Webinar Contest Update and Advice to Competitors

We’re looking forward to our “invitational” webinar contest on June 12. Toastmasters from other clubs wishing to register to compete in our June 12 please register here. Or sign up to attend as a guest.

The June 12 contest will be only for invited guest speakers. You can see a replay of the club’s own contest here.

While this is not an official Toastmasters contest format (at least not yet), it is an opportunity for speakers to demonstrate their virtual speaking skills in a competition with their peers. See the video clip below for advice to webinar contest speakers from 2020 World Champion of Public Speaking Mike Carr.

We’re sticking with the contest rules from the 2022 event — which other clubs who want to try something like this are welcome to extend or modify. Short version: it’s a lot like the International Speech Contest, except contestants are awarded extra points for finding a way to engage with their audience despite the barriers of the online medium — and for maximizing the advantages of a virtual presentation.

Mike Carr, 2020 World Champion of Public Speaking, says his advice to contestants is to “take risks” and test the boundaries of the online speaking platform. I’d suggest the counterpoint to that is to practice any risky tactic you’re going to try and make sure you have a firm command of any tech tricks you plan to incorporate.

How the Contest Is Organized

Speech Format: The general timing guidelines will be follow the standard speech contest format. Any Q&A must fit within the 5-7 minute time limit. A chat monitor will be available to assist the speaker with tracking feedback from the audience. It is up to the speaker to decide whether to ask for the chat monitor’s help.

The Timer should interrupt any speaker who goes past 8 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. Audience members are encouraged to keep their cameras on and actively participate in the chat.

Wish our contestants the best of luck at meeting this challenge.

David F. Carr, Contest Master and Online Presenters Vice President of Education