Maidenhead’s 2013 got underway on the 14th January with a rousing and very well attended January meeting. Sandra Davidson led the evening as Toastmaster and set about asking people about their new years resolutions. Her advice was that you are far more likely to achieve your goals if you both write them down and tell other people. Solid advice for all Toastmasters!
President Nick had earlier described his new year ritual of reviewing the previous year and making sure he gave himself credit for all of the things he had achieved over the last 12 months.
The Table Topics session saw Beshlie Donaldson ask a range of people questions on the new years theme. The best topic was from Keith Clarke who was asked if old years resolutions were a better idea.
In a packed meeting there were five prepared speeches. Swati Rao gave us her icebreaker and talked about the three roles she takes on – Telecommunications engineer, mother and the one she hopes to do more of, teaching children. It was a wonderfully entertaining first speech! Naresh Chhonker talked about health and fitness and the changes that modern life has brought to our wellbeing. Look out for Naresh at your local badminton centre, this is his new fitness regime.
The best speaker vote went to Doreen Gowing who entertained us with an account of the life of Percy French. Known as “The Inspector of Drains”, Percy’s job title belied his ability as one of Ireland’s most popular song writers. Doreen conveyed her love of his music. Long time member Ian Rees made a rare and very welcome visit to give a speech about calendars. Ian made what could be a dull topic into a fascinating and engaging story of how people have tracked the days and years throughout history. Finally Gerard Pillai made a Special Occasion speech – a toast to 2012. His reminisces on a fine year could only have been improved if he had brought champagne for everyone.
Speech evaluations were to an excellent standard as Phil Cook, Andrew Sims, Fatiha Lafkar, John Callaghan and Ben de Candole gave the speakers valuable feedback on their performances. Fatiha was voted best evaluator making it two out of two attempts! (Someone was obviously paying attention at the workshop)
Monica Horten rounded off the feedback with a very thorough grammarian’s report. It was perhaps the first time that coughs and laughs have featured alongside umms and ahhs! Nick rounded off the meeting with a GE report and a reminder for everyone to keep speaking in 2013.