Yvonne McGowan opened the evening’s proceedings as Sgt at Arms just a couple of minutes late but in an exceedingly professional manner covering all the main points including switching off mobiles.
Fred was Toastmaster and she began by welcoming our 4 guests and introducing the committee.
Fred chose ‘Over the Rainbow’ as her theme for the evening and explained the various roles we all take at Toastmasters by using the character’s from the Wizard of Oz. Fred’s opening was engaging and interesting and we all knew we were all in for a real treat of an evening.
I had brought a guest, Alison Straw, who commented during the break about Fred’s introduction to the meeting and how by introducing all the committee, and the background Fred had provided on the Toastmaster’s organisation, it gave her a real understanding of the what was going to happen and it made her feel very welcome and instantly a part of it all.
Jamie was the Timekeeper and explained the importance of timing very eloquently and stated that sticking to the timings helps to ‘purify your speech’. I thought this was a particularly insightful explanation of why time-keeping is so important.
Sean was Grammarian and chose the word ‘COMPLEMENT/COMPLEMENTARY’. Sean’s explained the role of grammarian well and really set the tone and pace of what this role is all about. As he described the way we use words Sean demonstrated the correct tone that related to each word – for instance when talking about sounding ‘awkward’ his delivery also reflected an awkward tone and physical stance. Sean carried this insightful delivery over into an excellent evaluation but unfortunately he went over time and, therefore, could not be counted in the judging at the end.
Lisa was ‘Ah Counter’ and she explained how there was no need to create superfluous words when giving a speech and that they only detracted from the message and delivery. Lisa explained that she would be counting the ‘ahs’ and ‘ums’ and also about the various crutch and filler words that we can fill our time using such as the word ‘so’, and why they do not add to the delivery of a speech in any way.
Karen Trem gave a speech entitled ‘Home’ which was evaluated by Sean.
Shelagh Jones gave a speech entitled ‘From Extraction to Extrapolation’ which was evaluated by Michael J Clarke.
Lisa and Jamie stepped in at the last moment as the Area Governor could not attend and delivered a most excellent Education Slot entitled ‘Taking Your Speech to the Next Level’.
They delivered this so well together with Lisa taking on a role almost as ‘evaluator’ of Jamie’s time during the recent competition how and why he came a very close second after a tie-break?
Jamie interjected with his thoughts, feelings and analysis from his viewpoint of actually delivering the speech.
This was a very relevant topic for everyone and although they ran out of time and could not deliver it all they did promise to return and deliver Part 2 for us at a later date.
Well done both!
Table Topics was presented by Karen Venables who took on the theme of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ using quotes from the film/book for people to create their table topic speeches. Needless to say as usual everyone stepped up to the challenge in their usual inimitable style.
This was a very apt subject and showed that Karen had been in touch with the Toastmaster to check the theme and to keep this relevant for the whole evening’s proceedings; something that really added to the theme and relevance of the Table Topics section.
As usual the standard of all the table topics deliveries were exceptional with all 4 guests getting up to deliver. In view of them all being ‘first timers’ the standard and quality from the guests was also commendable.
Hazel had forgotten she was Table Topics Evaluator and as a result did not make any notes but regardless she valiantly stood up and delivered her appraisal. Considering her lack of notes and having to deliver her evaluation at such short notice she did very well.
It was succinct and relevant with her referencing everyone who had stood up although not a great deal of feedback on areas of improvements. But well done to Hazel; although I do not recommend this way of approaching any role in the future as without a doubt this could prove quite stressful for most of us!
My overall impression as GE for the evening was that the energy, as usual, was fun and professional. The pace and tone of all speakers and members taking on roles helped to maintain this positive energy and ‘flow’ for the evening.
It was very difficult for me as evaluator to find points in which to improve upon but here goes:
A few people went over on time so unfortunately Sean who took on two roles went over in both instances which was a shame as I felt he would definitely been in the running to win a ‘Best of…’ ribbon in at least one of his categories – so watch your time keeping Sean?
Jamie and Lisa ran slightly over in the education slot, but really they could have not done any more to improve their excellent delivery at such short notice.
My time-keeping as GE went over and I was reminded afterwards that I had not needed to reflect on the speeches at all as these were covered by the individual evaluators; a good point for me to remember in future and anyone else taking on the role of GE for the first time.
I have created a template for the role of GE that made it far easier for me to keep track and make notes as I went along as there is so much to cover as GE. I will make this available for anyone who wants to use it when they take on the role of GE.
Finally, make sure you check the Agendas that come out from the Toastmaster ahead of attending and that you are down for the role you think you are in case there is any need to do any preparation before hand or take notes on the night.
The good points were many:
The energy, flow and quality, of everyone who stands up to speak at the Club I believe is outstanding. The guests obviously felt comfortable enough to give it a go as well so well done to all our guests and hopefully we will have some new members out of those who attended?
I am not sure how other Clubs operate but if Doncaster is anything to go by then Toastmasters really does attract quality people with the right attitude and approach to learning what for many is perceived as the somewhat scary skill of public speaking.
My particular stand out people were Fred as Toastmaster (most excellent and kept that wonderful theme going), Lisa and Jamie’s education slot (for such a late request they were exceptional and looking forward to part 2) and Karen Trem for her most excellent speech delivery and for winning ‘best speech’ in the face of formidable competition, as always, from Shelagh.
Gail Powell – GE for the evening.