Doncaster Speakers Meeting Report | 9th June 2014

General Evaluator’s Report | 9th June 2014 | By Lisa Johnson

Change is Good!

Evolution | Change | Doncaster Speakers | Toastmasters International

Credit: Human Evolution by Bryan Wright on Flickr

This was a meeting brimming with possibility and it did not disappoint! Andrew Miller led the proceedings masterfully as Toastmaster of the Evening and introduced the guests followed by his theme; “Change is Good.” He kicked off with a slightly tongue in cheek analogy to evolution reminding us all that we’d still be slithering around on the ground on our bellies were it not for change (or was that afterwards in the bar?!)

The “main course” of any Toastmasters meeting is the prepared speeches and tonight we were graced with the gourmet feast of not one, but two, speech 10 contestants! Every member of Toastmasters is encouraged to work through the Competent Communicators manual and this involves completing ten types of speeches. Speech 10 is the culmination of many hours of practice over many months / years and whilst it’s theme is “To Inspire” it is a showcase of skills learnt in the previous 9 speeches, so body language, vocal variety, structure, stagecraft etc are all important in this speech whilst delivering a powerful, inspiring message.

Mark Powell’s speech entitled “The Letter” told the tale of 2 incidents that occurred in his role as a police officer and was a reminder to us that reward and praise often does not come to us from the sources we expect (i.e. from his bosses when he pulled out all the stops to solve an “unsolveable” hit and run case (the only clue from a 10 year old witness being that it was “a bald man in blue or black car”) and that actually inspiration came from a handwritten letter from the little girl who had been knocked down thanking him for catching the man that hurt her. There were a few misty eyes in the house when the tatty letter was produced – a simple but highly effective visual aid as Shelagh Jones pointed out in her evaluation of the speech.

Jamie Godfrey’s speech “Take a Walk on the Child Side” invited us to revisit some of our childhood pleasures. His touching tale of his twin son and daughter being delighted anew every morning by “THE BIRDIES!!” in the garden, together with a pivotal movie moment from The Lego Movie “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME” had inspired him to think about reintroducing some of the things that he had enjoyed as a child, just for fun! As we approach middle age life can become about work, paying the mortgage, juggling appointments… so why not do something that used to make you happy, be it trampolining, pogo-sticking or just collecting Panini stickers JUST FOR FUN! Richard Bluck evaluated Jamie’s speech and gave some useful feedback on volume (i.e. Jamie doesn’t really DO quiet!”). Nevertheless Jamie narrowly pipped Mark to the post in swiping the award for Best Speaker.

We had a short Education slot from our President, Gail Powell where she announced the nominations for next year’s committee and shared the sad news that this meeting would be her last as President as she cannot attend the next meeting and the new committee takes over in July.

After the break our Sergeant-At-Arms, Jean Stewart masterfully banged her gavel to reconvene and our Timekeeper, Bridget Pearson (taking on her first role having only joined as a member that week!) kept us on track for the impromptu part of the evening; Table Topics, flashing her green, yellow and red cards for the 1-2 minute speeches. Mark Powell as Table Topics Master gave us a series of “well known phrases” and asked us to fabricate a story about how the terms came about. All I can say is that he is a brave man asking Jean Stewart to explain the origins of “a cock and bull story!” and as for Richard Bluck’s “blowing hot and cold”..he had us in stitches with his impressions of a glass blower (it could have been a lot worse methinks!). The Table Topics were evaluated by Jean Stewart whose observation skills have come on in leaps and bounds and the award for best Table Topic was shared by Gail Powell and Alison Kitchman.

Throughout the evening our Grammarian Alison Kitchman challenged us to use the “Word of the Day”..except tonight to keep us on our toes it was two words of the day. Two words that sound similar but have different meanings are apparently known as an hominism; the two words chosen were “Affect” and “Effect” and they were mainly used correctly! Our Ah-Counter Michel Ediele performed the role brilliantly for the first time, congratulating Gail on “keeping him busy” with her Ah’s and Um’s! The Best Evaluator award was deservedly won by Shelagh Jones.

After Lisa Johnson had evaluated “everything and everyone that had not yet been evaluated” it fell to Gail Powell to present the awards , invite us to a Club BBQ on 24th August and remind us to “save the date” and bring along even more guests for the next meeting on Monday 23rd June!

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About Doncaster Speakers

Doncaster Speakers meet at 7pm on Mondays at the Regent Hotel, Doncaster. We welcome guests. Please check our website for details of forthcoming meetings.

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