A new team but an experienced Toastmaster equals a good combination for our second meeting of the new Toastmaster year. I was looking forward to the night, we had 3 speakers, a first timer on the table topics and every indication was that it was going to another brilliant night. I was not mistaken!
As ever the night starts off with the Sergeant at Arms (SAA), or does it? I think that people sometimes do not realise how much work goes into setting the night up with our VP Education (Maria) and our Toastmaster working with people to arrange roles. They help set up the basics so that we can enjoy the night.
But back to the start, Mwada took on the role of SAA and opened the meeting on time, giving us the basics and her own story which is a strength of hers. This was the first time that she had done the role and she did well.
Then we had Lianna step up and take on the Toastmaster (TM) role which is the person running the night. Lianna always brings a energy and smile to any role she does. It was obvious from the start that she had everything under control and she handled the inevitable last minute changes or issues with a deft and assured hand.
Lianna’s theme for the evening was New Beginnings which was apt and deliberate as at the start of the TM year we see a lot of changes and challenges to people taking on new roles.
We had Deborah explain the important of Timekeeping and although she proclaimed at the start that she was not that prepared (proving this by not taking her glasses up to the front) there was no way you could tell. She told us a brilliant story on timekeeping and yet again we were all in capable hands.
Pauline took on the Ah counter role, looking out for all of those little words we use like Ah, Um, Erm and as you would expect she simultaneous (and I still not sure how she did it) put us at ease and yet watched us like a hawk.
Maria was the grammarian and her role is to look for good and bad use of words plus give us the word of the day. Inspired by her own day, she bought the word of the day – Pandemonium to life with a great story and examples of it’s use.
We had a full house of 3 speeches planned, as ever they go with the least experienced speaker going first:
First up was Laura, who did her Pathways Ice Breaker, evaluated by Maria. Her speech “Who am I” was a good way for us to get to know Laura and see how she handles talking in public so that we can help her with feedback. It is hard to believe that this was a first speech as she used no notes and she confidently stood away from the lectern. Looking forward to her next speech.
Next up was Elizabeth, evaluated by Stephanie. Elizabeth, doing her 2nd Pathways speech “What’s in the box?”. She took us to a dark place where she bravely told us, and even used props, to demonstrate her fear/phobia of buttons. To expand on her journey she gave us other examples of fears and overall did a very good and heartfelt speech.
Lastly was Steven, evaluated by Arthur who was giving his speech 9 from the Competent Communicator manual called “Everyone Needs A VA” in which he should Persuade with Power. Steven is an experienced speaker and you can tell from the way he set out the speech and aided it with props. Steven is no stranger to humour and he used it well to make his point. In the end, he persuaded me that I need a VA (Virtual Assistant) to help me with the things I am too lazy, inexperienced, unorganised or just hate doing (In my mind tax returns falls under all of those).
One thing I like about Elizabeth and Steven’s speech titles was that you could not guess the speech content from the title. I think that this can be a good way to peak people’s interest and therefore make them more interested in what is being said.
Just before the end of the first half, in response to some feedback we have had from newer members, Andrew presented a education session on club roles. It was an inspirational session, that I think will encourage new members to try roles and existing members (like me) to try that role again that isn’t their favourite. Andrew got over to all of us, that roles are there as a development opportunity and that anyone can do any role. This includes evaluation roles that can appear to be only for the experienced but in reality anyone in the club can evaluate anyone, it’s all down to your opinion in the end of the day.
After the break and a quick reminder of the word of the day we had the speech evaluation.
The Speech Evaluators all gave great feedback that I am sure the speakers will benefit from. Evaluation itself is a skill that has to be honed and it was good to see that each of the evaluators have grown in confidence. One special mention, as I was a bit jealous of her bravery, was Stephanie evaluation with no notes. This made for a powerful evaluation that was not interrupted by note reading.
Next was the Table Topics (TT), run for the first time by Jon. Now Jon is getting a well deserved reputation for being very at home doing a TT, but we were all interested to see how he was at running them. I am glad to say that his first TT was a roaring success full of humour and with topics that were challenging but easy to grasp hold off. A very impressive first time.
Bridget was up next to evaluate the TT. Bridget brings an energy to any presentation that she does but has recently, through experience, been even better at feeding back giving useful, detailed comments with examples of how she thinks they can improve..
The less said about the General Evaluator (i.e. me) going overtime on my evaluation the better. But what is a man supposed to do when there was so much good stuff in one meeting!
Yet another meeting filled with laughter from a great club and great members.
The award winners for best in category were:
Steven Bisby for Best Speaker.
Pauline Westrop for Best TableTopics.
Stephanie Bisby for Best Evaluator.
Report by Andy Howell (General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 13th August 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and,
as always, guests are welcome.