Mark Powell took on the task of evaluating our only meeting in December 2012. Here’s his report…
When I arrived I saw that the room was well laid out and a copy of the agenda and voting slip had been placed on each chair.
The meeting was opened on time, to the split second, by Sgt at Arms, Paul Hart. Then from stage right entered our Toastmaster for the evening, and staring in that role was none other than Jean Stewart. This was Jean’s first time in this role though no one would have ever guessed. Everyone was welcomed to the club and Jean gave a personal welcome to our guest Collum. One thing that I particularly liked was the way that Jean used her own experience when she first joined Toastmasters to put Collum at ease.
Jean then introduced our Timekeeper Alison Straw, Ah Counter Paul Hart and Grammarian Derek Lucian.
Alison did a really good job of explaining how important it was to stick to time, something which I obviously forgot later in the meeting. She also used Jeans introduction as an example of the timings and told us at what points she had held up the cards. This came across really well and I thought it was a good explanation. What she forgot to explain though, and something I didn’t realise either, is that when you go 5 minutes over, a person sitting at the back of the room, waves the red card at you with one hand while drawing a pointed finger across her throat with the other and mouthing the words “GET OFF”. Obviously a point there for all future timekeepers to cover.
The multi-tasking Paul Hart doubled up on his roles last night and was also the Ah Counter. Paul did an excellent job of explaining his role, and likened it to him being the ‘speech police’. Something that we should all think about when we feel the urge to erm, ah, so or well. After all no one likes being caught by The Fuzz!
Derek Lucian was our Grammarian and he went with the new idea of giving the definition of the Word of the Day and letting people guess. Truly an inspired idea from the mind of a genius I thought. Oh yes, the Word of the Day was……..INDUBITABLE. And I still can’t pronounce it now. A really good word though, even if it doesn’t trip of the tongue like our clubs favourite….SO.
Then came the speeches. Michael J Clarke introduced Gail’s speech, ‘Eliza Binks’. As always Michael covered all the aims of the speech and also mentioned some of the points that Gail had asked him to look out for in addition. Gail performed her speech #5 and, without wanting to sound biased, I thought that it was her best speech to date, nicely paced with good use of body language and she even included the word of the day. When Michael evaluated the speech he gave some really good feedback for Gail which was both constructive and well thought out.
Jamie Godfrey introduced Derek Badger’s speech, ‘Friday Night at 9 0’clock’. Again Jamie covered all the aims of speech #8 as well as extra points that Derek wanted him to look at. But then Jamie went one step further and told us an extra point that he had identified himself that he was going to evaluate Derek on. As we expect now, Derek’s speech was full of facts and figures and was an interesting speech. I particularly liked the way it went full circle. A nicely thought out speech. In his evaluation, Jamie done a great job. In fact he done really well. He gave feedback which was both balanced and constructive, and gave Derek something to work on for his next speech. One thing that Jamie is going to have to watch though is his use of the word ‘done’. I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed this, but you do tend to use it quite a lot Jamie. Let’s hope the ‘Speech Police’ don’t pick up on this or you might end up getting done.
Richard Bluck introduced Sundip Murwaha’s speech #4 entitled, ‘Heaven’s Gate’. Once again Richard covered all the aims of the speech and it was obvious that he had also taken the time to speak to Sundip beforehand, something that every speech evaluator should do. Sundip’s speech was brilliant. His use of descriptive words was exploited to the extreme. He gave everyone present a vivid picture in their minds eye of what was happening. All I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t miss this one. Richard’s evaluation was again balanced and fair and he gave Sundip good words of advice for future speeches.
Next came coffee break. I’d love to tell you what went on, but as we all know, what happens in coffee break, stays in coffee break.
The second half started on time, Paul again calling the meeting to order with great authority.
Jean re-opened the meeting and Derek reminded us all of the Word of the Day, and how often it hadn’t been used. Then I, your General Evaluator, or GE as we like to be called in GE circles, introduced the speech evaluators.
Then came Table Topics. Our Table Topics Master was Michael J Clarke and he came up with a really good session. He gave each participant an album title to talk about. What I really liked was that each album title had a little story of what that album meant to Michael. All in all one of the best ideas for Table Topics I’ve seen, excellent. Collum earned his First Timer ribbon with his speech topic of the Rolling Stones album Tonight’s the Night, but it was Hazel who stole the show and won best Table Topics with the topic, Rumours, which was of course an album by the great Fleetwood Mac, who incidentally got their name after visiting the northern town of Fleetwood but forgetting to equip themselves properly for the inclement weather, and having to raid the local C&A and buy suitable clothing. The band called them their Fleetwood Macs, and so the name stuck.
Next came the reports from our Table Topics evaluator Ryan Sean, sorry Sean Ryan. Sean was on top form with his evaluation and managed to have everyone laughing yet at the same time gave worthwhile feedback to all those who had taken part. Sean went on to win the best evaluators ribbon. Well done Sean.
The ‘Speech Police’ in the form of Paul Hart provided evaluation on the numbers of Erm, ums and ah’s we had all used and Derek Lucian gave evaluations on how we’d all taken to using the word indubitable, or not, during the night, as well as other good and bad examples of the use of English.
Of course all that had gone before was a mere appetiser for what came next. The main event of the evening, my meeting evaluation. It was epic. Nearly as long as Ben-Hur. And to think I had been sitting there wondering how I was going to fill 10 minutes.
Our Toastmaster Jean once more took to the stage for a question and answer session and Gail had the honour of handing out the evening’s prizes to the deserved winners.
Finally Sundip stood at the front and thanked everyone for the feedback and support that he had received at the last meeting. I’m sure I’m not alone in being constantly inspired by Sundip’s progress and know that he will constantly improve become more and more confident in the safe environment that everyone at the club had provided.
Finally the meeting came to a close. Amazingly on time.