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!