Other Competition Roles

To help run the competition there will be other roles along with the Judges, Contest Chair and Speakers.

These roles are

Topics MasterUsherBallot CounterTimekeeper

Below is a brief of each role and what’s involved.

Topics Master

The topic should be general in nature and not require specialised knowledge.

All Contestants are taken out of the room and brought back individually by the Usher.

Thereby a Contestant does not hear the topic or any other Contestant’s speech before delivering their own speech. Speech Time 1-2 minutes

The same question is delivered to each contestant

From the rulebook

  1. For Table Topics contests, introduce each contestant by announcing the contestant’s name, topic, topic, and contestant’s name.

  2. There will be one minute of silence between contestant speeches, during which voting judges and the tiebreaking judge will mark their ballots. All voting judges and the tiebreaking judge will judge all contestants; the chief judge does not judge contestants.


Table Topics Contest Rules

The Table Topics Contest follows all rules outlined in the General Rules section of this rulebook. In addition, the following additions and exceptions apply.

  1. All contestants shall receive the same topic, which shall be of a general nature.

  2. The topic is selected by the contest chair.

  3. The topic shall be of reasonable length, shall not require a detailed knowledge, and shall lead to an opinion or conclusion.

  4. Contestants will receive no advance knowledge of the topic until the moment they are introduced by the contest chair.

  5. Contestants may not use digital or other devices during the contest to gain an unfair advantage.

  6. When the contest begins, all contestants except the first shall leave the room and remain under the supervision of the contest sergeant at arms.

  7. Introduce each contestant by announcing the contestant’s name, the topic, the topic, the contestant’s name.

  8. At the conclusion of each speech, the next speaker shall be invited into the room.


You will escort the Table Topic Speakers outside of the room.

Each Table Topic Speaker will have been given a number indicating which order to bring them out first.

Make sure the Topic Speakers can’t hear the question being asked from the Toastmaster.

Once the Topics speaker has finished, there will be 1 minutes pause for the Judges to write their notes, that would be a good time to get the next contestant.

Ballot Counter

After the speeches are finished you will collect the Judges results and proceed to a different room from the competition and count the results

3 points for each first placed ranking
2 points for each second placed ranking
1 point for each third placed ranking

From the rule book

When voting judges have finished marking their ballots, they shall tear off the bottom portion of the ballot, place it in the provided envelope, and hold up the envelope for the ballot counters to collect.

Once all of the ballots have been collected, the ballot counters and the chief judge will leave the contest area and proceed to the counting room.

  1. In the counting room, the ballot counters will tabulate the results of the contest using the Counter’s Tally Sheet (Item 1176).

    1. On the Counter’s Tally Sheet, each contestant receives points for being ranked first, second, or third place on a voting judge’s ballot.
      1. Three points are scored for each first-place ranking.
      2. Two points are scored for each second-place ranking.
      3. One point is scored for each third-place ranking.

    2. Once all points are entered, the ballot counters compute the total points for each contestant and enter the totals on the bottom of the tally sheet.
      1. Point totals must be verified by all ballot counters before results are entered on the sheet.
      2. Contestants are then ranked on the bottom of the tally sheet according to number of points scored.

    3. In the event of a tie, the chief judge will consult the tiebreaking judge’s ballot.

    4. The tied contestant who received the highest ranking on the tiebreaking judge’s ballot will gain the contested place, and any other tied contestants will be ranked in order behind that contestant.

  2. Once the results have been tabulated and verified, the chief judge records the ranking of all contestants on the Notification of Contest Winner form (Item 1182), which is submitted to the contest chair of the next level or to World Headquarters in the case of the International Speech Contest at the district level. The chief judge records the names of the winners in reverse order on the Results Form and gives it to the contest chair.

    1. All ballots and the tally sheet will be kept by the chief judge until after the winners have been announced.

    2. After the winners have been announced, the chief judge will destroy all ballots,the timing record, and the tally sheet.


Timing will begin with the contestant’s first definite verbal or nonverbal communication with the audience. This usually will be the first word uttered by the contestant, but would include any other communication such as sound effects, a staged act by another person, etc.

Humorous Speech

Green LightYellow LightRed Light
5 minutes6 minutes7 minutes

Table Topics

Green LightYellow LightRed Light
1 minute1 minute 30 seconds2 minutes

Contestant will be disqualified if they fall short of the minimum times, or exceed the maximum times

ContestMinimum TimeMaximum Time
Humorous Speech4 minutes 30 seconds7 minutes 30 seconds
Table Topics1 minute2 minutes 30 seconds

You will notice that the disqualification timings are 30 seconds either side of the speech times as signaled by turning on the green and red lights – except for Table Topics, where Contestants must speak for at least one minute to avoid disqualification.

Once the red light is on , leave it running, even if the speaker goes over the maximum time.  Simply record their time when they have finished speaking.

From the rule book (taken snippets out, best to read the PDF which will be emailed to you)

  1. Two timers are appointed by the chief judge. One is provided with a stopwatch, and the other with a signaling device that displays green, yellow, and red colors.

  2. The signaling device must be in full view of each contestant.

  3. The timer with the stopwatch maintains and delivers to the chief judge the written record of elapsed time of each speech on the Speech Contest Time Record Sheet and Instructions for Timers (Item 1175).

  4. The timer managing the timing device ensures that contestants are able to view an accurate green, yellow, or red signal at appropriate times during the speech.

  5. All speeches delivered by contestants must conform to the timing guidelines for the contest.

  6.  Upon being introduced, the contestant shall proceed immediately to the speaking Position.
    1. Timing will begin with the contestant’s first definite verbal or nonverbal communication with the audience. This usually will be the first word uttered by the contestant, but would include any other communication such as sound effects, a staged act by another person, etc.

    2. The speaker should begin speaking within a short time after arriving at the Speaking area, and is not permitted to delay the contest unnecessarily.

  7. Timers shall provide warning signals to the contestants, which shall be clearly visible to the speakers but not obvious to the audience.
    1. In all speech contests, no signal shall be given for the overtime period.

    2. In the event of technical failure of the signal or timing equipment, a speaker is allowed 30 seconds extra overtime before being disqualified.

  8. Prior to announcing results, the contest chair shall announce if time disqualifications occurred, but not name the contestant(s) involved.