Maidenhead Speakers Blog 13th July 2015

With Matthew.


It was the first meeting of the new Toastmasters year. The evening was opened by our new Sergeant at Arms Lorraine, who said that her role of S@A was to be grasped with both hands as it gave a great opportunity to speak at every club meeting!

Up next was Monica our new Club President for the year. Monica introduced the new committee for this Toastmasters year, herself along with above mentioned Lorraine as S@A, Doreen as VP Education, Gabriella as VP Membership, Mell as Club Secretary, Grant as Treasurer and Matt as VP PR.

Monica announced the dates for the upcoming club contest for humorous speeches and table topics on 28th September and the area contest for the same items on 10th October. A note about the club video camera; it is in the possession of the S@A and it is a member’s responsibility to let the S@A know when it is required. Members must bring their own data card and arrange for someone to stop and start the camera for them.

Monica handed over to our Toastmaster of the Evening DoreenDoreen who felt like Claire Balding for the night as this past week there were so many sports in play, she asked us “who has been gorging on the sport” and quite a few of us had. Henley regatta, tennis at Wimbledon, the cricket, rowing, golf and not to forget the tour de France! As the intro suggested the theme for the evening was Sport. This also has a parallel with toastmasters, in that it is inspiring, encouraging and requires preparation, perspiration and performance.

The Grammarian for the evening was John, who was there to watch out for the crutch and filler words along with our ums and errs. He gave us a gift of the word of the day “gusto” to have enjoyment or enthusiasm.

The Timer for the evening was Matthew gratefully assited by Suzette.

Doreen then took us through the Toastmasters acronym Hats with a delightful visual aid of her little pink visor hat.

Alan was up next as Table Topics Master for the evening, with the proud announcement, “sports fans this is your night”, but no questions on cricket as he is not a fan.

First up was Mary answering Tour de France or French Food?

She gave away a little something of her former self as a chalet girl, and being distracted by watching the TDF go past when she worked in the French alps. Although the only in sight gain may have been how to pick the best pair of lycra shorts for the gym.

Julie was next answering, “How do you think sport will evolve over the next 20 years”?

Julie spoke about the benefits of yoga, swimming and walking, and how mindfulness and the benefits of exercise need to past onto future generations of Children. If nothing else it gives you great shoulders once you master headstands for 5 minutes. It proves you can do anything.

Chris then spoke about the funniest/strangest moment related to sport.

Chris admits he loves sport, if only to watch these days more than partake as over time injuries take their toll. He did recount his last excursion on a trampoline back in the early part of the year, and then barley being able to stand up the following day and his legs still feeling it many months after. One his wife will ever let him forget.

Keith was asked to answer “Tell us something about Formula 1”, for a brief moment he looked a little stalled until he began regaling us of the time he worked for an F1 team making furniture, their amazing trophy cabinets, the viewing area over the pristine workshop from reception and the time he was in designing the seating and staging at Silverstone. He actually knew a lot more than he first let on.

Keith picked up the ribbon for best table topic.

We then had the first prepared speech of the evening by Steve, an Educational speech about impromptu speaking and the difference between Table Topics and business. Steve spoke about the importance of using a structure to base your thoughts around, the purpose of this and the benefits. He then outlined the different techniques that can also be used. He also outlined how speaking for business and for toastmasters differed and what was best to use when, and closed with a few handy tips. Steve also produced a very handy one pager that he made available to all to take home to sum up his excellent educational slot.

Jivan was up next with his Icebreaker, speech no 1 form the CC manual, titled connecting the dots. Jivan told us about his upbringing in a village in India. His early mornings, having to tend the fields before a long walk to school. He spoke about his determination and rise through education, completing his Masters in record time and going on to do an MBA. Onto his start on the career ladder, working in a small section within a large organisation but having to put in his best efforts, this really helped and fast tracked him into his next role in a fortune 100 company. It was only looking back that he was able to connect the dots, how where he had come from had a profound positive impact on where he had gotten to. He wrapped up his inspiring speech with these wonderful words of wisdom. Put your best foot forward, take a leap of faith, for the catalyst to success in your life.

Mike was then up with his second speech from the CC manual, titled Conquering heavier than air flight. He started his speech by taking us back 120 years to December 1903, when the Wright brothers made their first successful flight. Mike then went on to talk about the fascinating facts behind the Wright brothers’ months of research and the development of the three fundamental elements of flight. Lift, Thrust and Control. How they learnt from other people’s efforts and went back to basics to get the understanding correct and test the theories, which enabled them to develop their own. Then in 1902 they built their first practical glider. It just shows us what practise and experimentation can do for us.

Our third speaker was Marco, with a speech title, P for Product. Marco opened by drawing us into his own past experience of a cold winter’s evening driving along, at -3 degrees outside and gusting 60mph winds. He then told us there was more than just one thing when it came to product there were three elements, the core product or the end result. The actual product the item you are buying and the augmented product, all the additional extras you can get with the product, warranties extras etc. Outline these with his experience of going to a car sales show room. Then he very cleverly brought us back around to the evening in the car, when the road turned to a mirror and then brakes would not work. He said the ensuing crash was like the white ball hitting the eight ball in pool.

Next up was Richard, with his moving speech entitled Chris’s Storey. Richard began talking us through what seemed to be the start of a normal day, especially when he noticed the jogger with a T-shirt reading “everyday is a good day”. It was only when he arrived at work and the usual strong and determined PA came over in a very distressed state to tell him that a colleague of theirs was on the news. What unfolded was the tragedy on the Tunisian Beech and the close connection of their dear work colleague and his wife who were caught up in the events. How as an office over the next few days they bonded together to help each other and honour and support the family by setting up a website. Clearly this was not a good day, and on reflection it makes you try and make the best of every day. He left us with a profound quote from Abraham Lincoln, “In the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

The ribbon for best speaker went to: Richard

We then embarked on the evaluations led by our General Evaluator for the evening Grant.

First up was Tony evaluating Jivan, full of praise for an excellent Icebreaker and sated that it was delivered with “confidence and belief”.

Next we had Honor evaluating Mike. She picked up the use of the power of three and said she had learnt things from the really enjoyable speech.

Following on was Paul evaluating Marco. Paul asked us if we also felt the rain, and how cold, wet and miserable it was. The speech well met the objectives.

Finally Ian evaluating Richard. A brilliant stirring of emotions, a key part of the objectives. An excellent quote to finish, a great personal effort.

The best evaluator ribbon went to: Ian

Grant as General Evaluator did an excellent round up of the evening, before handing over to the Grammarian John for his report capturing the use of the day and the Yoda ‘esk’ speech.

The Club President rounded up the evening and reminded us it was a good idea to put the dates in our diaries for forthcoming meetings to aid the memory.

And with that our next meeting is Monday 27th July 2015 with Keith as our Toastmaster of the Evening. We look forward to seeing you all then!

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