What we learned about public speaking on contest night

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Just imagine you were sitting there in the front row of the audience. It was contest night at Lewisham speakers and the there was a buzz of anticipation, excitement and a tinge of nervousness.

We had visiting toastmasters mingling in the audience to provide neutral judging, we had members of Lewisham speakers and we had three most welcome guests, Carla, Wilford and Jay. But most importantly we had our five contestants Richard, Oz, Paul, Hubert and Donovan.

Now Oz, Paul and Hubert were in their first contest and were looking suitably nervous. But what about Richard and Donovan, between them they have taken part in many contests, so why were they looking so anxious? It was contest night. Everyone gets anxious on contest night.

It was a massive shame we only had one contestant in the humourous speech contest. Unfortunately the other two contenders had to withdraw because they had not had time to prepare their speech!

Richard Green

Luckily, Richard entertained us with a story of his failed attempt to move from a busy high street to live in a farmhouse. He painted some great word pictures, showed passion and made us laugh a lot.

The table topics contest was a different affair and we had five contestants. After drawing straws to select the order of speakers, they all took turns to answer the contest chair person’s question “do you think teenagers should have a time limit on internet use?”

Great question. Possibly one that none of our contestants was expecting. All speakers gave their best two minutes then sat eagerly awaiting the result of the judges deliberation. Donovan won and Rich and Paul were 2nd and 3rd place.

Paul Maclean, Donovan Grant, Richard Green, Julie Kertesz

So we had a great night that was orchestrated by or contest chair Philip Landergan, and Donovan and Rich go forward to represent the club in the area contest.

So what did we take away from the evening?

Well during the speaker interviews, the common theme was about stepping out of your comfort zone. Stretching yourself beyond your previous limits. So, I guess our take away is about being brave and going for it!

As the motivational speaker Brian Tracy reminds us

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

One thing for sure is that we need more people doing the prepared speech contests at Lewisham speakers. The next contest is in spring so, the question is will you take on the challenge?

Thanks again to our visiting judges, Julie, Jenny, Paul and Jenny. And thanks to all our timers counters and awesome helpers on the night.

Let’s keep stretching our comfort zones!

Donovan is our president for the 2018/2019 year. He is working towards his ACG and has been a toastmaster member for 10 years. His background is in the IT financial payments industry and he also runs a coaching business, helping IT professionals to become more influential and find a sense of purpose in the fast and ever changing IT industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *