As a Toastmaster, you know that the organization provides a great opportunity to improve your public speaking and leadership skills. However, there’s an even greater opportunity that comes around once a year during the contest season: the chance to take on new roles and learn new skills.
Contest season is an exciting time for Toastmasters clubs, as they prepare to compete against other clubs in the area, division, and district levels. During this special time of the year, there are a variety of roles that are unique to the contest season. These roles provide Toastmasters members with a great opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, try something new, and develop new skills.
One of the most significant opportunities that contest season provides is the chance to learn how to organize an event. As a contest chair, you’ll be responsible for coordinating the event, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly. This is like being the toastmaster of the day with benefits! This role provides a great opportunity to develop your organizational and project management skills, as well as your ability to lead a team. Belief me, you will learn something new while being a contest chair for the first time.
Another exciting opportunity that contest season provides is the chance to be a judge. As a judge, you’ll be responsible for evaluating the speeches and presentations of contestants and providing feedback. This role provides a great opportunity to develop your critical thinking and evaluation skills, as well as your ability to provide constructive feedback. I already hear you asking, “what is the difference between a judge and an evaluator”? You have a form with fixed criteria. You may like that idea or dislike it, either way, you will receive a new perspective for evaluation.
I personally saw how much the contest chair needs to do on the fly and how much knowledge there is needed. How do you handle an objection? What to do when technical difficulties arise? And finally when do the contestants need to be moved in the preparation room? I was Judge and Zoom-Master and it will take a long time for me to reflect on all the new aspects I had the privilege to learn.
So, if you’re a Toastmasters member, don’t miss out on the opportunities that come with contest season. Talk to your club’s leaders and find out how you can get involved. Take on a new role, learn something new, and embrace the challenge. With the right attitude and approach, you can make the most of this exciting time of the year and become an even better public speaker and leader.