General Evaluator’s Report | Doncaster Speakers
“The Here and Now”
Tonight’s meeting was another great one and a perfect example of how club members in a Toastmasters International club pull together to make a successful evening happen. Although we were lower on numbers than at the last few meetings, only one person took two roles (Gail Powell was Grammarian but also delivered the Education Session).
Despite our lower numbers, the meeting was lively and energetic and we had four visitors!
Alison Kitchman was the Sergeant at Arms. She welcomed everyone, made sure all members and guests had signed in (including one slightly late arrival, which she welcomed and signed in so efficiently and quietly we barely noticed) and had name badges. She conveyed all necessary information to get the meeting started.
Our Toastmaster for the evening was Richard Bluck, who used humour right at the start to get us all engaged, before reminding us that it’s important in life to be engaged, to be in “The Here and Now”, and that Toastmasters meetings are times when we are all living in the moment rather than checking our phones, worrying about future events or fretting about the past (although he used more beautiful language to describe this).
Andrea Pashley undertook the challenging task of timekeeping and ensured the meeting ran smoothly and we were all within our allocated times.
We only had one speaker for this evening, but what we lacked in quantity, we certainly had in quality. Sean Gordon, with his speech “A Meeting with Paul” (speech no. 6 from the Competent Communicator Manual), told a great story of the time he met Sir Paul McCartney. He used humour, conversational story-telling techniques and, as per the objectives of the speech, displayed some outstanding examples of vocal variety. His speech was introduced and evaluated by Mark Powell, who did a great job of summarising the speech objectives, introducing Sean in the conventional Toastmasters way (name – speech title – speech title – name) and then delivered a great evaluation in the second half of the meeting, illustrating examples of vocal variety very clearly.
Gail Powell’s Education Session got us all thinking, not just about quashing the inner voice of doubt and negativity when we’re nervous about speaking (the title of the Education Session was “Confidence to Talk”), but in life in general. She explained how we tend to be more inclined towards negative thoughts and illustrated the learning progression from “unconsciously incompetent” to “consciously incompetent”, “consciously competent” and “unconsciously competent” very clearly in the context of public speaking. Gail’s role as Grammarian was carried out in exemplary fashion. Her word for the day fitted perfectly with the theme and she explained very clearly, with great examples, its uses as a noun, verb and adverb. The word was ‘moment’ (momentarily, momentary). When giving feedback, she highlighted specific examples of good grammar/language and use of the word of the day.
The TableTopics session was as entertaining and surreal as ever, with a theme chosen by Derek Badger. Derek returned to his wine-tasting roots and gave each speaker the task of describing unpronounceable aboriginal wine/location names. This was an inspired topic – even though the individual names were difficult and, if sticking to describing wines from the region, quite tricky, the topics were open to very wide interpretation and amusing flights of fancy. The usual hilarity ensued! Jean Stewart was the evaluator for the TableTopics session – a task that’s always difficult as we all tend to get engrossed in the topics and the laughter.
Andrew Miller gave a concise and clear explanation of why we have an Ah Counter at Toastmasters. When he fed back to the group, he illustrated his feedback with specific examples of how people had avoided fillers/crutch words and also, where they had been used, provided simple tips on how to minimise these.
The General Evaluator then fed back to everyone about the meeting so far, before the Club President, Gail Powell, closed the meeting. During closing, Andrew Miller also explained that our next meeting will be a competition meeting, with the club round of the International Speech Contest and Evaluation Contest taking place on 24th March.
The Best Speaker Award went to Sean Gordon, the Best Evaluator Award to Mark Powell and the Best TableTopic Award to Richard Bluck. One of our visitors, Gill, who was brave enough to take part in TableTopics, was awarded the ‘First Timer’ ribbon.
Another great meeting overall!