The theme of our meeting at Croydon Communicators on Thursday evening was remembering the past and it was an opportunity for everyone to do a bit of reflecting whilst working on their public speaking skills.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
I arrived about 15 minutes before we got started and it was inspiring to see all three of our prepared speakers already there and preparing in their own ways.
By the time we got started, the room was buzzing in anticipation of what was to be another lively evening.
Our international jet-setting speaker, Rob Wilkie was Toastmaster for the evening and it was certainly inspiring to see how far Rob has come with his speaking, since he first took on the role just over a year ago.
Rob was cool, confident and in control, leading us through the evening with professionalism and good humour.
New Members Taking the Plunge
Our first role player was Estela who took on her first role since becoming a member. Estela did a great job as our timekeeper. There were no obvious nerves and she kept us all to time, even ringing the bell on our poor President just as he was getting started with his evaluation!
Another new member, Mark, got us all warmed up and it was brilliant to see he’d taken the time to make sure his question fitted the theme of the evening.
We were all asked to recall our earliest childhood memories and there were certainly some entertaining responses, with a couple of members confessing to their toddler crimes and Mustafa milking the moment, as he went into great detail surrounding his attachment issues.
Aseem was our grammarian for the evening. The word of the day was, ‘Reminisce’ and Aseem ensured we wouldn’t forget it by boldly printing it at the bottom of the agenda.
Intuition, Life Tips and Unforgettable Memories
Our prepared speeches came from Amit, Gina and Gertrude.
Amit spoke to us about the Power of Intuition. It was just Amit’s second speech, so it was especially impressive to see him present a talk which was expertly structured and effectively delivered. Amit skilfully drew in the audience in his introduction before using the power of personal storytelling to really bring the message to life.
Next, we had Gina teaching us How to Live A Good Life. Gina told us a highly inspirational personal story and really showed how the power of pause and effective pacing can take a speech to another level.
Last but not least, Gertrude gave us an Unforgettable experience, with a moving speech about her dad. Not only did Gertrude deliver a personal story with impressive poise and control, she also managed to play perfectly into the evening’s theme and even opened up with some music. Gertrude always has the courage to try new things when she’s on stage and its fantastic to have examples of how things can sometimes be done a little differently.
Myself, Paul and Kevin evaluated the speeches and each evaluator seemed genuinely thrilled to have the opportunity to evaluate such well-prepared speeches. There were plenty of commendations for all the speakers, interspersed with some insightful recommendations, which everyone in the room could benefit from.
Time-Tested Table Topics
After the break, Matt led our impromptu speaking session and again it was great to see he’d prepared his questions around the evening’s theme. It makes such a difference to the evening when everything ties together.
Matt called upon a mix of members and guests and each of them was challenged to answer questions based around time.
Hemanshu Has the Power!
All the topics speakers did a fine job but, for me, the most inspiring moment of the evening came when our first-time guest, Hemanshu, went from passing during the warm up to finding the courage to come up and present a table topic from centre stage.
It’s moments like this that remind was how powerful Toastmasters can be in swiftly giving people the confidence and encouragement to bravely face their fears.
Next up we had Mustafa giving us an evaluation of the table topics.
The evaluation itself lasted around 5 minutes, but I was still laughing hours later. If there has ever been a funnier set of table topic evaluations, I’d certainly like to see it. Mustafa had us all crying with laughter, not for the first time during the night even.
In fact, such was the impact of Mustafa’s performance, I immediately took on the advice of our General Evaluator and awarded the Best Evaluator award to Mustafa. We normally only include prepared speech evaluators in the vote, and personally, I think that’s a better way of doing it, but last night was different and there was no way Mustafa didn’t deserve to walk away with the prize.
Although, in typical Mustafa fashion – he walked away without it!
Ambassadorial General Evaluation
Our guest General Evaluator, Andy Blake rounded the evening off with a comprehensive review of everything that had happened.
It was an honour and a pleasure to have our District 91 2019 Club Ambassador of the Year in attendance as GE.
It’s always really useful to get an insight on how we do things from somebody new to the club, but it was especially valuable for those insights to be coming from somebody who has visited so many clubs and has developed such vast knowledge and understanding.
Overall, this was a night of remembrance none of us will forget in a hurry.
Don’t forget, we have four events coming up over the next few weeks…
Saturday 16th November – Division H Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest
Thursday 28th November – Our next club meeting
Friday 29th November – Our club Christmas meal at the Croydon Park Hotel
Wednesday 11th December – Area H15 Christmas Party
Best Table Topics
Estela & Mark