Hazel’s evaluation of our meeting on Monday 22nd October. This is one of our ordinary Toastmasters meetings, with the usual mix of speakers, evaluations, table topics and education – all with the individual’s personal flair.
It was a really enjoyable evening and as I have not attended for a while it was as though I was seeing a meeting through fresh eyes.
It was encouraging to see several new faces – visitors as well as members and as ever the meeting began on time. Always a good sign.
Several people were performing their role for the first time – Paul Hart as Toastmaster, Karen Trem as Timekeeper, Alison Straw as Table Topics Master, Mark Powell as Sergeant at Arms and myself, suddenly drafted in as General Evaluator as Michael J. Clarke was indisposed.
Paul Hart was Toastmaster and there were 3 excellent speeches, one of them an Icebreaker. That one was given by Jean Stewart (A Lesson Learnt), the others being given by Richard Bluck (A Miracle of Flight) and Mark Powell(The Falcon of Malta). Synchronicity or what – all the speeches had an inner theme of benefit to humanity.
Shelagh Jones gave us an excellent Education session – The Who, Why, What and When of Evaluation showing how the principle of CANI – constant and never-ending improvement would enable speakers to put their message across effectively and cleanly. The Toastmaster way of giving feedback was through recommendation and improvement rather than criticism. This meant that Feedback was much easier to receive and act upon.
The second part of the meeting began on time with Table Topics. The theme of the meeting was “The First Time” so some lucky people were invited to talk on a selected subject e.g. moving house, first pet. Derek Lucian won out here with his talk about a Turkey as his first pet! Well, it was till Thanksgiving!
There is always learning to be had when performing a role for the first time – both for yourself and others observing. Paul did what he does so well – drawing an audience together with apt words and a story and creating a lovely ambience. Then he recollected some of the Toastmaster “essentials” like the history and structure of Toastmasters and the meaning of the handshaking done. Thus he went over his allocated time by 2 mins. The time allowed for each activity is listed on the Agenda, for training purposes.
As for me, doing General Evaluator, in nearly 18 months of membership, it had not dawned on me what a big role it is in the second part of the meeting, with introductions, reporting and general evaluation. It helped that members realised I was learning! Thank you all. The first is the worst!!
Lisa came for the first part of the meeting before going off to feed her babies and Jamie stayed longer. The ribbons were awarded to Gail Powell for Best Evaluator; Derek Lucian for Best Table Topic and Jean Stewart won the Best Speaker award. And if you are wondering, what The Lesson Leant is – ask her at the next meeting.