written by aseem kapoor
Club President Croydon Communicators
Another Thursday night at Croydon Communicators and another reminder of what a truly wonderful club this is.
Rupa, having recently joined, at our last meeting (and in her first club meeting role) delivered a fantastic warm-up session. Incredibly at this evening's meeting, in only her second role, she stepped forward as Toastmaster!
The theme of the meeting set by our Toastmaster was 'success' and Rupa talked about what that meant to her, and also asked us to think about what the word meant to us.
"Time is of the essence" were the words used by timekeeper Aminat to remind us of the importance of keeping to time, as she demonstrated the visual signals she would use, and warned us that her finger would be on the mute button should we overrun our allotted times!
Our first speaker was Florence with her inspiring speech "The Power of Giving" that focused on her family and giving back.
In her speech "Reflection of a Table Talk" Loreen revealed insights from a panel discussion she had hosted for over 200 HR professionals on topics of minorities and diversity.
In his informative speech "The Middle Man Is No More" Matt gave us an introduction to 'Blockchain' technology and how it had the potential to be transformational in the way we live our lives.
Our final speaker was Gina who shared her experience of communicating change in an organisation she worked for, in her speech titled "There is nothing permanent except change".
After the prepared speeches and before moving onto speech evaluations, we squeezed in a late warm-up session, led by Afia who asked everyone to reveal things they were grateful for.
Having listened to four really strong prepared speeches, it was time to find out what evaluators Norma, Susan, Amy, and Pearl thought of them as they each took to the stage and provided their observations, commendations and recommendations.
Approaching the network break, with so much packed into the agenda already, there was plenty still to look forward to in the second half of the meeting.
The meeting resumed with a brand new segment that I was really looking forward to: Knowing Me Knowing You! (inspired by the Alan Partridge TV series of the same name). We invited to the stage one member to take the role of a talk-show host (interviewer) and one member the role of their guest (interviewee).
Our very first Knowing Me, Knowing You featured Gina Rocque Drayton interviewing Paul Imm, and wow, this pairing did not disappoint.
Gina was a natural in the host's chair, and masterful in her questioning, I could definitely see her fronting a late night chat show of her own.
The interview was delightful, we got to know more about Paul as he shared his Toastmaster experiences, hobbies, dreams, and some memorable moments involving peas, a guitar, brewing beer, and even a birth on stage!
You can catch the interview and all the speeches on a replay of our meeting - as usual recordings are on YouTube and a link is available to members.
I was Table Topic Master and the meeting transitioned from a talk show to a game show as I injected some familiar music and sounds from "Who wants to be a millionaire?" into our impromptu speaking section of the meeting.
To round off a hugely enjoyable evening, we heard from our guests: former member Gertrude, our neighbours from Liberty Speakers Carol and Pearl, and Amy who is Area Director for H32 and a member of Worthing Speakers, Gatwick Communicators, and a new club she has launched Sussex Online Speakers!
I got to spin the Knowing Me, Knowing You wheel and it landed on Dan as the interviewee, and Aminat as the interviewer for next time. I'm looking forward to a fascinating chat between our Immediate Past President and our VP of Education!
A Level 3 Pathway completion was announced for Aminat. Meeting awards went to Norma (best table topic), Amy and Pearl (tied for best evaluator), Loreen for (best speaker), and of course the President's Award had to go to the remarkable Rupa for taking on the Toastmaster role so early in her Toastmaster's journey and doing a fantastic job.
As there is a fifth Thursday this month, we have another meeting next week 29th April. See you then!
written by aseem kapoor
Club President Croydon Communicators
It was her first time in the Zoom Master / Meeting SAA role and Pamela got us off to a smooth start by explaining online meeting etiquette.
Not long after, Sandra our Toastmaster for the evening took to the stage to explain the running order for the meeting.
Sandra had set a theme of 'good viewing' and prior to the meeting had asked tonight's speakers which TV show or movie they had enjoyed recently they would recommend. The answers were revealed as Sandra introduced each role player to the stage.
Timekeeper Troy gave a quick demonstration of the method he would be using to signal speakers and help them stay within the allotted times stated on the meeting agenda.
Stephen explained his role as Grammarian and encouraged everyone to try and use his word-of-the-day which was 'imbue'.
Our newest club member Rupa lead a really fun warm-up session, and got everyone in the meeting to try repeating various tongue-twisters.
It was great to watch, and certainly put a smile on everyone's faces, at least until it was their turn to try not tripping up on one of Rupa's tongue twisters!
After some feedback from the floor for my speech, our evaluators Matt and Paul provided their feedback on Aminat's and Adrian's speeches respectively.
Good evaluations should contain both commendations and recommendations for the speaker, while also speaking to the audience, and both Paul and Matt are experts in crafting well rounded evaluations.
After the break, on the agenda as usual was our Table Topics session, an exercise that helps us to develop our impromptu speaking skills.
Susan was our Table Topics Master and had prepared questions that required our speakers to describe certain favourite aspects of London (or other city if they wished).
We always try to encourage any visitors to participate in this part of the meeting so it was great to see our guest Rafiat (invited by Aminat) also volunteer to have a go.
Troy updated us on each speaker's timings before Stephen delivered a comprehensive grammarian's report on language he had observed during the meeting.
Two Pathways educational awards were announced, one for Matt on completing Level 3 of Visionary Communication, and the second for Aseem on completing Level 2 of Persuasive Influence.
Paul Rhys-Taylor picked up two meeting awards Best Table Topics and Best Evaluator. Aminat won the Best Speaker award. Finally the President's award went to Pamela for taking on the Zoom Master role!
Announcements - don't forget to buy your EarlyBird ticket for the D91 Online Conference featuring 8 Keynote Speakers, 20+ Workshops and 4 Speech Contests.
Our next meeting is in two weeks where we launch the new 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' segment, our first one will feature Paul Imm and Gina Rocque Drayton. Can't wait!
Written by aseem kapoor
Club President Croydon Communicators
Aminat was on Zoom Master and SAA duty concisely relaying the housekeeping and meeting rules before handing over to me to give the President's address.
This week I had the privilege of welcoming a new member to the club, Rupa who made the wise decision to join the crew of Croydon Communicators and begin her voyage to becoming the speaker and leader she wants to be!
Control of the meeting passed to our Toastmaster for the evening Loreen, to steer us through the choppy waters of the meeting agenda.
Loreen had some great opening remarks prepared about public speaking, how at Toastmasters we are learning to 'own the room' before moving on to explain the evening's programme and the theme of the meeting which was 'protests'.
Sandra took the stage to explain her Timekeeper role - two things to note, first Sandra's choice of phrase to impress on everyone in the meeting the importance of timekeeping "The bad thing is time flies; the good thing is that you are the pilot!".
Secondly, the amazing selection of dynamic colourful virtual background images used to signal timing. Such striking visuals would surely not be missed by our speakers, check them out below:
Our grammarian Susan was next to take the stage, and told us that she would be looking for not only good phrases, but inspiring phrases, and encouraged us all to use the word-of-the-day 'savvy' (no, not the Captain Jack Sparrow version!)
Our warm up session was run by Pam who was quick off the mark by immediately dropping Susan's word of the day into her introduction, and then asked everyone to reveal five things they had learnt about themselves or enjoyed over this past year.
After three excellent speeches it was only fitting that we had three of the best evaluators up on deck to give feedback.
Joining Luqman and Gina, was Alex McKee from Liberty Speakers using the opportunity to warm up for the Division H Evaluation Contest.
After the break the meeting resumed with Afia leading the Table Topics session with questions related to our theme 'protesting' posed to each speaker. As has now become the norm we had immediate evaluations of each topic.
The session was going so well until disaster struck as our ship went down and we were pitched overboard! Or rather, the Zoom meeting ended and we were all abruptly ejected.
Aminat our Zoom Master was quick to launch the lifeboats and restart the meeting, and our members clambered back on board, although sadly a couple of guests may have been lost at sea.
Susan returned to the stage to give us her grammarian's report on how well language had been used throughout the meeting, and if we had been ' savvy' enough to use the word of the day.
It was really nice to end the evening chatting with our visitors, particularly former member Gertrude, and our friends from Liberty Speakers Pearl, Carol, and Alex.
Meeting awards were presented to Aminat for Best Table Topic, Alex for Best Evaluator, Matt for Best Speaker, and the President's award went to Sandra for being an exemplary Timekeeper and of course for those stunning backgrounds!