Toastmasters Webinar Contest on April 16

Online Presenters Toastmasters will hold a mini-webinar contest on April 16 at 7:30 pm EDT, and guests are welcome to register to attend.

This is not an official Toastmasters contest format (at least not yet) but rather an attempt to craft a contest specifically for the online medium. Scoring is based loosely on the International Speech Contest, but with additional points awarded for delivering a clear call to action and fielding audience questions submitted via chat — as in a professional webinar. We’ve also tweaked the scoring categories to accommodatie the different visual presentation in an online meeting.

Celebrity Judges

To add some “Dancing with the Stars” pizzaz, we have recruited 3 celebrity judges — professional speakers and webinar organizes who will be on hand to give our contestants feedback on their performances.

Roger Courville is an expert on online presentations who led one of our first workshop sessions

Sheryl Roush, a well known professional speaker (and coach to speakers) who also honored us with a workshop

Nick Cavalancia, Founder / Chief Techvangelist at Techvangelism, has delivered more than 1,000 webinars in his work as a technology marketer.

About Online Presenters

The Online Presenters club mission is to develop skills for better webinars and online events of all sorts. The club meets Mondays at 7:30 pm US Eastern time, with the first half hour reserved for informal meet-and-greet (plus technical troubleshooting) and the formal one-hour meeting starting at 8 pm. Guests are always welcome.

Image credit: Webinar by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

How the Contest Will Be Organized

Speech Format: Speakers will be allowed 6-8 minutes. It’s up to the speaker to decide how much of that time to respond to audience questions, but they will get points for audience engagement.

Everyone other than the speaker will be muted during the presentation, so questions will be submitted via the chat feature. If you are not competing, be sure to come ready to be a good audience with lively questions for our contestants.

A member will be appointed to monitor the chat feed, and speakers have the option of asking the chat monitor to assist by relaying questions to them. Contestants are responsible for letting the chat monitor know whether you want assistance and, if so, whether to interrupt with questions during their presentation or save them until the end.

Speeches for this contest should also include some sort of call to action, whether it’s a sales pitch or an appeal to take some sort of political or moral or personal development action.

Webinar Contest Scoring

Max score
Speech Development 15
Audience Engagement 15
Speech Value 15
Call to Action 15
Visual 15
Voice 10
Manner 5
Appropriateness/Correctness 10
Total Possible Score 100

Speech Development is the way the speaker puts ideas together so the audience can understand them. The speech is structured around a purpose, and this structure must include an opening, body and conclusion. A good speech immedi­ately engages the audience’s attention and then moves forward toward a significant conclusion. This development of the speech structure is supported by relevant examples and illustrations, facts and figures, delivered with such smoothness that they blend into the framework of the speech to present the audience with a unified whole.

Audience Engagement is a score for how well the speaker responded to questions submitted via the chat. This includes how well the speaker managed the time management challenge of delivering their core presentation and still allowing time for questions, as well as the quality of the responses.

Speech Value justifies the act of speaking. The speaker has a responsibility to say something meaningful and original to the audience. The listeners should feel the speaker has made a contribution to their thinking. The ideas should be important ones, although this does not preclude a humorous presentation of them.

Call to Action is a clear statement of what the presenter wants the audience to do following the presentation – buy a product, vote in an election, or change their life in some way. How clear was the desired outcome?

Visual Presentation includes all the elements conveyed through video, including body language and the use of slides or other content shared onscreen.

Voice is the sound that carries the message. It should be flexible, moving from one pitch level to another for emphasis, and should have a variety of rate and volume. A good voice can be clearly heard and the words easily understood.

Manner is the indirect revelation of the speaker’s real self as the speech is delivered. The speaker should speak with enthu­siasm and assurance, showing interest in the audience and confidence in their reactions.

Combined in our scoring are: Appropriateness of language refers to the choice of words that relate to the speech purpose and to the particular audi­ence hearing the speech. Language should promote clear understanding of thoughts and should fit the occasion precisely. Correctness of language ensures that attention will be directed toward what the speaker says, not how it is said. Proper use of grammar and correct pronunciation will show that the speaker is the master of the words being used.