Terrace@12 Club level International Speech Contests was something special, and something to be proud of. The spirit of Toastmasters was there, first timers at contest speaking, chairing, and timing, mixing with and helped encouraged along by experienced Toastmasters.
The seats were so swelled by visiting judges and visitors we almost had to grab more chairs from next door. There was a definite atmosphere of excitement at the start which was added by the re-drawing of the speaking order to meet correct procedure.

Chloe our contest chair call forth the contestants: Peter, Grace, and Andrew.

Peter’s speech, was dynamic, persuasive, and sophisticatedly structured with an overlay of empathy, poignant comparisons, and personal history about his father’s route to New Zeland. Further, he filigreed it with financial arguments, work ethic benefits, and the irresistible feel-good factor that can only be generated by altruistic feelings flowing directly from thoughts of doing nice things for others. Combining all the above with good pace, variable tempo and what you have listened to will undoubtedly be a hard-hitting, emotionally tugging speech. Which is precisely what Peter delivered.

The problem presented by Peter was the sad plight of 20 million Arab refugees fleeing Syria and the opportunity New Zealand offers to them but is limited to just 1,000 lucky men, women, and children just like us. He urged us to do more, to be nice, to be the World Leaders, to benefit economically from hard-working refugees that perhaps work harder than Kiwis. His father, he told us, was a refugee from Europe coming here after WWII, he came with nothing, worked hard, very hard, further instilling ethics that Peter followed in his footsteps.

Peter finished up with calls to action, writing, petitioning, and even sending postcards to the Government and MPS, and finished off with”it is good for us, and good for them”.

Grace’s, speech “What do you do with TV?” and the surprising answer of “Don’t by one” was inspired as she told us, by another Toastmaster’s recent speech “How to buy a TV”. The subtle humor caused by taking an at variance view gently relaxed and warmed the audience. Grace then forthrightly laid out a structure and our expectations to know the why, the how, and the benefits of not buying a TV.

The why revolved around relatable family life problems and experiences of Grace when she; spent too much time watching, sat too long without movement, and eat too much to be healthy and especially ate too much popcorn.

The how was a real practical how, but at the same time tongue in cheek, becoming progressively predictable and with that funny. Her trick as she explained was a 3-day TV plan of “turn off” the TV and “turn on” the radio,”turn on” the book reading etc. Once 3 days is reached the 1-week plan comes into play. Then that is replaced by the 2-week plan, by the time you have the 1-year plan you don’t need a TV ever again.

Her benefits for turning off the TV were illustrated and related via small touching stories from parenting with for example the removal of the moral dilemma brought up by the too candid perceptive insight of her child with regards to watching TV, “if I can’t do it, how can you do it”.

She concluded strongly with “If I can do it, you can do it”. “Turn off your TV”. “Turn on a new lifestyle”.

Andrews speech “A Light Discussion” was literally and practically so. He started with engagement by getting us to all physically turn around on our seats and look at the “lights” at the back of the room. Yes, those “Red”,”Orange”, and “Green” ones controlled by the timekeepers. And like the electrons in a wire surging round and round an illuminated electric light bulb’s coils, we light up with the meaning of the title “A light discussion”.

The discussion humorously rambled around comparisons of Green, Orange, Red stages of both Andrew deciding to make this speech and of Andrew’s recent life, which started at the point of zooming off along in the green stage of physical sports and high spirits, before the orange stage with a pregnant wife and expectations of change to come, and now he is in the red stage of life with the babies arrival and no more beers, going out or sleeping well.

But don’t think that Andrew was negative, he made us think, that after the red light, we get another green. At Toastmasters after the red light marking the end of Competent Communicator Manual comes the Green light of the Advance Speech Manuals. A baby’s start in life really is a green light, not just for them but us too.

Andrew finished with some fascinating history of the first gas traffic lights made funny with their explosions and then the early but failed attempt at automation, where honking your car’s horn would speed the light change when no one was around. The honk seemed like a good but soon everyone was doing it!

Suspense always surrounds the announcement of the winner, who was Grace pictured left with our Area E4 Director Shagen. But the pause to sign the second place certificate actually added further suspense before Peter was call up, pictured right.

Andrew thus came third and should be photoed here as well.

Although 2nd, Peter is going to be competing in the E2 Area contest.
Hence Grace and Andrew go on to represent T@12

  • in the Area E4 International Speech Contest
  • on 22nd March 11:45am to 1:00pm
  • at St. Andrews on the Terrace, Conference Room 3

We wish them the all the best of luck in their respective contest.