Self review of the contest conduct as a contest chairman

by TM Matsushima
(2002 Area 6 contest chairman)

I, Contest Chairman, greatly appreciate helpful supports from the contest officials (Chief judge, Judges, Timers, Counters), Area and Division Governors, the host club president and members, and also all of the participants.
The contest was successful with their supports.

Area Governor TM Umemoto suggested me to make a memorandum for future better contest chairs. I set down my experiences here.

Read documents carefully

This is essential for contest preparation. The contest chairman should read Contest Rules, Contest Manual and other documents supplied from Toastmasters International at first.

Make sure the chairman's duty and responsibility

In this contest, the host club Tsukuba TMC members worked so hard. Especially President TM Ohno organized most of the meeting and contacted with other clubs and officials. Compared with their great efforts, I, the chairman, was too lazy. Even their preparation was so fine, the contest chairman should confirm the final condition (the name of officials, contestants, and eligibility etc.) by himself.

Explanation of the Contest Rules

I programmed "Explanation of the Contest Rules by Chief Judge". This is a mistake. The contest rules should be explained by the contest chairman. I did not make any preparation for the explanation. The chief judge did not also expect the explanation, TM Mori kindly accepted the role of the explanation. I'm grateful for his experienced skill.

Important papers

All of the contestants should submit "Speaker's Certification of Eligibility and Originality" and "Biographical Data Sheet" before the contest. "Speaker's Certification of Eligibility and Originality" is very important. Any contestant cannot attend without signing on it.

Pre-Contest Briefings

Contest chairman conducts not only the contest itself but also the pre-contest briefing. He should prepare the briefing procedure and materials. Time record sheets, Ballot sheets, Tally sheets are passed to the officials. Completed forms of "Speaker's Certification of Eligibility and Originality" should be shown to the judges.

Drawing for speaking positions

I prepared pieces of papers for the drawing, on which I printed the speaking position number and blank space to write down the speaker's name and the speech title. After the drawing, each speaker writes his name and title. I gathered these cards, which were convenient for introduction.

Speech title

In the footnote of the Speech Contest Manual page 8, Suggested Agenda, "Do not include speech titles or contestants' educational levels or Club affiliations." I did not include the speech titles on the printed program. The chief judge TM Mori suggested that the speech titles should be more clear for the audience. I think it would be better to show the written list of the speakers' names, speech titles and speaking order just before starting the contest. I did not have enough time to write it on a blackboard. I did not prepare such a placard or poster. There is a room for improvement.

Tight timetable

The rental room for the contest was just limited till 5pm. We could not extend the meeting time. Therefore, the time schedule was very tight. Every participants were very cooperative. Thank you very much. I could finish the contest well within the time. Especially TM Mori, Chief Judge and Workshop Facilitator, well understood this condition and nicely conducted his part as an experienced toastmaster. If we had more time, we could discuss much more in the workshop, and we would listen additional comments from Chief Judge.

Equal opportunity

The speech condition for each speaker should be strictly the same. The contest chairman acquaint contestants the exact speaking area, such as lectern, tables, lighting, microphone, etc. I forgot to recommend microphone to the first speaker. I mentioned that she had a right of protest. Fortunately, the contest room was not so large and her voice was enough clear, the audience could well listen her speech. I remember, in an All Japan Speech Contest several years ago, there was a microphone trouble. Most of the audience could not listen the speech. The contest chairman asked the contestant to make her speech one more time. Contest Chairman should consider how to make the best equal condition for fair competition.

Confirm protests

Just before the announcement of the contest winners, I asked whether there were any more protests. I think this is an important procedure to make the contest results more reliable.

The above are my impressions as a contest chair. Any additional comments are welcome. Please mail to I will add useful information on this page for better future contest. If problem is controversial, I will pass it to District discussion board.