Blown Away by Speeches

Maidenhead Speakers Club  – Monday 28 October 2013


Doreen Gowing opened another splendid evening of high class speeches as Sergeant at Arms, sharing her dismay at losing a fence panel in the recent storm!

Julie Farrell stood in for Jacqui Hogan as President and warmed everyone up with some ‘o-fence-sive’ humour… which got everyone in a great mood for what was to come.

Toastmaster for the Evening John Callaghan then took to the stage bringing with him high energy and uplifting spirit. He made encouraging comments to all speakers and helped provide a very supportive environment.

Table Topics Master was Matthew Woolacott delivered an excellent topics session using the Halloween season as the theme.  First up was Romain Barraud who showed complete humility by saying that he actually got scared by a scary movie, sharing his story of hiding behind the sofa very skillfully. Sandra Chavez related her topic of whether Halloween had been commercialized by choosing to focus on the topic closest to home, her home country in South America. Steve Cann shared his trick or treat stories as a kid, that actually tended to be more of a ‘Menace for money’ approach, which brought howls of laughter from the audience. Finally Lorraine Hamilton delivered her talk on her worst food by first buying time by skillfully picking up the wrong topic slip! This bought her enough time to share the story of her worst veg, wining the best topic of the night in the process!

The Prepared speeches were opened with an educational slot by Mell Sheppard on the value of ‘Connecting with the audience’. Her points were extremely strong and included the question all speakers should ask ‘Is the speech for me, or the audience?’. Mell stated it should be for the audience, and that one should be versatile and ready to change the speech at the last minute to match the mood of the audience.

Mohammad Aziz was next up and delivered his Ice breaker with high confidence, including humour in his opening – which is a surefire way to win over the audience. Vinay Neogi also delivered his Ice Breaker in fine style, using his strong voice to fill the room, and holding a confident posture which says he is already establishing himself as a great speaker. Karen Szulakowska gave us an unconventional talk that included role play, demonstrating negotiation skills. This also demonstrated Karen’s advanced speaking skills and won her best speaker of the night. Zahid Aziz delivered his speech using an unconvential method of sharing his notes, which worked famously….not for the first time! He also showed why he is now working from the Advanced Manual range.


Yohan McDonald took leadership of the evaluation team as General Evaluator, and took delight in introducing a team consisting of a Grammarian and four Evaluators.

Nick Spooner opened up this session with a warm commendation of Mohammad’s talk, stating clear recommendations and ending with great encouragement which every speaker needs. Beshlie Donaldson displayed her warmth and calming demeanour to feedback her thoughts, stating the improvement areas in clear & simple terms, ensuring her words were supportive to her ice breaker speaker. Mary Fraser made her evaluation very personal by sharing all the areas she liked about the speech, skillfully presenting to the audience, but ensuring eye contact with the speaker. The winner of the best evaluation of the evening was Sandra Davison, who made her points not only by saying the message  but by being the message, moving around on stage to demonstrate each point with the high level of confidence we always enjoy from her.


Overall the evening was very enjoyable and educating, as each speech contained many things the audience could learn and benefit from. Maidenhead Speakers is (and continues to be) such a well-run club, making each session very worthy of attendance, and anticipation for the next one.

The next club night is on Monday 11th November – see you all there!

Published by Steve Cann

I love music! I've also recorded & performed my own songs (& once played in a band) & sometimes attend open mic nights. I enjoy comedy club nights & rock gigs, & countryside walks/country pubs... & life's simple pleasures, such as relaxing with a great book. I love exploring London, & particularly pub walks - there's so many wonderful pubs in the metropolis that I didn't know existed before I started doing these... I never get tired of London. I enjoy meditation, keeping fit, yoga & staying in good shape - healthy body, healthy mind & all that. I'm always open to new experiences, & strive to live life mindfully - enjoying the present moment. I've more recently got into public speaking, becoming a Toastmaster - it's great fun, & an invaluable way of learning new skills & extra confidence.

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