30 Years of Speaking Brilliance


The first official meeting of Maidenhead Speakers took place on the 7th March 1983. So that makes March our 30th anniversary month! It was fitting therefore that stand in President for the evening was Norman Rhodes, the founder of the club. He opened the meeting with the happy duty of presenting a badge to our newest CC – Steve Cann. He also reminded everyone of the annual dinner on the 27th April, being organised by Julie. Contact her to RSVP by the 16th.

Chris Webb was Toastmaster of the evening and themed the meeting around the changing of the seasons. Remarking particularly on this very wintery Spring. He was assisted by Phil Cook as Timer and Naresh as Grammarian. He introduced us to the word of the day – cachinnate – meaning to laugh loudly. We always learn something new at Maidenhead!

Table topics was led by Ben De Candole, who reminded us that topics are best structured like as a mini speech. Ben gave the speakers an eclectic mix of topics from the weather to presenting revolutionary inventions to solving all of Cyprus’s financial problems. So pretty simple really. Sandra, Nick, Phil, Yohan, Alan and Steve all gave it their best with Sandra winning the ribbon.

The prepared speeches began with Paul Aherne’s icebreaker. He told us about his inspirations in public speaking including Obama and Leonard Nimoy(!) and the things you can discover looking at speech contestants as they prepare. A fantastic debut Paul!

Fatiha gave her #4 speech – “It takes a Village”, speaking about the importance of tribes, families and communities, be they physical or virtual. And reminding us that Facebook now has 1 billion users.

Beshlie also gave her #4 speech – “What Motivates You?” She asked us to question why we do what we do. Hint – it’s probably not about money. The best speaker vote was between these first three and Beshlie took the prize.

After the break (well catered as always) Mell and Julie gave a practice run of their contest speeches for the Area. Both were brilliant and they received a lot of good feedback from the collective Maidenhead brain.

Joyce Rhodes was a more than capable GE and led the evaluation team – Richard Davies, Gerard Pillai, Mary Fraser, Keith Clarke and Lorraine Hamilton. Lorraine won best evaluator for her feedback on Julie’s speech.

Our next regular meeting is the 8th April and remember to book your place for the Annual Dinner with Julie.

4 responses to “30 Years of Speaking Brilliance

  1. This is a really good account of that meeting. I’m so proud to be a member of Maidenhead Speakers Club, 30 years and still going very strong!

  2. Thanks Jules! It’s a good place to be isn’t it.

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