As a member of Toastmasters you are given the ability to find the balance between taking the path that suits you best and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Maria Orlovic has been an active member of the club for well over a year, is a committee member and half way through her Competent Communicator manual, yet this was her first time as Toastmaster. We may be able to find a clue as to what’s going on under the surface by the fact that the them she chose for the evening was “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.
As is most frequently the case, there was no reason to feel the fear in the first place, as Maria did an excellent job. Introducing the meeting with a personal story to get us all involved and keeping the meeting flowing throughout, linking the sections without issue.
Once again we had a mix of experienced and new members in the audience, including Elizabeth Mead and Kieran Fox who became members that very evening, so welcome to them.
Due to illness, we were down to only the one speaker tonight unfortunately, however, it was a great pleasure to have Matthew Pennington over from Sheffield Speakers. Despite being an experienced Toastmaster, he wanted to have another go at his Ice Breaker, the very first speech in the Competent Communicator manual, entitled About Me.
Naturally, it was very accomplished with slides and audience interaction aplenty. The basic structure was a True/False quiz based around alleged facts from his life. This meant that everyone got involved and were entertained throughout.
Later on Stephanie Bisby was to give an extremely polished evaluation of Matthew’s speech. Delivering without notes, Stephanie gave a really well structured presentation, with great use of body, voice and language. Clear and specific commendations and recommendations for Matthew whilst including the whole audience in her delivery.
We were also blessed today to have an education slot from one of the more experienced Toastmasters, Andrew Miller, designed for all of the new members to the club, of which there have been quite a few recently. Acknowledging that it can be a little overwhelming starting at the beginning, this Introduction to Toastmasters gave them a guide on what to focus on first.
In the second half, the Table Topics were run by Lianna Cairns, all nicely connected to the theme of the day: how to overcome various phobias. As well as some stalwarts, it was great to see a number of people coming up to the front for the first time, including Terence, our first time visitor. Very accomplished they were too. The winner of the evening was our colleague from Milton Keynes, Ben Clottey, who is working in the Doncaster area and has become an honorary Doncastrian over the last few months.
The Table Topics were evaluated by Arthur Fenn, who entertained us all whilst giving some very useful and supportive feedback for each and every participant. Come the subsequent vote, Arthur managed to take away the award for Best Evaluator for the evening.
The other evaluations came from our Grammarian, Stefan Glova, who had to try and follow what we were all saying, despite English not being his first language – and our Ah Counter, Bridget Pearson who gave everyone a thorough debrief on their superfluous wordings.
A diary date reminder from Maria about the Area Competition in Hull on 8th April and our next meeting the day after and another throughly enjoyable meeting was wrapped up.
Do come along to the next meeting on Monday 9th April, we’re always open to welcoming more people into the fold. Remember, if anything is making you feel nervous about coming, feel the fear and do it anyway.
The award winners were:
- Best Speaker – Matthew Pennington
- Best Table Topics speaker – Ben Clottey
- Best Evaluator – Arthur Fenn
Report by Andrew Miller, General Evaluator
Our next meeting is Monday 9th April 2018