Club Meeting on 24 Sep 2019

Tonight was “Hat” night. It meant that all meeting roles were randomly drawn out of a hat, with the exception of prepared speeches. We didn’t know who was chairman, or who was the toastmaster hosting the speeches, or who were the evaluators. Some of the new members were thrust into a role they never did before, and it was a good way to try something new without the pressure of being perfect.

We gave a Toast to “Just Do It”. That was just what we needed to hear from Ross Richard.

The Word of the Night was “Bravo”, presented by Johnny Manolelis. The word has origins in the Greek vocabulary as well, and it means “well done”. He encouraged all the members to use the word during the meeting.

The Laughmaster by Ross Richard included an “Irish Lobsters” joke. When Ross gave us the punch line with the constable delivering the great news about the missing wife, we were laughing intensely.

The Table Topics session challenged us with thought-provoking questions about life.

  • When was the last time you tried something new?
  • What do you love and what are you doing about it?
  • What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
  • Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  • What gets you most excited about life?

“Collecting Brilliant Ideas” was a facilitated discussion based on research done by Cherilyn Liu for her university.

“A Toastmaster’s Experience” by Johnny Manolelis was another facilitated discussion about how Toastmasters can help you achieve your goals in life.

Club Executive Changeover Dinner on 18th June 2019

Tonight, we celebrated the current year and inducted the new executive for 2019-20.

Shirley Childs conducted the induction of the new executive, and asked each club officer to commit to fulfilling their responsibilities to the best of their ability.

2018-19 Year in Review

Christopher Tso was the outgoing President and delivered a speech to review the 2018-19 year. He thanked all the members for creating such a friendly, fun and engaging environment that has continually attracted visitors to come back for more. He also thanked the outgoing executive for their hard work and members who stepped up into the new executive for 2019-20.

2019-20 Club Plan

Clare Fraga was the incoming President and delivered her 2019-20 club plan. It was an uplifting and comprehensive plan. She detailed why we come to Toastmasters – because it’s a place where we can find our voice and grow as a leader and as a person, and also a place where we have fun and make friends. She plans to build on the great work of the existing leadership and maintain our status as a Distinguished Toastmasters Club where members reach their goals and enjoy the supportive and fun culture of the club.

Prepared Speeches

It was not all about business though. We had three speeches delivered by experienced members.

“Prepare for a Job Interview” – Christopher Tso performed a role play where he was a candidate being interviewed by an employer. The exact questions were not known in advance, but the interviewer had a list of questions to choose from to and come up with her own. Christopher answered all the questions without hesitation.

“Wedding Speech” – William Leong also did a role play with the audience where he delivered a speech at his sister-in-law’s wedding. He shared his childhood memories of her sister, and used lots of humour especially on how the husband of his sister-in-law can deal with her loving personality.

“How to become a Distinguished Club” – Johnny Manololis delivered a presentation to educate the members on what is a Distinguished Club and how to become one. It was very timely especially with the new executive now planning for another successful year for our club.

Club Meeting on 21 May 2019

Shirley Childs gave a toast to the club officers stepping down and the future club officers for 2019-2020. We were reminded that serving as a club officer was a voluntary unpaid activity, which is why it’s important to recognise and support our club officers.

“Zeal” was the Word of the Night, presented by Clare Fraga.

Table Topics

Johnny Manolelis forced us to think not only on our feet, but to think big, with his impromptu questions.

  • Tell your secret. How do you get your hands on 3 billion dollars net worth?
  • You are the CEO of Coca Cola. Explain how you will increase your turnover by 100 percent in the next 2 years?
  • You own 48 million dollars in new lottery created. You need to spend it in one week. What’s your action plan?

Hospital Waiting Rooms, Vicky Mina

Vicky recounted an amusing story about getting blu-tack stuck in one of her ears, which totally blocked her hearing in that ear. She went to the hospital, believing that it would be a quick fix. T incident went much longer than expected, but it was fixed in the end and Vicky learnt to be more careful with using blu-tack as her ear plugs.

What I learned about my son’s violin, Helena Zhang

Helena explained the benefits of learning a musical instrument, such as improving your concentration and math skills, and reducing anxiety and stress. She used her son’s violin lessons as an example. Initially, her son was interested with violin, but later wanted to give up because of the steep learning curve. But once the initial learning curve is overcome, Helena believes that her son will appreciate the beauty of the musical instrument.

Interview practice run, Jagath Peiris

Jagath delivered an job interview role play, where he was a job candidate and an audience member was the interviewer. The interview questions included “how your experience relates to this position”, “what are your strengths”, and “tell me a difficult situation in your career and how you managed it”.

Will You Marry Me? Christopher Tso

Christopher presented a marriage proposal to his girlfriend. This was also a role play with an audience member, who volunteered to be the girlfriend listening to his proposal. Christopher reminisced how he met Molly, and the conflicts they had to deal with early in the relationship. The conflicts actually made the bond much stronger between them. And they were now at a stage where they both trust, understand and appreciate each other so much that it feels like they’re married already, even though it’s not on paper yet.

Club Meeting on 26 Mar 2019

“The Great Debate” was the theme of the night. Johnny gave a Toast to “Debate”, because that is how everyone discusses what they want, and no one is absolutely right or wrong. Without discussion, the world would not be the same.

Word of the Night

“Deliberation” was the word that Clare wanted us to use during the meeting. She gave plenty of examples, such as “the jury returned verdict after four hours of deliberation”.

Laughmaster

Matt Anderson delivered a humorous story based on his work in motorsports. A business supplier of his discovered hundreds of dead crows on the race track. The cause of death appeared to be due to vehicle impacts. There was growing environmental concern about the race track, and so Matt did an investigation. Eventually, Matt spoke to a scientifically-minded colleague who explained to him the exact cause of death.

Table Topics – The Great Debate

“The cost of detergent is increasing. Romans used urine to clean clothes. Should budget-minded Australians do the same?”. This was the topic that we were asked to debate. Johnny randomly selected three speakers on each side to either speak affirmative or against the proposal.

The affirmative side won by a narrow margin, based on the chairman’s scoring on content and delivery. The performance was so good, that hopefully no one took it seriously and decided to wear clothes that smell of urine!

Prepared Speeches

Are we controlled by our microwaves?, by Benjamin Zhu

Ben posted an important question: “Are we outsourcing too much parenting to the Internet?” As most people now rely on their smartphone and other smart devices to tell them what to do, we’ve lost some level of control. And sometimes, losing control can even cost lives, as in the case of the Boeing 737 crash which was caused by a software malfunction.

He also talked about smart home appliances, such as Google Home and Amazon’s Smart Microwave knowing more about our lives than we do, and controlling more of our lives. A smart microwave can collect data for health insurance companies because it knows your eating and living habits.

The Life Choices We Make, by Mel Colgar

Mel explained how vision of the future affects the choices we make everyday. All the small actions we take is going to support our vision, whether you know it or not. Your vision of what life will be in 5-10 years will have sights and sounds, such as the bustling noise of the city, or the tranquility of living in the countryside. A good exercise to prove how powerful your vision is to rewind back 5-10 years, and recall the vision that you had about your life today. Very likely, you’re now living your vision and the past version of you would be happy with where you are now.

Being Ordinary is a Blessing, by Helena Zhang

Helena delivered her first speech at Toastmasters. She shared a couple of stories that touched her personally… a girl who was once beautiful and today looks much older than her age, and gets scolded by her husband in public… and a friend who had a very successful career in accounting and suddenly forced into early retirement because of health problems. Those stories made her appreciate her life more, even though she has an ordinary life and an ordinary husband.


Club Meeting on 12 Mar 2019

The meeting theme was “Autumn”, since it was the first meeting in Autumn 2019. Christopher Tso was the chairman and he explained how Autumn can be seen as some as the “unhealthy season” where we begin to stay more indoors, or be seen more positively as the “introspective season” where we give more time for ourselves and relax more.

Table Topics

Vicky Mina hosted the Table Topics session where she asked individual audiences to deliver a 1 minute impromptu speech in response to a question.

Here’s a sample of her questions:

  • Your neighbour blows leaves into your front yard. What would you say to your neigbour?
  • The weather has changed from hot to cold and now you’re feeling sick, but your sickness is not contagious. Your friend has invited you out and promised it’s going to be an interesting day. What would you say to your friend?
  • What does it mean to change your mind like the weather?
  • Summer is over. What do you look forward to in Winter/
  • Would you choose to go to a beautiful beach or a mountain?

Speeches

Don’t Believe in Handsome Blondes, by Clare Fraga

Clare captivated us with her past adventure into the Alps where she learned skiing for the first time in her life. This was a speech that required Clare to focus on using her body language. And she did that extraordinary well, showing us the “duck position” and the swurves and jumps she had to endure in the snow.

We shared her fun and excitement… and also embarrasment. The ski instructor was a handsome blonde who reassured Clare the she was ready for the big slope.

The moral of her story – some things in life need a bit more practice before you do it in the real world, regardless of the comforting words from a handsome blonde.

Education for Girls in the Third World, by Rowlanda Orchiston

Rowlanda delivered a persuasive speech that made us appreciate the benefits of living in a developed country versus third world countries especially in regions where the Taliban is powerful.

One such benefit we often take for granted is education. And education is difficult to access when you’re a girl living in a region with Taliban presence, constantly witnessing murders, harassment, bombings and brainwashing.

The danger is brought to life, when we heard the words spoken by a Taliban, “you should not go to school”, heard about schools being bombed, and a girl named Malala Yousafzai who supported female education was shot by the Tabliban.

Rowlanda announced that this was her last speech before leaving the club to pursue her next adventure in life – to help bring education to girls in third world countries.

What’s Important in Negotiation, by Jagath Peiris

Jagath explained the different types of outcome that arise from negotiations – Win Win, Win Lose, Comprise (i.e. Lose Lose), Walk Away.

He used a personal example to explain how sometimes, maintaining a good relationship is more important than achieving a good negotiation outcome for yourself. In many work situations, people get rewarded for winning and they forget about the relationships. And companies only realise this mistake when they lose market share.

Jagath gave us some important advice – research the people you’re dealing with, where they are coming from and be aware of the tactics they may use to influence the outcome.

Yannis the Greek Immigrant, Johnny Manolelis

Johnny delivered his humorous speech which made everyone in the room laugh non-stop. His story was full of humorous encounters since he came to Australia in 1990. He detailed his difficulties in dealing with cultural differences.

For example, his encounter with a female hotel staff, where she would end the sentence with “darling” or “love”… but in Greek culture those words meant you were on a date.

His other encounters include watching cricket and going to a friend’s BYO barbeque. If that wasn’t enough, Johnny maintained a Greek accent throughout which added to the quirky humour.

New Member Induction

We inducted our newest member, Helena Zhang. She gave us the Word of the Night, “Vibe” at the start of the meeting, which set the positive vibes for the rest of the night. We’re very happy to welcome Helena and the energy she brings to our club.

fznor

Area 2 International Speech and Evaluation Contest 2019

West Pennant Hills Toastmasters is hosted the Area 2 International Speech and Evaluation Contest on the 17th February 2019 at the Cherrybrook Community and Culture Centre – Redgum Hall.

Here are the contest winners:

International Speech Contest:
1st – Tom Ware
2nd – Johnny Manolelis
3rd – Leanne Varga

Evaluation Contest:
1st – Sakeena De Souza
2nd – Corinne Baird
3rd – Sophie Pang

International Speech Contest on 15th January

This meeting was our International Speech Contest, where each contestant delivered a prepared speech that was 5-7 minutes on a topic of their choosing and was inspirational.

Johnny came 1st place and will be representing our club in the Area 2 contest held on February 17th.

1st place: Johnny Manolelis – “Inspired by a Banana”

“If you change the way you look at things, then the things you look at change”. Johnny brilliantly demonstrated his message by peeling a banana, not the clumsy way that most people do, but the easy way that monkeys do.

He recounted the journey of his life, the struggles he encountered, and how he used his imagination to attract an abundance of good luck into his life and make his dreams come true. To quote Albert Einstein, “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere”.

2nd place: Mel Colgar – “Communicate Different”

Mel reflected on her childhood. She vividly described the thoughts in her mind when she was a little girl. School became her favourite thing. But the world was still a terrifying place for her. She realised that she needed to work on her weaknesses to overcome her fears. Her message to us was: “challenge your own weaknesses”.

3rd place: Christopher Tso – “The Third Law”

Christopher explained how we can use Newton’s Third Law, ” For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”, so that instead of us chasing after success, we create an environment where success easily comes to us. Willpower is not enough. We need to be adaptable. And sometimes when we stop looking and do something different, we find what we were looking for.

contest-chairman-winners-area-director
The contest chairman, 3 contestants, and Area Director.

Table Topics

We had less contestants than expected, so Johnny used the spare time to host the Table Topics session. Johnny wrote a word on a piece of paper that no one else could see. The word is an object that the audience must guess correctly, so that they win a prize. Each audience member needed to speak about the object for 1 minute. Johnny started it off by explaining how he would carry the object into his room, change the settings and how he loved his lamb.

We had members guessing the object was pandora’s box, a box to keep food inside, an oven, a microwave… but no one guessed it was a Toaster until the very end!

Club Meeting on 9 Oct 2018

This was a meeting with all the “heavy hitters”. We were not just heavy with engaging delivery, but also with thought-provoking content. There were plenty of music playing in people’s minds because of all the challenging ideas that were floating around. Every speech was a masterpiece.

We also formally inducted 2 new members – Eran and Matt (pictured).

The Warm Up

Music was the theme for the evening. To celebrate Universal Music Day, Ross gave a Toast on the value of music, because we sometimes travel to places where people don’t speak the same language. However, wherever we go, people play music. It’s a universal language that brings people together.

Rowlanda gave the Word of the Night – “Mnemonic”, because mnemonics help her remember the words of her speech. And she gave us a demonstration by singing us “The Owl and the Pussycat”.

Table Topics

Shirley hosted the Table Topics session, and got plenty of advice on how to get away with telling lies. Here’s a sample of her questions and a quoteworthy phrase from each speaker.

Is it OK to tell lies? Yes, especially when telling the whole truth will have disastrous consequences and cause significant damage. It’s sometimes necessary to bend the truth.

What is the biggest lie you’ve have ever told? This is like a Confession Box!

Would you ever tell a lie to make yourself look good? I’ve never told a lie. I don’t believe in lies. We just have different versions of the truth!

Practice Makes Bravery

Eran, our new member, introduced himself to the club by delivering his Icebreaker speech. It’s always good to hear new members reflect on “why we are here”, as that is what motivates us to keep overcoming challenges, regardless of how experienced we already are.

Eran shared two events that inspired him to join Toastmasters.

The first event in Eran’s story was going to stand up comedy. Here’s an excerpt of his speech:

It’s always been my goal to deliver presentations without having to read off my notes. But I’ve been too afraid to take the plunge.

Earlier this year, my friend (Matt) and I, feeling disillusioned with our workplace roles, decided to salvage what semblance of personalities we had left, and started enjoying going to amateur stand up comedy clubs at Fox Studios.

We began analysing theory and technique behind a good joke and the more stand-up routines we saw, the more we began to see a pattern emerging. It wasn’t so much the content of the joke itself, but rather the delivery of the speaker themselves was much more powerful.

Indeed, one of our close friends, performed a routine which on paper, would barely elicit a chuckle, but on stage the delivery was such that it got the crowd laughing. This was tangible evidence that delivery skills in a speech are in many ways, just as, if not more, important than the content. As communication theories suggest- its not what you say, but often, how you say it. After this experience, I knew there was something to this theory.

Matt persuaded me to put my name down to deliver a comedy routine of my own. But only a few days prior to my appearance, I pulled out. I felt like I had let myself down… and everyone else down. Having seen first hand how powerful a good delivery was, I was persuaded to improve my public speaking.

The second event, was discovering a great speaker called Jordan Peterson. The clinical psychologist explains that:

When you voluntarily confront your fears and weaknesses, you undergo a fundamental shift – from being a defensive prey victim being chased by your fears, to becoming the aggressor and voluntarily chasing your fears in a mode of challenge and reward… something that is associated with fulfilment and positive emotion. You still know the world is a place full of challenge and danger, but you accept it and become braver.

Exposing yourself to your fears and weaknesses provides immense meaning in your life. Too much order in your life, say, constantly being on holiday, and not enough chaos can at times be a danger. We need something substantial to contend with and therefore grow to be satisfied.

The two events convinced him in the importance of:

  1. Good delivery in communication, and
  2. Voluntarily exposing yourself to your weaknesses.

And that convinced him that Toastmasters was the place to be.

Eran left us with a quote from Jordan Peterson: “In life, you’re all in. No matter what you do – this is going to kill you, so you may as well play the most magnificent game you can… People find immense meaning in the responsibilities they adopt”.

Why We Need the Internet of Money

Christopher explained how the Internet is distributing power and control away from centralised authorities into the hands of the people. Authority is no longer the New York Times or whoever owns the printing press. What matters now is the message which resonates with people, and no one can stop it from becoming viral.

What the Internet did with media, it’s about to do with money. Chris believes there will be another social and political revolution within the next 20 years. However, powerful governments and institutions have witnessed how the “Internet of Media” took away a lot of their power already. And so, they will do everything they can in order prevent the next version of the Internet from happening, dubbed the “Internet of Money”.

Here are some notable excerpts of his speech:

It’s no coincidence that the first Bitcoin was created on 3rd January 2009, right after the Global Financial Crisis. We could no longer count on banks and governments to serve the people.

Bitcoin is a new form of money, except you can send bitcoin to any place in the world without a bank, and without government permission. It’s still very early stages, like the Internet was in the 1990’s.

One day, 10 year old kids will grow up in a world where they download an app and open a bitcoin account and be in control of money. There will be a huge generational divide. Kids won’t understand why banks need to exist. Parents don’t understand why bitcoin has value. Which side will you be on?

Are We App Mad?

Clare gave a humorous take on how apps are making their way into our personal lives. We learned how Clare has numerous apps on her iPhone – a calorie counter, pedometer, yoga app, fitbit, Headspace – all helping her to achieve her health and fitness goals – then she spends the next hour on Facebook, Whatsapp and YouTube. It’s a habit that many of us share.

In 2017, there were nearly 269 billion app downloads! When I first got my iPhone, probably 8 years back – I had about 10 apps. Today I have 180 apps!

The most expensive was the “I Am Rich” app which was priced at $999.99 and did nothing but display a shiny gem and a positive affirmation. This app was actually downloaded by eight people before being pulled from the store by Apple.

Do these apps add value to our lives and help achieve our goals faster, make us happier people or are they slowly establishing a habit of dependency and we are stopping to think for ourselves? And how much time is it taking out of our day?

In the recent IOS update on my iPhone, the latest app tells you how long you are on your iPhone. So why do we do it?

Our world is progressing exponentially with technology. With all new things, we need to adjust, understand the value it brings to our lives but more important of all, be self-aware, selfish with our time and take control.”

Rebuilding a Toastmasters club

Mark Paton gave an account on how he put in place a plan to rebuild a Toastmasters club in Killara. He explained the three phases that a club usually goes through.

Phase 1 – A new club is started and new members are excited about the opportunities.

Phase 2 – The club is thriving with members achieving their educational goals and becoming experienced.

Phase 3 – The club establishes routine and stability, but becomes resistant to change.

Mark observed that the club was in Phase 3, and worked out a short-term and long-term strategy to put the club back into good health.

Working from Home

Mark Jackson asked the audience, “do any of you work from home at all, or wants to work from home?” It was a resounding “yes” from the audience. It’s become quite common these days because of advancements in technology and perceived benefits.

But it’s not all beneficial. That’s why Mark gave a balanced view of the pros and cons of working from home. Here’s what stood out based on Mark’s own experiences:

Pros:

  • There’s no commute time.
  • No one to look over your shoulder (i.e. no micromanagement)
  • Help achieve a better work/life balance.

Cons:

  • Requires a lot of self-discipline. A lot of humans do not have this!
  • Can get alienated from office events and activities.
  • Chance of being overlooked for a promotion
  • Less opportunities to “learn by osmosis”. Your social skills can also deteriorate over time.

Mark’s advice – working from home should be done sparingly. But if you do prefer to work from home – it’s recommended to visit the office at least once per week.

Perhaps it’s also why many of us join Toastmasters. It helps us build and maintain our communication skills… especially in-between jobs, or when we need to work from home for a continuous basis, or when public speaking isn’t something we do very often in the workplace.

The Winning Formula for Success

Matt Anderson

As evolution in nature tells us, variation and feedback is the winning formula for success. We’ve created another unique, memorable and productive Toastmasters night. I love how every meeting is different… pushing us slightly outside our comfort zone… and giving us immediate feedback… so we’re able to evolve into a better version of ourselves.

If this is something you want to experience, let us know and we’ll invite you to an upcoming meeting.

INVITE ME

Breaking Boundaries

As Johnny Manolelis said, real leaders don’t need to use force. They lead with their powerful presence, which pulls you in, instead of pushing you. They break and change the rules of the game.

But leadership starts with yourself. We are the CEO of our own lives. We have habits… which are part of the “primitive mind” as Mel Colgar calls it. When the habits no longer serve us, we need to change our habits, which in turn, change who we are… or do we need to change who we are, to change our habits? Who is controlling you… your primitive mind, or your executive mind?

When we join Toastmasters, it’s usually because we want to break the habits and rules that we’ve placed on ourselves. And that’s what three people recently did. They broke their own rules and decided to join our Toastmasters club.

Please welcome our newest members, Eran Halevi, Jenny Li and Matt Anderson! We’re glad to have you as part of our family, and we look forward to working with you on your journey of personal and professional growth.

The Icebreaker

The Icebreaker is the first speech you deliver as a new member of Toastmasters. I loved Matt Anderson’s Icebreaker, titled “Being Prepared”. Very humorous and plenty of golden advice.

Here’s a shorterned version of his speech:

I live, breathe and studied motor sport (car racing). A fundamental principle that is vital to motor sport is preparation, often referred to as the 5 P’s: Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. The sport is very competitive, and small differences often decides who is the winner. Not only that, you’re putting the driver’s safety on the line, and small differences can also lead to catastrophic events.

When it comes to public speaking, we’ve all had our share of “I wish I could have done different…” moments.

I was invited to give a best man speech to at least a hundred people. I was honored, but also experienced lots of pressure and anxiety on the special day. It was all I could think about on the day.

The Father of the Groom delivered an absolute cracker of a speech. Then my turn… I had one shot… one opportunity.

My predicament is best paraphrased by 90’s Philosopher, Eminem… “He’s nervous, but on the surface he look’s calm and ready… His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.”

My speech went “okay”. But I knew that I definitely needed to improve.

Fast-forward to today, I’m about to get married to my fiancé. That’s great… because now I have to deliver a speech at the wedding!

And here’s why Toastmasters is key. It helps me develop skills for the big day; reduce my anxiety when I’m about to deliver a speech; and gives me the opportunity to practice, so it becomes automatic, and allows me to enjoy my day.

I also enjoy the journey of preparation. That’s what life is about… enjoying the moment.

While I’m focused on one major event, it’s also developing skills which are useful in many other areas of life.

For example, during the weekend, I had a mic unexpectedly shoved under my nose. I was being interviewed for my views on a sporting event. Thankfully, I had just joined Toastmasters and I recalled my experience with Table Topics where I was given plenty of feedback on how to improve. It was what got me through the interview.

It’s like athletes (like Usain Bolt) always say… “The race is won before you step on the track”. When you step onto the track, you’re just claiming the prize. Whoever did the most preparation and training wins.

The Speakers

Aside from the Icebreaker, we had four other speeches. Mel talked about dieting and how it’s harder than it seems. Clare talked about the good old days which is actually now. Johnny and Jagath gave two very different angles on leadership.

“What Type of Leader Are You?”. That was the question that Johnny wanted us to contemplate. “Do you lead with power, or do you lead with force?” Johnny saw two types of leaders. He used to be in the army, where the leader was in reality a follower of rules,  and they would raise their voice to ensure everyone followed those rules as well.

Johnny concluded his speech asking the audience to do one thing. Think of that little rule… and try to break that rule.

Johnny Manolelis

Christopher Tso delivered an educational workshop on Pathways, which is an education program designed to help you build the competencies you need to communicate and lead.

Every speaker was evaluated, and received plenty of useful tips on how to make their speech more effective. And every evaluator was evaluated by a general evaluator. As one visitor commented in awe, “it’s like the hunter being hunted”.

Mark Paton

Want to know how you can be part of this amazing experience? Visit us at an upcoming meeting or contact us for more information.

CONTACT US

Table Topics Contest on 11th September

“If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would that be?” This was the question asked to each of our 7 contestants. Each contestant was escorted onto the stage, without knowing what question they would be asked. And they had to give a 1-2 minute speech about it. That’s exactly what Table Topics trains us to do. To handle unexpected situations. To be ready to speak about anything without warning.

All the contestants gave unique and well-constructed speeches. They were scored by six judges. And based on set criteria, the winners of the Table Topics Contest were announced:

1st place: Christopher Tso
2nd place: Rowlanda Orchiston
3rd place: Vicky Mina

After the contest section, we were back to our usual club meeting format.

The 1st speaker, Rowlanda impressed us again practicing her humorous speech “Got a Match?”. We gave her a “round-robin” evaluation where the audience gave plenty of valuable feedback for Rowlanda to enhance her speech. The feedback given sometimes conflicted with the feedback from another audience member, and it could have easily spiralled into a debate. That’s how passionate and engaged everyone was with Rowlanda’s second delivery of her winning speech.

The 2nd speaker, Hannah Le inspired us with her 10th and final speech in the Competent Communicator manual. It touched on an important issue in our society, where women’s voices are often marginalised in the workplace. She offered suggestions on what to do about it, and shared her own experiences on how she turned the odds into her favour. Ross Richard evaluated her speech, and he shared his observations on how Hannah has grown remarkably since she joined Toastmasters in late 2016. She’s a very different person now… much more confident and outgoing. A complete transformation also shared by other members of WPH Toastmasters.


Photo: Hannah on stage


Photo: View from the stage