Monday, January 28 was competition night at Portlaoise Toastmasters Club.
Both the International Speech Contest and the Evaluation Contest were chaired by the very capable Ann Duncan.
The Speech Contest began with Donal Cahill’s appraisal of set dancing. He claimed it makes you fitter, smarter and feel better – high praise indeed! His tour de force convinced some of us to consider this as a possible new hobby and with Donal’s fitness and ability, he proved a great ambassador for this lively pastime.
Mary White followed with her speech on “Convenience?” She contrasted the present with the past and noted that we now live in an era where many people are time poor and seek the convenient solution to most problems. This applies also to gift giving and we are now more inclined to simply put money in an envelope for a child’s birthday.
Mary felt that this in no way measures up to the thoughtfully chosen gifts which she received as a child .She concluded that the thought really does count and that the old fashioned values are best.
The third contestant was Bryan Holland with his speech entitled “What a shock”. As always his speech captivated the audience.
He spoke lovingly and entertainingly about the arrival of his first born child and he tenderly captured the magic of that special time. In a very close contest Donal and Mary were selected to represent the Club in the next stage of the competition. Well done to all.
The Evaluation Competition followed. A test speech was given by former member Terry Gillespie, who provided a fascinating insight into the lives of swans. The three contestants were then given five minutes to record their thoughts on his speech and were then asked to present their evaluations to the audience. Mary Cuddy, Orlagh McCrory and Meree O’Sullivan rose to the challenge and all three excelled in their analytical and positive feedback . Meree and Orlagh emerged as the winners of another very close contest.
Since Orlagh is unavailable for the next competition Meree and Mary will be the worthy representatives for our club.
A lively topics session was presided over by Kevin Langan. He introduced the concept of the six word short story, gave some examples and encouraged the audience to speak for two minutes on each story.
This was quite challenging but also very entertaining , so well done to Kevin for originality.
At the end of the meeting the President, Mark Bastow, thanked the organisers and presented the Geraldine O’Loughlin Award to Mary Cuddy.
This was well deserved as Mary gave her very first evaluation on the night and to a very high standard indeed. We wish her, Meree, Donal and Mary the very best of luck in the next contest.
Our next meeting takes place in the Killeshin Hotel at 8pm on Monday, Feb 11th. All are welcome and admission is free for guests at their first two meetings. We hope to see you there.
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