Speeches & contests

The Basic Manual - Competent Communicator (CC)

As a new member, you will receive the Toastmasters International Competent Communicator manual, which includes 10 speech assignments. Each assignment has it's own objectives, and the sequence is geared to help you improve your skills with each speech.

The nature of the various speech assignments, and their times, are as follows:

CC 1 - The Ice Breaker (Time: 4 to 6 minutes)

* To begin speaking before an audience
* To discover the speaking skills you already have and the skills that need some attention

CC 2 - Organise Your Speech (Time: 5 to 7 minutes)

* Select an appropriate outline which allows listeners to easily follow and understand your speech
* Make your message clear, with supporting material directly contributing to that message
* Use appropriate transitions when moving from one idea to another
* Create a strong opening and conclusion

CC 3 - Get to the Point (Time: 5 to 7 minutes)

* Select a speech topic and determine its general and specific purposes
* Organise the speech in a manner that best achieves those purposes
* Ensure the beginning, body and conclusion reinforce the purposes
* Project sincerity and conviction and control any nervousness you may feel
* Strive not to use notes

CC 4 - How to Say It (Time: 5 to 7 minutes)

* Select the right words and sentence structure to communicate your ideas clearly, accurately and vividly
* Use rhetorical devices to enhance and emphasise ideas
* Eliminate jargon and unnecessary words
* Use correct grammar

CC 5 - Your Body Speaks (Time: 5 to 7 minutes)

* User stance, movement, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact to express your message and achieve your speech’s purpose
* Make your body language smooth and natural

CC 6 - Vocal Variety (Time: 5 to 7 minutes)

* Use voice volume, pitch, rate and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message
* Use vocal variety smoothly and naturally

CC 7 - Research Your Topic (Time: 5 to 7 minutes)

* Collect information about your topic from numerous sources
* Carefully support your points and opinions with specific facts, examples and illustrations gathered through research

CC 8 - Get Comfortable with Visual Aids (Time: 5 to 7 minutes)

* Select visual aids that are appropriate for your message and the audience
* Use visual aids correctly with ease and confidence

CC 9 - Persuade with Power (Time: 5 to 7 minutes)

* Persuade listeners to adopt your viewpoint or ideas or to take some action
* Appeal to the audience’s interests
* Use logic and emotion to support your position
* Avoid using notes

CC 10 - Inspire Your Audience (Time: 8 to 10 minutes)

* To inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives and challenging the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement
* Appeal to the audience’s needs and emotions, using stories, anecdotes and quotes to add drama
* Avoid using notes

Speech Contests

Annual competitions are held at club level in English prepared speeches (the International and humorous contests), impromptu speeches and speech evaluation.

Entry is voluntary. The winners of the club competitions go to the Area competitions, those winners to the Division competitions, and those winners to the District (Southern African) competition. The winner of the International speech contest at District level is sent to the International Convention (held so far always in the United States) to take part in the Regional competition for overseas (outside USA and Canada) districts. The winner of that level then takes part in the World Championship of Public Speaking.

District finals for the humorous and impromptu contests are held in October at the 1½ day MiniCon, and for the other 2, at the 2½ day MaxiCon in May.

Please note that the primary goal of Toastmasters is self-improvement, that is, comparison against oneself, not against others. However, competitions allow you to learn by observing proficient speakers, and these speakers can gain valuable experience in contests.