The hottest meeting of the year to date…
Last night’s meeting (23rd July) was both a scorcher and full of good humour. Nick said he can’t remember a Table Topics session with as much laughter. Simon ‘brought the house down’ with his evaluation. A cracking night. Also cracking was the top of the thermometer, it was a warm night, perhaps our hottest on record?
New President’s first meeting
This was our first meeting with the new committee in charge and it was opened by new President Katy. She shared what a difference being a member of Toastmasters has made to her, both personally and professionally. This was great to hear, not only from a member’s point of view but also for the five guests we welcomed to our meeting.
The prepared speeches
As usual, we had three prepared speeches. Jenny, who was delivering her first speech at Toastmasters, gave us a heartfelt personal story and told of some of her momentous decisions. Emily took us on a wonderful journey into all the things that make her happy, such as bluebells, daffodils, conkers and much more. Islay spoke about the value of mentoring and shared a story of a work colleague who shaped her future career direction without necessarily realising it – an accidental mentor – asking us all to reflect on those people who have entered our lives at various points and impacted on our journeys.
The evaluations – what was good
All three speeches were evaluated, which is where we all help each other to improve. Our evaluators commended the intriguing title and subject matter of Jenny’s speech and how well, and quickly, the audience warmed to her. The descriptive narrative from Emily, which transported us to the Californian forest and the wonderful silence she experienced there. The theatrics of Islay’s speech, using all of the stage and the emotions she had experienced at that point in her story. Simon also commended Islay on her ‘excellent impersonation of a man’, which brought a great laugh from the audience!!
Recommendations – what can be improved upon
Recommendations to our speakers included
- Being more open in their body language
- Using eye contact to engage the entire audience
- To avoid using notes, as this can break the speakers’ connection with the audience.
- To use vocal variety and tone and change the rhythm of speech.
- Remember to breathe,
- To slow down and ensure vocal volume and projection is maintained throughout the delivery of the speech.
They were also asked to remember that, in some speeches, the audience does not need as much detail as we speech-crafters might think. Too much detail can detract from the flow of the storytelling.
After a break, we moved into the spontaneous speaking session, ‘Table Topics’, chaired by Chris. He did things slightly differently this time, taking inspiration from the Jeremy Kyle show and Judge Judy. He used three people at the front, the first arguing their point, the second arguing their (opposite) point, with the judge in the middle reconciling things. We had some great laughs, as pointed out by the evaluator, Nick. Merlee one of our guests defended her title successfully and swept the board, taking the first prize again on her second visit to the club.
Keeping the evening under control
Our word of the evening, proposed by the evening’s Grammarian, Ron, was ‘twaddle’ – a great word! Matt, as Timekeeper, kept everyone to time and was not afraid to ring the bell, with the whole evening being skilfully steered by toastmaster Alex, the ultimate calm professional!
Until next time
Our next meeting is on Tuesday 13th August. Guests are most welcome.