A Look at the Toastmasters International Speech Contests

Toastmasters International  pic
Toastmasters International
Image: toastmasters.org

Bruce Weyhrauch is an experienced attorney in Juneau, Alaska. Alongside his professional responsibilities, Bruce Weyhrauch is involved with Toastmasters International, an organization that provides leadership and communication development and challenges people to become impassioned, motivating speakers.

Toastmasters promotes speech excellence in part through holding competitions throughout the year. In any given year, thousands of people participate in these contests, which are held at the area, division, and district levels. All districts hold an International contest, during which individuals have five to seven minutes to talk about any subject. The contest includes a semifinal and the World Championship of Public Speaking.

Toastmasters members may also compete in the Humorous, Evaluation, Tall Tales, and Table Topics competitions. Humorous speeches must be thematic, with an opening, body, and close, as opposed to a monologue. The Evaluation competition includes a two- or three-minute speech in criticism of a test speech. The Tall Tales competition focuses on improbable and exaggerated topics, while Table Topics involves an impromptu speech on a given subject.

Toastmasters International’s Smedley Fund

Smedley Fund pic
Smedley Fund
Image: toastmasters.org

A resident of Juneau, Alaska, Bruce Weyhrauch provides advice and representation to clients on legal issues relating to fisheries, construction, labor relations, marine pilotage, and natural resources development. Beyond his work, Bruce Weyhrauch is active with Toastmasters International, a nonprofit leadership and communication development organization that operates the Smedley Fund.

Named after Ralph C. Smedley, who founded the organization, the Smedley Fund was established in 1965 with the aim of advancing the Toastmasters mission by researching, creating, and delivering key materials and programs dedicated to leadership and communication issues.

The fund creates opportunities, primarily through the development of the educational resources used by its members. The fund also allows Toastmasters to invest in expansion into new regions and support youth initiatives, such as its Youth Leadership Program.

Further, contributions to the Smedley Fund are often used to help those experiencing hardship, including domestic abuse and homelessness, in addition to providing emergency relief to those who have experienced natural disasters or extreme hardship.