written by florence nakkozi
VP Public Relations Croydon Communicators
We had the honour of having DTM Lynne Cantor, the UK & Ireland Evaluation Champion in 2012. She presented an interactive evaluation workshop in which she shared nuggets on how we can become effective evaluators.
She reminded us of the following basic things that the evaluator needs to do;
Lynne explained the details of the Ins and outs of an effective evaluator. She engaged the members by asking questions and providing evaluation exercises throughout the workshop.
We had one speaker for the evening, Florence Nakkozi with a speech title "Use crisis to your advantage".
As a way of testing the knowledge we had acquired from the workshop, Lynne asked 2 members to volunteer and evaluate the speech plus 2 other members to provide feedback to the evaluators.
The workshop was comprehensive and productive.
Big thank you to Lynne!
written by aseem kapoor
Club President Croydon Communicators
It was the first meeting of February at Croydon Communicators, a meeting that in any other year I would be excusing myself from attending, so I could head to colder but sunnier climes to do one of the things I love ... Skiing.
That was the theme of the meeting, no not skiing (sadly), but love.
With Valentine's day around the corner, our Toastmaster for the evening Florence had set a theme based around the question "do you believe in unconditional love?" posed to members in advance of the meeting. Florence revealed the answers of our speakers and meeting role players throughout the evening as she introduced them to the virtual stage.
Our timekeeper was Stephen, skillfully using virtual backgrounds to signal our role players.
Incidentally Stephen, along with Susan and Aminat, joined us last February. Haven't they all been such brilliant additions to the club? Let's congratulate them on a fantastic first year as Toastmasters!
Our Grammarian was Pamela aka 'our newest member', she came across so seasoned in the role I forgot it was her first time. Pamela introduced us to a rather challenging word of the day 'comity' and encouraged us all to try and use it in the meeting. She followed up at the end of the meeting by delivering a thorough report on the language used during the meeting.
I'm sure Pamela is desperate to shed that 'newest member' label so let's all try and make that happen.
In fact the District is currently running an incentive for clubs to achieve the 'Talk Up Toastmasters' membership building award. Read more here:
Susan clearly inspired by the meeting theme, had a vase of red roses behind her and an animated heart above her head courtesy of a zoom filter, as she ran the warm-up session asking us all to talk about the small things that make us happy.
I think everyone was happy to see a familiar face appear during the warm-up, none other than Gertrude! A former member and club officer, for those that don't know her head over to her website olugertie.com (I found some great recipes there on my last visit).
Hopefully we get to welcome Gertrude again at future meetings - that goes for all our former members if they read this, do drop in and say hi, we would love to see you! As Gertrude said later in the meeting "Once a Toastmaster, always a Toastmaster".
We had four speakers on the agenda, the first two our very own:
Gina sharing her experience of organising an event and the importance of planning ahead.
Matt explaining the concept of averages and their limitations.
Our third speaker was Roz the indomitable VPE at Liberty Speakers, no stranger to Croydon Communicators, stepping in last minute to help fill a speaking slot.
The final speaker was Ratan from Holborn Speakers, sharing his contest speech with us as he prepares to take it to his Area contest.
It fell to evaluators Norma, Afia, Aminat and Gina (in a dual role) to provide their analysis of the speeches and attempt to offer some constructive feedback.
Following a short break, the meeting reconvened with Luqman as Table Topic Master (also sporting a theme related background!) leading us through an impromptu speaking session with questions related to 'love' in line with the theme of the meeting.
A magnificent seven table topic speakers were called up, and as is now customary, received immediate feedback from an equally magnificent seven topic evaluators. It was great to see our guest Rupa who was visiting for the second time take part.
A highlight of the session was certainly visiting Toastmaster Craig based in Frankfurt who having joined the meeting half way through asked for the word of the day in the chat, and proceeded to weave it throughout his table topic. Norma was so impressed that while evaluating him she gave him a standing ovation!
We later discovered he is a District PR Manager, Club Coach and member of six Toastmaster clubs!
We also received great feedback at the end from Roz, Ratan and Rupa (I wish I'd picked up on this alliteration at the meeting) so well done to all on making our meetings so enjoyable for visitors.
On to the awards.
Visiting Toastmaster Craig was voted best table topics speaker.
Afia picked up best speech evaluator.
From a line up of four strong speakers, three of them having won speech contests at club level and beyond, it was Roz that prevailed taking home the best speaker ribbon.
Don't forget that our Club International Speech and Evaluation Contests are in two weeks! If you are not competing please speak to Aminat about helping to run the event by volunteering for roles.
Before that, we have a bonus meeting next Wednesday as our VP Education has arranged for Distinguished Toastmaster and former District Champion Lynne Cantor to visit and run one of her famous evaluation workshops. Sign up via the link shared on the WhatsApp group by Aminat!
See you there!
written by aseem kapoor
Club President Croydon Communicators
Our meeting starts at 7pm, but often a lot of work goes on behind the scenes unnoticed, that allows us to all to continue enjoying Toastmasters online.
So let's rewind a couple of hours to earlier in the day so I can share an example of the effort our members put in to prepare for their roles.
Following in Florence's footsteps last meeting, it was Sandra's turn to have her first go at being Zoom Master.
Like Florence, Sandra also booked some time with our VP Education Aminat, to get some hands on training using Zoom functionality (I decided to drop in on their session).
Despite Sandra's insistence that this technology was beyond her capabilities, and fearing that she would make mistakes, she still chose to step out of her comfort zone and do a role she had been dreading.
Under Aminat's patient guidance Sandra was soon familiarising herself with Zoom, and getting a little more comfortable (if not yet confident) about any tasks that she would need to perform.
Our meeting room was opened well in advance of our start time by Sandra, who diligently performed the Zoom Master duties: admitting and renaming attendees, keeping a finger ready on the mute button, creating and running polls, opening the meeting as the SAA, and generally ensuring the meeting ran smoothly.
Aminat was our Toastmaster for the evening and had set a theme of Dragons' Den.
Sandra was certainly the first of the evening to slay her Dragon. A job well done as Zoom Master, and she can now list online meeting management among all the other skills developed at Toastmasters!
At Toastmasters we learn by doing, whether it is a speaking, leadership, or in Sandra's case a technical skill ... "this is the way!" (to coin a phrase from Star Wars The Mandalorian).
Back to the meeting, and after I used the President's address to talk about the club experience, Aminat led us through the agenda, introducing our role players by revealing their Dragons' Den pitches:
Time for the prepared speeches, first up was our VP Membership Norma with a wonderfully chatty account of her mentoring relationships with 'Dave' and various podcasters! Packed with insights and warm delivery I think Norma herself would make a great podcaster.
Our second speaker was the ebullient Pearl from Liberty Speakers who shared the planning of hers and husband Carol's special six year anniversary, truly a celebration to remember, beamed over Zoom and attended by half of the world, or was that three-quarters!
Always a pleasure to have our friends from Liberty Speakers join us for meetings, Pearl proving again just how rich our Area is with speaking talent.
Our third and final speaker on the agenda was Pamela, delivering her 'icebreaker'. She credited and thanked both Norma (her sister aka our VP Membership) and Gina her inspirational mentor (aka one of our Past Presidents).
However it was Pamela alone that took to the stage and slayed another Dragon commonly seen at Toastmasters i.e. giving that very first speech in front of the club!
Congratulations to Pamela on taking the first step towards her goal of becoming a motivational and inspirational speaker.
Feedback on the speeches was provided by Matt, Gina and Luqman. All strong evaluators, and I expect them all to be competing in our upcoming Club Contest.
Speaking of evaluations, look out for details of two evaluation workshops being run over the next few weeks.
The first is at Purley Speakers on Wednesday 10th February with former District Champion Tazud Miah. Register here:
The second workshop being organised by Aminat right here at Croydon Communicators will be run by another former District Champion Lynne Cantor, at a special extra meeting on Wednesday 17th February. Details on the WhatsApp group.
I have attended these workshops in the past and they are invaluable for learning techniques that will help take your evaluating to another level!
We were also joined by a number of guests, certainly at the very start of the meeting. I suspect a few succumbed to a dragon early on in the evening, as only three were with us for the second half, but all took part in table topics:
Karen Malcolm, a visiting Toastmaster and member of two clubs in Pendleton, Oregon USA: Cay-Uma-Wa and Pendleton 154 who was encouraged to come after Florence left such a great impression.
Manju who I also bumped into at one of my other clubs (Purley Speakers) yesterday.
Lesley who is looking for self-improvement opportunities so certainly in the right place.
The topics session was run by Collins who had a selection of thoughtful and probing questions that elicited interesting responses from the speakers.
Another great evening spent at Croydon Communicators enjoying wonderful speeches and evaluations from our members, and always made that extra special when a member is giving their first speech!
Congratulations to the recipients of our meeting awards: Pamela, Pearl, Matt, Karen and Sandra!