L to R James McGinty and Jim Davidson

If you weren’t at the Division S International and Evaluations contests last Saturday 23rd April, you missed yourself (as we say in Scotland).


The Div S contest was organised by Southside Speakers and held in the well-known Tron Theatre in Glasgow’s city centre. Southside Speakers hosted the contest and organised the venue, refreshments and a ‘soup and sandwiches’ lunch and, through some creative planning, managed to make it free for everyone.

Before The Event

IMG_0965By 12:15 on the day, the venue was buzzing. Toastmasters and guests streamed in the door eagerly anticipating an afternoon of excellent speeches and evaluations.




IMG_0962 Jane Cameron and George Hunter who were manning the registration desk nearly disappeared under the deluge (slight exaggeration but only slight). Everyone was in high spirits and not just because of the tea, coffee and biscuits. Division-wide events, especially in Division S which spans the length and breadth of Scotland, are an opportunity to catch up with fellow Toastmasters from other clubs in the other two Areas.


Workshop – Credibility Killers and How To Avoid Them L to R Patricia O’Reilly and Moira Beaton

Eoin McDunphy, Division S Director opened the event then introduced Toastmaster and  workshop presenter, Mel Sherwood.



Credibility Killers workshop

For the next hour, Mel led us through an interactive, educational and fun workshop, very much in keeping with Toastmasters founder Ralph C Smedley’s dictum ‘we learn through enjoyment’. By the time Mel finished, we were standing taller, breathing deeper and posing more powerfully.


International Speech and Evaluation Contest

Conor Hunter was the chair and, before the contest began, made us practice enthusiastic applause. Conor was only satisfied when we had practised enough that the applause and cheering threatened to bring the house down.



L to R Jim Davidson and Laura Bruce

Let The Contest Begin

After announcing that the contestants had been briefed and confirming with the Chief Judge that the judges and role-players had been briefed, Conor introduced the first speaker.


The Speeches


Conor Hunter and Laura Kinsler

Laura Kinsler, in The Experiment, told us a poignant story that illustrated that people don’t need stuff, they need more of our time, especially our children.


Jim Davidson delivered a sincere and heartfelt speech Tonight Matthew I’m Going To Be…… and urged us to accept responsibility.


In her speech A Lightbulb Moment, Laura Bruce told the story of her friend Jeannie who stopped for coffee and changed the life. The message in Laura’s speech was ‘speak up.’



L to R Jim Mumba, Conor Hunter, Patricia O’Reilly

Jim Mumba, in his speech Will You Share The Wealth?, shared his message – share your wealth of experience to help others.


In Headbeat James McGinty talked about the danger of complacency in relationships and asked us to check in to our relationships.



Wen Chen and Conor Hunter

Take It Slow was Wen Chen’s advice, in a speech about the unwanted consequences of rushing through life.


During the soup and sandwiches, and more tea and coffee accompanied by the famous Scottish delicacies, Tunnocks Teacakes and Tunnocks Caramel Wafers, members caught up with each other again before heading back to the theatre for the second half of the day.


Evaluation Contest


Lucy Butters

Lucy Butters was the Chair and introduced Cath Findlay from Inverness Toastmasters to deliver the test speech, Apprenticeships in the 21st century.


The Evaluators (not in order of appearance):

Sarah Farrier, James McGinty, Adele Goodfellow, Michael McLernan, and Chukwuemeka Anyiam-Osigwe.


Five excellent evaluations, highlighting the things Cath did well and giving useful feedback to improve her next speech.



Patricia O’Reilly

Eoin McDunphy introduced Patricia O’Reilly, D71 PRM to say a few words and present the trophies. The District 71 (UK and Ireland) Leadership Team (DLT) try to send a DLT representative to every one of the 9 Division Contests, twice a year. This year, Division S had the privilege of hosting Patricia O’Reilly, District 71’s Public Relations Manager (PRM) at the contest.




International Speech Contest  

Jim Davidson


Evaluation Contest

James McGinty


Jim and James will represent Division S at the District Finals, held at the Limerick Riverside Conference 13-15 May 2016.


The End of the Day

Eoin rounded off the contest by thanking all the participants for taking part, the judges and role-players for ensuring the contests ran smoothly, Mel Sherwood for her inspiring and enjoyable workshop, Patricia O’Reilly for travelling all the way from Dublin to represent the DLT and to the audience for coming to the contest, giving their support and raising the roof.


Apologies to anyone who was there but not mentioned. It was a long day.