Double Win for Waverley at Area 33 Contests

After the International Speech and Evaluation contest which took place in our club on Thursday 15th March, three weeks later, on Saturday 7th April, the second round was hosted in Rosyth, this time for all the winners of the Area 33 contest.

The Waverley Communicators members who were to represent our club were Paul Bailey and Dan Haycraft for the International Speech Contest, and Marcin Radecki and Jacek Lasota for the Evaluation contest. Because of a personal commitment, however, Marcin Radecki wasn’t able to go and was replaced by Michael McLernan who came third in the club contest.

In the fascinating venue of Lodge 1159, a selected group of Toastmasters members had prepared the place to welcome the participants. The first part was dedicated to the Speech contest: the audience listened to seven speeches of high quality and diversified subjects, from the adventurous life of the ancestor of a Toastmaster member to the nocturnal incursions of a cat, to a daring flight to return home where everything which could possibly go wrong… went wrong!

Our Paul Bailey amused all the listeners with a sharp-witted analysis of the different types of expenses met by our organisation, while Dan Haycraft struck everybody with the tale of what really happened with Hurricane Katrina, revealing some of the hidden facts which were never covered by the media. It was a highly effective speech, and Dan was extraordinary good in what could be defined, without any doubt, the best speech he has ever delivered in a Toastmaster meeting.

After a short break, where we had the chance to taste some delicious and slightly spiced Indian rolls, the Evaluation Contest started. Jacek Lasota and Michael McLernan, like the other three competitors, listened to an amusing speech about the art of negotiation. They perfectly evaluated the speech with the sharpness we know so well when they evaluate in our meetings.

Time to count the ballots and the final results were astounding: Paul Bailey and Michael McLernan took first place in both contests! An incredible outcome for our club, and an even more satisfactory one, if we consider that last year, at the International Speech Contest, the first place was taken by our own Neil MacLure.

The winners can rest and enjoy this moment, but not for very long. In fact, it’s not over yet and they have to be ready for the new step in the competition. On 21st April there will be the Division S contest, and this time it will take place in Aberdeen.

All our members are invited to support our representatives on that day, but for the moment let’s also thank you Dan Haycraft and Jacek Lasota who, although they didn’t qualify, they gave an exceptional performance for which they should be very proud… as are we of them.

Post written by Omar Martini – Secretary, Waverley Communicators

Congrats Humorous Speech & Table Topics Winners

Well done to all participants of last week’s Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests. The next round will see 1st and 2nd place in both contests compete at the area contest.

The Humorous Speech Contest is a great event to attend; enjoy speeches and Table Topics from the winners of the other Areas in Division S and meet fellow Toastmasters from all over Scotland. The contest is in Linlithgow at the Lowport Centre Sunday 2nd October 1pm. Join the Toastmasters Area 33 Division Scotland event to indicate your attendance and receive updates.

NB: Members who are in a position to help with organising the area contest (such as filling roles), please leave a message in the Facebook event — it would be much appreciated.

Congratulations to all and best of luck to our superstars carrying on to area level. And if you do need a funny boost or tip for the coming battle, watch the video in this flashback blog from 2013.

Here are a few snaps of club president Patrick Bundy presenting awards for the contest:

Humorous speech: 1st Catherine Dignan, 2nd Lauren Campbell.

Table topics: 1st John Wood, 2nd Richard McMahon, 3rd Moira Beaton.


 John Woodimg_20160915_2105041  Richard McMahonimg_20160915_2104191  Moira Beatonimg_20160915_2103451
 Lauren Campbellimg_20160915_2101391  hs-contest  Catherine Dignanimg_20160915_2102351

Imgs by: Eduard Kutaš


Rachael M

Wav. Communicators

Organising a Speech Contest

As a rookie Vice President Education (VPE), one of the most challenging tasks facing me was organising my first speech contest. I had in fact attended a contest the previous year, and even entered the Evaluation contest, but I still had only the vaguest of ideas of how the event was actually organised. My liveliest recollection of taking part in the Evaluation contest was of having to wait my turn in the freezing cold of the dark church above our old premises in St Paul’s church hall. How the event was actually put together was not of the slightest interest to me at the time. Now, however, I found myself wishing I had been a little more observant of what had been going on around me!

Contest season was fast approaching.  Very quickly we had a full quota of contestants. All I had to do now was put the event together. No problem, I reasoned to myself, clubs run contests every year. Toastmasters is such a well-oiled machine of an institution there is bound to be a template somewhere that sets out how these things should be done. Well, I found this was true, up to a point; there was plenty of guidance out there, except, as it happened, when it came to the actual agenda for the evening.

As good regular attendees of Toastmaster meetings, you will all no doubt appreciate the value of the agenda in keeping us on the straight and narrow path of perfect timekeeping. I knew how much we would go astray during a contest evening without the right agenda to guide us. But could I find a Humorous Speech and Table Topics contest agenda among the many templates squirrelled away on the website? No! I would have to put one together myself. Eventually, after much consultation with our webmaster Moira Beaton, and many attempts later, we finally produced The Perfect Contest Agenda. We were back on track again.

Now I had to come up with names to fill all those empty boxes on the agenda. I had to find a chief judge, contest chairs, timers, counters and sergeants-at-arms. As for judges, this year the clubs in our area are experimenting with swopping judges among clubs so recruiting judges was one responsibility I could delegate to Neil Maclure, our Club President. Two weeks before the contest I sent out a call for volunteers and had a terrific response from our members. In fact, for me, this was one of the most positive aspects of organising the contest, the wonderful spirit of co-operation from our members. All of the roles were filled in no time.

Contest night came and all went smoothly. Our contest chairs, Ritchie Brown and Neil Maclure, were well prepared. Our chief judge, David Dick, took matters expertly in hand, and our visiting judges were slotted in seamlessly. Thanks to all our willing volunteers, we had a very enjoyable and successful contest night. And we have an excellent template to work from for next time!

Aideen O’Malley, Vice President Education

First Time: Speaking Outside The Club

2-28-2014_005Having volunteered to give the Test Speech for Haymarket Toastmasters’ evaluation contest on 3rd  March, it came as something of a surprise to find myself being asked to give my speech at Capital Communicators (CapCom) on 25 February!

It turned out that through some complex trade-off (OK it wasn’t that complex – Haymarket had found a speaker, whilst CapCom had not) my services had been bartered like “a poor man’s Juan Mata” – moved from club to club in search of a first team game.

After shouting down my first thought on being asked to move my speech forward almost one week – my default position of “I’m going to say no. I’m can’t get prepared in time” – I was left with a double challenge. Firstly I was going to be speaking to an audience of relative strangers and secondly it was CapCom!

The first issue is an interesting one.

I’m sure to a greater or lesser degree we all join Toastmasters to get over a fear of public speaking.  Then, as our Toastmasters journey progresses, we are presented with a bit of a paradox.

We begin to get more comfortable at public speaking, but the particular “public” we address at our regular meetings also becomes less daunting. This is particularly true in a club as welcoming as Waverley, where we can soon find ourselves addressing a group of friends.

Of course, it’s great to be in an environment where we can try things out and not be petrified of failure. But if there is a downside then it is that it might not prepare us as well for the “being thrown in at the deep end” scenario that is certainly my biggest fear.

The second challenge?

Well you see, CapCom and I have some history.

Around 8 years ago, when I was really struggling to come to terms with public speaking anxiety, a well meaning friend directed me to a CapCom meeting.

I wasn’t in a particularly good place at the time.  And it’s probably fair to say that I left their meeting place, the Theosophical Society in Great King Street, that evening convinced that the prospect of me ever being able to deliver the sort of speech I had witnessed as a guest that night was about as likely as me being asked to take the place of Robbie Williams in the recently reformed Take That (it was 2006 remember!).

Anyway, the point is that I was being asked to return to the site of one of my lowest moments in the very long chronicle that has been my phobia of public speaking.

Of course, a lot had changed since these dark days: not least, over 3 years, I had experienced the best Waverley Communicators encouragement, helpful evaluation and occasional cajolement.

Much to my surprise, although still nervous at the thought of addressing an audience of relative strangers, I found myself excited too.

I was repeating a speech I had delivered at Waverley a few weeks before and that I felt could have gone better on the night (don’t you always?).

It was a speech I had taken a while to put together and the chance to dust it off and re-cycle it with, hopefully, a bit more polish was a great opportunity.

On the night, the members at CapCom was very welcoming and did their best to put me at ease.

My speech went reasonably well. It was still far from perfect, but then I did hear Chris Evans of all people philosophise only this morning that “perfect is the enemy of good” – and I get his point.

In my opinion, the opportunity to speak to a different audience is a very important step in the Toastmasters journey and one that should be grasped when it presents itself.

Guest post written by David Dick

Member of Waverley Communicators, Edinburgh

What You Need To Know To Be a Good Speech Contest Judge

As a judge, your role is not to evaluate the speakers, it is to select a winner.

Good contest judges are:

  • Accurate – they need to be able to complete the ballot correctly
  • Fair – they do not let personal feelings influence their decision
  • Trustworthy – contestants trust them to select the best speaker as winner
  • Knowledgeable – they must know the contest rules; how to judge; and how to complete the judging form
  • Good listeners – they do not become distracted during the speech
  • Objective

Good contest judges:

  • Read the judging guide and become familiar with the criteria before the speech contest.
  • Sign the ballot as soon as they receive it.
  • Focus on the speech, and take brief notes if it helps.  After the speech, enter the scores on the ballot.
  • Don’t forget to write down a first, second and third place at the end or the ballot will be discarded.
  • Do not take the time into consideration when judging.


Q. What happens if I forget to sign my ballot?

A. It is discarded and, therefore, won’t count in the final scoring.

Q. What happens if I ‘tie’ 2 contestants on my ballot?

A. Decide which contestant you prefer. You cannot ‘tie’ 2 contestants on the tear off slip at the bottom of the ballot.

Q. On what grounds might a contestant be disqualified?

a. originality

b. eligibility

c. timing (over or under time)

Q. Is the speaking area important?

A. Yes. At the beginning of the contest, the Contest Chair will announce where the speaking area is. On the ballot, the speaking area comes under ‘Delivery’. A speaker cannot be disqualified if they go outside the speaking area but you can, if you want, mark them down.

Q.What do I do if I suspect a speech may not be entirely original?

A. You may protest to the Chief Judge and/or the Contest Chair before the announcement of the winners. After the announcement, the placements cannot be changed.

Q. When is a speech not original?

A. Here is what the rules say:

“Twenty-five percent or less of the speech may be devoted to quoting, paraphrasing, or referencing another person’s content. Any quoted, paraphrased, or referenced content must be so identified during the speech.”

Q. Can a member of the audience lodge a protest?

A. No, only judges and contestants can protest. And only about originality and eligibility.

Q. Does the Chief Judge complete a ballot?

A. No.

Q. Does the Tie-Break judge attend the judges’ briefing before the contest?

A. No. The TieBreak judge is appointed by the Chief Judge, and their identity is kept secret.

Q. Are the contestants allowed to see their scores after the contest?

A. No. Judges are not allowed to explain to contestants how they voted or give an evaluation of their speech. The judging ballots are confidential and should be disposed of after the contest.

Post written by Moira Beaton DTM

VPPR Waverley Communicators