General Evaluator’s Report | 28th April 2014
A ripping good evening on Monday evening with a mix of old, new and recycled.
As Toastmaster for the evening, Alison Kitchman led from the front, creating a high energy and enjoyable atmosphere from the start. Throw into the mix a wonderful piece of creativity and the evening was set.
The creativity came from Alison’s theme for the evening and the way she demonstrated it. The theme was “Velcro”, which in the first instance created a few bemused expressions. But then she explained that it was all about “sticking” with things and not giving up at the first hurdle. This was then backed up with a physical demonstration using a, rather bright, pink handbag. With the velcro fastener she was easily able to give a visual example of the old adage, try and try again.
It’s little ideas like this that create interest in an audience and the impact of such a visual prop means that the message stays longer in the memory. It’s little things like this that make a massive difference at Toastmasters, as we’re always learning from the ideas of others and trying to find ways to implement them in our own presentations.
The underlying reason for Alison’s theme was that both speakers tonight were re-running ones that they had done before. The focus on the recent competitions had allowed a few creative juices to run dry, so no new ones were available. But full marks to Richard Bluck and Jean Stewart for stepping up to the mark. And for Alison for getting them on board.
Jean went first with a speech entitled “Pride and Prejudice”A great title for the story, in which Jean admitted her inexplicably negative reaction to her friend’s gay wedding being approved in church. When her son pointed out that she had had no issue with her friend’s relationships in the past and never went to church, the pride wouldn’t allow her to back down from her position. Thought provoking and an interesting insight into Jean’s mind (the horror!!), all delivered with her usual light hearted style.
Richard’s went next with “How Safe is Enough”. Ever thought about building a lead lined aeroplane? That’s what one passenger Richard considered as a solution to the radiation risk that can be caused by flying high. This witty and interesting speech made us think about the balance between safety and practicality and that reality sits somewhere within a happy medium.
In the second half of the meeting, following well delivered speech evaluations from Gail Powell (Evaluation Queen) and Julie Gordon, we moved to Table Topics.
Derek Badger threw down the challenges and everyone picked up the gauntlet with aplomb. Given well established inventions the participants had to come up with a marketing presentation for them. Mobile Phones, Clothes Pegs, Vacuum Cleaners and so on.
The standard of Table Topics never ceases to amaze me and tonight was no exception, with everyone pulling out some great ideas. Derek Lucian fed back on the overall experience, which just left the various evaluators to feedback their other comments. Sean Gordon as Ah Counter and Frederika Roberts as Grammarian (having thrown “Tenacious”in as the Word of the Day to tie in with the theme.
Andrew Miller, as General Evaluator, gave the overall picture and then it came to presentation time for the awards.
The award for Best Speech went to Richard Bluck whilst Derek Lucian grabbed the pennant for Best Evaluator.
However, the Table Topics award was split three ways!! Is this a first? Between Fred Roberts, Andrew Miller and, for his second of the night, Richard Bluck.
So, well done Doncaster again. Great meeting and let’s see everyone back at our next congregation on May 12th.