Two rotating series of contests are held each fall and each spring. In the autumn, Toastmasters may compete in the Humorous Speech along with either the Evaluation Contest or the Table Topics Contest. In the spring, Toastmasters may compete in the International Speech Contest along with either the Tall Tales Contest, the Table Topics Contest, or the Evaluation Contest.
The purpose of a speech contest is to provide an opportunity for speakers to improve their speaking abilities, to recognize individual Toastmasters as an encouragement to all, and to provide an opportunity for all Toastmasters to learn by observing speakers who have benefited from their Toastmasters training. Each contest focuses on a particular set of skills, providing a terrific opportunity to learn about a specific area of communication.
Each of these contests begins with competitions at the club level. Club winners compete at the local Area Contest. Area Contest winners compete at the local Division Contests. Division Contest winners compete at the District Conference. District International and Humorous Speech contest winners compete at the Regional Conference. Winners of the regional International Speech Contest go on to represent the region at the International level.
In general, to be eligible for any contest, a contestant must be a member in good standing of a club in good standing (dues current). If a member belongs to more than one club, the member may enter the club contest for each club where he/she maintains good standing. However, a contestant may not represent more than one club at the Area level, even if the clubs are in different Areas or Divisions. District officers may not compete in any contest.
For the International Speech Contest, the contestant must have completed six speech projects from the basic Competent Communication (CC) manual.