Sunny Fridge Wins Our Mini-Webinar Contest

Congratulations to our mini-webinar contest winner, Sunny Fridge, as well as Lois Margolin, 2nd place, Jim Barber, 3rd place, and all participants.

Here is the winning webinar speech, including feedback for the contestants from guest judge Jim Key, the 2003 World Champion of Public Speaking.

“Beat Fear at its Own Game”

Here’s the full event replay:

The mini-webinar contest is an unofficial Toastmasters contest format, created to test online-specific presentation skills. You can read more about here.

World Champion of Public Speaking Jim Key Will Help Judge Our Mini-Webinar Contest

We are fortunate to have recruited a celebrity guest Judge for Monday’s Mini-Webinar Contest! You can learn more about Jim Key below. Click the RSVP button if you would like to join us as a guest.

The Mini-Webinar Contest is an unofficial Toastmasters format we developed to test online presentation skills. It’s a “webinar” in the same way that an International Speech Contest speech is like a mini-keynote. Speakers will have 6-8 minutes, including time fielding questions submitted via the chat function of our online meetings platform.

Meet Jim Key


Jim Key comes from a background in computer technology, sports, music, leadership, and public speaking. After entering the world of Information Technologies in 1987, Jim developed an IT consulting practice, working with leaders and managers from national non-profit organizations, manufacturing companies, and service companies across the United States. Additionally, he has volunteered for many years in his community and church, working with children and teenagers in various capacities for 20+ years.

Jim’s volunteerism and information technologies background converged in 1996, as he brought much needed automation to a national youth development program. His efforts led to an invited position of serving 6 years on the national steering committee for this youth program, and to a cutting edge computerized solution that is still in use today. Additionally, participation in the program more than quadrupled during those 6 years of Jim’s influence and involvement.

Simply put, Jim is a difference maker. He believes in pursuing excellence unapologetically, and without reservation. This passion for excellence enabled and drove him to become an award-winning speaker. Reaching the finals of the World Championships of Public Speaking an unprecedented three consecutive times, Jim set an unparalleled mark for continued presentation excellence on his way to becoming the 2003 World Champion of Public Speaking. He has subsequently delivered keynote addresses and workshops around the United States and in several other countries. Jim currently serves as an adjunct professor of communications at West Coast Bible College and Seminary.

Though Jim speaks to a variety of audiences, he always speaks from his heart directly to the hearts of the audience members. His presentations include examples to which everyone can relate, as he blends everyday humor with messages of gravitas to produce programs that yield results. You can expect his uplifting message to inspire your people to higher levels of achievement in your organization.

On a personal note, Jim is a devoted husband and father. He has three children: Jay (32),  Michael (28), and Veronica (21). He has been very active in coaching soccer, baseball, and basketball with kids in the YMCA sports program.

Videos: Replay – Online Presenters Toastmasters Aug. 8, 2018

Replay – Online Presenters Toastmasters Aug. 8, 2018

Video policy: speech videos are intended as a tool for speakers to see their own performances and think about how they can improve. Even though these are on YouTube, they are published as “unlisted” by default, meaning they won’t show up in search results. Don’t forward these links or post them on Facebook or in any other forum without the speaker’s permission. From time to time, we may ask a speaker for permission to use a video as part of our marketing of the club. Volunteers are also welcome – if you’re proud of a particular speech, let us know.

Congratulations, Mini-Webinar Contest Winners Carol Prahinski, Norman Dowe & Viviana Widjaja

Webinar contest winners
Webinar contest winners

The results are in, and the victors in the 2nd Mini-Webinar contest at Online Presenters are:

#1 Carol Prahinski
#2 Norman Dowe
#3 Viviana Widjaja

In the same sense that an International Speech Contest speech is a kind of mini-keynote, these contest speeches are a compact version of an educational or sales webinar, including engagement with the audience in the form of answering questions submitted by text chat. Each speaker had 6-8 minutes for the total presentation, including Q&A.

See also How to Hold a Mini-Webinar Contest. This is an unofficial Toastmasters contest format aimed at testing specific skills that are relevant to online presentations.

Here is the winning presentation, “Negotiation Tactics” by Carol Prahinski (who also won our first event of this type in April)

To see it in context, check out the full replay



How to Hold a Mini-Webinar Contest

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.”

webinar winners
Announcement of the winners at Online Presenters’ first mini-webinar contest.

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.

Voting Procedure

Consider using the online voting and vote counting app we developed for this contest, which is available as an independent tool 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

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.