Tragedy, Drama and Plenty of Inspiration

Marko Salopek delivering his speech What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

It was an upbeat, energetic meeting this week, despite Toastmaster and newly-appointed District Programme Quality Director, Florian Bay jokingly comparing it to a three-part Greek tragedy. “Though no one actually dies, luckily”, he added. But there was certainly some drama…

Florian Bay announcing club achievements

Kicking off the evening’s speeches with his first project from the Innovative Planning pathway Alex shared the story of how his creative outlets of music, cooking and film have taken him around the world, from London, Ontario (where he was born), via Italy, to London, England (where he now lives). In his speech, entitled Tale of Three Cities, he explained what kept him moving: “I needed more! More what? Everything!”

Alex Liberatore gets his ribbon for Ice Breaker on Pathways; Tale of Three Cities

Speech evaluator Mohammed declared that Alex did “an awesome job” with his speech. Also presenting the inaugural project from Innovating Planning, Marko displayed excellent leadership as he stepped in to take up the second speech slot which had become free earlier in the day due to a last-minute cancellation. With less than an afternoon to prepare, it was apt that he chose the speech title What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? He spoke about how squaring up to the things that scare us, from moving countries to overcoming a fear of heights, can bring amazing personal rewards.

Eleanor Handslip gets Best Table Topics Award

“Marko created suspense and made us think deeply about the questions he was posing,” said speech evaluator, Andrew.  Ignorance Is Not Bliss was the final speech of the evening and took a sombre and serious tone. Exploring the realities behind both the meat industry and the gold-mining industry, speaker, Siddarth, took a creative approach to completing the fourth speech project in the Competent Communication Manual, How To Say It. Pascale, evaluating Siddarth’s speech said: “His vivid words really stirred the imagination!”

Marko Salopek gets Best Speaker Award

In the second half of the meeting, Table Topic Master Yumi challenged the volunteer impromptu speakers with a particularly tricky task. They randomly selected a subject, object and place and had to craft a spontaneous speech mentioning all of them. From “receptionist, lip balm and toilet” to “expat, mint and Japan”, this mechanic led to some excellent storytelling speeches, in particular from Eleanor, Andrew and first-time guest, Jeremy.

Despite all the drama, there were plenty of laughs and enough inspiration to keep us all working hard on our public speaking. “Every time you open your mouth, you are a public speaker,” said Mohammed, “so you may as well get it right!” Giving up? Now THAT would be a tragedy.