Friday, October 20, 2017

Toastmasters Contest

I competed in the Humorous Speech contact in Kent and placed third. This was a disappointment, but I am proud of the speech I gave and would not have wanted to have given the one that scored the highest. I would never say it at the program itself, since I feel it is important to give a professional demeanor, but at other times I will confess that I don't like the "humorous speech" that consists of a single joke: "I was so drunk" or "I was so afraid of flying". It's a good short joke but not enough to sustain an actual five minute speech, and there is nothing to be learned from it, except possibly not to drink.
There was an interesting speech by a person who had too many physical maladies but maintained a positive outlook anyway. I would have liked more about how she managed that outlook but otherwise thought it was the best speech other than mine. She was rated 2nd.
In the Table Topics competition, my friend Christine won by a knockout. Many of the competitors answered the question ("If a cluttered desk shows a cluttered mind, what does an empty desk show?") reasonably and with humor, but she went farther and related it to larger themes about the usefulness of pauses - empty space in conversation or in thought. I don't know how she does it!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Christine Wins Division 2 Table Topics

My Toastmasters buddy Christine won the Division 2 Table Topics Contest, held October 19th, 2017 in Kent. Congratulations to her! I  placed 3rd in the Humourous Speech competition with my "Companions for the Road" speech about friends at St. Ed's.
Christine advances to the final round November 11, 2017 at the Western Washington Toastmasters Fall Conference at the Lynnwood Convention Center, 3711 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036. The morning of the Conference will be packed with educational programs starting at 8pm; the competition will be in the afternoon. Let’s all go, support Christine, and have a great time!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Moot Court Judging

Law schools recruit local legal professionals to judge moot courts. This is an important part of the education process but it seems there's often a shortage of judge volunteers. I have advertised openings on since there's free CLE involved, but haven't participated myself (except for once decades ago at WNEC), until today. UW had sent out an additional request for volunteers and I decided to give it a try.
The only negative was actually getting there, because the campus is not well built for driving; I would have been better off doing the bus perhaps. Once in the Law Center the whole thing was well organized and interesting. My panel included three others, all with trial experience, so we agreed unanimously that one of them would serve as Chief Judge, asking questions and ruling on motions; the rest of us observed, voted, and made comments at the end.
As the least experienced panel member, my comments came first. I could speak to the rhetorical technique, more than the law technique, and I feel my experience as a Toastmasters evaluator helped. My casual reference to my appellate work lead to some interesting after-program chat with one of the contestants who was a JAG in training.
I would recommend this program to any lawyer looking to give back to the community. It is an intense experience evaluating the demonstrated skill of each participant but you just don't know how much good you are doing for them, so long as you are honest about the areas in which I lack experience.