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Toastmasters Judging

Here is the crash course to judging a Toastmasters contest:
  1. Read the code of ethics on the back of the judging forms. This will remind you of:
    1. Avoid bias of any kind. If you can't be fair to all contestants, void your ballot.
    2. Do not consider timing lights when judging. Consider that if you do and there is a timing light malfunction you have just cheated the contestant. Ignore the lights entirely.
    3. Support the contest rules and judging standards publicly. Don't reveal information.
  2. Read and understand the form you're using to judge. Judge section by section with values per the form.
  3. Remember to compare against a "normal" speech. Don't give scores on the absolutely high or low range.
  4. Keep your paperwork until asked to destroy it. If you're not comfortable destroying then turn into chief judge.
  5. Protests must be lodged with chief judge or chair before results are announced. Once results are announced, results are final.
  6. If you're unsure whether something is legitimate or allowed, ask. You have a responsibility to Toastmasters as a judge to ensure contest is to the highest standards.
Here's a crash course to timing a Toastmasters contest:
  1. Run your timing lights per the timing form. Don't assume what the lights should be at, read them for yourself.
  2. Record the name of the contestant and their time clearly. If they went over or under time then circle their time to draw attention to it.
  3. You start timing at the first intent to communicate, whether verbally or non-verbally. If they pretend to cast a rod then you start timing when they cast. Disregard any verbal instructions from contestant to start timing after their introduction or similar.
  4. Always have a backup person. One person mans the timing device, one person mans the lights. Both people back each other up to make sure lights go on on time.
  5. If there's a malfunction with the lights, make your best effort to continue and note beside the person "TIMING LIGHT MALFUNCTION" along with their time. The chief judge will use this information to make a ruling whether they are over or under time as appropriate by giving 30 seconds grace.
  6. You can only disclose timing information to a contestant who asks about their own. The safest bet is to turn your timing sheet into the chief judge and defer questions to the chief judge.
Here's a crash course to being a counter at a Toastmasters contest:
  1. Be unobtrusive and collect ballots promptly when raised by judges.
  2. Accept the guidance of the chief judge. Try to make sure that you have the correct number of ballots before you leave the room.
  3. Operation that should be directed by chief judge:
    1. Always try to have at least two separate people counting ballots using separate forms. 
    2. Record the contestants names and judges names on the form in the same order.
    3. Have one person read the ballots one at a time - the judges name, then the points awarded to each contestant. Counters should visually confirm ballot before recording.
    4. Subtotal separately.
    5. Now, counters and chief judge should visually compare separate forms and confirm all columns/rows have same values, all subtotals are same.
    6. In the event of a tie for a position in 1st/2nd/3rd, chief judge will produce a tie breaking ballot. For the tied position, whomever the tie breaking ballot lists in highest position wins that position. Then check the next position similarly.
    7. Counters and chief judge should come to a consensus before returning. Have 1st, 2nd and 3rd people clearly recorded along with the speech contest type. Chief judge will either give this to chair, or keep for themselves when announcing winners.
  4. Pay attention when results are announced. If the order of winners is incorrect, you must protest immediately as a counter. No one but the counters and chief judge are aware of proper order of winners.
Here's a crash course to being a chief judge at a Toastmasters contest:
  1. If possible, read the contest rulebook in advance. If not, then at minimum physically have a copy of the current rulebook.
  2. Take pride in your job and understand that it is your responsibility is to make sure the contest to the highest standard possible. 
  3. Take protests seriously, err on the side of being careful even if the complaints seem petty.
  4. If there is every any protest or question in your mind about how something is run, take the time after the contest to learn and share this information with others.
  5. Pick your tie breaking judge with great care. This can be yourself if needed. This is the only judge who can't void their ballot so generally an experienced Toastmaster is best.
  6. Pick your judges based on numbers required, based on distributing judging between clubs/areas, based on experience and confidence in positions. If you have enough experienced judges to run contest, then make sure some new keeners get a chance to judge as well.
  7. Briefings:
    1. Brief judges/timers/counters as a default. It is never a bad idea to review the timing lights with the contestants yourself. Confirm where the speaking area is designated to be for benefit of judges.
    2. For briefings, always review the contest code of ethics on back of judging forms.
    3. For briefings, cover at a minimum the items listed above for judges/timers/counters. 
    4. Always ask people if they have done the position before and keep in mind during briefing. You must cover the same content regardless but with a new person make sure they are comfortable with their role so they feel confident for next time. 
    5. If there is a local contest expert, ask them if you missed anything in the briefing - it's usually easier for the person on the sideline to identify what wasn't covered. 
    6. Ask if there are questions. Answer them. Do not move on or feel pressured to move on until everyone is briefed to your satisfactorily.
  8. Contestants are to be introduced per the rulebook. Generally contestant name and then speech title, speech title and then contestant name. It's just contestant name, contestant name if it's an evaluation competition. It's contestant name, table topics question, contestant name, table topics question for table topics competition.
  9. Personally I like to ask if there are any protests before results are announced.
  10. After results are announced you can either verbally instruct judging participants to destroy their information or call for a motion for same. As I understand it you don't need a motion but some older Toastmasters prefer a motion to be called. Ask people who are uncomfortable destroying information to turn it into you and make sure destroyed properly.