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!
written by aseem kapoor
Club President Croydon Communicators
The first club meeting in May, which in accordance with the Club Constitution for all clubs of Toastmasters International means elections night! But before we get to that we have our usual packed agenda.
A late agenda change saw Aminat step in for Susan as our Toastmaster. Susan had set a meeting theme of 'vision' and Aminat asked us all to think about our vision for the next Toastmaster year and our goals.
Rupa was our Timekeeper and in her explanation of the role shared a story of how a disaster could have been averted by keeping to time!
Paul Rhys-Taylor as Grammarian had chosen 'envisage' as the word-of-the-day in line with the meeting theme, encouraged speakers to try and use it, and also reminded us that he would also be looking out for usage of language, and reliance on filler words during the meeting.
During the warm-up Aminat asked all meeting attendees to share what they envisaged themselves doing this summer. Unsurprisingly with an end to lockdowns and social distancing in sight many were looking forward to being outdoors, travelling, and visiting friends and family.
After three very different speech projects and styles, it was over to our evaluators Aseem, Maureen and Pearl to provide feedback to the speakers, and stealing a line from Matt's podcast, to "find a balance" between commendations and recommendations that would help the speaker, and also benefit the audience.
After a short break it was time to reconvene the meeting with another one of our 'Knowing Me, Knowing You!' interview segments this time with Aminat posing the questions to our Immediate Past President (and former District Champion!) Dan.
Table Topics Master Stephen led the impromptu speaking session having prepared a variety of fun questions to ask his randomly selected participants. Topics included questions about desert islands, zombie apocalypses, aliens!
Meeting reports followed from Rupa with a final timer's report, and then Paul with a thorough Grammarian's report, announcing how well the word-of-the-day had been used, and highlighting numerous examples of good language, phrases and rhetorical devices used throughout the evening.
Finally it was time for club elections, the task of running them fell to Dan as Immediate Past President. For each office a nomination was made, seconded and then voted in.
Four club members put themselves forward for nomination, congratulations to Aminat, Sandra, Troy and Luqman for volunteering to serve your club!
President - Aminat Omotosho
VP Education - ?
VP Membership - Sandra Fallon
VP Public Relations - ?
Secretary - Troy Udall
Treasurer - ?
Sergeant-at-Arms - Luqman Dawud
The new executive committee led by incoming President Aminat will take office on 1st July 2021, and hopefully our members will step up and fill the three remaining vacant leadership positions by then.
Finally, it was over to me to close out the meeting starting with another spin of the 'Knowing Me, Knowing You' wheel which selected Luqman to be interviewed by Paul Rhys-Taylor!
Meeting awards were presented to guest Adawu for best table topic, to me Aseem for best evaluator, and to Roz for best speaker.
For stepping in to cover the Toastmaster role and doubling up as the warm-up, and for being so dedicated to join tonight's club meeting on Eid, it was an easy decision for the President's award to go to Aminat.
Thanks to all our guests who joined the meeting, including visiting Toastmasters Maureen, Roz, Carol and Pearl and last but not least Debbie our awesome Area Director!