Monday, September 4, 2017

Contest Checklists!

Contests are not difficult, but there are many things happening, far more than the 7 plus or minus 2 that our short term memory can easily handle. Since I have been coordinating and chairing several contests, I have been creating and honing a set of checklists to help keep them successful. They have served me well, so I will share them here so all can make use. And if you have any suggested edits I will be happy to include them!

1-2 Weeks Prior or Earliest Reasonable Time


    To Do Sequester location for Evaluation & Table Topics
    To Do Speaking area
    To Do Timers table or other reserved seating
    To Do Audio / Visual equipment


All roles must be performed by paid members of a Toastmasters club.

    To Do Contest Master
    To Do Chief Judge*
    To Do 3-5 judges*
    To Do Tiebreaker judge*
    To Do 2 timers
    To Do 3 ballot counters
    To Do Contestants
    To Do Test speaker for evaluation (not a member of a club with any of the contestants)

* Judges additional requirements:
  • Judges at Area and higher must have finished 6 speeches from the Competent Communication Manual or Levels 1 & 2 from a Pathways path.
  • Judges at Area and higher must be physically present.
  • Judges at Division and higher must not be a member of a club. (I don't see this listed in the rules, but it is in the Judge's Code of Ethics on the Judge's Eligibility Form.)
  • Judges at International Semifinals and higher must be an ATM-B or an ACB or have fully completed a Pathways path. (Like anyone coordinating at this level would even look at my checklist!)


    To Do Timing lights
    To Do Timing cards
    To Do Stopwatches (2)
    To Do Batteries
    To Do Lectern
    To Do Banner
    To Do Gavel
    To Do Envelopes
    To Do Pens!!
    To Do 50/50 tickets
    To Do Trophies!

Contestant Briefing

    To Do Collect eligibility forms
    To Do Remove TM titles
    To Do Get speech titles
    To Do Confirm name spelling and pronunciation
    To Do Test speech for Evaluation
    To Do Evaluation contestants must use official notes sheet, no other materials (besides pen/pencil)
    To Do Sequester for Table Topics and Evaluation
    To Do Timing, technical failure +30s
    To Do Originality
    To Do Speaking area
    To Do Sergeants-at-arms
    To Do One for each door
    To Do At least one to monitor sequester for Evaluation and Table Topics
    To Do At least one to collect and return contestants' Evaluation notes
    To Do Speaker's responsibility to prepare props during minute of silence
    To Do Disqualification
    To Do Disputes
    To Do Announcement of winners
    To Do Draw for order

Functionary Briefing

    To Do Judges
    To Do Collect eligibility forms
    To Do Speech not speaker
    To Do Presentation not content
    To Do Be objective
    To Do Do not consider timing
    To Do Speaking area relevance is your discretion
    To Do Report dispute on originality to Chief Judge immediately
    To Do Must fill in 1st, 2nd, & 3rd (unless < 3)
    To Do Must sign ballot
    To Do Disputes for originality
    To Do Failing to cite does not disqualify, but may affect scoring
    To Do Destroy forms
    To Do Do not discuss
    To Do Timers
    To Do Start on first communication with audience (unless delay is excessive)
    To Do One handles the stopwatch
    To Do One handles the lights or cards
    To Do Green starts displaying at 1/2/5
    To Do Green stops and yellow starts at 1.5/2.5/6
    To Do Yellow stops and red starts at 2/3/7
    To Do Red displays until speaker finishes
    To Do Record time on timer sheet
    To Do Indicate technical failure on timer sheet
    To Do For evaluation contest, one timer accompanies contestants to sequester in order to time the 5-minute preparation period
    To Do Immediately interrupt announcement of winners if time-disqualified speaker is announced as a winner
    To Do Ballot Counters
    To Do Designate to specific judges for collection
    To Do Each verify arithmetic (1st-3, 2nd-2, 3rd-1)
    To Do Immediately interrupt announcement of winners if order is wrong
    To Do Tiebreaker judge (briefed SEPARATELY and not present here)
    To Do Must list EVERY speaker IN ORDER
    To Do Same requirements for other judges


  • Call to Order
  • Recognition of Dignitaries
    • Skip any dignitaries who are contestants
  • Announcements
    • 50/50
    • Food
  • Purpose of contest
  • Summary of contest rules
    • Timing
      • +30s on failure
    • Speaking area
    • Remain present or not
    • Disputes limited
    • Results final (unless wrong and immediately interrupted)
  • Announce order of contestants
  • Do not interrupt! (or enter/leave)
  • Test speech (Eval only)
  • Dismiss contestants (Eval & TT)
  • 5 minutes prep time (Eval only)
    • Acknowledge target speaker
    • Announcements
    • Table Topics
  • For each contestant
    • 1 minute of silence
    • Name, Title/Table Topic/Contestant #, Title/Table Topic/Contestant #, Name
    • Presentation
  • 2 minutes of silence
  • Direct judges to complete and sign ballots
  • Direct timers to deliver sheets to Chief Judge
  • Direct ballot counters to collect ballots and join Chief Judge
  • Intermission or interviews or next contest!
    • Announce dignitaries that were contestants (unless they are also in next contest!)
    • Do not interview contestants who are also in next contest
  • Address disputes
  • Chief Judge fills out Notification of Winners form
  • Acknowledge contestants
  • Acknowledge functionaries
    • Food
    • 50/50
    • Ballot counters
    • Timers
    • Judges (anonymous)
    • Chief Judge
    • Contest Master
    • Contest Chair
  • Announce next level contest time and place
  • 50/50 drawing
  • Finish ALL other announcements and business
  • Announce winners
    • Announce if any disqualifications have taken place
    • 3rd place (only if 5 or more participants)
    • 2nd place
    • 1st place

Disputes for Originality

The process for handling disputes is briefly described in 7B of the official rules. This is how I would handle a dispute.
  • Handle in private!!!
  • Standard is specified in 4D of the rules
    • Must be substantially original
    • No more than 25% "may be devoted to quoting, paraphrasing, or referencing another person’s content" and such content must be so identified
  • Disputer can only be a Judge or Contestant
  • Only judges, Chief Judge, disputer, and disputed present
  • Disputer explain the dispute
  • Disputed provides response
  • Disputer & disputed dismissed. Chief Judge leaves.
  • Remaining judges discuss and vote. Majority must agree in order to disqualify.
  • Judges notify Chief Judge.


    To Do Notification of winners form
    To Do Destroy other forms
    To Do Restore venue
    To Do Return borrowed materials