Maidenhead Toastmasters Meeting: Monday 14th May 2012. Energy and Entertainment!

After a few last minute changes and despite a number of blank slots still to be filled when the doors opened at 7.00pm – with encouragement from Jacqui Hogan as Toastmaster of the Evening and Helen Elliot as General Evaluator, all the roles were covered by 7.30pm in time for a prompt start.

The energy was high in the room as everyone set about tasks.  No less than four guests arrived to share the evening and contemplate the possibility of joining the group. I had a feeling Rob D. was won over by the end of the evening.  We look forward to what the future holds.

What I remember the evening for the most was its energy and entertainment.  As a new member and with no allocated task for the evening I mentally prepared myself for the possibility of being picked upon for a Table Topic 2 minute speech.  What a self fulfilling prophecy that turned out to be!  But it’s great to feel you are in a room of supportive listeners who are there to help and so with that in mind I took to the floor. Aside from no less than 8 “ahs” recorded by Eric (for my learning) all went well – it was great to be an active member.  Picking up 1st prize helped too!

Then the speeches: Richard Davies told a wonderful story with great imagery of a train journey he undertook: I can still smell the curry and chips! I felt I was on the train with him and enjoying every moment of it. In fact I have decided to take the Caledonian Sleeper to Edinburgh in September in the hope of an adventure. Thanks Richard for the inspiration.

Zahid Aziz instilled in us the benefits of crystallising our lives into action and overcoming the crippling habit of procrastination (which many of us could identify with; myself included).  He was living proof of what is possible when we first acknowledge that we are procrastinating, then create a plan of action and finally – and most importantly – take action; for in front of us stood a slim fit Zahid, having lost around a stone over the last 12 months.  Thank you Zahid – it was easier to jump out of bed this morning and go to the gym after your inspiring speech!

Mell Shepherd’s imagination had us all in suspense as we were drawn into the story with a twist of Shirley and the drama that ensued when she ate a slug.  Mel’s enthusiasm and expressive style was full of energy and entertainment as she told the story demonstrating that while a good speech should have a beginning, a body and a conclusion, they don’t necessarily have to be in that order.

Having listened to Nick Bailey’s speech E=MC squared for the first time in my life I have a clear picture of the impact of the theory of Relativity.  Pity Nick had not been my physics teacher, as he had failed to get the message across so well.  I am still looking forward to the day “Beam me up Scotty”  becomes a reality.

However, it was Thomas White’s speech on “Your eyes are for life” which is potentially life changing.  I have joined an Eyeball Fit Club to strengthen my eye muscles through exercises which will have me glasses free for life.  I am writing this without my glasses.  Not only was it informative Thomas had us all in stitches as we followed his instructions and did the exercises.

Thomas was indeed a very deserving winner for the evening.

Steve Catchick rounded off with a summary of high quality of entertainment at the National Toastmasters Conference held in Wexford, Ireland and encouraged us all to save for the next event in Cork. I can only imagine that the crack there will be mighty!

The meeting ended on time with the award and the concluding comments from President Mary Fraser.  Fellow Toastmasters – thank you all for making it such an enlightening evening.

Doreen Gowing


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