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.
Sgt at Arms,gave both a 2 minute warning for start of meeting and also called meeting to order at 7.00pm. She also provided information on H&S issues, use of mobile phone.
Meeting had to move a couple of key people into roles on the evening, as a the original role holders had to cancel due to illness. However, the people who stepped into these roles did a marvellous job and there was a flow to the proceedings.
Pauline, as Toastmaster, a role she took on that evening, managed, with her usual professional but relaxed style to ensure that the meeting was enjoyable and followed the agenda originally set up by the Manager of the meeting.
There was one speaker, Andy, and this was delivered well and he managed to remember the various dates etc without any problem. The Evaluation of this speech was carried out by Bridget.
The Table Topics session was unusual in that the Table Topics Master, Elizabeth, organised this through participants selecting a number of items from a bag, and had to run their Table Topics based on these products. New members and visitors took part and this proved to be a very enjoyable session.
The meeting was provided with reports from Sarah the Grammarian, Evan the Ah Counter andthe Timekeeper. This closed at 8.45pm, which enabled members and visitors alike to gather together and enjoy a another session of networking.
All in all an enjoyable and fun session. Well done to all.
The award winners for best in category were:
Andy for Best Speaker.
Evan for Best TableTopics.
Steven for Best Evaluator.
Report by Jean (General Evaluator)
Our Sergeant at Arms for the evening, Evan Williams, started the meeting aplomb for the first time in this role at 7 o’clock, and handed over to our Toastmaster for the evening, Lianna Cairns, who ran the meeting with both fun and efficiency throughout; it was also Lianna;s first time as Toastmaster for the evening and her chosen theme of ‘Learning and Exploration’ matched well with the evening over all, as Evan and Lianna were not the only firsts of the night.
After helpful introductions to the roles of Timekeeper, Ah counter and Grammarian from Mwada Lawan, Steven Bisby and Deborah Kershaw respectively, the main part of the evening began with three prepared speeches. Mwada and Deborah were also undertaking their roles for the first time.
Our Grammarian set our word for the evening as incredulous and I was filled with incredulity myself to see 3 such well prepared speeches, all at different levels from Pathways, Competant Communicator and Advanced Manuals – and all with different objectives and styles.
Sarah Saxelby gave us a humourous morality tale regarding her “pink dress” and her efforts to fit in it for a friends wedding, Maria Orlovic taught us that we are all onions with her rousing statement of “I am an onion” and magicked comparisons between the humble vegetable and ourselves, but the best speaker of the evening award went to Jean Stewart with “the total package” a sales speech about her own bespoke travel company which Jean mastered with her usual panache and flair. Elizabeth Mead closed the first half of the meeting with an informative educational presentation sharing her own experiences of Pathways now she has completed her first Icebreaker speech. All agreed that this was brave to share and Elizabeth even followed on with an impromptu Q&A.
After the break, Derek Lucian gave us a selection of Table Topics (impromptu speaking) prompts – all linked to the theme of the evening, asking speakers to share such as “the most difficult thing you have ever learned” “the thing you have learned today” and “when does a little knowledge become dangerous. The Best Table Topic award went to Deborah who recounted how that day she had been learning to ski and had us all laughing along with her adventure. Andrew won the Best Evaluator award for his insightful evaluation of Jeans sales speech, which included both commendations and helpful recommendations for Jean, no easy task for such a wonderful and seasoned speaker as Jean.
All in all, the meeting was the holy trinity of support, fun and education which keeps me attending every meeting possible.
The award winners for best in category were:
- Jean Stewart for Best Speaker.
- Deborah Kershaw for Best TableTopics.
- Andrew Hodge for Best Evaluator.
and Janet Goodband received her ;First Timer’ award for first time speaking in front of the group with a delightful table topic about the importance of repetition in learning– congratulations!
Report by Jon Carvell, General Evaluator (1st time)
Our next meeting is Monday 21st May 2018 (in lieu of the Bank Holiday) at 6.45pm for 7pm at the Regent Hotel and as always, guests are welcome. This will be a special Pathways ‘official launch’ speeches showcase!