written by dan magill
Club President Croydon Communicators
We welcomed in the Year of the Rat at Croydon Communicators on Thursday evening, but it was the Bachelor and the Rottweiler who stole the show on an evening of superb entertainment in Croydon.
A Stella Performance
Our Toastmaster for the meeting was Estela. It was Estela’s first time in the role but you wouldn’t have known it, as she led us through the evening professionally, with bags of confidence.
Our Grammarian for the evening was visiting Toastmaster from Battle Speakers, Dorothy. Known as, The Rottweiler for her no-nonsense approach to filler word counting, Dorothy made it clear from the moment she stepped on stage that she’d be counting every single filler word used and providing everybody with a full report at the end of the evening. Although she did promise to be gracious enough not to count any of the many filler words we’d already used up to that point! (Erm… thanks, Dorothy!)
Black Belt Troy
Fresh from a run, our VPM, Kevin stepped up at the last minute to give us a quick warm-up based around things others would not know about us. There were some very interesting answers but surely non more fascinating than to learn that our Club Treasurer, Troy is a Black Belt in Karate.
Maybe something all members should remember when it comes to renewal fees – get them paid quickly!!!
Fun, Family and Flowers
We then moved into our prepared speeches portion of the meeting.
Matt was first up with his icebreaker speech, The Epilogue. Matt had clearly taken some time to really work on the structure and message within the speech, which for a first-time speaker was highly impressive. A slightly controversial opening left us wondering where Matt might be heading with the speech, but he brought things around superbly to deliver a powerful message.
Our next speaker was former Bachelor, Dec Cluskey, visiting from Battle Speakers. Dec’s intriguing title, She Sent Me Flowers, along with a vase of flowers sat centre-stage, had us all excited for where this speech might be going. We weren’t let down. Dec took us on a journey through some very difficult moments in his life but managed to deliver his story gently and with some humour. It was pleasure to have such an experienced speaker join us for the evening.
Our final prepared speech was given by Gertrude. Blood Is Thicker Than Water was only a 4-minute speech but was delivered with enough impact, humour and life-lessons to ensure we all got our money’s worth. As ever, Gertrude playfully toyed with the audience, giving us
lessons in language and ensuring we left with a message too.
Before the break, the three speeches were evaluated by myself, Viv and Aseem. All three evaluators were impressed with the themes the speakers had developed and the entertainment they’d provided with their speeches. There were some useful recommendations for both the speakers and the audience alike.
Viv gave a particularly outstanding evaluation of Dec’s speech, focussing in on the originality of the story and how much audience members were able to take from it. Aseem also gave a great evaluation of Gertrude’s speech but confessed he was just glad that enough of it was in English for him to be able to evaluate.
After the break, Marcia took on the role of Table Topics Master and she had a fantastic mix of questions on hand for our participants.
As ever, it was so encouraging to see first-time guests and brand-new members come up and have a go. Rashed, who’d been keeping us on time all evening came up and spoke confidently about London, Simon wished he’d had any question other than the rattish one he was given and our return guest, Aminat gave an outstanding response to her consumer-based question.
Well done to all our Topics speakers!
Our Table Topics evaluators for the evening were double-act, Gertrude and Troy.
As ever, Gertrude gave a note-free performance with some detailed feedback for each speaker, packed with commendations and recommendations.
This was Troy’s first time as an evaluator and it’s incredible to see his confidence growing before our eyes. Troy gave a very considered and comprehensive review of each speaker and nobody was going to argue with his recommendations – not now that we knew about the Black Belt thing!
The evening was rounded off with a first-class General Evaluation from our very own Paul Rhys-Taylor. Paul took on the ultimate challenge of a General Evaluation with no notes but plenty of value. Each of the evening’s role players were given feedback on how they’d done and we all got to enjoy a bit of playful banter between Dorothy and Paul which went on long after the evaluation had finished.
It was an evening where so many people could have bagged the coveted, President’s Award and for the first time in Croydon Communicator’s history, the award was shared between two outstanding contributors.
Dorothy and Dec not only took the time to travel up from Eastbourne to come and see us on a cold winter’s night in Croydon, they also took on roles and delivered them with bags of passion and enthusiasm.
We’d love to have them visit us again soon and maybe we’ll organise a club trip down to Battle to visit their club one evening.
Best Table Topics
Dorothy and Dec