Jamie Godfrey reports on the last meeting of 2011.
This was the last meeting of 2011 and the turnout was excellent, being so close to Xmas.
Yvonne was the Seargant at Arms. As ever she completed this task with great ease, and proficiency. Whenever Yvonne is S.a.A in the future, I think that all other Toastmasters should watch, and take note. There is alot we can learn from this.
Liz was the Toastmaster for the evening. As it was the last meeting of the year, she gave a great introduction. Even though she did slip up a little when discussing facts and figures, she did not let this affect her overall performance. Liz has a great ‘stage presence’ and brings lots of personality to the role. All the essentials of the evening were explained.
Liz then introduced the other roles for the evening:
Sean was Timekeeper for the evening. Like Liz, Sean always portrays alot of personality to any role he performs. Sean also got a little ‘tongue-tied’ whilst explaining the role, but like Liz, dealt very well with the little slip up, and everyone clearly understood the role of the Timekeeper. There was a little confusion throughout the meeting on timings, so one recommendation would be to quickly read up on the role before any meeting.
Gail was the Ah Counter. This was her first attempt at this role. The intro was expertly delivered, and as a newer member, I felt she offered something a little different. Great use of the term…’credibility killers’. Gail’s summary at the end of the meeting was based on who ah’d and um’d, rather than specifying numbers. I personally think this is the better approach. I do not think we benefit from knowing if we ah’d 15 or 16 times, but just that we ah’d alot in a speech, and maybe try to identify a pattern which leads to this.
Lisa was Grammarian, She had to take this role right at the last minute. Being one of the more experienced Toastmasters, she explained her role superbly. Lisa’s spoken & written English is fantastic, so any of the newer members should always pay attention to Lisa’s observations. Word of the day was ‘Plethora’. Lisa explained clearly what the word meant, and how to use it in a sentence.
Liz then introduced Michael J Clarke to evaluate Yvonne, who was the only speaker for the evening, and also explained the voting/feedback slips.
As ever, Michael J Clarke gave an excellent introduction to Yvonne speech. The only thing I would have added to the intro, is maybe to let everyone know what Yvonne’s personal goals for the speech were. He actually mentioned this later in the main evaluation, but this would be better in the intro, as everyone could look out for any personal improvements.
Just like Sean and Liz, Yvonne gave a speech that was full of personality. I thoroughly enjoyed her speech, which had plenty of good humour, delivered in the typical ‘Yvonne’ fashion. Its a shame we only had one speaker. I think with the size of the club, we should be looking at having a minimum of 2 speeches EVERY meeting.
The Education Session:- Both Shelagh and Lisa delivered this section. What a fantastic session. The session was about the goals of Toastmasters, both as individuals AND as a Team. This was really important, as we have never really discussed the goals of Doncaster speakers before. Both Shelagh and Lisa were clear, concise, the intro was excellent. Everyone knew exactly the key points that they wanted to get across. I think this was a benchmark on how an Education session should be delivered. I also found the whole session to be very inspiring. After the education slot was completed, I felt it was very clear that we all will have our own goals with Toastmasters, in completing both manuals, BUT also we should look at getting a certain number of people to complete the manuals by certain timelines. This team element will really help Doncaster speakers move forward, and improve. Congratulations to both Lisa and shelagh, who had obviously put alot of prep and time into this session.
After the break , Lisa reminded us all of word of the day….Plethora.
Michael J Clarke then gave his evaluation of Yvonne’s speech. He explained how this was speech 3 from the Competent Communication manual, and what the goals of this speech were. As with Shelagh & Lisa, this evaluation was a benchmark on how evaluations should be delivered. The format was to replay the key parts of the speech at the start, then put some recommendations in the middle, and to summarise, with commendations at the end. Michaels key recommendation was about preparation. Usually a lack of preparation can mean a speech going over time, and Yvonne was very close to the allotted time. The key recommendation for Michael J Clarke was also timing. His evaluation did go over the allotted time, thus he was not valid for ‘best evaluator’ vote. Other than the timing issue, Michaels evaluation was near perfect.
Karen Trem was the Table Topic Master. Her theme was shopping based (very apt for so close to Xmas) using cards with random items on them. Each Toastmaster would take a card, and have upto 2 ½ minutes to deliver a speech. Karen introduced the role clearly, so that everyone understood exactly what was required, and the theme. This was particularly important, as there were a number of visitors at this meeting. As ever, this part of the evening brought much imagination, with some very funny speeches. Many of the newer Toastmasters, and some of the visitors had a go. This is really refreshing. Karen also reminded everyone prior to the speeches of the word of the day. That was excellent.
Michael Bottomley was the Table topics evaluator. He also gave an excellent introduction, reinforced all the key points made by Karen. Michaels approach was to evaluate each individual who entered into table topics, and to make commendations & recommendations on each. I personally think this is the best method, but if there are alot of speakers, can create timing issues. Michael did a fantastic job at evaluating each individual, whilst keeping in time. His key observation was that some speakers were holding up the cards given to them by Karen, and letting the cards be too much of a distraction. The words on the cards also then became a crutch. This was very true. However, because so many speakers were affected by this, there was alot of repetition in Michael’s evaluation. Michaels speeches are always delivered with lots of energy, and animation. This was probably Michael’s best evaluation / speech that I have seen him do for a long long time.
At this point I would like to mention that it was also Michael’s last meeting, as he was moving on to another club, to help them get started. Michael has been a major influence in the success of Doncaster Speakers. His enthusiasm, energy, and participation is one of the reasons why the club is thriving so well. The club gave Michael a card, and thanked him for his time. I would like to reiterate this. Michael was always willing to take on roles, and completed his Competent Communication manual whilst with the club. Good Luck Michael. The new club are very lucky to have you.
I then gave my general Evaluators speech. All the key points are listed above. Unfortunately I went significantly over the allotted time. Apologies to everyone, as the role should only last 7/8/9 minutes. My session finished at 12:30 minutes. Timing is a critical part of Toastmasters, and is something we should all take very seriously.
This was a fantastic meeting, and a great ending to 2011.
The club is in a very healthy position, and 2012 could be a really great year for all at Doncaster Speakers.