Today’s (31st March) hotly contested Area E9 Evaluation Contest had four club level winners competing, namely (in speaking order):

  • Rose Austen-Falloon
  • Marion Pawson
  • Rahul Madaan
  • Raymond Kemp

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Their challenge was to evaluate with analytical quality, to give positive and helpful recommendations, to be both sensitive and motivational in their feedback and to concisely sum up and encourage the test speaker, in less than 3 and half minutes each. How did they do? And what did they get to evaluate?

The test speaker, Mike Wareham, made an impact even before he spoke by wearing a distinctive and vibrant pink shirt and clutching a scroll in his right hand. Further intrigue was generated as the Chair Andrew Neal twice repeated the speech title “Yes Absolutely”. Yes, absolutely what? Mike then built the suspense further, with a quick story of his daughters’ wishes to pin a poster up at home, he even acted out the examination of the poster before exclaiming “Yes Absolutely” then turned around and promptly pinned the poster to the wall behind him. At which point every eye in the audience scrambled to see, and then read the words:

“Girls Can Do Anything!”

Now with everyone’s utmost attention, Mike was ready to go with the rest of his speech. And go he did, like a triple jumper with a hop from the plight and servitude of women in the past, a skip through notable New Zeland women’s rights battles, to land with a jump at Helen Clark New Zealand’s first female prime minister. And then propounded more examples of unfairness in treatment and further examples of positive change, such as that made by Her Majesty the Queen of England by penning into law that future first born heirs to the throne of Great Britain may be either male or female.

And there was much more that I’m missing, but by the end, there was no doubt about the answer to Mike’s concluding rhetorical question and response, “Next time you are asked ‘Can Girls Do Anything? Answer ‘YES ABSOLUTELY’!”.

A challenging speech to evaluate? Yes Absolutely.

Did the competitors meet that challenge head on? Yes Absolutely.

Rose, enthusiastically resonated with Mike’s speech subject, found strengths in Mike’s use of facts and details, along with strong vocal variety, she recommended and demonstrated improvements in stage presence.

Marion was equally impressed with Mike’s speech subject and ability to engage with women’s rights given that he is a man. She tactfully mentioned a small nose itch and overall encouraged his magnificent speech.

Rahul, yes absolutely loved the subject, and the structure and the flow from early times, into politics, and for the inclusion of Maori treatment of women too. He recommended a reduction in the material to give more time for examples.

Raymond mentioned his 2 daughters in reference to loving the speech’s sentiment. He found that “too much flooded into his mental inbox” and suggested that Mike’s poster slogan would have been better printed on a T-Shirt or written on the white board.

Whilst the chief judge and tally counters withdrew the contest chair, Andrew, asked each contestant in turn “What woman do they most admire ?”. A most appropriate question, whilst awaiting the results, which were (in the announced order):

  • 2nd Rose Austen-Falloon
  • 1st Raymond Kemp