In spite of the best efforts of the hotel to misdirect our new members, a motley collection of new faces were present to welcome in the new Toastmastering year. Ably guided by the Toastmaster, Barry, the meeting got off to a prompt and energetic start.
First up was Aengus, who gave a fascinating and in depth speech about the history of gun control laws in the US. It was a challenging topic for a stage three speech, but as Rose noted in the evaluation he handled it well and kept it interesting, though it was a little long.
Up next was Marlene, giving her stage six speech, the aim of which is to entertain us with “vocal variety“. And entertain us she did, with a great story about a trip she won at the age of 17. If the drama involved in 17 year olds stranded in a boat that won’t start trying to get back to their sailing ship isn’t a great topic to show your vocal variety, I don’t know what is.
There was quite a change of pace for the final two speeches of the night. Denis practised a three minute speech he is to give at the opening of a very formal and prestigious conference on Friday, and he received some great recommendations from Paulo. The final speech came from Sinéad and was on Ergonomics. Sinéad gave a very thought provoking speech on health and safety in and out of the workplace, though I have to say I’m now a bit worried that I’ll injure myself if I bend over to pick up a pen.
The it was time for the debate . . .
We are going backwards by becoming technology dependent
Myra was first up as the proposer, and she put the case extremely well, discussing how technology interrupts our daily lives and makes it more difficult to really be in the moment and enjoy real interaction with real people. Zanya countered by bringing in the enormous benefits technology in healthcare, food production and transport has brought to human lives. The floor then got involved with several excellent contributions, including the best quote of the night from a guest, Axel who spoke against the motion. I can’t get it word perfect, but a picture is worth a thousand words and what he discussed was the cartoon in the top left corner.
The debate, unusually, but showing the skill of both speakers, ended in a dead heat, and so we adjourned for a tea break.
After the tea break, Brian stepped up as topics master and with a clear knowledge of current affairs generated some great contributions from the floor. Again a guest – Brendan, made the best response, in this case to a question on Pat Kenny and his ability to retire.
The night then finished with the evaluations and an excellent (as always) general evaluation from Mike, who spoke in praise of the toastmaster Barry, the topicsmaster Brian and the president Susan. Mike also complimented the speeches and the evaluators. Really the only quibble was with the lack of a sergeant at arms speech, which turned out ok since the building didn’t go on fire. It should be sorted for next week though.
So all that remained was to award the trophies and wrap up the meeting:
- Topics – Brendan
- Speech – Marlene
- Evaluator – Niamh
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