I’ve been to a few Toastmasters competitions in the past. Tonight was the first time that I helped out at one, as one of the timers. It was the combined Area 35 and 36 competition.
A typical Toastmasters competition has two parts, a speech competition and an evaluation competition. In the speech competition, the competitors give a prepared speech on a topic of their own choosing. Some speech competitions are humorous; tonight’s wasn’t. In the evaluation competition, the invited speaker gives a speech heard by all the competitors. They are taken out of the room, then one at a time, they come back in and evaluate that speech.
The speech competition is always fun. You get to hear several good speeches. I heard speeches tonight about a teenage boxing experience, watching a mother’s peaceful death in a hospice, our collective obsession with "better", and choosing a high school for a son.
In the evaluation competition, it’s interesting to hear different people’s take on the same speech.