By Melvyn K
Excitement buzzed around the hall as Ascot Speakers hosted their third International Speech and Evaluation Competition at our All Souls’ Church venue in South Ascot.
Before the meeting began Nikita P, the club’s President, briefed the Speakers and declared the speech order. Also experienced Toastmaster and member of the club, Jacqui H (Chief Competition Judge), briefed all the Judges explaining how to fill out the forms.
The meeting began like every other meeting with Sergeant-At-Arms Melvyn K’s friendly face welcoming everyone to the meeting and introducing our President: Nikita P, who in turn welcomed everyone including our guest speaker and guest judges too. Puveshni P was our Contest Chair; she explained how the contest would work and that the speakers had ‘drawn straws’ for their places.
International Speech Competition
The first speaker in our speech competition was Liam K, giving a flawless speech entitled ‘15,000 fans, 2 people, 1.5 Security guards and a ring’ about the amazing feat of getting inside a high security American Basketball Stadium match to make a wonderful marriage proposal on live TV to his at first unsuspecting girlfriend. (Well done Liam!). Ann M was our next speaker with her excellently researched speech entitled ‘The Ultimate Freebee’, looking at the merits of our often maligned health service. Melvyn K, our final speaker, also gave another thoughtful speech entitled ‘Is New Technology always good for you?’ posing the question that the new 5G technology and also driverless cars may not be all they’re cracked up to be.
After our customary refreshments break the contest resumed with an Evaluator competition. Our guest and key speaker from Beaconsfield Speakers club was Alan O delivering a great speech “Magic Meetings”. It was great opportunity for us lesser experienced speakers to watch an eloquent performance from such a seasoned local speaker .
First up as an Evaluator was Ann M who highlighted what a very interesting speech Alan O gave us and commended him for starting with a strong stance. She also liked his expert use of vocal variety which helped make the speech very effective and also his good body language with excellent eye contact. She thought his speech could be enhanced more by more use of the wonderful venue but thoroughly enjoyed his humour, confidence, good examples and memorable phrases.
Second up was Julie H who commended the speaker for the meeting tips he gave us and the analogy of meetings similar to 5 year olds playing football in a haphazard manner. She also liked the way he owned the stage, how his body gestures were very open and his wonderful tone of voice. Her recommendations were to breathe more from the belly when speaking in order to be heard from the back of the auditorium and to have an even more impactful finish. She also gave a commendation for holding our attention throughout and for Alan’s natural way of speaking.
Our third Evaluator to speak was James H who also praised Alan O for a great speech and it’s superb delivery. He said it was a joy to hear someone who thinks about meetings the same as he does and also learning more about how to conduct decent meetings. He also commended how he projected his ideas around the room with faultless eye contact but with what felt like a very personal, conversational style which was clear and easy to understand. One recommendation was to watch out for sometimes speeding up his speech to much occassionally and to keep the focus on the outcome of meetings. But James thought that Alan encapsulated the chaos of meetings with his analogy of 5 year olds playing a football match and that he gradually opened up to both sides of the audience in the room.
It was good to see all the evaluators pick up on different aspects of the performance.
Judging and Entertainment
The judging slips were handed to Chief Judge Jacqui H and the Competition Counters. They went to the back of the room the room whilst the rest of us were left in the hands of Puveshni P who gave us some interesting insights into competitions to pass the time during the counting and writing of certificates.
Just as the last person spoke, the Counters and Chief Judge entered the room.
Awards and Closing
Everyone who participated was awarded an official Toastmasters International competition certificate.
Results of the International Speech Contest:
- Liam K [winner]
Results of the International Evaluator Contest:
- James H [winner]
The next meeting will take place on 13 March 2019 .
We look forward to seeing you then.