The Mini-Webinar Contest is an unofficial Toastmasters contest format developed by Online Presenters to test the skills required to host a webinar or deliver an online presentation. See the replay of our first contest and stay tuned for the next one. Other clubs that meet online, or allow online participation, may wish to adopt or modify this format.
If you think of the International Speech Contest as being a competition for who can deliver the best keynote in a compressed, 7-minute format, the mini-webinar contest is the equivalent for an online presentation where part of the speaker’s challenge is to address audience questions and close with some sort of “call to action.”
How the Contest Is Organized
Speech Format: Speakers will be allowed 6-8 minutes. It is up to the speaker to decide how much of that time to spend responding to audience questions, but they will get points for audience engagement. Time spent on Q&A is included within the 6-8 minute time limit. Making a presentation plus Q&A work within this time is very challenging, but that’s what makes it a contest.
Contestants who speak for less than 5 minutes, 30 seconds, or more than 8 minutes, 30 seconds, will be disqualified.
Optional rule: The Timer should interrupt any speaker who goes past 9 minutes to keep the event as a whole on time. This is contrary to the standard rule that no signal should be given if a contestant is disqualified for time, but it may be necessary given that online speakers sometimes run over time for technical reasons such as losing track of the webcam image from the timer.
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 is 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 they 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.
Consider using the online voting and vote counting app we developed for this contest, which is available as an independent tool (contest.toastmost.org) or as part of the WordPress for Toastmasters system. It’s important to have backup methods available in case the technology should fail, so make sure judges can contact the Chief Judge by email, phone, and other methods.
Judges who prefer a paper form can use this version: Mini-webinar contest scoring (Word document).
Webinar Contest Scoring
|Call to Action||15|
|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.