Steve Cann, VPPR at Maidenhead Speakers, writes:
Contestants, members and guests from Area 21 all assembled on a warm and bright October Saturday morning at Burnham Park Hall in Buckinghamshire for a fun-filled and lively Area Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest!
Contest Chair and Area Governor Mark Emanuelson kicked off proceedings by building up applause and getting us to make sure our whooping and cheering were all as good as they could be. He then introduced guest speaker Tracey Miranda, who warmed us up with her stand-up routine. She warned us that when Toastmasters see a red light when driving, they still think they have 30 seconds before they need to stop… and thena mused us with her Competent Mother Manual, a Toastmasters-style book that all new mothers need to read and aspire to if they wish to achieve their CM award!
We then heard from our worthy contestants… the seven deadly sins, a faulty Citroen, and a mid-life crisis at 25, escapades in the gym, canoeing and jogging and a lesson that the perfect work-out is laughter. Tongue-twisters and a disco-dancing dinosaur impersonation, romantic adventures and ice-cream in Rome and Winston Churchill even made an appearance! A headteacher exhorted Toastmaster pupils to pull up their socks or risk detention, tales of what happened after a toastmaster knocked over a police motorbike and how ‘sing like nobody’s listening and dance like nobody’s watching’ can get you into a whole world of trouble…
After the half-time break, it was onto the Table Topics.
Speaking on the topic If you had one superpower for a day, what would it be and how would you use it? we heard some very inventive ideas…
- Go back in time and buy shares in Apple, enabling one erstwhile toastie to live a life of sunshine and luxury on his yacht in the Caribbean….
- A customized Babel-Fish which would allow someone to understand what everybody was saying verbally and emotionally, just for one day!
- Travel back in time to double-check whether our historical records of ancient cultures such as the Romans and Egyptians are as accurate as we believe… and also check back on his relatives from his family tree and spend a day hanging out with them.
- Be the ‘God of Gaming’ for one day, clean up at the casinos and set himself up very nicely as a millionaire! A superhero’s cape and accompanying flying powers may cause problems with his Civil Aviation Authority, however…
- The power of love would enable one to walk into a roomful of people, infecting them instantly with her power of love. They would go out and pass it on to others, and soon everyone in the world would be smiley, relaxed and at one, just for one beautiful day.
- The power of public speaking on contest day! Super-speed would make one toastie invincible, able to get anything done and interestingly he preferred the notoriety of being a super-villain rather than a superhero!
- A proper superhero needs a cape, obviously, but the power to heal people would be quite useful, although the potential pitfalls of being classed as a deity were of concern, especially if he ended up in the same predicament as Brian in the Life of Brian!
- The full power of flight for one day, soaring into the clouds, saving a fortune on airline tickets!
Mark invited each speaker up at the end to give their thoughts on the contest and public speaking itself, and to share some personal insights with the audience, which we all really enjoyed.
Well done to Chris, who now goes on to represent Area 21 at the District Contest in Dorking on the 19th of October. It’s going to be a high-quality contest!