Meet El Presidente!

Maidenhead Speakers Club – Monday 14 Jul 2014


July is always a special time as we hail the New Toastmasters Year in, and at MSC we are no different as we greeted new committee members & of course a new Club President!

Sergeant at Arms Paul Aherne was in good spirits & regaled us as in his usual witty & off-the-cuff style as we took to our seats on yet another warm (& fairly humid) summer evening at St Luke’s Hall. He then swiftly introduced brand new Club President Julie Farrell, who now proudly takes over for the next TMs year from Jacqui Hogan. Julie was brimming over with her trademark energy & enthusiasm as she told us of her plans for the next year on how she intends to run the club, also speaking of how far she’s come since becoming a TM over 3 years ago. She spoke with great honesty & alacrity too as she told us how she’s gone from ‘Panic to Published’ – overcoming panic attacks in recent years to becoming a fully-fledged published author, not to mention rising up the ranks of MSC to become Club President! We all wish her well, & look forward to her leadership at the club over the coming year. She also said her favourite part would be handing over the ribbons to the winners at the end of the night, which she duly did!

Toastmaster of the Evening Gerard stepped up next & started the night’s proceedings in his usual understated but efficient style, clearly signposting what was in store for us on a packed schedule, taking us through HATS, &  also introducing us to tonight’s all-important Timer, Gavin Collins.

Table Topics Master Mary Fraser was on-stage next as she hosted a slick & entertaining TTs session recalling those hazy, lazy days of summer -with the Best Table Topics Speaker ribbon going to Matthew Woolacott. Other speakers were John Callaghan, Nick Bailey, Steve Cann, Zahid Aziz & Doreen Gowing.

First prepared speech was Marco Davi, with his Icebreaker ‘Say Yes’. In an entertaining & inspiring speech, he spoke of how he moved from Italy to Germany, & how his dad taught him to ski without having ever skied himself. He also mentioned how his daughter wanted to see the photo on the back of his film camera! Next was Peter Needham, with ‘You’re Never Too Long in the Tooth’, speech #4 from his CC Manual. He told a wonderful, moving (& very funny) account of his sometimes uncomfortable experiences of having a brace fitted on his teeth as an adult, using this ‘simple’ theme to construct a very effective recount of his experiences. He also invented a new word – ‘bracism’!

Third speaker Richard Davies was doing a speech from his Advanced Storytelling Manual, with his unusually-titled speech ‘The Jar’. He told stories within a story, using word pictures to take us to the terrace of The Boutler’s Inn, which he used as a framing device to tell his tales. He told the unusual story of the slap and the kiss on a train journey, & also used a prop of a jar full of ping-pong balls to focused on cultivating the important things in life (such as friends, family, love) & not sweating the small stuff. And how there was always time for 2 cups of coffee! Final speech of the first half was Grant Oliver with ‘What’s Your Favourite City’. Much-travelled, he took us on a whirlwind-tour of the world & his experiences of other cultures, finally revealing his three favourite places at the end.

Following the break, it was time for Chris Boden to step up with a special preview (& rehearsal) of his World Championship Contest Speech no less! You had to be there, as they say, as I am at pains here not be reveal any details of Chris’s speech – which he will of course be performing in front of an audience of 5,000 in Kuala Lumpur. All of us assembled enjoyed this unexpected preview of Chris’s moving & inspiring talk, & he invited written feedback from audience members at the end for any areas where he could make any improvements. It goes without saying we will all be wishing you well for next month Chris with your excellent speech, as you step on that plane!

Best Speaker Ribbon was awarded to Peter Needham – well done Peter.

Evaluators Alan Grayly, Yohan McDonald, Lorraine Hamilton, Tony Searby & David MacLeod all did sterling work, & our speakers were all treated to first-class evaluations from our experienced team. David in particular had the tricky task of evaluating Chris’s Contest Speech, but gave some wonderful recommendations for Chris to take away to Kuala Lumpur perhaps – not to mention of bit of audience participation too for good measure, which is always good at TMs!

Best Evaluator Ribbon was awarded to Lorraine for a very animated & thorough evaluation of Richard’s speech.

Grammarian Sandra Davison gave a breezy report of ‘um’ & ‘ah’ usage, not forgetting those speakers who utilized her word of the day ‘resilience’.

The next meeting will be on Monday 28th July at 19:30. 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.

3 thoughts on “Meet El Presidente!

  1. Thank you Steve! I’m really looking forward to a great year of enhancing the wonderful community spirit we have at Maidenhead Speakers! It’s all about supportive cooperation, not criticism or competition! 🙂 It truly is a magical place to be! 🙂

  2. Thanks Jules – & I couldn’t agree more! Well done again for creating such positive energy in the room at your first meeting as President, & for reminding us all of the positive principles that make TMs such a success. It’s going to be a fun, inspiring & enjoyable year with you leading MSC as Club President! 🙂

  3. I agree with Steve with Julie at the helm we can look forward to a fun and creative year. Creating a space for us all to be creative with our speeches.
    Now to get on and write my next speech CC5 Your Body Talks. I can hear it talking to me already…. Lunch soon…

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