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