Maidenhead Speakers Club – Monday 27 Apr 2015
WITH GUEST BLOGGER, CLIVE
After the usual rousing start by our Sergeant at Arms Paul, he handed over to our Club President Julie – who was greeted by a full house of 40 members, plus several guests. She told those who had been unable to attend all about the recent Division Contest – the standard had been very high, and the inspiring winner of the Speech Contest was 19-year-old Lai Ling Ling (Canterbury Communicators – Area 37). Julie then welcomed to the stage our Area 21 Governor, Tracy Miranda. Tracy had the pleasing role of presenting the Advanced Communicator Silver Award to Monica.
Our Toastmaster of the Evening was Mohammad – and, with the coming election just around the corner at this time, he chose a theme of leadership, and what members would do if they were Prime Minister. This elicited a wide range of viewpoints – some quite political, others more whimsical.
Chris was our Table Topics Master, and continued with the theme of leadership, picking out the different qualities that we would like our leaders to possess. First up was Michel (with the quality of Resilience) – giving a confident and engaging speech covering work issues, and ending with the greatest test of resilience being the need to keep his children calm in the evening! Grant was next up with humorous stories covering Focus and Distraction. Jan was giving her first table topic speech on the subject of Balance. She immediately got us on side with self-deprecating humour and personal stories leaving us with the reminder that ‘doing your best’ is all that matters. Tracy had the challenge of talking about Planning and the Unexpected – she told us she was a planner by nature, and her problem was allowing for spontaneity. She gave us the phrase ‘roll with the punches’, and that she was learning that with children there was no planning! Joyce had the quality of being a Visionary, and explored what it meant with humour, and a warm mention of meeting and marrying Norman, later in life. She ultimately decided that she wasn’t a visionary, and her motto was to ‘take things as they come’. Last up, we had Sharon with the theme of Openness – telling us how she was open in most situations but, as someone quite new to Toastmasters, she was still learning how to be open when giving a speech.
Next a full complement of 5 prepared speeches. First was Mukesh giving us his Ice Breaker. He took good command of the stage with an easy manner and strong eye contact, telling us about three aspects of freedom relating to his early life, the jungle and the corporate world. He concluded that the freedom of childhood was best, where he could easily live each day.
Next up we had Amira with an exploration of values – relating to where she used to work, and her life now. She started with a bag of props, and also employed the flip chart and a good strong storytelling style.
Gabriella gave us a speech around how technology (such as the tablet) is taking over our lives, and how it has become an unwanted pet! She left us with the thought that, at home, the old devices give us more control and probably do a better job.
Next, Rajeev set the scene with the title that ‘Autonomous Cars are the Fourth Industrial Revolution’. Using visual images, he demonstrated that they are a reality now – and their ease of us, no age restrictions, and requirement for a licence will change personal transport in the future beyond recognition!
Final prepared speaker Emilio gave us a different slant on the American Dream, explaining how the development of printing of money and the power of the bankers led to the assassination of Presidents… leaving us realising it’s not just modern day bankers who are sometimes viewed as the bad guys.
Next came arguably the most important part of the evening – the Evaluations! First up was Nabil evaluating Mukesh. For a less experienced evaluator, he showed good stage presence and confidence. He recapped the objectives and clearly identified commendations, and suggested good recommendations. Tony was next, evaluating Amira. He displayed plenty of enthusiasm and energy, demonstrating all his points well. He succinctly identified the required objectives with helpful recs, and a good summary. The next three evaluators were the very experienced TMs Mell evaluating Gabriella, Steve evaluating Rajeev, and Mary evaluating Emilio. The standard of evaluation was excellent with each one giving a thorough exploration of how the objectives had been met, and suggesting a variety of recs including adding humour to increase audience engagement; being aware of sometimes standing too far forward (and restricting the view from the front row); having a back-up in case technology fails; and being aware of the speed of delivery, and slowing it down sometimes to allow for the information to be taken in by the audience. All the evaluators were encouraging and summarised their main points well.
Before coming to the ribbon winners of the evening, I must mention John who stepped in as Grammarian at very short notice, and Anna who was a very capable Timer.
Best Evaluator ribbon went to Mell, Best Table Topic Joyce, and Best Speech for the first timer Mukesh. Congratulations to the winners, and all those taking part.
Another thoroughly enjoyable, interesting and enlightening meeting – efficiently led by our TME Mohammad.
Our next club night at MSC will be at 7:30 on 11th May, which will also double-up as our club’s annual AGM (during the first half of the meeting). We need as many of you to attend as possible please to ensure the smooth election of our new committee. Our Toastmaster of the Evening will be Yohan – see you all there!