Brian acted as our reserve President for the night once again, as Susan had to tend to visiting relatives, and the meeting commenced at 8pm. He told us not to worry about the football match that was on or the fact that we were missing out on pancakes – which made us miss our pancakes even more! He welcomed a couple of guests and showed all you women out there that men can in fact multi-task, as he is Treasurer and reminded us that he would happily accept our yearly membership. Without further ado, he welcomed Ger to take over the meeting as Toastmaster for the night.
Ger opened by saying that February 12 is Darwin Day – he hoped the meeting would evolve – and Lincoln’s birthday – he hoped we would also be emancipated throughout the evening. He asked Richard to act as Sargent-At-Arms and all phones were immediately silenced and the exits noted. Ger then asked Richard to explain the timing for each speech in his role as timer for the night, and this successfully completed. Ladies, if this doesn’t show you that men can multi-task, then I don’t know what will!
Ger quickly moved the meeting along and welcomed Michael to give his Ice-Breaker. An Ice-Breaker is a Toastmaster’s first speech, and it gives the speaker a chance to introduce aspects about him or herself. Michael’s is clearly a proud Dublin man, and this was reinforced by his description of his brother marrying a Kildare woman as being sinful. He has worked in various jobs throughout his life, and he involved in both Dublin GAA and religion. He is also a published poet and short-story author, and hopes to write a novel in the near future.
The second speaker was John H, a member of the club who has returned this year, having been a member a number of years ago. He was giving a returning Ice-Breaker, re-introducing himself to the club and to new members. He spoke about his childhood in Dun Laoghaire and the trips west to Mayo, his parents’ home. He works in coaching high-performance athletes, and holds the Irish record for the fastest 1,500m at Masters Level.
The third speech was given by Nuala, who was on Stage 5 of the Manual. She spoke about the rather intriguing Richard Buckmaster-Fuller. He was irritated by the level of resource consumption and tried to build houses and cars that didn’t consume as many resources. He recorded his life every fifteen minutes as a case-study to show people what one person can do. As Keith said in his general evaluation, these nuggets of information are great side-effects of Toastmasters, as our interest can be spiked into something we never knew existed.
The debate for the night follows the speeches, and this night the motion was “There should be no competition authority in Europe”. It was a tough one to propose, but Zanya told us that politicians, lawyers or bureaucrats had no place to decide the best market practice for each company. Furthermore complex laws can confuse businesses about the legality of their company and the burden for market dominance was only 39.7%, far less than a 100% dominance many people would claim to be the case.
John O’ happily opposed the motion, and told us about the reasons why competition authorities are even in existence. The authority prevents cartels and market dominance, consumers are getting the best for their money and it ensures that governments cannot give an unfair advantage to one company. Finally he reminded us that competition is good, citing the example of the mobile phone market in Ireland.
The motion was thrown open to the floor for contributions and the speakers were given a chance to summate their arguments, a vote was taken and the motion was soundly defeated, although Zanya was in a tough position. Ger announced a fifteen minute break for tea and talk, and that is what we did.
We sat back down for the Topics part of the evening; with Martin in the hot seat to terrorise challenge us all with some topical topics. And boy did he have some newsworthy topics. There was the pope, the horses, Brian O’Driscoll, the Anlgo-Irish deal, Lent, the Magdalene Laundries and of course St Valentine himself. Everybody that wasn’t down to speak got a chance to speak, and many who had already given a speech answered a topic also.
The evaluators were up next, with Mandy evaluating Michael, Elizabeth evaluating John H and John G evaluating Nuala. All evaluators were in high praise of each speaker, with very few suggestions that could have been made. Michael was told to slow down, but we all need to do that. John H and Nuala were told to speak a little louder and to project their voices a bit more.
It was left up to Keith to be General Evaluator for the night, his first time in that position. He complimented everybody on a very good night, which we all agreed with, and praised everybody that had a position on the night. His only suggestion for the Toastmaster was to link the speeches as he invited the next speaker to the podium.
Best Contributor – Michael
Best Evaluator – Mandy
Best Topic – Michael
Congratulations to Michael on what is probably an unprecedented achievement, and certainly an unprecedented achievement for a new member giving an Ice-Breaker.
Ger handed the meeting back to Brian who closed the meeting, reminding everybody about the Tall Tales District Final next week, and we wish Keith and Martin the best of luck representing the club.
Until next week…