It was a great pleasure to be a part of the fabulous International Speech and Evaluation Contest, which has been conducted at ANZ Tower (Sydney, Australia) on April 12, 2018. The organizer of the event – Central Division – brought together the best public speakers and evaluators from 29 clubs across Sydney CBD and Eastern Suburbs comprising over 500 members. It was amazing event, where only the best of the best competed for a chance to participate in the next stage and, hopefully, even in the World Championship of Public Speaking.

The event was divided into two parts – Evaluation Contest and International Speech Contest. The first part was devoted to identifying the best evaluator. Contestants had to evaluate the brilliant speech of Celine Rasmussen, who invoked everyone to look into their future and take care about their financial well-being. A heart touching speech was strengthened with examples from life. She told the life stories of three elderly women, who lost their homes and lived without money, because they had not taken care about their finances long before the retirement. Her speech was incredibly touching, powerful and calling for action, so that the competing evaluators faced a very difficult task – they needed to identify not only Celine’s strengths, but also her weaknesses highlighting the areas requiring improvement. It was really hard to do, but they coped well with the assignment. The best evaluator was chosen Luke Baker, who was able to reveal all the nuances and give invaluable recommendations to the speaker. Undoubtedly, he deserved to be the winner of this contest.

Second on agenda was the International Speech Contest, where speakers competed for the best speech and for the honour to represent the club in the next stage. The first speaker Gia Rebello gave an emotional speech about different colours of skin. In the speech, she told her personal story about how a society could be cruel only because a person had a different skin colour, and about the importance of seeing who people are instead of skin colour they have.

The next contestant Jennifer Smyth with her touching speech “A moment in time” made all attendants think about the need to appreciate every moment, because our lives were fleeting.

The next speech “It starts with me” delivered by Jay Palese highlighted the problem of building relationships between close people. Our fast-paced world makes people constantly rushing, solving problems and forgetting about the most valuable thing in our lives – about close people. We constantly think that we need to wait a little longer, we need to do a little more, and only after that we will have a chance to spend time with our close people, but… sometimes it happens that this time can come too late.

The fourth speaker was Julie Zheng with her inspirational speech, in which Julie told us that the “more the better” principle was not always good for us. Sometimes less gives us more, for example, time, money, happiness.

The next contestant was Lia Santiana with her speech, which made the tremendous impression upon the audience and did not leave anyone indifferent. She told us stories from childhood of such famous people as Michael Jackson, Eminem, and Oprah. These stories showed that parents should be aware of how important childhood memories are, because they largely determine the entire life of children.

Matthew Tonkiss delivered a final speech titled “In a different light”, telling us how important not to judge people by some actions, because we never knew the true cause and motives of these people.

It was a very difficult choice. Nevertheless, in the opinion of an impartial jury, Matthew won the first place, Gia – the second place, Jay – the third place.

In conclusion, it should be mentioned that strong contestants, impartial judges, organisers, and guests made this event unforgettable, and must visit for everyone who was willing to improve their public speaking skills.