Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Let me first tell you about why I'm busy this time of year...

Toastmasters runs contests twice yearly at club/area/division/district/region levels. To run a contest you need staff to administer it. This consists of a chairman, chief judge, tiebreaking judge, judges, counters, timers, runners, test speakers and contestants. Many of these roles aren't too difficult to fill... you can train a timer/counter/runner quickly and if you don't have contestants then you don't have contests... A chairman is ultimately doable if you can create a good script (and/or if the chairman has contest experience himself).

Where it gets tricky is the judging. Ideally you want to pick people who have judging experience, whether in the sense of participating in contests or who have taken the official district judging workshop. Even if you can fill you judges spots finding a chief judge is often tricky. There are a lot of finicky legal details to work out and given that the chief judge is the one on the line it often is hard to find someone to put their hand up!

This is where I come into things. As an area governor and club president both, generally speaking the onus is immediately on me. And because I'm an obsessive reader/fan of legality (i.e. watch CPAC in my spare time for fun) I tend to find myself drawn into assisting other contests beyond my own club/area ones.

To be honest, it's a lot of fun, and I wouldn't have it any other way although it does make for many late nights as all club contests are in same two week slot, all area contests, etc. all the way up to district (at which point my involvement is neither needed nor desired).

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