12 Nov Rostrum WA Informer November 2016
The Arthur Garvey trophy beckons…who will take it home?
Speakers undaunted by AGSOY semi-finals challenge
The AGSOY semi-finals on 29 September and 7 October must have felt like a daunting task to the twelve speakers participating. Each had already presented their speech in a heat in a strange club in front of a largely unknown audience and unknown adjudicators, competing against speakers who were equally focussed on one objective – to get to the next level of the competition. And here they were doing it all again, albeit with a more polished and refined speech.
But they rose to the challenge, and the experience gained in the heats was evident – the daunting task was that faced by the adjudicators in deciding on the six finalists. Congratulations to all the semi-finalists: Mark Tatum and Peter Humphreys (both Club 4+8); Jeanette Palumbo (11); Ellita De Nardi and Will Wong (15); Karyn Cooper, Katelyn Lane, Jacqui Holden, Riley Burkett and Lauren O’Neill (19); Nadia Truong (2230) and Derek Sparkes (33), and best of luck to the finalists: Jeanette, Ellita, Katelyn, Riley, Jacqui and Nadia. We’ll see you on 19 November.
Thank you to Clubs 50 and 34 (with help from 19) for hosting the semis and to the almost 70 members and guests who supported the speakers across the two nights. Thank you also to Trevor Denholm for taking photos at Club 50.
Meet the finalists – in their own words
Katelyn Lane, Club 19
I have been a member of Club 19 for almost 10 months and joined as part of my Graduate Program at Capricorn Society. All Grads at Capricorn become members of Club 19 to improve our presentation and public speaking skills and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done all year! I might be biased, but Club 19 really is the best! Despite the 7:15am meetings, we all come together to have a laugh, share our stories and support each other – we’re like an ever growing family! I entered the AGSOY this year to challenge my public speaking, learn a lot and, most of all, have some fun!
In my spare time I like to bake. Whilst at University, I did a few orders for family and friends, in particular for 21st birthday parties. My favourite baking order was the (edible) Enchanted Garden that I put together for a long-time friend. It consisted of more than 100 cupcakes, some turned into flowers, butterflies, and leaves, edible soil and Persian fairy floss all displayed on a 4-tier cake stand decorated with (plastic) vines and butterflies!
Jacqui Holden, Club 19
As part of the Graduate program at Capricorn Society, I joined Rostrum in February 2016. Since then, I have had the opportunity to see Club 19 develop into the best club in WA, maybe even Australia (I know I am biased), but also seen Speakers grow immensely! I have never had a fear of public speaking, but rather a fear of how my speeches would be perceived. After some pressure from other Club 19 members, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and enter into the AGSOY. I have recently moved to Sydney for a job but will be back to take on this challenge in November. Best of luck to all the other competitors!
Jeanette Palumbo, Club 11
I joined Rostrum in June this year to become more comfortable with verbal expression and build skills in impromptu speaking. Rostrum Foothills Club 11 has incredible speakers who have collectively accumulated many years of experience in the public speaking arena which is wonderful for novice speakers like myself. I have the opportunity to tap into and learn from their knowledge and expertise, and I benefit from having a wonderful pool of mentors at my disposal! Thank you Foothills Club 11! I entered the AGSOY competition for the challenge!
In my spare time I love sailing and trekking. I especially love multi-day trekking where I can pack my backpack, be self-sufficient, clear my head, and be at one with nature. One of my favourite holidays was kayaking in the Arctic Circle. The wonders of a journey in this untamed wilderness are unbound: kayaking along majestic glacial walls and around giant ice floes, seeing polar bears and their cubs in all their natural splendour, sitting amongst voluminous groaning walruses, watching colossus colonies of puffins go about their lives, dreaming under the regal midnight sun, hearing the surreal thunderous sound of ice calves breaking away from glacial shelves. Simply being immersed in this remarkable part of the world full of wonder was an experience to treasure.
Ellita De Nardi, Club 15
As the star of her own reality TV show, The Real Housewives of Lesmurdie Hills, Ellita De Nardi has mastered the skills of being a great wife – Washing, Ironing, Food and Entertainment. Her designer outfits are usually chosen to complement her apron of the day. Her diary is crammed with a list of ‘to do’ items, do coffee, do lunch, do little.
Ellita joined Rostrum eight years ago to avoid having to join a gym or some other religious cult and to get away from her four children and the homework that she struggles to do. She is now totally addicted to Club 15 and the kids are now totally out of control and no amount of therapy seems to be helping her or them. She greatly enjoys the fun, the fellowship and the feedback from this great club. This year she has been in the role of Club President, and in 2015, she was the club’s Program Director. In 2014, she was the inaugural winner of the comedy night and was the runner up in 2015. She entered the AGSOY to challenge herself and because it didn’t involve wearing ridiculous sports gear.
Occasionally, when she has the need for serious work, she presents professional development workshops to schools using maths resource books that she has written for teachers and parents. Whenever she can, she likes to escape down to Dunsborough and relax with a good book, a good wine, a good movie, and a good man, (her husband).
Nadia Truong, Club 2230
I joined Rostrum in May of this year, although I was a member for 12 months, 10 years ago. I had fond memories of my brief time there and decided to give it another go – because I was catatonic whenever I had to speak in front of ANY audience, big or small.
This is not an understatement but Club 2230 is the best club in the world, full of colourful, friendly people who couldn’t be more supportive. The atmosphere is always jovial and it feels like Christmas dinner with the family.
In my spare time I would like to catch up with my girlfriends for dinner and drinks, exercise, eat fine dining, read to my heart’s content, and go on adventure holidays, but I have young children, so it’s mostly picnics, playdates and playgrounds for the time being (there’s no spare time).
I am what they call a “banana”, yellow on the outside, white on the inside, therefore, I often get caught between two cultures. I was born in Vietnam during the war and have lived in Australia for almost 40 years. I think it is ironic that I hated my time at school – I have spent more time at university than the average person and I now work in schools (and wouldn’t have it any other way). Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour?
I entered the AGSOY competition partly because I am still learning how to say “no” and also because I am a sucker for punishment. You won’t find anyone less competitive than me – this is the first competition I have participated in and I know it will be an experience I won’t forget.
Riley Burkett, Club 19
(the quiet one—Ed.)
From the President
Our annual dinner and the Speaker of the Year final are almost upon us and I hope to see as many as possible of you there on the night. It’s such a great chance to celebrate Rostrum and meet with friends, while providing a supportive audience for the contestants. The evening is even more important than in past years when we also held a convention in March. People just got too busy to commit to a weekend away, so now it all happens in November.
Good luck to the competitors – you have all excelled to reach the final and your speaking will always be the better for you having entered. Thanks to Club 19 which has organised the competition and the final, and especially Patricia Watts who has been chief organiser and, I expect, the hardest worker.
The final Dais Reps meeting for the year will be held on the following Friday, 25 November, when office bearers for next year will be elected, so make sure your Dais Representative can make it, or appoint a proxy. It’s a final chance to have your say at the broader level of Rostrum this year.
See you soon.
Freeman Sue Hart, President, Rostrum WA
If you want to really know something then teach it!
As a coach/critic you really begin to understand the art and science of public speaking so why not challenge yourself and undertake coach/critics training. Rostrum provides two training pathways for potential coaches/critics. The first is a two day course that is held over two weekends and the second is the Coach Development Program which the trainee coach/critic progressively works through, with the club critic, within the club setting. The Coach Development Program works in a similar way as the Personal Development Program. You will get rostered into the program and get the exercise signed off once you have met the criteria. This is the ideal program for those of you who have been thinking about becoming a coach/critic it but can’t make the weekend course.
If you want to take your public speaking skills, and those of others, to the next level then I would really like to hear from you to discuss the training pathway that suits you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joanne Turbett, Director of Training
DO NOT SEEK PRAISE. SEEK CRITICISM.
It is quite easy to get approval if we ask enough people, or if we ask those who are likely to tell us want we want to hear.
The likelihood is that they will say nice things rather than be too critical. Also, we tend to edit out the bad so that we hear only what we want to hear.
So if you have produced a pleasantly acceptable piece of work, you will have proved to yourself that it’s good simply because others have said so.
It is probably ok. But then it’s probably not great either.
If, instead of seeking approval, you ask, ‘What’s wrong with it?’ ‘How can I do it better?’ you are more likely to get a truthful, critical answer.
You may even get an improvement on your idea.
And you are still in a position to reject the criticism if you think it is wrong.
Can you find fault with this?
Paul Arden It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be 2003
‘No matter how strong or weak you view yourself as a communicator, you can progress towards excellence and effectiveness.
Just like playing a musical instrument or writing haiku, it can be a lifelong undertaking to up one’s game.’
Nancy Baron Escape from the ivory tower 2010
Using gestures in public speaking
The use of gesture is an important part of public speaking. Many books have been written on the subject of non-verbal communication.
Gestures reinforce our verbal message and they add a new dimension to our speaking if used effectively. They also have the ability to detract from our presentation if not used properly.
The tips listed below should assist you in enhancing your communication skills by the use of gesture.
- Gestures must be relevant to the phrases being used at the time, otherwise there is a danger of giving your audience conflicting messages.
- Gestures need to be relaxed and fluid, not jerky or mechanical. Their size will depend on the size of the venue. A good general rule to apply is that they should not be so big that they overwhelm your audience, but also not so small as to lose their effect.
- The whole body can be used, hence the term ‘body language’. Some ‘experts’ frown on speakers who move around during their delivery, however, provided a speaker is not constantly on the move, it can add to the presentation and help maintain audience interest.
- Gesture can be used to reinforce statistics, illustrate the size or shape of an object, show direction or even enhance the emotion being portrayed.
- Beware of unwanted gestures such as the ‘fig-leaf stance’ (hands clasped in front at groin level) or the ‘Royal stance’ (hands clasped behind the back).
- Don’t use repetitive, distracting gestures or mannerisms such as continual pointing, putting glasses on and taking them off, swaying from side-to-side, touching your nose or hair, or scratching your head.
- Facial gestures can be most effective. Animated facial expression (if not overdone) can greatly enhance your speech and help get your audience ‘on side’.
- If the venue you are to speak at necessitates you using a microphone, be sure you know if it is directional in nature, hand held, or has any particular characteristics you should know about. Some microphones can impair your use of gesture.
- Consider replacing some of your words with gesture. It can be extremely effective, for example, raising your eyebrows or pointing to the door, but don’t try it on radio!
- Try counting on your fingers as you enumerate important points in your speech.
- Eyes are the ‘windows of the soul’ and can convey messages ranging from despair to elation. They can also enable us to include all members of our audience in our speech by continually scanning the room.
Don’t be afraid to use gesture. Practise it at every opportunity. Use it to enhance, but not to dominate, your speech.
Rehearse in front of a mirror.
Work at it, and before long your audiences will be giving you positive feedback for your improved performances.
Reproduced from the Rostrum publication Tips on Public Speaking and Meeting Procedures, Volume 1