2013 Speech Contest Judges briefing …


Many people recommend “judges training” for anyone judging in Toastmasters contests. Some organizations even unofficially require it.

I have participated in and conducted several judges’ training workshops in various roles.

A simple 2-minute briefing / training might be most effective. It can enable anyone to have an informed go at judging. Judging is easy: be fair, have an opinion. Anyone can do that.

If you are the chief judge, print out these training materials and have all the judges read them with you.

Overview: The speech contest rulebook changes every year. Judges eligibility and requirements and paperwork changed for 2013

0. Know your audience: Ask every potential judge: ” What experience judging this or other types of Toastmasters contest do you have? At which levels? How recently?”


1. You must be eligible to be  judge.
For Area+ (area or higher) contests, by rule you must have been a member in a club for the past 6 months without any lapse in membership dues to TI (grace period counts OK). You must have completed 6 CC manual speech projects. At the Intl convention, there are more requirements.

1.1 At Division+ contests, if you are a member in the same club as any contestant, you cannot judge this contest.
1.2 If you have any issues with any contestants which would affect you in any way so that you would not be 100% fair to al contestants, you cannot judge this contest.
1.3 You must compete form 1170 (Judge’s Certification of Eligibility and Code of Ethics)¬†and sign it.

2. Your #1 job as a judge is to select the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. If you are the tie breaking judge, then rank ALL speakers. Ignore the timing lights,signals and ignore any concern if a contestant is over/under time.

3. You must be as unbiased and fair to all contestants as you can be. Pretend they are all your mother (or someone else you care about)

4. The scoring guide on the ballot is a guide. Please review it. If you don’t understand, don’t agree with it or don’t like it, pick another method that you apply to all speakers fairly and evenly. See #2.

5. Prepared contest speeches must be original (at least 25%). If you think a speech isn’t, tell the chief Judge.

6. Sign your ballot

7. After the contest: Keep your judging decisions private, destroy and throw away your scoring notes. Don’t tell the contestant or anyone else how you voted. Like any other Toastmaster, feel free to tell the contestants what you liked in their speech.

8. Finally, are there ANY questions?

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