Is it a test? Or is it play? Have some fun on contest day!
You can enjoy speech contests
When Nahid was asked to compete in her club’s humorous speech contest, she was mortified. “I – I’m not funny!” she exclaimed. Indeed, her manual speeches had been heartfelt and serious discussions on the meaning of life. But her fellow club members insisted that she was funnier than she realized. She decided to take up the challenge and try the contest. Much to her amazement, Nahid learned that she is more than funny – she’s hilarious. She won the club contest and found herself looking forward to the area level competition with a new sense of excitement and pleasure. Her fear of “funny failure” had been banished.
Now, when someone asks Nahid what she wants to do with her life, she responds without hesitation, “I want to be a comedian.” And she admits she owes it all to a speech contest, because it made her try something outside her comfort zone.
Speech contests present many opportunities. Those who benefit in the most obvious way are the competitors. Being a contender gives you a chance to try a new style or type of speech. The result can be amazing, as in Nahid’s case. And even if you stay with a topic that you’ve given before, you know you’ll have to take it to the next level in order to compete. This is a terrific way to confirm your skills.
Garry thought his evaluations were solid, but he wasn’t completely sure until he won an evaluation contest. He had worked hard to make his evaluation skills shine, and the results of the contest confirmed his belief in himself.
On the other hand, it’s not always about winning. Evan was able to learn from watching expert speakers competing at higher and higher levels. He picked up several tips and tricks for performing that improved his own speeches and work-related presentations.
The best news is, speech contests benefit everyone who takes part. There are many roles to try, all offering some sort of leadership experience. You can improve skills such as organization, teamwork, written and verbal communication, and event coordination.
Of course, a lot of people are merely looking for an enjoyable way to use their Toastmasters skills. And while volunteering as a timer, counter, sergeant at arms, contest chair, or other role affords Toastmasters the opportunity for growth, adventure and a sense of team membership –you must remember that it’s also just plain fun.
And though you might not think it possible right now, there may come a time when you find yourself volunteering for the role of speech contest judge. Don’t be afraid to try it. Experienced speakers can learn so much by participating as speech contest judges. The judging criteria for great speeches is printed on the back of every Judge’s Guide and Ballot. It’s like having your own personal cheat sheet for making a good speech great. And the more experience you gain in using these criteria to judge the participants’ speeches, the better your own speeches will become.
That’s the great thing about Toastmasters speech contests. The more you put into them, the more you take away.