Every year Toastmasters runs a series of International Speech Contests which eventually result in someone winning the World Championship of Public Speaking. Getting there is a long process, as discussed in this video by the 2001 champion, Darren LaCroix. It includes his first comedy club appearance back in 1992.
On Saturday morning I walked a mile down the road to see a Toastmasters International Speech Contest. It was held at the Prairie Dog Playhouse, which is a community theater that produces Musical Melodrama Parodies, like Space Trek. The contest I saw was at the Area level. An Area is a grouping of about five clubs. Two Areas had their contests that morning. I have listed rough estimates for the number of members in each level of the organization, which are as follows:
Club ~25 members
Area A1 (5 Clubs) ~125
Division A (20 Clubs) ~500
District 15 (91 Clubs) ~2300
Region 1 (8 Districts) ~18,400
All Toastmasters (12 regions) ~230,000 members
Our former club president (and current treasurer), Deborah Whitman, won Area A1. An Area contest winner already is in quite a select group, roughly the top 1% of speakers.
There also were area contests for two-minute impromptu speeches, which Toastmasters calls Table Topics.
Last May I attended the District 15 Spring Conference here in
On YouTube you also view Amy Samet’s 2007 Region 3 speech, Nothing is Impossible, and Dan Weedlin’s Region 1 speech, Hold on to the Rope.