A Five-Star Evening of Speeches


Maidenhead Speakers Club – Monday 23 Mar 2015

WITH GUEST BLOGGER, NICK

This week’s meeting had a new members’ feel – what with one icebreaker (the first speech every new member completes from their manual), two second speeches, and a first evaluation.

Following his amazing performance as the warm-up speaker at the Area Contest last weekend, Sgt at Arms Paul opened the meeting in his customary cheery style. Paul must have a soft spot for our President as he introduced her as ‘the delightful Julie‘! She proceeded to welcome us all, taking good care as always to make a special effort to welcome any guests.

We were also in good hands as our Toastmaster for the Evening was Clive. He made the organizing look so easy and effortless, despite some inevitable late changes. He also had some well thought-out intros for our speakers based around his theme of travel, setting us up for a 5-star evening of speeches!

The travel theme was continued by Doreen in her Table Topics session – her excellent questions were well-crafted by the participants who had the usual 2-3 minutes to make an entertaining speech from the subject given:
Sharon (another first speech) told us how she would love to travel in a horse and buggy – all sounds a bit romantic for me!
Norman explained his rack and pinion rail journey;
Marco considered a trip to Mars;
Keith preferred a felucca on the Nile to a cruise ship;
Sandra told us how her fiancé was too competitive on a bicycle – next time she is going to share a tandem!
Tony waxed lyrical about his preferred mode of travel in the Grand Canyon;
And John responded to “Beam me up Scotty”.
Best Table Topics Ribbon (from a lively and very high standard of speeches) was awarded to Sandra.

Marcus started the prepared speeches by introducing himself to the club with his Ice Breaker ‘Breaking the Ice’. He explained how he often over-analyses and over-thinks things, whilst conversely his girlfriend seems to be able to make an immediate and instantaneous decision.
John spoke about walking in the Lake District, and how he challenges himself. It was a beautifully crafted speech, and finished with the question “how are we challenging ourselves?”
Gabriella comes from Sweden, yet her mother gave her a European christian name. She’d always wanted an easier, shorter name until it was abbreviated to Gabbi – and now she’s happy.
Matthew built his speech around humour, and a number of jokes his father told him when he was younger that he still remembers to this day. I think his father has a different sense of humour though to me!
Paul returned to the stage to remind us in a humorous way that it was Roger Bannister’s birthday on Monday, and it was in Oxford in 1954 that the seemingly impossible happened when the first sub-four minute mile was achieved. That record only stood for 46 days until it was broken – Paul then contrasted this achievement with his own personal breakthroughs, including what it is to be a Toastmaster.
Best Speaker Ribbon was awarded to Paul.

Nick was General Evaluator for the evening, and evaluated tonight’s evaluators in the following way:
Brigitta gave a comprehensive first evaluation. She had excellent eye contact and stood away from the lectern as she delivered a very confident speech.
Emilio showed good hand gestures to illustrate this points in his evaluation – but I remarked that sometimes these may not have been very visible from behind the lectern.
Steve started to talk about himself, realised this and brought himself back. Among other recommendations and commendations, he highlighted the speaker’s noisy shoes!
Mell asked a question of the audience – always a good device to use. Among her recs and commendations, she suggested the speaker’s gestures were a little contrived, and could be practised.
Chris kindly found the time to congratulate Paul on his great speech at the Area contest before launching into his evaluation. One interesting suggestion he made was to practise reading children’s stories, which he found had helped to enhance and emphasize his own vocal variety.
Best Evaluation Ribbon was awarded to Chris.

Grammarian Michel highlighted the usage of good humour tonight, and gave the count for the speakers’ individual use of crutch words.

At the end of the evening everyone was invited to submit their menu and make their payments for the MSC Annual Dinner, coming up on Saturday 18th April. More Tall Tale participants are welcome!

Our next club night at MSC will be in just a couple of days, Monday 30th March – see you all there!

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