Saturday, December 22, 2018

BFComm Club Contest Planning & Preparation

As Contest Chair, I met with Club President Ching today to discuss further the preparations for the upcoming club contest on January 5, 2019. We met at the Mary Grace restaurant in Alabang Town Center at 10 am.

As discussed in the most recent Officers' Meeting last Nov. 17, I will be taking the role of Contest Chair for all the contest categories (Evaluation, Humorous, Table Topics and International Prepared). Division Director Dolly has expressed her desire to be the Club Contest's Chief Judge.

Club Contest Participants

Included in the agenda were the roles to be filled. I asked Pres. Ching to finalize the list of contestants for all the four contest categories. It is only then that the other club contest roles may be filled up by those who won't be competing. Thus far, we have Marlyn as Marshall and VP-PR Cristina as Timer/Tallier.

Previously, we had the following members who enlisted as contestants during the Nov.17 2018 Toastmasters Meeting.
  1. Evaluation: Nelle, Leah, Russell, Bea and Renzo.
  2. Humorous: Bea, Ed, Jude.
  3. Table Topics: Earl, Leonzo, Bea, Renzo, Eric, Ed and Alvin.
  4. Prepared: Loise, Duchess, Leah, Ed and Jude.

At this time, it may be unlikely that all those listed above would be able to compete. By now, there was limited time and we haven't received feelers and communication from those who enlisted.

So I instructed Pres. Ching to confirm with everyone in the above list to give their final confirmation whether they were competing or not. Ching promised to get the final confirmed list on December 26.

Club Contest Forms

The contest forms are listed in the updated version (2018-2019) Speech Contest Rule Book which I sent out to all the Club Officers. The forms may be downloaded from the TI website. Ching will oversee the printing of these forms ahead of the contest.

Club Contest Venue

There was a bit of discussion when Ayala Alabang Country Clubhouse was floated as a possible option. That was certainly a nice, private and exclusive venue. Some reasons why the clubhouse may not be practical:

  • Accessibility. Not many have private transportation to go there. We could arrange for a van to shuttle participants, but that may not be practical as well. Participants are coming from different areas and there may be unpredictable and excessive waiting time before the van leaves for the venue - not to mention the cost of the van.

  • Cost. Hands down, the regular venue at Cassalu is still cost-effective compared to renting an exclusive clubhouse in an upscale village.

  • Venue Space and Privacy. It may be an overkill to rent a big and private place. The number of attendees seem to have decreased from the original estimate and this may be because of the "holidays hangover". The function room at Cassalu is not big, but we may be able to manage.

Another option that was suggested was the old Gather Workspace at BF. It's spacious and has privacy, but the room also has its peculiar problems with noise when there's rain. There's also limited parking.

One option considered was the Cassalu main restaurant which is bigger. Unfortunately, there are potential noise problems when the juice/shake maker is operated by the staff, not to mention the staff themselves!

So the remaining option was the regular venue (Cassalu Function Room). The real challenge was how to creatively re-layout the tables and chairs. This is because the "conference-style" of seating was too cramped for a contest.

These were my suggestions to re-layout:
  1. Rather than the usual conference-style where chairs face each other, have the chairs face in one direction, towards the stage - classroom style.
  2. Remove most of the tables and retain tables just for the judges and the timer. These tables will be for the first and second rows only. All the rest of the rows will just be chairs.
  3. Just have a single aisle on one side of the room where the door is located. This will allow us to put more chairs to accommodate everyone without compromising ingress and egress to the stage.
  4. The room has window blinds but Manila paper may temporarily be taped to cover the clear glass walls that don't have blinds.
  5. Since there are limited tables, have the attendees take their snacks or coffee at the main restaurant instead of the function room during the breaks.

Club Contest Awards and Certificates

Certificates of Participation for all contestants shall be ordered and printed. Medals for the four contests for Gold, Silver and Bronze (1st, 2nd and 3rd place, respectively) have been ordered from Toastmasters International.

Club Contest Equipment

Ching and I both agreed that the Sgt-at-Arms bring the wireless microphones and the club's sound system. In addition, I will be bringing the club's wireless head microphone.

This will be an option for speakers if they want it. With the head microphone, speakers won't need to hold a mic and may be able to gesture freely with both arms.

The usual club equipment still apply and will be brought by the Sgt-at-Arms on contest date:
  1. Portable lectern for the Contest Chair and Contest Master, as well as other speakers or contestants who might need it (Evaluation).
  2. Contest-ready timing lights device for the Contest Timers.
  3. Gavel to open and close the meeting/contest.
  4. Power extension cord for the timing lights device and the sound system.
  5. Club banner with ribbons which may be used for photo-ops.

Overall, it was a productive 2-hour meeting over breakfast. Further communication on the planning and organization will be relayed via Facebook and email.