Congratulations to Ian Uption and Stephen Taylor, respective winners of the Area 53 International Speech and Evaluation contests, held last night at Bourne Hall. They go on to represent Area 53 at the Division H contest to be held on Saturday 22 April, 12.45 to 15.30 at Oxsted Community Hall, 53 Church Street, Oxsted, RH8 9NB. Please come along and support them as they move another step closer to becoming World Champions.
Ian was one of five contestants in the International Speech contest, with Fiona Harrison from Mole Valley Speakers coming second and Surbiton’s Tara Majumdar in third place.
The Evaluation contest, which Stephen won, had six contestants. Second place went to Amanda Zwartz and third place to Tara Majumdar, both representing Surbition Speakers.
A big thank you to Lloyd Griffiths and Peter Parker for organising this Area Contest, to Contest Chairs Eddy Quah from Surbiton Speakers and Dave Lane, and to all the helpers and judges from the three clubs: ESC, Surbiton and Mole Valley. Special thanks also to our guest Target Speaker, Danica Giles, from Holborn Speakers. Her speech urged us all to embrace the fear of public speaking by reframing the physiological impulses and sensations (e.g. butterflies in the tummy) as one of excitement.
Our next Club meeting is on Monday 3rd April, with Costa Nicolaou as TM, and we have June McCullough coming as guest GE for the evening.
There’s nothing better than a good laugh out loud and Monday’s club night was packed with comic relief. All four speakers managed to weave light touches, and heavy doses, of humour in their stories. In his C1, Paul van der Hagen demonstrated not only his existing wide range of speaking skills but also his theatrical prowess as he re-enacted the events of his first, and only, date night. Adam Jones’ C6, “A minor medical … oddball”, had us in suspense and catharsis as he spun his real life tale of diagnosing what was wrong with him.
We had another opportunity to hear how we can become multi-millionaires, when Dave Lane repeated his contest speech about the amount of riches to be gained from uploading strange videos of “unboxing” stuff on YouTube. Dave is also a member of PMI Toastmasters in London, and he will be representing the PMI club at their Area final on Friday.
With his Advanced Speech, “To do or not to do”, Ian Upton trumped Paul’s dramatic performance with an extraordinary array of vocal variety and staggeringly strong stage presence.
It was a close call to see who would win Best Speaker… congratulations to Adam, and for his full recovery.
Amanda, Aishi, myself and Justin had the pleasure of feeding back our evaluations. And the vote for Best Evaluator goes to… Dr Aishi Lim, who managed to dispense some minor corrections on Adam’s use of medical terminology.
Stephen Taylor’s eclectic reading tastes led him to develop a challenging theme for Table Topics – super-heroes whom no-one (apart from him) had heard of. Hats off to Topics’ winner, Peter Parker, for managing to creatively weld a convivial speech about a rather curious super-hero, The Dog Welder. I must admit, that was relatively easy compared to Matter Eater Lad, Tar Baby or Arm Fall Off Boy.
Gillian did a gracious job as Topics Evaluator, feeding back her commendations and recommendations to our 8 Topics speakers. Penny rounded the evening off with her General Evaluation. She noted the sterling job done by our TM for the evening, Paul Dowdeswell, his first time in this role, and how well Sumbal Tsang warmed us all up with her inspiring question “what are you most grateful for this quarter?”.
It was truly uplifting to hear the wide range of things we are grateful for… including having this Club, laughing and learning as we play and practice our speaking skills.
In the first one or two minutes, the speaker has to hook the attention of the audience. So what makes a good speech opening?
Make a startling statement
Use an intriguing statement that will compel your audience to listen such as ‘Smoking Kills. More Americans die each year than were killed in the battles during World War ll and Vietnam together’. Arouse suspense or curiosity. Compare these two openings.
- Hello I’m your speaker and I’m here to give some clues on what foods to avoid so you can have less disease and less stress.
- Would you like to add twenty quality years to your life? Then think before reaching for your saltcellar. I am going to share with you ten easy proven steps to add these twenty years to your life.
Tell a story (or anecdote)
Telling an amusing tale or dramatic story or anecdote arouses interest and gets the audience involved. Keep the story relevant to the main points of the speech and personalise it whenever possible, for example instead of beginning ‘Two men were hunting in the woods’ say ‘My brother and I went hunting in the woods’.
Ask a rhetorical question
Ask a question or a series of questions that relate to your speech topic. For instance, in a speech about first aid you could begin by asking ‘Do you know what to do if your child starts to choke?’
Begin with a quotation
Using a quotation is an easy and effective way to attract attention.
The following are some “Don’ts” when beginning your speech.
Don’t use the opening to restate the title of your speech
Every moment counts in creating interest and suspense so don’t go over what is already known.
Don’t open your speech with an apology
Some consider this makes you sound friendly and not pompous but apologies can alert your audience to listen for weaknesses.
Don’t explain your presence
Don’t offer explanations about why you think you were asked to speak. Your friends don’t need it and your enemies won’t believe you anyway.
Don’t say how difficult it was to choose a subject
As far as the audience is concerned you should not doubt the importance of your speech and you should communicate its vital nature.
To summarise: A dynamic beginning is essential for a successful speech. Take time to create an exciting, imaginative beginning that will keep your audience focused on what you have to say. First impressions are very often the lasting impressions so make sure your opening will create immediate interest.
Taken from Speakeasy 133 – March 2010
Our annual International Speech contest attracted six contestants, delivering inspirational, motivational and highly entertaining speeches and demonstrating a wealth of speaking talent: Ian Upton, Peter Parker, Costa Nicolaou, and our three Dave’s – Villa Clarke, Goodman and Lane.
Speech & Evaluation Contestants with the Chief Judge and President
Many thanks to Jean-Marc Pierson from Holborn Speakers, who travelled to the depths of Surrey to be our Mystery (or Target) speaker for the Evaluation Speech contest. Jean-Marc’s powerful and passionate speech entitled “Money, Money, Money” gave our six Evaluation contestants plenty food for thought – contestants being Dave Goodman, Adam Jones, Aishi Lim, Peter Parker, Stephen Taylor and Penny Williams.
2017 International Speech Contest Winners with the Contest Chair, Chief Judge and Club President
Congratulations to all our contestants for stepping up, taking part and challenging themselves in this more competitive environment. And the winners…
International Speech Contest: 1st Ian Upton; 2nd Dave Villa Clarke; 3rd Peter Parker.
Evaluation Contest: 1st Penny Williams; 2nd Stephen Taylor; 3rd Aishi Lim.
2017 Evaluation Contest Winners with the Contest Chair and Chief Judge
Running a contest takes loads of preparation and planning, not just for contestants. A huge “Thank you” to this year’s Contest Organiser and Chief Judge – Lloyd Griffiths, and to his team – Contest Chairs: Gillian Prior and Costa Nicolaou; Time Keepers: Paul Dowdeswell and Amanda Zwarts; Ballot Counters: Elizabeth Bennett and Sumbal Tsang; Ushers: Sheena Campbell and Justin Pybus; Videographer: Phoebus Apostolidis; Warm down: Paul van der Hagen … and of course, to all the Judges who shall remain anonymous….
P.S. Our Mystery speaker, Jean-Marc, is an astrologer and story-teller. To hear more of his stories, click here.