Phillip Khan-Panni


Society’s final meeting before the clocks go forward was most enjoyable and, in the words of the General Evaluator, “of a consistently high standard.”

Club President, Evelyn Khan-Panni, opened with a reminder that were in Contest season, and that Society Toastmasters would be hosting the Area 2 Contests (International Speech and Evaluation) next Thursday, 31st March. Phillip Khan-Panni and Evan Ryan will represent the club in both contests.

Fiona Joyce took over as Toastmaster of the Day, in only her second time in the role. Very much in charge of her brief, she had two veterans in support, with Michael Dolan as Timer and Vincent MacNally as Grammarian. His word of the day, “convivial”, was well applied during the meeting and, in his report at the end, he remarked on how easy it was to be Grammarian in this club because of the high standard of language used by its members.

Speaker No.1 was Emer O’Neill who, we learned, grew up in Galway but had travelled widely in places such as Germany and Luxembourg. Her speech, “Laughter is the best medicine”, included some childhood revelations including being smacked by a teacher for laughing to cope with a serious moment.

Her speech evaluator, Patricia O’Reilly, confessed to laughing out loud, even when alone, and commiserated with Emer over her experiences with educators who didn’t get it.

Speaker No.2 was Sean Browne, who addressed the question of “Coach, Mentor or Both”, and lamented the difficulty in finding a good mentor. His own best mentor was his elder brother, Shay, whose guidance enabled him to become Ireland’s first gold medal winner in swimming at Coventry.

His speech evaluator, John Burns, complimented his story-telling skill and especially his ability to evoke a visceral feeling in his listeners.

Launching a convivial Table Topics session, Phillip Khan-Panni offered a succession of aphorisms for comment.

Michael Dolan agreed we should “measure twice, cut once” and remarked that it was worth re-visiting any matter several times before making a final decision.
Alan Tracey commented that “he who hesitates is lost”, especially when cycling on a narrow path, as he had to when a callow youth.
Evelyn Khan-Panni considered “the difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones”, especially when they formed the means of crossing a stream or river.
Fiona Joyce continued the river crossing theme, agreeing that “the one who knows the water best is the one who has waded in it.”
Vincent MacNally thought that although “tiny raindrops never dry when they mix with the sea”, yet they have little chance of changing the nature of the sea.
Patricia O’Reilly tackled the age-old question of whether genius is inspiration or perspiration and considered whether a genius like Mozart is born or made. The jury is still out, she said.

Alan Tracey was the General Evaluator, and was full of praise for all who took part, in particular for the preparation undertaken by all who took on a role. His compliments included such terms as elegant, proficient, sets the bar high, and well prepared. Looking ahead, he urged every member to bring one other person to the next meeting.

Concluding the meeting, Evelyn Khan-Panni thanked the General Evaluator for helping to maintain high standards.