An evening of “Spectacular Speeches”

The evening got off to a frantic start when we realised our meeting room had been double booked. The members quickly mobilised to set up an alternative meeting space at the Thistle Hotel. President Kristie West opened the meeting and spent some time explaining the importance of evaluations and the use of CRC (commendation, recommendation, commendation).

Toastmaster Monica Chong selected the theme of “Spectacular Speeches”. Monica asked all the speakers about their favourite speech and the qualities that made it spectacular. She used this information to introduce people to the stage. These speeches are listed below with links to videos where appropriate.

Favourite Speeches

Steve Hayward
Steve enjoys everyday personal stories, such as surviving cancer or achieving a goal like climbing Mount Everest. They put life into perspective, and raise your spirits when the world around you can appears worthless.

Tom Elliott
Tom chose Ze Frank’s web playroom at TED, because it combines humour and passion to make an emotional impact and inspired Tom to make his own earth sandwich.

Shane Snow
Bishop Launcelot Fleming, The Queen’s former Chaplin, who said “whatever your ambition, don’t let your ambition get the better of you”. Shane admired his clear message, and the power and passion had him hanging on every word.

Andrew Smith
Peace by Inches from the film Any Given Sunday. Andrew likes this speech because it combines Zen philosophy with Al Pacino shouting at people.

Richard McMurray
Richard chose the speech delivered during his degree ceremony. The speaker was Paul Walsh (CEO of Diago, not the Area 6 Governor!). Richard found it inspiring, and admired the economy of words, and his calm and commanding stature on stage.

Erin Godbold
Erin chose Sarah Palin’s 2008 Republican National Convention speech because it invited controversy and buzz.

Lushan Naidoo
Lushan chose Al Pacino’s speech in The Scent of a Woman as a Blind Army Colonel coming the defense of a school assistant, because it’s simple, brutal, honest, and the lack of fancy words and proper grammar made it even more powerful.

Jess Forster
Jess finds spectacular qualities in every speech she hears. They resonate and stay with her a long while after.

Camilla Graham
Al Gore, speaking at TED captured her attention with humour, approachability, and passion. He the concluded with a call to action in a non-political approach.

Caroline Watson
Caroline admires the renowned psycho therapist, Susie Orbach, because of her persuasiveness and strong message about about body image perception.

Kristie West
Kristie selected JK Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech about “The Fringe benefit of failure”, because it’s powerful, inspiring, and most of all grounded and refreshingly honest.

Nigel Cutts
American President John F Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural speech made an impression on the a teenage Nigel. The authenticity has made it his favorite speech to date.

Laura McCracken
Laura’s favourite speech was delivered by American Top General and Secretary of State, Colin Powell at a convention about the cold war. She was impressed by the excellent logic and story telling. “You could hear a pin drop.”

Monica Chong
Monica’s favourite speech is Steve Job’s 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford due to the powerful personal testament of success and failure, and encouragement to follow your convictions and heart.


Steve Hayward introduced the timekeeper role with his trademark deadpan humour. Tom Elliott was the grammarian, with an “esoteric” word of the day. Shane Snow was the topicsmaster, who challenged fifteen people with topics about speech quotations and episodes from their lives. Andrew Smith evaluated the table topics speakers.

Erin Godbold and Lushan Naidoo delivered their icebreaker speeches. Erin described her fear of learning to drive and Lushan told us about his inability to cook. Jess Forster delivered her third speech, describing her love for Everton football club. Camilla Graham delivered her fifth speech, about body language. The speech evaluators were Nigel Cutts, Caroline Watson, Kristie West and Laura McCracken.

James Gilpin was the General Evaluator.


Best Table Topic: Gilly Cutts
Best Evaluator: Laura McCracken
Best Speech: Erin Godbold
President’s Award: Tom Elliott, for his subtle use of four letter words

Join us for our next meeting on 13th April at 7pm. (No meeting in the 23rd March)

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