Terrace@12 Evaluation Contest

Stephen, Hazel, Paula, John, Ruth

Test Speaker Steven Harrison (left) Competitors: Hazel, Paula, John, Ruth

Speech “Shifting from Fs to As”
What captivates you? What grabs your attention? A sudden huge unexpected ROAR from the grizzly-bear sized Stephen Harrison, used as his starting-block for the Evaluation Contest’s test-speech, shocked us, even frightened us, as fear rose and froze us for an instance whilst our full attention was instantly and firmly grabbed. Leaving us wondering what would happen next?

An explanation of fear, being an emotion to protect us from Danger. Which Stephen explained may save our lives, but went on to state if fear is overused in everyday life often turns out harmful to us.

Stephen then outlined the responses to fear, giving us more than the normal “Fight” or “Flight” responses by adding another, “Freeze”. Freeze, as a rabbit does in the bright headlights of a car. Then intrigued us with a further response of “Fabricate”, the last of his four Fs:

  • F – Fight
  • F- Flight
  • F- Freeze
  • F- Fabricate or Fake

The list of antidotes to the four F’s that we should shift to we then learned are the four A’s:

  • A – Assert
  • A – Attention
  • A – Action
  • A – Authenticate

That was also how we found out the structure of Stephen’s speech for the evaluation contest. If you wish to know how to move from F to A and missed his speech. Stephen’s book “Appreciate the Fog “ explains all.

Being a contest, as soon as Stephen concluded that we should move from the 4 F’s to the 4 A’s in order to “re-claim power to relinquish from Fear” the four Evaluation contestants were escorted by Zaine Mitchel (Sargent of Arms) to a nearby room for 5 minutes to prepare their evaluation responses.

Meanwhile, Pauline Gallagher (Contest Chair) was conducting a gallant interview of Stephen, asking about why Stephen wrote his book, asking did the Emperor with no clothes really get what he wanted, and asking about the less-known F’s Freeze and Fabricate.

Ruth addressed “Toastmasters old and brand new” “I’m going to be short” which was a deliberate play to her own somewhat telescoped size, which produced a laugh and warmed the audience to Ruth before she began her evaluation in earnest.
She talked enthusiastically about Steven’s great voice and gestures. His signposting, and his “Animal pictures that we all know” of creatures bedazzled by headlights. Then her main recommendation that the speech would benefit from more time being spent on the As, rather than the Fs.
Ruth concluded and ended with three strong recommendations:

1. Repeat for us to remember
2. Concentrate on the main body the A’s
3. Think about how to conclude, and whatever way you find “make it your technique.”

John, still as a statue centre stage with an elongated deliberate pause, captured our attention as equally as the bear roar earlier on. This made Johns enthusiastic question of “Well wasn’t that interesting?” hit with impact.
His recommendation to Steven was more detailed examples, like the dog that chased Steven on his bike.
John concluded with “Steven has given us much to think about” and “I could listen to it again”.

Paula started by reminding us of “our amygdala cortex moment” when Stephen induced fear into us. She also reminded us of how relevant it is “to go from F to A” today when people come up giving us a scare. Today, “we can go home thinking about how we can go out and use what we learned”.

Since science and psychology tell us that stories are more memorable, she recommended Steven build on his storytelling.

Paula ended concluding that Stephen gave “A strong impressive speech” and “I encourage Steve to tell his story”.

Hazel started off dramatically with a sideways high kick, re-enacting Stephen’s story of kicking the nose of a feral barking dog that was chasing him! She said she was glad she was not the dog but rather she was happy to be in the audience listening to Stephen’s speech.

She recommended:

  1. Increase audience involvement by asking questions
    e.g. “Have you ever been chased by a dog?”
  2. More humour, as when Stephen used humour his mask fell away.
  3. There was great body language, and an opportunity “to move around more”.

To conclude Hazel brought out the big sideways kick again, this time it was for a “kick to the next level for the speech”. Her last words were a cunning repetition of her main recommendation “more audience participation”.

Contest Results:

1st .Hazel Bidmead
2nd. John Stapleton

Pauline (chair), Hazel 1st

Pauline (Chair), Hazel (1st), John (2nd)