written by dan magill
Club President Croydon Communicators
,Another fabulous meeting of the Croydon Communicators on Thursday evening saw members and guests indulging in acts of kindness.
It was certainly a memorable evening, with two outstanding icebreaker speeches, an impromptu ‘prepared’ speech and a brilliant table topics session.
Our Toastmaster for the meeting was the inimitable, Roz Etwaria.
The traffic caused Roz to arrive a few minutes late.
It was worth the wait!
Roz stepped out of her car and onto the stage with an energy, vibrancy and enthusiasm which immediately lifted the room and put everybody in the mood for the meeting ahead.
Andrei took on his first role at the club, as timekeeper.
As Roz said, this is one of the most challenging roles at a meeting, but Andrei handled it like a pro and delivered a perfect performance.
Next step for Andrei – the Icebreaker!
It was fantastic to see Marcia back as our Grammarian for the evening. She gave us the challenge of using her word of the day, ‘prescient’ in our speeches (as Club Prescient, it was easy for me) and her report at the end of the meeting picked up on some of the best uses of language across the night.
Our Immediate Past Presecient, Tereza then led an original and highly-effective warm-up session, which involved us all finding somebody in the room we didn’t know and telling them an interesting fact about ourselves.
We then reported back that fact to the rest of the room.
It was such a great way to not only get everybody interacting and speaking, but also to make all our first-time guests feel a part of things and meeting our members.
Immediate Past President, Tereza picks up the President's Distinguished Club Ribbon 2019/20 for leading the club to the pinnacle of club achievement in the last Toastmaster year.
Our prepared speakers for the evening were, Louise, Estela and Amit.
Louise was visiting from The Reigate Rhetoric. She explained to us that she had only given her Icebreaker speech in Reigate on Monday, but that she wanted to repeat it in a room full of strange faces.
We were happy to oblige – with strange faces galore at the ready!
Louise spoke to us about her alter ego, Kai.
Kai is a blogger.
Kai is full of confidence.
She’s outgoing, a social butterfly and willing to try anything.
Everything Louise thought she wasn’t.
But over the course of her journey, Louise has started to appreciate that they are both the same person, and with a little courage she can push herself out of her comfort zone.
It was a truly inspiring speech and even in giving the speech, in front of an audience she didn’t know, Louise showed a courage and confidence that even Kai would be envious of.
Then we had our new member, Estela giving her icebreaker speech.
Estela had told me earlier in the day that she had a real surreal feeling about giving her first speech and as I said in my evaluation, it took me back to my own icebreaker speech two years ago.
The idea that we would willingly agree to do something we don’t have to do and we certainly don’t want to do, then, go away and spend two weeks preparing for that thing, before getting ready and leaving the house on a cold, dark night to go and do the exact thing we do not want to do – can definitely create a surreal feeling.
But, Estela did it.
And, in doing so, she gave us one of the most ‘real’ experiences we’ve seen at Croydon Communicators.
Estela’s speech was titled, ‘Voice’ and she spoke to us about the battle she’s had using her own voice across the course of her life.
The speech was full of highs and lows; times when Estela was full of confidence and using her voice, other times when her confidence was low and she struggled.
What made it so powerful was that Estela was battling with her voice throughout the speech.
To watch her perseverance, determination and passion to win that battle (oh, did she win) was something nobody in the room will forget in a hurry.
We learn a lot at Toastmasters about speaking techniques, but when it comes down to it, the real marker of successful speaking is creating a connection with the audience.
Estela created such a powerful connection and she was a deserved Best Speaker winner on the evening.
Next up, we had Amit.
It was a tough ask to follow on from the two outstanding icebreaker speeches we’d heard but in what was only his third speech at the club, Amit gave us an unprepared, ‘prepared’ speech.
It was fascinating to see Amit develop his thoughts, live on stage. Everything was coherent and confidently delivered. Amit held our attention and engaged us throughout.
More experienced, speakers would run a mile at the thought of giving a full-length speech, off-the-cuff, but Amit rose to his own challenge magnificently and rounded off our prepared speeches in style.
Myself, Mustafa and Norma evaluated the three speeches.
A huge thank you to Norma, who stepped in right at the very last second to evaluate Amit’s speech.
She gave some insightful commendations and recommendations and won the President’s Award for her willingness to step in and take on the role. A real act of kindness!
Terrific Table Topics
Another last-minute stand-in was Rob, who took on the role of Table Topics Master.
Rob didn’t have long to come up with a set of questions for our participants to answer, but he did a great job and we had some really varied answers.
Everything from mad scientist Mustafa and a crazy cat to Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
Our guest, Courtney won the Best Table Topic award for a heartfelt and inspirational impromptu speech.
It was Courtney’s second visit to the club and we’re all hoping she joins up as she clearly has a lot to offer.
Aseem evaluated the topics and really did use his time well, ensuring that all the speakers got some encouraging commendations and notes for improvement.
Finally, Florence came up to give us a General Evaluation.
Florence was kind and positive about all of the evening’s role players and she was particularly complimentary about how many of us looked comfortable on stage.
What I noticed most was how comfortable Florence looked.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen her looking so confident and relaxed. It was a superb general evaluation – even if it eventually did have Andrei ringing the bell!
Overall, another memorable meeting at Croydon Communicators.
Our next Club meeting will be on Thursday December 12.
This will be our final meeting of 2019 so please make every effort to attend.
Best Speaker – Estela
Best Evaluator – Dan
Best Table Topics - Courtney
Icebreaker Award – Estela & Louise
President’s Award – Norma