lecturn (no stage or dais).
    • Is there a microphone and speaker system at the venue? TBD. Most Area or Division venues do not use microphones (which is why we set up the "Battle of the Border" last year to give our contestants an opportunity to practice with one.
      • If so, do we require permission to use it? TBD.
        If not, do we need to secure one? TBD.

      i. If so, who coordinates and pays for this? "Paying" is probably the reason why there aren't microphones at Area & Div. Contests. The microphone came with the room at the Battle of the Border and Anne Swartout paid for the room out of her own pocket (and the Advanced Club should pay her back as the host club). At some venues, like the Ridgefield Library, you are not allowed to charge for refreshments or sell anything which is why it could be problematic (but not impossible) to host the Division Contest there.

      1. Is there a precedent for the person who I should ask about serving as the Chief Judge for the contests? Do I need two of them, or even four, because we're running four different contests, or can one Chief Judge serve all four contests? The Area Governor(s) decide who will be ContestMaster and Chief Judge for the Area Contest and I decide for the Div. Contest. Typically with a combined contest they split the roles, but there is no rule that says they can't ask someone else to do it. I would follow up with Dan and Pat if you are interested in being the Chief Judge. Re: other judges... in the past, we have had one chief judge for all four contests and used the same judges for all four contests. Since the judges are spread across different areas this arrangement helps to limit any possible bias.
      2. Should the Chief Judge line up the judges, tie-breaking judge, timers and counters ahead of time, or must they wait until the night of the contest and select them from volunteers in the audience? Or something else? If you can get commitments from judges from all the different clubs prior to the contest meeting it would save alot of time running around that evening, but I have never seen anyone do it successfully. Although with ease of communication through email it might be possible (so I do not want to discourage you from trying).
      3. Who provides the contest paperwork (contest rules, judging and counting sheets, etc.)? In past years, Area Governors have received a copy of the official contest rules from TI either directly through the mail or as part of their training package. I don't know what the plan is this year but I know that the rules can be downloaded in PDF format from TI's site by clicking here. I also have found that if you search the internet, you can find most of the paperwork that you would need. You can also order hard copies of the forms for each contest from Toastmasters International if you want.
      4. What should I have asked but haven't? Excellent question. You probably were wondering if Dave Wheeler ever gave a workshop on how to run a contest and if you can get the handout / workbook in PDF format. ;) The answer is... Yes, he did and, Yes, you can by clicking here.) Other questions... Is it hard to run a contest... No, not really. You have to be organized and pull together a number of elements but if you can serve effectively as in the Toastmaster role at your club, you should be able to run a contest.

      Thank you all very much!


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