With guest blogger, Steve Cann.
Monday March 11th saw the first big event of the year on the Maidenhead Speakers’ calendar – the International Speech & Evaluations Club Contest, and we were in for a memorable and eventful evening.
Unusually tie-wearing Speech Contest Chair Steve Cann started with a warm-up exercise involving some amusing fridge and food vignettes from the audience, before introducing the first Contest speaker, Jacqui Hogan. Jacqui’s speech ‘In my Life’ was a colourful journey through her life, as she spoke anecdotally of the 3 people who had made a big impression on her at key moments, including her father and the first meeting with her husband-to-be, at uni. She ended poignantly by quoting the John Lennon lyric which had inspired her, and gave her speech its name.
Next up was Mell Sheppard with her speech ‘The Key’. Mell entertained and inspired us with a very passionate speech exploring how sometimes doors open up in our life to new possibilities, but often they can be locked too. All we need to do is find that elusive key.
Our third contest speaker was Yohan McDonald with his speech ‘Where’s the Handbook’. Yohan talked about the excitement and expectation of he and his partner’s first child being born and also the difficulty of what to do once the child has actually arrived.
Our fourth speaker was Zahid Aziz with his speech ‘If You Keep Face to the Sun, You Will Never See the Shadows.’ As with other contest speakers, Zahid set out to inspire the audience and encourage us to see the light, as it were. He used unusual metaphors and wordplay, and built upon his idea cleverly by giving us insights into what we can achieve if we simply change our point of observation.
Our final contest speaker was Julie Farrell with her speech ‘Holes in my Confidence’. Julie spoke sincerely about how panic attacks had affected her life as a young adult. She even sang and played guitar to illustrate her point. She spoke of how gradual exposure to the source of her panic had led to her confidence surging back – and how being a member of Toastmasters has contributed to this too, as her rock’n’roll revolution comes to fruition!
1st Julie Farrell
2nd Mell Sheppard
3rd Yohan McDonald
Julie and Mell now go forward to represent our club at the Area Contest on April 6th.
After Doreen Gowing had served us refreshments at the break, very ably standing-in as Sergeant at Arms, Chris Boden was our Chair for the second half of the evening, and the Evaluation Contest.
He introduced our test speaker, James Moss, who spoke about the intriguing subject of acupuncture. He explained the concepts behind the ancient Chinese art and even had a big, matrix-style 3D prop.
The evaluation contestants were:
1st Yohan McDonald
2nd Zahid Aziz
3rd Fatiha Lafkar
Following some fun Table Topics from Chris (as he asked each speaker to talk about events personal to them from a year on a randomly-chosen coin) the prizes were presented by Area Governor Amanda Bouch. Chief Judge Monica Horten also did a very commendable job in coordinating the judges, timers and counters, stepping-in as she did at short notice to cover this role.
It just remains to congratulate everyone who took part on Monday for a wonderful evening, and to wish our Contest winners all the very best for the Area Contest. This will be held by Chiltern Speakers (but hosted by Maidenhead Speakers’ Club) at our usual venue, St Luke’s Hall, on SaturdayApril 6th.
See you all there for the next round!