Phillip Khan-Panni


Easter week and our ranks were thin, with members organising their egg hunts and preparing for a surfeit of chocolate. In England the Queen was dishing out the Maundy money, but in Dublin the queen of Society Toastmasters, Evelyn Khan-Panni, was presiding over one of the season’s more enjoyable meetings.

Toastmaster of the day was Phillip Khan-Panni, who foresaw the day when Zoom suits were out. He got proceedings under way with a warm up that broke the ice and revealed each person’s preferred means of transport.

Timer was Michael Dolan, Grammarian was Emer O’Neill and the General Evaluator was the visiting Jim Watters, a long-standing Toastmaster who once took a break that lasted only three months before he was back.

The first speech was delivered by John Burns (currently VPE) whose speech, The GYFT Show, was about his own life-changing event, following two years of self-development. And what progress he has made since he became a professional speaker!

With a typically incisive evaluation, Alan Tracey described him as an under-rated speaker who could (and should) reveal more about the GYFT project and his own role in its development.

The second speech, by Vincent MacNally was an intriguing account of his time as the protégé of someone whose initials were GOD. What he learned, he declared, was that we should all become better listeners and more “agile”.

His speech evaluator was Club President, Evelyn Khan-Panni, who praised his gravitas and the value of the business advice in his speech.

Double-jobbing Michael Dolan ran a lively Table Topics session. Both Evelyn and Emer O’Neill spoke about the significance of Easter, Alan Tracey chose Tina Turner’s song, Simply the Best, as his preferred theme, and Jim Watters came down in favour of the new legislation on the sale of turf. Emer liked the revival of Derry Girls and Phillip thought he’d be a Boxer if he had to become a dog.

Vincent picked Jack Reacher as Most Under-rated Film and both John Burns and Jim Watters offered their choices of songs to hear in Hell, including Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell and Heaven Can Wait.

Emer’s Grammarian Report included some detailed comments on the speeches, and Jim Watters gave a perceptive and encouraging General Evaluation. In particular he liked the Warm Up, the Timer’s recommendation that Topics should last more than one minute, and the fact that Table Topics were allotted a full 20 minutes. In conclusion, he hoped we would soon be meeting in person again, saying that being a Toastmaster was all about the Club, and what we do at that level.