One of the biggest thrills I get in Toastmasters is hearing Icebreakers speeches, someone’s first go at a prepared speech is the most important one they do. Simply put, it can be seen as their initiation into Toastmasters and this meeting we had 2. On top of that, it was brilliant to see so many newer members taking on roles for the first time.
Mwada took on the role of Sergeant at Arms (SAA) and did a good job opening the meeting on time and doing the standard notifications. I think it is easy to underestimate the SAA role, it is an important one to keep the meeting flowing and to keep us on time.
Arthur took on Toastmaster and you know you are in safe and experienced hands with him. Arthur brings an informal vibe to the role that is infectious and lets you have fun while also knowing that we are in safe hands. His theme for the night was “Change can be good” which formed a solid base for the meeting and was also used as the center for the Table Topics Master. Arthur as always runs a good meeting, handling it well and taking the inevitable last minute changes or problems in his stride.
One of the highlights for me was the timekeeper role which was shared between Sarah and Evan. Evan has not done the role before but I can honestly say that the two worked together so well that I could not find anyway to improve their performance. Evan with his exuberant style, made us all laugh when calling time, yes it was just one word “Time” but somehow he made us laugh with that. Sarah did an excellent job of sharing how to do the job, a real pleasure to witness.
Laura took on the AH counter for the first time. She said that she was nervous but her natural style and confident ownership of the stage did not show this. She gave us feedback which means that she did listen for our “Ah’s, erm’s, so” etc, a surprisingly difficult thing to do for first timers or experienced. So another well done.
The grammarian has a similar job to the Ah counter, to listen and observe our language and feedback. Bridget is one of our most experienced members and it showed, with a positive and energetic feedback session that gave us a lot to think about. Her word of the day Refresh, was well used and an easy one to get into your talk.
Janet took on the Table Topics Master role for the first time, and gave us very well balanced questions. What’s more impressive is that she did them all around change, the theme for the meeting. There is no way a visitor to the club could know that this was her first time in the role. Funny, organised, balanced questions and to time, a very good first go at this job.
Talking about first timers even more, Susie took on possibly the hardest evaluation job due to preparation time, the TT Evaluator. I know I have said this before, but like Janet, you could not tell this was her first time. She gave us good feedback and I look forward to seeing her do more roles.
The 3 speeches were special.
Jonathan did his first speech on Pathways, the Icebreaker. It was funny in some ways that he said how nervous he was but apart from that, if you were really looking, the first few seconds, the speech flowed nicely on what I think were deep and personal topics. Especially to be commended was his use of notes, or in his case lack of notes. A first time speaker who does not use notes (ok he had one small post it note with headings on, but I did not see him refer to it is commendable. I really am looking forward to his second speech.
Sandie was up next with her Icebreaker speech. As with Jonathan’s, it was a confident delivery and showed us some of her sense of humour. Again, if she was nervous it was not obvious and I really enjoyed it. Another second speech I am looking forward to.
Last but not least was Jon, he delivered a speech about a SHED. I won’t go into that too much apart from it was funny, very funny while still having a heart to it. I really think that he could use this speech to enter this year’s humorous speech contest. It was nice to see Jon do a prepared speech, we know how good he is at Impromptu speaking and we have seen him do a funny prepared speech before, but somehow he keeps on getting better.
The 3 speech evaluators, Andrew, Steven and Maria all did good jobs and Andrew and Steven in particular did well in evaluating and supporting the two Ice Breakers. Maria had a tough job, she had to find some recommends for Jon speech!
At the end of the evening, our President fed back the results of the annual club visit from our Area Director. There were a few minor improvement suggestions which the committee are looking at now, but in general, she praised the spirit, fun, innovation and our presence in the area. A very good report that is no surprise but always nice to hear.
The award winners for best in category were:
Jon for Best Speaker.
Deborah for Best TableTopics.
Andrew for Best Evaluator.
Report by Andy (General Evaluator)
Our next meeting is Monday 11th February 2018 at 7pm start at the Regent Hotel and, as always, guests are welcome.