Maidenhead Speakers À La Carte


Maidenhead Speakers Club – Monday 24 Nov 2014

WITH GUEST BLOGGER, IAN

It was a chilly walk from the car on Monday evening, however, once I opened the door onto a Maidenhead Speakers Club meeting-in-preparation, the climate changed! Familiar faces, warm smiles and a reception desk ready to take your details and offer advice.

TME Lorraine had done her planning and chasing the cast for the evening was listed on the board, and the members were starting to take to their seats. The gavel struck the lectern a few minutes after 7.30, as S@A Paul (topped by a woolly hat) made us welcome and drew us into the evening in jovial style. The only stern moment was when there was a warning to turn off the mobile! A volunteer always appears at Toastmasters, and tonight it was Jacqui. Our incumbent President Julie was away this week, so Immediate Past President Jacqui stepped in performed the duties. Guests were given their moment of recognition and acknowledgement, before control passed to Lorraine – who made do without any serious introduction. Perhaps her reputation defies the need! All indications pointed to us being in safe hands as the mood was confidence and control – all brightened with a smile. This was no standard meeting either, but a three course meal. Starters were to be the Table Topics, prepared Speeches would provide the main, and Evaluation would finally fill us up.

The first course was served by another man in a hat – Michael had his topics prepared and his speakers known only to him. The theme this week was proverbs, which had an attraction due to the ease of comprehension. Steve was the opener with his accustomed warm style and steady flow. A change in style was evident when John got to the front. With hand in pocket he sauntered through the delivery, introducing his own material. No sooner was he back in his seat than I am sure I heard cursing from the row behind. Maybe I was mistaken as by the time Monica reached the lectern, she had a contented grin. I particularly liked the way Monica inserted the phrase ‘I should be telling you this….’. The secret was here and gone, but Norman was being open and honest with ‘You’re Never too Old to Learn’ . In his ineffable way, he made it look as if he had rehearsed. The penultimate topic came from Suzette who had us on the edge of our seats… because she spoke in such a soft voice. Finally Joyce was telling us of a splendid book she had at home which was a distant relation to the topic of ‘A Bird in the Hand is Worth two I the Bush’.

Best Table Topics Speaker ribbon was awarded to Norman.

And so to the main course – three speeches from the CC Manual, and one from an Advanced Manual. Gabriella performed for the first time at the club and was well prepared – no sign of nerves and no notes were used, although I did spot a small piece of card in her hand. Never Give Up is a good motto for a Toastmaster! Sandra was next, and delivered her third speech on the subject of Super Drugs – which is her stock-in-trade. The third speaker was unexpectedly called up prior to the interval, and Doreen answered her own question – Where Does the Power Lie?’ The interval was filled with tea, biscuits and conversation – I was reminded of what a convivial club this is whether you visit or belong.! The fourth speaker was introduced, and Yohan laid out a touching story based upon Three Red Marbles, and he also picked up the ribbon for Best Speech.

The main course was done and all that was left was the final course to be served by the Evaluation team and General Evaluator Ian.  Cheryl gave a suitably sensitive evaluation to the Icebreaker speech, and reminded us all that the speech objectives should always be kept in mind. Grant provided a comprehensive critique, with a couple of good and well-observed recommendations. Eric had stepped in late to fill an Evaluator vacancy, and provided his wealth of Toastmasters experience in analysing Doreen’s speech. No sooner was one Elliott seated, than another was up… Helen finished the speech evaluations with a fine show, which included the technique of talking directly to the speaker – as well as sharing her points with the rest of us. Helen also picked up the ribbon for Best Evaluation.

Monica closed the feedback without a curse in her role as Grammarian. No one who used a filler or mangled their words escaped her record (although I felt she underscored my ‘ers’!). It was even colder when I left but I didn’t immediately notice, my mind was occupied with the thought……………………….Maidenhead is still such a great Club!

Our next club night at MSC will be at 7:30 on 8th December, where our Toastmaster of the Evening for our special annual Christmas meeting will be Mell. Let’s see as many of us there as possible for the last MSC meeting of 2014!

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