Area 35 Toastmaster speech contest

Area 35 International and Evaluation Contest, hosted by Croydon Communicators at the Dog and Bull pub, Contest Chairman David Thomson.

Evaluating a great speech by Ola, from the Tube Speakers Toastmasters, Vathani Navasothy won, with her sincerely appreciative evaluation.: She put so much enthousiasm in it!

Yes, I learned, as good as for example Chris's evaluation was, it was more done with the head then the heart, and even in a contest, the heart wins. That was true also with the Speech contest, whose winner was Dave Longley, even if all speeches were really great.

This time I was judge, listening, not speaking, yes, listening is also a skill to be learned. Not only listening, but learning from each speech's what is best and what were their weaker points.

Strength: authenticity, emotion, one strong point, personal stories.

Weaknesses: too many points, more telling then showing, more facts then stories, more head then heart. Too strong voice and not enough modulation. Not clear enough.

To ponder for me, next time!

But I also learned a lot, from all the speeches. It was perhaps not "new" but made me think more about my own tales, and how to...

Next time, I really have to make a video, not only a few pictures!


Mathias, king of Hungary and the cupid judge - take 1

The tale was told from 1480 on, from village to village, people to people, and about a hundred years ago, Benedek collected and published it in a book, thus, when I was 7 and my mother bought me my first book, Hungarian folk tales, it arrived to me.

Fast, it became my favourite. After almost 70 years, I try to tell it now farther, in English.

Mathias Rex &st take.mp3

This was told, after I wrote it down , changed, translated, but without looking in my notebook. I just cut two minutes, repetitions from it, to make it 7 instead of more then 9 minutes.

The story about a person in history

First, I thought to tell a tale that happened 50 year ago when I met a vile person that will remain in history, I hope one will remember her vile's and its retribution.

Finally, I decided to go farther, a lot farther, to the years around 1460 - 1490 when the biggest King of Hungary, born in the same town as me a few century later, reigned. Weather it is true or not, this story going on, for many hundred years from people to people, arrived to me, when I was 6 in my first book of Hungarian folk tales and was my preferred one, from that time on.

King Matthias and the judge from Kolozsvar

According to the legend, the biggest king of Hungary, Matthias, who reigned in the second half of the 14th century, sometimes dressed in simple clothes went through the country to understand better the people's problems and to correct them, punishing the too authoritarian and unjust peers.

Once upon a time, in my birth town, Kolozsvàr, also king Mathias birth town, long long time ago , there was a cruel judge. King Matthias, heard about his injustices against the people of the town and the villagers around it.

To uncover the truth, King Mathias decided to visit his birth town, where he had not been for so long, but to be sure to uncover what is really happening, he decided to go first in disguise,

Dressed in rages and he sat down near a shop..across the judge's house. He did not have time to look or listen a lot, as the Judge’s servant come and roared:
- Why do you steal the time without doing anything, you with that huge Nose? Do not you know that how much work is it in the Judge’s courtyard?
He beat Matthias with his stick.
- How much it pays? - Mathias asks.
- Come to the judge’s courtyard, he will explain you!

In the judge's court serfs and free peasants who had come to city that Friday to sell their goods, worked without stopping for a minute, cutting and assembling tree logs, carrying timber.
The judge's lounging on the porch, looked out as the work got on.
- What is the pay, Lord judge, to carry the lumber? Mathias asked.
- You'll see soon, the judge snarled, Give him two strong sticks on his his crocked shoulders to learn how to behave!
And his servants hit Matias again.
- Go immediately and to cut and assemble the wood !

What could the king do?

Throughout the day he worked with the timber in the judge's court. But meanwhile, the engraved his name on the three of the logs:

Matthias! Matthias! King Matthias!

In the evening, tired and hungry once again he stood before the judge:
- Lord Judge! Please pay us for the whole day's work!
- Old dog, you! Bastard with long nose! I’ll pay you! Give him twenty-five more! the judge issued the order to his servants to beat the man daring to ask money for his day’s work.

At once they grabbed his Majesty, and the pay was measured with twenty-five sticks on his back . Matthias pressed his teeth, and vowed to return to the judge tenfold, what he got.

Finally, he left the city, united with his soldiers, and the returned he next morning, with his knights on horses and dressed in all King’s regalia.

The judge bowed humbly before him.
- Hail the glorious King! It is so glorious the King! Welcome all the big KING;

Matthias tolerated for a moment, that kind of speak, but his eyes flashed:
- So how are the people are fairing in this beautiful city?
- They are happy to live here, they all are.
- And how you treat the peasants coming to sell their faire?.
- They are also all happy to come, any time.
- Show me the city, Mathias ordered then.

When they arrived before the Judge's courtyard, he asked:
- For those logs so well arranged, where did you got help?
- Gift from the villagers that came to the market, answered the judge.
- What did you pay the for it?
- They were happy to do it for free.
- Happy? For free? Asked again Matias the king;
The judge began to feel uncomfortable, and said:
- Yes, the peasants did it joyfully.

- Let us look at the logs, told then Matias, ordering his soldiers to take apart the logs.
- I wrote my name on three logs, yesterday, when you forced me to work for free and even made beat my back because I asked for payment. Even now, my back is blue from your servants beating.

The soldiers found then on three logs where he had carved his name. Matthias! Matthias! Matthias!

Then the judge fall on his knees:
- Grace my head, Your Majesty! Grace!: Oh, Grace.
- No mercy! Vile worm! I was hit, then beaten because I asked for a just payment.. My people were obliged to work for you under menace, who knows how many times! - Gallows would be worthy reward for your deeds! But I will be satisfied to disposes you of everything. Go out immediately from this city. Go out of this country. So no one can even hear of you any more.

Soon the word got around the country of what happened in Kolozsvar, the actions of the evil Judge and his punishment. The wicked officials were terrified hearing it and lay low, no more demanding too much from the poor for free.

At least, while the king of Hungary, was King Matthias, until the end of the 14th century. After him, there was no more a big and good king in Hungary, but in the villages the story goes on from one mouth to the other, still to today.

That is how, one day, it arrived to me, when I was living in Kolozsvàr, his and mine birth town, and only six years old, seventy years ago.

This is the story as I translated and very slightly adapted it. Now, I'll have to learn it, tell it, often, and then, play it out. This is my last assignment for the toastmaster's Storytelling manual. I hope, I'll be able to tell it well. Mathias king and his dealing with the ordinary people and helping them are famous, so this is not the only one that still goes around in the Hungarian villages. But this one is the one close to my heart.


Philip's speech at Lewisham Speakers Contest

I do not understand why it did not get yet published, I have send it already, but perhaps not the "right" blog?

He had also great body language and props!

14 Philip's speech.mp3


Now what become "Thinking outside the box" 2nd recording

After recording it once, and delivering it before public audience twice, in different ways, I wrote down what I said and how ! would like to say it better.

Then, I recorded the written version - instead of six or seven, it came out to almost nine minutes.

Then, I took it bit by bit with my Audacity sound software and edited out, all the disposable parts. Here is the result.

Tonight, competition night, I'll try to record as delivered...

Thinking outside the box Modified.mp3


Now what?

This is the "thinking outside the box" as prepared and registered, before delivered in Meridiam Speakers Club,

I put it here for you to compare with the speech I delivered at Corinthians Speakers Club.

My voice variety is better, the content almost the same, but differently delivered. I changed the title and also the "most important thing, MIT" as Lipman calls it.

Also even "thinking outside the box" is not the title I would like for it, I'll have to find another, and see if the MIT changes and how.

Between the different messages of this speech, I'll have to find each time, which is most important, and change it accordingly.

I just hope, Wednesday, at Lewisham Speekers it will improve some more.

Prepared Now What.MP3


Ben Dunlap on TED.com talks about a passionate life

I did not find yet better, also so many wonderful speeches one can find on TED!

Ben Dunlap talks about a passionate life | Video on TED.com
Sit back and listen, as Ben Dunlap tells the story of Sandor Teszler, a Hungarian man he met at Wofford College. In telling Teszler's life, but also his meeting with him and other similar "Hungarians" and mostly about the thirst to learn more and more, and the need to prove equality between humans.

But mostly, this is a great example of voice variety, of body movement, we did not even realise, and of wonderful Storytelling.

Evaluations of my speech "Think outside the box"

Here is the first one, in fact, the 4th by Alex. Alas, I did not record the first three.

There were six contestants, who competed to Evaluate the same speech, and the first one, not registered, alas, won the "best" in the contest.

Eval Alex.mp3

The other two evaluations are at:
Another evalution
Last one


Thinking outside the Box - as told

This is the tale, speech, as I told it yesterday at the London Corinthians Toastmaster meeting, with the audience reaction to it.

What is missed here are the movements.

Plus, I do not know for the moment, to which of my blogs it will be posted...

As delivered: Outside the box.MP3

Mystery Speaker

Yesterday evening, I was mystery speaker in the Corinthians London Toastmasters club, which meets in a chic hotel, near the Royal Palace, on Buckingham Palace Road.

The first half of night contest, six great speakers competed, one after another. Mike, won with with a speech on "have courage to live, if not, at the end of your life you will regret everything you did not do. He took us in his story to a retirement house and told us about a woman dying at 85 years old, and she said to regret now, all the precautions she too much has taken in his life. All she did not do.

The speech and the story of Mike would have been perfect, but to die at age 85? No thank you! I do not want to think having only ten more years to live.

But he was right, act, live, as we can. Until it is not late.

I try.

After the break, I gave a speech, as "mystery speaker" a narrative of a portion of my life, when I had to change not only job, but what I did, too, and how I succeeded, but it is not I who was judged, but six "evaluators" who commented on my speech, one after the other, saying what they liked and what I could have done otherwise.

Corinthian TM Competition-5vEvans, here, with me, has won this contest.

Basically, they said so much of how great my speech was, how well I have I built my story, how good I am connected with the audience, and how the message "think outside the box" passed well, that I got into my head. Which was in the clouds.

At the time.

Then, around midnight, arriving home and listening (I recorded on dictaphone) I was deflated. Although it was not too bad. Yes, I corrected it from Tuesday when I told it differently at Meridiam Speakers, and I actually had a wonderful contact with the public, about 45 this time at the London Corinthians, but they have exaggerated in their assessment.

On the other hand, yes, they have noted that I could vary my voice more, not only to high and low, but also faster and slower. Except, that if I spoke quickly, with my accent, I'm even harder to understand.

The worst thing was that seeing the red light signal the end, I cut short, and again, I botched the end of my speech.

The ends are still my less strong points. What is my strength is my authenticity, sincerity, my good humour and good contact with the public. Even my body language went well, alas, that can not be seen when just listening to the speech.

What was most important was that at the end, not only was I told "great story and well delivered" it is mostly good manners - but the two young blacks (they probably need to hear my advice even more then the others, on how to find our strong points) came and told me "I'm glad I came because of your speech! I"ll remember your message, I would also like to copy the title of the book you mentioned!

My message has really needed.

Not only "think outside the box" but also "listen with empathy, listen well, it counts" and what was most important to me at first: "we probably have more of a career in our life, consider what we like to do (outside of the box too) and what we have been proud to have achieved. Then, think about, what skills you need to accomplish?"

To demonstrate how to "think outside the box" but also to laugh in the midst of this serious story that happened to me when I did not have but needed a job and work and had to change from Research Chemist to Businesswoman in Personal Computing (thirty years ago) because I was told to be: too old, female, not born here! - I gave an example.

I was very proud at the time, being a good lover.

What laughter! Then I go "what skill I needed for that?" Laughter. After a pause, I said: to be a good listener, was the most important. Listening skills, and connecting with others, that I could use in my new profession.

It's so fantastic when an entire room burst into laughter again and again!

Yes, I had a wonderful evening yesterday.


Crossing a new bridge

First time, there are so many "first" in our life!

I just crossed a new one, participating in the International Competition at Toastmasters for the first time. I crossed it, without tumbling and falling off the bridge, this time.

Yes, I did not win the first price, will not represent that club to the next, area contest, but got to touch with it, more then three people. I really got the public held their breath and then laugh, pause at the right moment, move well and use my voice effectively.

More important, are those who felt the need to know more about the book Hidden Job market, so they can use it also, analyse themselves and discover their strength. My goal was reached. And also, I was invited to another club to tell my tale there too. "That is an important message and it got across well.  And, at the same time, you made us laugh!"

I feel better this morning, having crossed the bridge, well this time, and not falling down.

So, I got only the second place, but I delivered well my message.


Expressions of a face

A face can express soo many different things:
Joy of life 1

Gout de vivre


sorrow, surprise, so on, try on your own face, with a mirror!


Dare to Fail - going through 10 tasks of the Manual

Between all my Toastmaster Speeches, from the Competent Communicator Manual, as to now, the most important for me, personally, and who knows, perhaps to my fellow Toastmasters who listened to it, too, was the one with the title "Dare to Fail".

I prepared it for the Humorous Contest, bur does have a very serious message.

At the time, I have given six speeches, now I did complete the Competent Toastmaster manual. But my message does not vary, it is as true as it was then.

Dare to Fail.

I did fail in some ways at each task from that manual.

1. Did not have time to finish my Ice-Breaker speech (but had good contact with the audience and got hooked on continuing to give others.) Fall in love with the audience.

2. My transitions were not clear enough for the Organise task.

3. My point got across well, but my ending was not strong enough at 3rd project.

4. I did speak with short words and phrases, but I was asked then "what was your point?" Yes, we have to use each time all we have learned before. But too much concentrated on "how to tell" I forgot the "what" it got diluted on the way.

5. Body language usage is the main point of the 5th speech and at the end I was told "your Voice Variety was great," implying, but the body...

6. "Voice variety not so good but great body language," I was told at the 6th. I delivered it in Silver Spring at the Monument Toastmasters club, where I have been 30 years before. Because of the content perhaps, I won the "best speaker of the evening" award.

Then, came my Dare to Fail Comic speech. I won Humorous speech at club level!

7. Do research, made me going to read great books, other then the Competent Communicator manual, but I overwhelmed my audience with too many points. Or, we do learn at the 2nd speech already, not to do that.

8. Using visual aids, was a flap from the point of view of visual aids but many remember it as the speech that showed them the importance of the Pause. And I did stick to one main point. So it was a mixed bag.

9. Persuade. This was a speech when I spoke perhaps the first time of the importance of Storytelling in a good Speech, and demonstrated it. I still think it was a great one, but my evaluator told "but I was persuaded of its importance before already". I also learned through my speeches to take what I want from the Evaluator, and to leave and not worry about the rest.

10. Inspire. How to inspire an audience? That was a question that I dreaded to answer. It took me a lot of time to find my individual answer, and to achieve it I went back to my early childhood's events. I did ok, but some told me "could have done it with less body language". Possible. It did inspire.

So, you see, you do not have to fear the tasks from the Manual.

We do it each time as we can best, and we do learn each time and progress slowly. I can not see myself, but I am told, in a year, as I did go through the Manual, I did make a lot of progress, even if I failed so many times.

PS Now, 6 years later, I have gone through the CC manual four more times. Each time, I understand better the Basics of a good Speech.