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!