Archive for Competitions

Meeting Review Tuesday 17-9-2013

Tonight we had our first meeting of the new 2013-2014 Toastmasters year and it was very successful.  Our new club President, Pat, opened the meeting at 8 on the dot and welcomed everyone back and welcomed especially the guests who arrived for the first time.  After outlining the plan for a Toastmaster’s meeting, he handed control of the meeting over to Toastmaster for the night, Mandy.  Mandy gave a quick overview of the specific program for tonight and implored us all to set goals for the year.  Without further ado, she introduced the first speaker of the night, Marlene, to the podium.

Marlene was giving a Stage 8 speech which involves the use of visual aids and Marlene gave a PowerPoint Presentation about Fair-trade and the products it sells.  One of the most striking slides was the percentage of profits given to each of the unit along the supply chain, with the farmer getting the tiniest portion.  The second speaker of the night was Niamh who, in her role as Vice President for Education (VPE), gave a speech from the advanced Speak to Inform manual about Hellfire Toastmasters, introducing the club’s committee to the guests and explaining about the club itself.  The final speaker was Ger who was giving a Stage 10 speech to inspire the audience.  Ger used three stories to convey his message; the first was about not letting money define success; the second about not being negative; and the third about no matter whether the deed is big or small, if it is good, then it will always be beneficial.

Following this speech we had our debate for the night.  The motion was “Sex, religion and politics are topics that should be included in Hellfire debate motions!”  This is particularly meaningful for Toastmasters as the founder of Toastmasters International decreed that sex, religion and politics should never be used as speech topics, and this motion was challenging this idea.  Keith proposed the motion and spoke about how these topics are important to everyone and the need to talk about these issues.  Barry opposed the motion and spoke about how religion and politics especially have caused conflict in the world and they can be very emotive topics which can offend some people.  After the debate was opened to the floor and the debaters summed up their arguments, a vote was taken and Keith emerged the victor.  We then took a break for tea.

We returned and it was time for the Topics part of the night, ably conducted by Cian.  He had a fine array of topics and made sure all speakers who had not spoken at the meeting got a chance to contribute.  Topics included lab-grown burgers, favourite childhood toys and Edward Snowden.  It was then time for the speeches to be evaluated with Dennis, Ollie and Noel giving their opinions on Marlene, Niamh and Ger respectively.  Each evaluator praised what was done correctly and gave suggestions about what could be done better.  It was then left up to Richard to act as general evaluator and give a synopsis of the meeting.

The awards went to:

Topics – Sinead

Contributor – Ger

Evaluator – Dennis

NEXT MEETING – Engineers Club

On Tuesday, 26th March 2013, Hellfire will be visiting the Engineers club on Clyde Road for the Area Final of the International Speech and Evaluation Competition!

It’s at the Engineers Ireland headquarters: 22 Clyde Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

at 8pm sharp.

Look forward to seeing you there!

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Evaluation and International Speech Contest – 12th March 2013

Evaluation and Speech Contest and Hellfire Toastmasters

Time for a challenge!

No debate this week, as the competition heated up for the Hellfire Toastmasters round of the International Speech and Evaluations Contest. This contest goes all the way to the top, with the potential, after many many rounds, to compete in the grand final at the annual Toastmasters conference.

First up were the four entrants into the international speech contest. Numbers drawn, contestants briefed by the able contest chair, Myra, and podium at the ready, the competition began. The entrants, John O’, Martin, Sinead and Richard were all polished and prepared. Martin’s speech on the image vs the reality of retirement carried the day, with John O’s speech on Cheltenham coming a close second. Pipped at the post in third place was Richard’s excellent speech on the steely resolve and motivation of Jim Steynes.

A topics session led by Rose, notable for the lively discussion of private school fees (methinks I see a debate topic for next month on the horizon) followed. Then it was time for tea.

After Myra reconvened the meeting, it was time for the second contest of the night, the evaluation competition. Cian was the brave speaker who offered to allow the six competition entrants rip his speech apart  offer him helpful recommendations. His speech on his trip to China fulfilled its goal of being extremely entertaining, with anecdotes about train stations, flowing blonde locks and the horrors of spitting.

The six contestants – Richard, Niamh, Sinead, Zanya, Elizabeth and John O’ – evaluated the speech in turn, offering recommendations on the speeches structure, body language and vocal variety while offering a large amount of praise for the use of humor throughout the speech, the relaxed stance away from the podium Cian adopted, the lack of notes, the use of repetition, the flow of the speech and many other small details that escape my mind.

The meeting concluded with the announcement of the winners. For the Speech competition:

  • 1st Place – Martin
  • 2nd Place – John O’
  • 3rd Place – Richard

For the Evaluation Competition:

  • 1st Place – Niamh
  • 2nd Place – Zanya
  • 3rd Place – Sinead

First and second place in each category will go through to round two, the area competition, which takes place at the Engineers Toastmasters club on the 26th March.

A final word of thanks to Noel and new member Mark who performed the duties of timers for the meeting. Also to Barry for his role as Contest Seargeant at Arms, Cecil for his always excellent management of the judging process, the judges who shall remain anonymous and the numerous guests in the audience who we always love to see!


The Competition is Hotting Up At Hellfire – Tall Tales Round Two

TallTales Competition Contestants

Anxious Contests are Briefed

Notes “As the Action Happens” are available on the clubs Twitter Account.

So, a second unusual night this month, round two, aka the finals, of the Toastmasters Tall Tales competition. With our own two competition winners – Keith and Martin, two fantastic speakers from engineers – Michael and Niamh, Adrian from ESB and Aileen from AIB it was guaranteed to be an entertaining night.

Barry as a most experienced contest chair, opened proceedings with a tale of his own. A fascinating account of top flight toastmasters competition* in Reno, with underhanded tactics and unparalleled feats of speech making. Having caught the audiences attention, he handed the floor over to the first speaker, Niamh for her account of that time herself and a few classmates took the cadaver they were working on for a few pints. Though drop dead gorgeous, Vicky turned out to be a not so hot date, a little frigid, a little rigid and a little too likely to skip out on her round. Next up was Aileen with a tale of a nefarious plot to acquire a kidney for her ailing friend. Third and fourth were our own competition winners from two weeks ago – Keith and Martin. Having had two weeks to improve and perfect their speeches they both brought the house down. Martin in particular had a little extra help from God, who conveniently arranged for the Pope to take early retirement, a tall tale if ever I heard one.

Michael’s tale of his misadventures with the wrong suitcase was up fifth. As always Michael’s speech was as polished to perfection as the silk underwear he was apparently wearing, and the dramatic climax involving an arrest in Brown Thomas had the audience on the edge of their seats. Last but not least was Adrian from ESB, who was once again chased by the police, down  Route 66 no less, his own personal highway to hell.

Because nothing would be right without some additional torture and tension, we then adjourned for a tea break, followed by a topics session ably (and bravely) hosted by one of our newest members Mike G. A sprinkling of topics and excellent responses followed before the tension was over and Cecil, acting as head judge, got up to announce the winners.

Complimenting each speaker in turn, the winners were announced –

  • Michael K from Engineers
  • Adrian H from ESB

A fantastic achievement for both, against what was incredibly stiff competition. A further prize was awarded to Jim for best topic response of the night, on the subject of his favourite pair of shoes, and after one or two more rounds of applause, the meeting was adjourned.

And so we all went home, the end.


*may in fact also be a tall tale

Tall Tale Competition – 5th February 2013

Toastmasters Dublin Tall Tales Competition at Hellfire Toastmasters

A Tall Tale of A Different Sort

A short entry this week, for a short, but excellent meeting.

Last night was the first Tall Tales Competition in quite a while at Dublin’s favourite Toastmasters club, Hellfire. There were six excellent entries and the competition was fierce.

First up was Keith, who told a rousing story of the discombobulation of an Irish ambassador in Turkey. Working in a voicemail message, a few words of Kurdish and a cúpla focail as Gaeilge, the tale went down a treat with the audience and more importantly the judges. Susan then went on to tell the story of the most excellent adventure of a pair of shoes down in Cork. Aengus took the night down a slightly more risque path, with a story involving showers, towels, alcohol and handcuffs. I don’t want to get him in trouble with his parents, so I’ll say no more. Richard’s tale was perhaps the most thoroughly unbelievable of the night, if only because (in my opinion) the Leaving Cert student at the centre of it got far more of something approaching work done, then any student I’ve ever witnessed.

The consensus at the tea break was that the speech Martin gave was the best he has ever given, which is all the more impressive for such a long standing member of the club. Martin’s story centred on the most obnoxious news stories of the last few weeks, and a particular distaste for the machinations of the Health and Safety experts was probably it’s central theme. The evening finished with John O’D, who decided to go the horror movie route, with a tale of wolves on the ski-slopes of Austria.

All in all, it was a most entertaining set of stories, and one that challenged the judges, led by the ever willing and able Cecil from AIB Toastmasters, to choose a winner. The choice was made however and the results were:

  • 1st Place – Keith Stephens
  • 2nd Place – Martin Cowley
  • 3rd Place – Susan Pyne

The meeting concluded with a Topics Session run by Noel, with topics supplemented by his able assistant Barry. As usual from Noel, the topics were varied, interesting and just difficult enough to be interesting. The three guests – Paula, Liz and Mark, all produced excellent answers. Other stand out answers included Elizabeth who managed to work in a compliment to the topics master (always a good bet), Richard who took some time to decide whether he preferred beauty or intelligence and Rose who was very vocal on developers wives being forced to sell their wedding ring.

A special shout out to our (excellent as always) president Susan, the two timekeepers John and Elizabeth, the contest chair – Mandy, Cecil for co-ordinating the judging and the other judges who shall remain nameless!

After the meeting we adjourned to the pub to celebrate the victories and commiserate with the losers.