On Thursday 25th July, Croydon Communicators held its annual themed Movie Night. This was our second Movie Night and came exactly 12 months after the first.
Why have themed Toastmaster meetings?
Toastmaster’s founder Ralph C. Smedley said:
“We learn best in moments of enjoyment.”
Having a meeting where everybody really gets behind a fun theme is a way of making the meeting more exciting and can really turn it into something of a local ‘event’.
How did movie night work?
Firstly, we invited everyone to come along in a movie-related costume and offered a Cr-Oscar (Croydon Communicators Oscar) to the best costume wearer.
Some of our members really embraced the challenge and we had everyone from, Gru and his Minion to T’Challa and Little Red Riding Hood.
Our fantastic VPPR, Florence Nakkozi really pushed the event on our social media channels and we even created some pre-event buzz which featured trailers and photos from last year’s Movie Night. We had a dynamic duo as our Toastmasters of the evening, Caroline Rainford and Aseem Kapoor, who put so much thought and effort into how the evening would work and how almost everything we did could be related to the movies. They were the stars of a spectacular show.
We gave out free popcorn before the meeting started, rolled out a red carpet down the central aisle, dimmed the lights and played all of our favourite movie themes on the speakers before the meeting got started. It really did start to feel like a night at the Oscars!
Were there still speeches, evaluations and table topics?
Yes! We ran a normal meeting in terms of what happened. Our three speeches were all ‘normal’ speeches from Pathways and advanced manuals. They were evaluated in the usual way, and we voted for Best Speaker and Best Evaluator in the usual way. The only difference was that instead of ribbons, we gave out Cr-Oscar statues.
After the intermission, we had a box-office table topics session run by our ‘Hollywood Movie Director’, Rob Wilkie. Participants were asked to audition for roles in upcoming big-budget-blockbusters.
What were the benefits?
There were so many obvious benefits to the evening and as is often the case at Toastmasters, it’s difficult to quantify just how much impact an evening like this can have.
The room was packed to the rafters. Standing room only by the time we started. We had more first-time guests than ever before, all of whom expressed how much they’d loved the evening and would definitely be back – one guest joined on the spot.
Our members got to do something new, have fun and challenge themselves. We certainly raised the profile of the club and Toastmasters in the local community. We got to recognise one of Croydon Communicators’ most distinguished and well-loved members, Paul Rhys-Taylor with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
We had a proper Oscar-style awards ceremony and the names of the winners were placed in golden envelopes. Instead of the president giving out all the awards, members and guests came up to present in each category. This was a fantastic learning experience for them.
Everyone at the club left feeling inspired and keen to do something like this again soon. It’s a huge boost for our hard-working committee to see everyone having so much fun and really appreciating the hard work they’re doing.
Will there be more?
For sure! People say that sequels are never as good as the originals but that certainly wasn’t the case with our second Movie Night. We’ll be going all out to complete the trilogy next summer. And, from there…
To infinity and beyond!
What the critics said…
"I am going to steal this idea" Gru – Despicable Me
"What big eye contact they all had" Little Red Riding Hood
"The Force is strong at this club" Unidentified stranger, dressed in black and breathing heavily