View from the Audience

In order to avoid a clash with another event on 18th September, Waverley Communicators brought their annual Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest forward to the 4th September.  It was an excellent night.

Firstly, whoever decided to invite judges from other local clubs, take a bow. It was lovely to meet up with members from other clubs – and I discovered that Michael Russell, President of Haymarket Toastmasters, is not only from Merseyside, but even from Birkenhead, where I hail from, and he supported the mighty Tranmere Rovers, as I did in the 60’s.

Having a good number in the audience helps contestants to get a few laughs, and all five contestants did just that.

I particularly liked Moira Beaton’s turn of phrase in describing a lorry driver flashing his lights at her when she just happened to be going the wrong way on a dual carriageway!

I have heard Eileen Scott’s do-it-yourself tales about an unusual greenhouse before but it still makes me laugh.

I thought the topic of death and funerals might be fun, but it was really just an excuse for showing my favourite YouTube video – Ultimate Dog Tease.

Alvis Lotuzas, smartly dressed and with an engaging smile, recounted how naughty he had been in his youth, throwing stones at passing cars.

And Mark McCulloch had us all in fits of laughter with a wonderful tale of his skydiving adventure.

I think everyone was delighted when Mark was announced the winner; what is remarkable is that, not only has Mark not competed before, but that he has not yet actually made his icebreaker speech.

Fortunately the wise heads who make up the regulations for contests (like insisting on six speeches for the International Speech Contest) do not think that inexperience should prevent anyone from having a go at the Humorous Speech Contest, even if they know they are not going to win – as Mark modestly remarked some weeks ago.

Alvis Lotuzas was placed second and like Mark has entertained us with Table Topics several times, but he too, as far as the website shows, is yet to complete his Icebreaker; very well done!

Can Waverley smugly congratulate itself on having nurtured these two young men to success?

Well, certainly Aideen O’Malley (Alvis’s mentor) and Neil MacLure (Mark’s mentor) can be commended for there advice and mentoring before the contests.

I firmly believe that everyone has their own strenghths and should adopt their own natural style; there should be no set formula for a successful speech.  It was also interesting that, apart from my own speech, everyone was telling self-deprecating stories, showing their vulnerability in life, – a real plus in a successful speech.

Thanks to Ritchie Brown for chairing the contest and for his wonderful humour in asking Moira Beaton, during the contestant interviews, whether the dog she so craves for should be a guide dog (to help her “lost” syndrome).

Thanks to everyone else – Waverley President Neil MacLure for overseeing the contest, David Dick and his team of judges, counters, timers, and sergeants-at-arms.

Thanks also to Eion McDunphy, Area 30 Governor, for his attendance and support.

We Wish Mark McCulloch and Patrick Bundy, who won the Table Topics Contest, well in the Area 30 Contest.

And I do urge Waverley members to attend both the Area 30 Contest on October 4th and the other club contests on 16th September (Haymarket) and 23rd September (Capital Communicators) where Waverley members will be doing some judging. Contests are good fun and contestants appreciate your support.

Paul Bailey CC

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