Maidenhead Speakers Club – Monday 25th November 2013
WITH GUEST BLOGGER, MELL SHEPPARD
Baby, it’s cold outside… but fortunately for Maidenhead Speakers Club, the performances are always hot!!!
Ok, Ok, I know I sound like Bruce Forsyth… let’s see how they got on in training…..
We opened bang on time with Sergeant at Arms, Doreen Gowing, reminding us all about Ireland’s near-victory against the mighty All Blacks. Nice Try Doreen!
President Jacqui Hogan proceeded to welcome all members and guests by giving us a full recital of one of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous speeches. It’s one of the best openings by a Club President I can remember, inspiring and moving.
We then got down to the nitty-gritty as we were introduced to our debut TME Alan Grayly who confidently explained HATS, ran through the agenda, and introduced his theme (inspired by a recent trip to India) focusing on life’s mysterious and defining moments.
Table Topics Master Nick Bailey then took the floor to deliver this week’s ‘think on your feet’ extravaganza. Nick decided to use the cold weather as his theme and tried something slightly different – allowing the audience to volunteer to answer the question.
First up was Rajeev Sawhney who spoke on the decision to stay in or go out in the cold weather. Next was Vinay Neogi who told us that one of the clear pros of Winter is that he is able to go caving, one of his favourite hobbies – but explained that a con is definitely that he is forced to camp out in the cold! Paul Aherne answered his Table Topic on Winter cooking by telling us that he actually microwaves most year-round anyway! Joyce Rhodes gave us an insight into who she would invite to a Winter Dinner party… in fact she would invite 18 people and hold the party on Christmas Day, even though it’s renowned for arguments! Grant was asked whether children have better Christmas presents now than he or his parents did. He decided that kids today are more spoilt and he definitely appreciated his presents a whole lot more! Finally, we had Sandra Chavez who was Table Topping for the first time and told us all about her favourite winter holiday. All in all, a great effort, and Paul was voted as Best Table Topic Speaker.
We then heard from Toastmaster Norman Rhodes who performed an effective Education Slot entitled ‘Back to Basics’, reminding us of the importance of introductions, and the correct use of Word of the Day and the role of the Grammarian. With his wealth of experience, it’s always a treat to hear Norman speak.
On to the rehearsed speeches. Matthew Woolacott told us all about the delights of Barcelona, inspired by a recent conversation with his Father-in-Law. We were taken on a mini-tour of the gothic quarter, the Park Gael, Las Ramblas and The Sagrada Familia. If you’ve never been to Barcelona, you now have every reason to go!
Our second speaker was Richard Davies with his speech entitled ‘Rhetoric’, which focused all around a subject close to our hearts – public speaking. Richard told us that public speaking is the ‘art of persuasion’ and that to become a good speaker takes three things: determination, sincerity and practise.
Next up to give it some welly on the floor was Clive Pugh who asked us ‘is everyone a performer?’. Clive explained that 55% of communication is not in what we say, but in our body language – and asked us to consider the assumptions we make towards people. Clive’s feeling was that wherever we go in life we’re naturally judged.
And speaking of judging, just before the break we heard from a man who is very used to being judged, Chris Boden, who is fresh back from the Humorous Speech District Final where he won 3rd place. Chris was putting a plug in for the next District Conference in Dublin (having just come back myself from Colchester, I can wholeheartedly recommend attending – just don’t get too drunk!!!).
After a short break, we were welcomed back by Doreen and heard from our final speaker Lorraine Hamilton.
Lorraine spoke about the journey of man on the National Geographic Project and opened with a big statement ‘Survival, Survival, Survival’. Lorraine introduced us to the time machine (and explained that DNA is key to this) and then went on to share her own genetic markers with us. Extremely interesting stuff.
Clive Pugh won the award for Best Speaker.
Finally we moved on to the Evaluation part of the evening, run by yours truly and we heard from four fabulous evaluators, Mohammed Aziz, Chris Boden, John Callaghan and Yohan McDonald, who all gave helpful and insightful feedback to their speakers.
In the end, Yohan took away the spoils and was crowned Best Evaluator.
Last but certainly not least, we heard from our Grammarian Rob Crowe, who summarised the ums and ers and fillers that we drop into conversation.
That’s it folks, another cracking evening at MSC – would you expect anything less?
The next club night is our final meeting of the year, a special Christmas Evening on Monday 9th December. We will have drinks, nibbles and some socialising in the second half of the evening as we wind down towards the Festive Season – see you all there!