Back after a weird and wonderful trip to the Engineers Club for the Area Contest of the Humourous Speech and Table Topics Competition (what do you mean you didn’t get it?), Hellfire Toastmasters returned to our usual haunt of the Ballsbridge Hotel, with our members competition for spaces with the football fans travelling to the Aviva for Ireland’s match. This resulted in the meeting starting a little later than usual but it didn’t deter us for too long. Our President Pat opened the meeting with aplomb and after a few words from our Timer Kayleigh, and Sergeant-At-Arms David, handed the reigns over to Sinéad who was standing in as Toastmaster. Sinéad gave a quick overview of the meeting and welcomed the nine guests, yes nine, for the evening. She then introduced the first speaker for the evening.
Marlene was giving a Stage 9 speech, the objective of which is to Persuade with Power. With this particular speech a speaker can either attempt to persuade people to take a certain action or adopt a certain viewpoint. Marlene’s speech attempted the former, and succeed she did. Asking us to manage our energy, not our time, Marlene spoke about people’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy and our need to concentrate on these things, as opposed to simply our time.
The second speaker was Richard, also giving a Stage 9 speech, and unlike Marlene, attempted to change the audience’s viewpoint on emigration and immigration. Richard wanted the audience to show more compassion for immigrants into Ireland, especially given this country’s problem with emigration.
The final speech was given by Paul, a new member, and it was his Ice-Breaker. The object of the Ice-Breaker is to speak before an audience for the first time and discover speaking skills not already known. Paul’s Ice-Breaker was wonderful, showing speaking skills well in advance of what is expected for an Ice-Breaker. He gave a short overview of his life, primarily his interest in sport and the journeys he has taken around the world.
Following the final speech, we had our debate, a feature unique to Hellfire among Toastmasters clubs in the area. The motion was ”that performance enhancing drugs should be allowed in professional sport”, proposed by Barry and opposed by Richard. Barry argued that if these drugs are allowed they could be made even better by chemists and athletes bigger and stronger. He also spoke about the thrill of sport and how this would make sport better. Richard, in opposition, argued about the potentially fatal side-effects of these drugs and how it maintains the idea of winning at all costs. After contributions from the floor and summations by both debaters, a vote was taken and Richard declared the winner.
Following a short tea break and chat, the meeting resumed with a Topics session, ably convened by Jim. Topics included favourite seasons, favourite days of the week, favourite Irish tradition, whether money is a good or a bad thing, what country a person would visit among many others.
Next up was the speech evaluations, which are great because it gives the speaker a chance to work on certain things and it means the evaluator has to listen carefully to the speech with a critical ear. Niamh was first up, evaluating Marlene, mentioned the excellent and complementary topic chosen for the speech and the delivery was very good. Aileen evaluated Richard and thought the speech was very well delivered. Finally Noel evaluated Paul and spoke about how Paul was a very competent speaker already with good structure and a good topic. The only suggestions for all the speakers were to time the speech a bit better, slow down a little and repeat the main points of the speech during the speech.
Finally we had our general evaluator, Rose, who was full of praise for the speakers but thought some people could have spoken louder, as it was hard for some people to hear what was said. But overall, she was happy with the night given the problems associated with the match in the Aviva.