You have to admire those Toastmasters that are willing to stand up and speak at contests since they know that they are being judged and being placed. However, this pressure has its benefits too. That is it brings out the best in the contestants as they take on the challenge.

Today Area G3 had the privilege of witnessing two speakers excelling in a head to head International Speech contest hosted by Terrace@12 Toastmaster club.

First up, by luck of the draw, was David Cunningham the president of Fearbuster Toastmasters club, meaning Peter Scholtens president of
Terrace@12 Toastmasters club, was to follow him.

Both serious and capable Toastmasters. The audience had expectations that they would get to hear some powerful speeches, and so they did.

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David’s was titled “Chaos and Collaboration in Wellingtons windy weather”.

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Whilst Peters was “We can make a difference”.

David opened by drawing wild images in our minds with his words of white-capped waves whipped up by the winds and a boat with billowing sails. Peter dramatically shocked us with a mini tragic story of unfairness comparing the media and officials high profile support for the 20 that died when there was an unexpected eruption at Whakaari/White Island, to the media coverage for the 870 deaths in the year due to suicides, which Peter parenthetically stated: “gets ABSOLUTELY NONE!”.

Both David and Peter signposted the direction of their speeches clearly. David’s was about collaboration, its meaning, a story, and outcome. Peter’s to arm ourselves with information, to know key indicators, and to answer the question of “what can we do”.

Their bodies (of their speeches) were quite different, with David delivering on his story, that of collaboration on his sailing boat overcoming a dangerous gust of wind whereas his competitions “Nemesis” floundered. Peter came through with expert information, personal connection with the very raw lost he feels from his brother’s suicide and balanced it with some happy stuff too, that good health for ourselves, good connection with those at risk, and donations to caring charities bring.

Davids call to actions was, for us to “sail on to our next goal”.

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Peter’s was if we follow the steps outlined next year “we will not have 870 dying”.

Both David and Peter know that they are being judged, slips will be marked, handed and collected by the official tally counters. They know that the slips are taken to a room with the chief judge, Ruth Fletcher, whilst Niamh Lawless the contest chair is asking them friendly interview questions about themselves. All the while, everyone is anticipating Ruth ‘s return with the signed placement certificates and awaiting the announcement of the results:

  • 1st place Peter Scholtens (Terrace@12)
  • 2nd place David Cunningham (Fearbusters)