Really put on the spot

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Gift of the gab. . . Gore Toastmasters Club member Christine Livingston won the Toastmasters District 72 impromptu speech competition. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

“Age may wrinkle the face but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”

Or does it?

This is what Tapanui woman Christine Livingston had seconds to ponder and then speak about in the finals of a recent Toastmasters impromptu speech competition, which she won.

Speech-makers had two minutes and 30 seconds to speak to the topic less than a minute after they were given it.

The competition was for Toastmasters District 72, which is the area of New Zealand from Wellington southwards.

It was the same competition she won in 2015, Mrs Livingston said.

She had to win the club, area and division finals to qualify for the district final.

Normally, she found it easier to take the opposite position to the topic but not this time, she said.

The topic was “really tricky” and “I had to think really hard”.

Apart from the technical aspects of speaking such as using a variety of tones, the speech needed to have a beginning, middle and end.

“It has to appeal to the people you are speaking to.”

This was the first time she took part in the competition online, which took some getting used to.

“There’s no audience.

“You can see one person watching you and you know the judges are watching you and you know there are other people there, but you can’t see them.”

There were five others in the final, who all had the same topic but did not hear each other speak.

However, it was great when she found out she had won.

“Because we were at home when they announced my name as the winner, I could jump up and down and squeal.

“I was so excited.”