We had a Halloween theme for our meeting tonight, with some speeches and the topics on this theme. Pat, our President, began the evening at the disputed time of 7 59 (he said it was that time, others said it was 8 02), and welcomed everyone, and especially the guests on the night. He had one message which was the Christmas Party in December. Barry was Toastmaster for the night, and he began with a story about fear given that it was two days before Halloween. David was Sargent At Arms and Eric was timer and they gave a quick explanation of their roles, before we heard the speeches.
Shauna gave the first speech of the night, which was her Ice-Breaker. This speech gives new members a chance to speak before an audience for the first time, and discover speaking skills they already have. Shauna spoke about herself, coming from Monaghan but having spent a few years in Australia when she was younger. It was quite a humorous speech, telling us about how she spent a long time in education to become an actuary and how her boyfriend gradually moved in with her. Finally Shauna told us that she joined Toastmasters to beat her fear of public speaking.
The second speech of the night was given by David, a Stage 3 speech titled “Wind energy in Ireland.” The third speech in the manual asks speakers to Get to the Point and for the speech to have a purpose. The speech’s subject stems from when David saw signs protesting against wind energy coming to Ireland while driving through the midlands. David did some research on the matter and gave a lot of statistics during his speech – there are 180 wind farms in Ireland, but only one off shore farm on the east coast. The industry is highly subsidised, and David had reservations about how sustainable they are, given that wind only produces about 30% of its possibly energy. David had more questions than answers in his speech, and ended by asking the audience whether wind energy is sustainable in Ireland and whether people would like a windmill in their back garden.
Third speaker on the night was Dennis, giving off stage speech entitled “A Night to Remember”. He began by saying that as a scientist, he is usually sceptical about things that cannot be proven, and, for example, didn’t worry about moving into House No. 13. An elderly couple lived beside Dennis and over the years they became friends. Both the man and the woman died within a short period of each other but on the night of the woman’s death, Dennis heard a loud, screechy noise. He thought it was a cat, but changed his mind, and then he thought it was a baby crying. The next morning when he heard that the woman died, he tried to figure out what the noise was as he decided it couldn’t have been a cat or a baby. Dennis, the sceptical scientist, believes it was a banshee. It was a suitably eerie story for the night that’s in it.
The motion for the debate was that “psychics and mediums should be banned”, proposed by Richard and opposed by Brian. Richard spoke about how psychics and mediums aren’t able to scientifically prove their abilities, and how it is wrong to take money off people without giving them a service in return. Brian spoke about how psychics and mediums can give some solace to people and that banning won’t work. After numerous contributions from the floor and summations by both speakers, a vote was taken and the motion was defeated. We then took a break for tea and biscuits.
Mandy, dressed in black and wearing a witch’s hat was Topicsmaster and all of her topics had Halloween involved in them. The topics included whether Halloween celebrations were becoming like Christmas, what people think of witches, where a person would go if they had a broomstick, trick-or-treating, whether we should have bonfires, memories of Halloween in youth, should fireworks be banned, favourite costumes for Halloween, what food is associated with Halloween, what does a person think of Halloween. Following the topics, we had the evaluations part of the evening.
Myra evaluated Shauna, talking about how competent and confident she was, how the topics in her speech was very appropriate and something the audience was able to relate to. Her only suggestion was to speak louder and project her voice. Jim evaluated David, liking the structure, and getting to the point quickly. The topic had made him think about the issue in a way he had never done so before. Ger evaluated Dennis, liked the hand gestures, pace, how it was a great story telling. His suggestion was to stop using “em” as much.
General evaluation was John H, full of compliments for both Barry and Pat at the beginning of the meeting, and really enjoyed the interaction during the debate and the topics session. Really liked the speeches, and the evaluations, how they pointed out the good and the bad points of the speech. He then handed control of the meeting back to Barry and Pat and the meeting closed soon after that.
Best Contributor David
Best Evaluator Ger
Best Topic Response Mike (a guest)