written by Aseem Kapoor
Club President Croydon Communicators
It was the final meeting of the 2020/21 Toastmaster year at Croydon Communicators, a year that has flown by, or rather 'Zoomed by' given that every single meeting has been conducted online!
After I opened the meeting and delivered my final 'President's address' I handed over to our Toastmaster for the evening Susan.
At the same meeting last year (the final one of 2019/20), Susan was giving her ice-breaker speech, and now a year on it was wonderful to see her confidently in the Toastmaster role leading us through the agenda and running the whole meeting.
We had a poignant moment as Susan asked us all to pause for a moment's silence and send our best wishes to fellow members Norma and Pamela. A really thoughtful and lovely gesture.
Troy explained his Timekeeper role, Aminat introduced the word-of-the-day as the Grammarian, and then went on to lead the warm-up session which involved members letting their imaginations run wild while weaving a fun story.
Our first speech of the evening was "Why Am I Doing This?" from Matt, speaking about his vision and personal values.
Gina was next up with her speech "The Power of Yes" about leadership and having a growth mindset.
Our third speaker was visiting Toastmaster Mohammed Salih who told us about Jinn in his speech "Are Ghosts Real?"
Speech evaluations were delivered by Afia, Florence, and visiting Toastmaster Flavia the Club President at our neighbours Liberty Speakers.
The second half of the meeting kicked off with the Knowing Me Knowing You segment where I had the privilege of interviewing special guest Emmanuel Karamagi Club President at neighbours Speakers of Croydon and incoming Area H15 Director.
Thanks to Emmanuel for taking part and diplomatically dodging my question on the best Toastmasters club in the Area!
Table Topics Master Rupa asked speakers to talk about what animal they would be and went straight to one of our guests Gaynor, who declined, but later in the session bravely stepped up and had a go!
Meeting awards were presented to Paul Imm and visiting Toastmaster Katy Hursh (from Minnesota) as joint winners for Best Table Topic. Flavia was voted Best Evaluator, while Best Speaker went to Matt, and the President's Award went to our guest Gaynor!
There were two end-of-year club awards to be presented, although every one of our members has been impressive over the past 12 months and deserves an accolade.
Most Improved Toastmaster of the Year was awarded to Luqman Dawud. Highlights included his four speeches, competing in the recent Spring club speech contest, and also taking on the challenging Contest Chair / Toastmaster role at our Autumn club speech contest, the first one the club held online.
Toastmaster of the Year was awarded to Aminat Omotosho. Impressively taking on the demanding VP Education role just a couple of months after joining the club and Toastmasters! Aminat organised all our meetings, workshops, club contests (serving as Chief Judge at one) and was also a fantastic ambassador for the club, representing it at meetings and events at all levels of the District, and beyond.
What a great meeting to end my tenure as Club President, a big thank you to the rest of the committee for all your hard work and service, and with great pleasure I will be handing over to our incoming President Aminat and the new committee on 1st July 2021!
written by aseem kapoor
Club President Croydon Communicators
It had been two years since the last one, but finally Croydon Communicators got to hold its third movie night themed meeting.
This one was slightly different with meetings still having to be conducted online via Zoom, however we tried to have just as much fun, with Hollywood or movie related costumes (with someone even changing their costume during the intermission), and virtual backgrounds. I even had movie snacks (popcorn naturally, and a coke) which sadly could not be shared virtually.
Appropriately selected clips of famous movie scenes were played during the evening to introduce role players and agenda items, with everyone invited to test their movie knowledge and guess which movies they were from.
For those that missed the quiz and want to have a go you will find the scenes within the following video on the club's YouTube channel:
Just like any film, a Toastmasters meeting has its own cast and crew:
Toastmaster: Aseem Kapoor
Zoom Master: Aminat Omotosho
Timekeeper: Troy Udall
Grammarian: Pearl Cadogan
Warm-up: Florence Nakkozi
Speakers: Gina Rocque Drayton, Stephen Tsang, Afia Nicholas
Evaluators: Aminat Omotosho, Matt Clark, Caroline Rainford
Table Topic Master: Matt Clark
Our usual educational meeting agenda again included a 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' segment, with Afia being interviewed by Gina.
If you're new to Toastmasters a guide to each role can be found on our club website - just click on the role names above!
The stars of the show were of course: our members, our guests, and some wonderful visiting Toastmasters Elyssa Schneider (form Puerto Rico), Alex Erheim (from Canada), Pearl and Carol Cadogan (from Liberty Speakers) all joining in to make the evening even more special.
To conclude the evening an Oscars style awards ceremony took place, where winners of the best speaker, best evaluator, and best costume were announced. You can check out the highlights in the video below!
To borrow a quote from one of my favourite movies The Matrix:
"No one can be told what Croydon Communicators is, you have to see it for yourself"
Join us for our next meeting on Thursday 24 June.
Movie night will return to Croydon Communicators in 2022!
written by aseem kapoor
Club President Croydon Communicators
The meeting opened with some quick housekeeping and online meeting rules from Aminat before she handed over to me, and my first order of business was to welcome back Caroline! After taking a break from Toastmasters we're thrilled to have her back as a club member again.
After I had extolled the benefits of Toastmasters as is customary in the President's address, I handed control of the meeting to our Toastmaster for the evening (the meeting host) Matt.
Matt had set a meeting theme of 'move' to encourage everyone to keep moving, whether that was to get up and do some exercise, or move forward with projects and goals.
Caroline in her first meeting since rejoining was in the role of Timekeeper, and proceeded to expertly demonstrate the timing signals by changing her background, then offered up the quote "Time is free but it's priceless, you can't own it but you can use it." before advising all speakers to use their time wisely!
Sandra took the stage to lead a really fun warm-up session which she opened by demonstrating the joyous way her father used to laugh. She went round the group asking everyone to share a memorable or distinctive laugh, either their own or someone they knew.
I don't think I was prepared for all the giggling, chuckling, witch-like cackling, tittering, belly laughs and all the other kinds of laugh that were served up by our members and guests!
With everyone smiling it was the perfect time to move onto the prepared speeches.
Assigned to evaluate our speakers were Gina, Afia, and first time visitor to our club Toastmaster Manasseh.
Gina and Afia we know are excellent evaluators and provided valuable feedback to their speakers, and Manasseh showed once again the talent at our neighbours Liberty Speakers by using the official judging ballot criteria in his feedback to Aminat.
Following the break and we were treated to a wonderful interview conducted by Past President Paul Rhys-Taylor (sporting the perfect Zoom background) as he engaged Luqman Dawud (our SAA on the next committee) in our Knowing Me Knowing You segment.
Among all the probing questions from Paul that elicited some great responses, Luqman shared some great news about a recent new arrival for him and his wife, and the club joined in to offer their congratulations!
We moved on to an innovative Table Topics session run by Loreen, who asked each speaker to choose a number between 1 and 10. Each number had a corresponding image related to our meeting theme 'move' that would be revealed by Loreen, and would form the basis of the speaker's table topic!
It's been a while since we've had a General Evaluator on the agenda, so it was great to have visiting Toastmaster Jessica Guzzetta-King President of St Paul's Speaker observing our meeting and providing valuable feedback to all role players and the club.
A really enjoyable meeting was moving towards its end so before presenting awards, the Knowing Me Knowing You wheel decided that Rupa would be interviewing Afia next time, should be another fascinating insight into one of our members!
Matt was congratulated for completing his Level 4 of the Visionary Communication path, which also gave Croydon Communicators its ninth DCP (Distinguished Club Programme) point thereby once again achieving President's Distinguished status, the highest level of recognition from Toastmasters International.
A huge well done to the club, that's eight years in a row and I have no doubt we will do it again next year!
Rupa was presented with her ice breaker ribbon for delivering a fantastic first speech and we look forward to many more to come. Afia was voted best table topics speaker and best evaluator, and Florence was voted best speaker. The President's award went to Luqman, despite the arrival of his baby last week he joined our meeting just to take part in Knowing Me Knowing You.
After stepping up to volunteer to serve the club as Treasurer, Rupa was officially voted onto next year's committee. Thank you and congratulations to Rupa. The VPE and VPPR positions are still waiting to be filled!
Aminat announced that our next meeting would be 'Movie Night' always a popular theme, it's our third one (this time it's online!) looking forward to some amazing outfits.
You can watch a trailer for the meeting featuring images from the past two Movie Nights below - see you on 10 June, don't forget the popcorn!