HubSpot Toastmasters Blog


2nd Annual ToastSpot Speech Contest Results Are In!

Posted by Ellie Mirman

Mar 24, 2013, 8:00 AM

This year's ToastSpot speech competition was even bigger than last year's. We had not one, but TWO competitions and about 30 HubSpotters attended, including special executive guests Brian Halligan, Jim O'Neil, Arjun Moorthy, and Andrew Quinn.

A big thanks to Rachael Plummer for organizing the event and everyone who participated in a role or cheered on the contestants. Now let's get to the good stuff - the contestants' speeches.

International Speech Contest

This contest challenged our speakers to present a remarkable speech. Not necessarily tied to a particular speech project in the Toastmasters CC manual, these speeches are 5-7 minutes (well, 4.5-7.5 minutes) and tend to be inspiring topics that engage the audience.

Contestant #1: Steve Haase - How to Make Boston Awesome: What's in the Way, and What You Can Do

Steve's speech centered on a very relevant topic for HubSpotters: how Boston actually suppresses innovation. He shared stories such as that of a clothing truck innovator who was shut down, and stats such as the percentage of Boston-area college students who leave after graduation (it's 50% - the highest in the country).  Steve complemented his speech with great visuals (not bullet points!) and was incredibly eloquent and natural, as always. Check out the video of Steve's speech below.


Contestant #2: Sarah Bedrick - Lessons Learned from My 11-Year-Old Self

Sarah shared a personal story for her speech, detailing the first time she went waterskiing - and the first time she felt the fear of failure. It was a powerful story with a lot of great movement (like showing how to sit back when you're in water skis) and imagery (getting pulled by fish with their mouths wide open) and humor (afraid of the cookie monster? really?). This speech had a little of everything - watch the video to see what I mean.


Contestant #3: Matthew Stein - How Not to Eat Fast Food

In this speech, Matthew not only brought back his expertise (food!) but also his powers of persuasion to get us to say "no" to fast food once and for all. Matthew had a great moment of telling us he wasn't going to preach to us - proclaiming this to us and banging on our swanky new podium - but Maggie, the Evaluator, caught on to Matthew's tricks and commended him on a sneaky way to persuade without seeming like he's persuading us. Beyond that, I'll give Matthew props for taking this speech not just to convince us not to eat fast food, but to give us practical tips to make it a reality. Watch the video and see.

And the winner is....

Sarah Bedrick! Congratulations, Sarah. Sarah will go on to do her speech at the Area-level competition soon and ToastSpotters will be invited to go and cheer her on.

Table Topics Contest

Table Topics, or Toast Points as they're lovingly called at HubSpot, are short (1-2 minute) extemporaneous (that means unprepared!) speeches on a topic given at the moment of the speech. We had 4 contestants who came and delivered some killer speeches on the topics below. Perhaps you'll notice the theme!

Drew Wallace - #Winning

Anum Hussain - #ThingsIDoWhenImHomeAlone

Marc Amigone - #PostGradProblems

Nick Salvatoriello - #IceCreamCone (well, sort of...)

And the winner is...

Anum Hussain! Congrats, Anum. Can't wait to see you kill it again in the Area-level competition.

Thanks again to everyone who attended, participated, or judged. Make sure you're on our email list to hear when we'll go to the Area-level competition to cheer on Sarah and Anum.


Meeting Notes for Mar 7, 2013

Posted by Anand Rajaram

Mar 8, 2013, 10:19 AM

We had an amazing meeting yesterday. After Steve Haase welcomed the 17 attendees and kicked things off as Toastmaster, we had a great Thought for the day by Maggie quoting Voltaire : "Perfect is the enemy of good" . Excellent thought, and sage advice especially for Product Managers like me.

This was followed by the word of the day, by, Peter Scher. Exude : to display abundantly or conspicuously. (which was very well used by the Toastmaster and in the speeches).

We had three great Speeches for the night.

  • Anum Hussain's Icebreaker speech was about How the passions you have as a child translate to the man or woman you end up being. Excellent Icebreaker speech that gave us a peek into Anum's childhood adventures.
  • Lindsay Kirchoff's Second speech about "Awkwardness" had great references to current pop culture and painted contrasting pictures of individuals from the present generation who embraced their awkwardness and those that didn't. And for the record, no, there were no awkward pauses during the speech.
  • Amy Ullman's Fourth speech on "My first wine tasting", transported us to Colorado, where she was rubbing shoulders with the Who's Who of the restaurant industry and experienced her moment of truth about having an intuitive sense for wine and how it tasted. An excellent assortment of words used to describe all the different aspects of the wine (taste, smell, color, body) and it sure piqued my interest in wines.
The Toastpoints were the highlight for me, because it was something truly different. Maggie came up with a creative idea of an Improv inspired toastpoints. 8 of us stood in pairs, and each pair facing each other would have a conversation that follows the "YesAnd" style used in Improvs. Here’s how it works:

At the beginning of the scene, Character #1 will begin by establishing setting and plot.

  • Character #1: Today has been a great day.

Following the “Yes And” method, Character #2 will accept the premise and add onto the situation.

  • Character #2: Yes, and I especially enjoyed Science Fair.
  • Character #1: Yes, And I am proud to be part of the team that built those awesome products..

and so on. the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and couldn't help tweeting it right after. 

Sarah Bedrick gave excellent takeaways for each of the speakers and interestingly, the length of her evaluation correlated with the length of the speeches themselves (thanks to Chris LoDolce, the timer, for that insight). Rouding out the evaluation part (MC-ed by Marc Amigone) were the Ah-um counter (Anna Siradze) and Grammarian (Nick Sal). 


  • We will always have a spot reserved for Speech 1, so if you are starting out, take advantage of the opportunity.
  • Please sign up for only one speech at a time. If you have signed up for multiple, please release some of the slots. Thanks!

I can't wait for the next meeting. What was your favorite part of the meeting?


About the ToastSpot Blog

Welcome to the ToastSpot blog!

Here you can find articles on:

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  • Examples of awesome speeches
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