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!