Nicola von Lutterotti (evaluated by Adrian Engler) got the evening off to an interesting start by thinking about the nature of communication. Citing research on primates, she suggested that only humans have the capacity to cooperate and, correspondingly, communicate. While I would have liked to debate Nicola with some rivalling research that clearly shows animals exhibiting altruism and cooperative behaviour, I applaud her efforts to make us feel good about communication and to think more deeply about it.
Inspired by a TED talk, David Ermen (evaluated by Celine Horan) continued the scientific agenda by asking if our body language can actually have an effect on ourselves (not just on our audience). Using his own body as an example on stage, David explained how different poses affect people’s confidence and even their hormone levels. His speech was as interesting as it was practical for everyday life, not least for the topic of public speaking without fear.
Olivia Coker (evaluated by Nicholas Allan) delivered a colourful speech on the colourless prints by Paul Gauguin. Setting the scene – and drawing the audience into it – at the Kunsthaus Zurich, Olivia painted a vivid picture of the artist who at the end of his life described himself as a savage. “We, the Oviri” was a tour de force of art, civilization, and psychology – passionately delivered and sparingly supported by visuals, to mark yet another highlight in Olivia’s outstanding collection of speeches she delivered over the past years.
Fiona Wallace-Mason’s table topics were distinctly amusing and reminded me of “Whose Line is it Anyway?”, as she asked a number of people to pick obscure items from a bag and talk about them spontaneously. Objects included a chocolate bar, a broom stick, a pack of (magical?) mushrooms, and cinnamon sticks.
Winners of the evening were Nicholas Allan (Best Evaluator), Robert MacKenzie (Best Table Topic Speaker and guest), and Olivia Coker (Best Speaker).
The session was concluded by Marcel Cattin, who almost brought the house to tears with two rather sassy jokes.
We started with Table Topic hosted by Ilka Gehlhar. Each contestant was asked to promote his/her own new book titled “Our Iceberg is Melting”. Henrik Karlsson started off by bringing up the seriousness of environmental issues we had on our planet. Marcel Cattin diverted the topic from “iceberg melting” to “ice breaker” as in an opening for a speech introduction. Fiona Wallace-Mason gave an energetic “I love iceberg!” start and connect icebergs to childhood memory. Adrian Engler gave a “matter of fact” stand and urgency about the topic of climate change. William Horan made a hilarious presentation on showing us a run-down of “don’t believe anything-anyone says” chapters on the book. Cameron Roy took the “two PhD doctors searching for answer” proof on global warming. Nicholas Allan expanded on “luggage-carrying” pinguins on the cover of the book. Finally, Marc Suter opened with some serious questions, continued with some fuel facts, and ended with sense of urgency to promote people to act.On Oct 2, we had our club’s Table Topic and Humorous Speech Contests. Tonight’s format is a bit different from our usual meetings. First, the speech order is drawn by lot on the day. Second, we have no evaluation, only ranking and results for the speeches. Not to mention our first two winners for both categories will be representing our club at the Area Contest on Oct 13! Talk about pressure!
On our second half of the meeting, after an introduction from our club president Olivia, we started with humorous speech contest. Nicholas Allan kept us entertained in “Sleepless in Transit”, with tales of his own traveling experience on long-haul flights and stories of his friend sleeping through stops and managed to keep missing his stop in one drunken evening. Marc Suter showed us some powerful techniques on how to stop losing things with “Count & Bundle”. Unfortunately, Fiona Wallace-Mason was disqualified due to timing.
Congratulations to all the winners! Wish you best of luck and success in the Area Contest!