Area Contest

Toastmasters International  Speech Competition – Area Level

On Saturday, Feb 23, toastmasters from all four clubs on the Sunshine Coast gathered for the Area contest. Winners from the contests at the club level participated in the Area Contest Level.

Two contests were held, the International Speech Contest, and the Evaluation Contest. The contest was ably chaired by Sandy Wrightman, president of Morningstars.

All speeches were timed by our two expert timers, Kate and Sue.

Here are our speech contest winners. First place Shawna (centre) will proceed to the Division Level Contest.

First place winner Shawna being congratulated by our Area Director, Debra Taylor.

Here are the evaluation contest winners. First place Andrew (centre) is eligible to advance to the Division contest. Eleanor Kroeger, District 96 Director, (right) was present and delivered the test speech for the contest.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the helpers who made the contest possible.


Is It a Speech or Is It a Performance?

With the Toastmasters World Championships coming up in August, lots of Toastmasters all over the world are practising and getting coaching for their speeches as they prepare to represent their district at the top level.

One of the areas of recent discussion in clubs has been the trend toward making the speech more of a performance than a speech.  A recent article by Darren LaCroix, former World Champion, gives an excellent perspective on the influence of TED Talks, and on where the speaking trend is going at the international level.

Read more about it here.

Mountains to Climb


Picture this.

The alarm goes at 5:30 am. John hits the alarm button and rolls out of bed. He has to get to Harmony Hall and have the coffee on, and the room set up. Today is the club level speech contest for the International Speech and Evaluation Contests.

alarm clock6 am arrives. Across town, the speech contestants are also rolling out of bed. Do they have time to practise their speeches for the contest one more time? Did they have any questions pop into their heads, such as, “What was I thinking?” If they did, we’ll never know. Come contest time, they were THERE.

In other parts of the community, people were getting up ready to be judges, timers, counters, and evaluation contestants. Sharon, our Chair for the contest, was preparing for the first of two challenges for the day. (More later on her second challenge.)

Having converged on Harmony Hall by 7 am, everyone prepared for their particular role in the contest.

Themes emerged in the speeches such as:

  1. If we want people to listen to us we have to get to the point.
  2. Listening is showing others we appreciate them.
  3. If something goes wrong in life, dealing with it now is better than a kick in the pants later.

Wow, what meaningful and diverse topics. Cue applause.

After the speech portion of the contest, Ben delivered his test speech, intriguing everyone with his question, “If someone told you they saw a bear riding a bicycle in Gibsons, would you believe them?”

Our evaluation contest participants, all wide awake by now, delivered their evaluations of Ben’s speech.

Sharon announced the winners of the two contests. Prizes were awarded, and the meeting came to an end.

Oh  wait, I forgot to mention the winners.

Congratulations to PJ and Cathie for the speech contest, and Sandy and Alicia for the evaluation contest. They will have the opportunity to do it all again in the Area Contest on April 4th, 2 pm at Harmony Hall.

Morningstars disperse to their various locations. But they will be reconvening later. We’re not done yet.

It’s now 4:30 in our red letter day.

Several members of Morningstars arrive at the Gibson’s Library to facilitate a Presentations Skills Workshop for the Chamber of Commerce.

The Morningstars team, with careful planning by able team leader Sheila, is ready. The room fills, the buzz quiets, and the workshop begins.

There are three parts to the presentation.

  1. Getting to the point, a revised version of PJ’s winning speech from the morning
  2. How to speak with presence so your audience will engage with your message, by Katherine.
  3. How to use effective visuals, by William.

Sharon stepped up to her second challenge of the day and chaired the event with her usual poise.

Kudos to Donna from the Chamber for making the whole thing happen, and to Larry, Loretta, Judy Lynne, and Ben for their assistance.

Questions are asked. Workshop ends. Crowd chats. Room slowly clears. Chairs restored to order.

Red letter day over. Is there another red letter day in Morningstars future?

Time will tell.

Cue final credits.