Maidenhead Speakers Club – Blog Monday 14th September 2015
With Guest Blogger Paul
More Ladies please.
Sergeant at Arms Lorraine opened the evening with a reminder that our next meeting will be the clubs annual Humorous Speech Contest. She also gave a call to action encouraging the clubs female members to enter the contest as recently there have been many more male contestants than female.
Up next was Monica, the Club President. Monica agreed with Lorraine for more women to participate in the club contests. Monica also spoke of the importance of developing Leadership skills within Toastmasters and the relevance of the Competent Leader Manual. She also explained the roles of Sergeant at Arms and Club President for the benefit of the three visitors we had with us this evening.
Monica handed over to our Toastmaster of the Evening Chris. Chris immediately put the audience at ease with his warmth and relaxed manner. Explaining the outline of the evening and a brief explanation of the roles and the people involved.
Our Timer for the evening Suzette explained the structure of her role and the importance of time management within the context of Toastmasters.
Table Topics began the evenings proceedings under the guidance of Table Topics Master Clive. Newspaper headlines provided the starting point for tonight’s topics.
Flirty and Fabulous.
Doreen spoke first about the art of flirting with her usual enthusiasm and humour. Doreen took us on a journey containing a building surveyor, a little black dress and a chimney. Doreen concluded that she’s much happier wearing comfortable clothes and shoes and dancing the night away.
Do you believe they can predict the weather?
Marco spoke about the media’s obsession with predicting the weather. He spoke of how we have perceptions of the weather influencing our mood and the best way to retrain our connection to the weather was to put on our best clothes and take a ten minute walk in the rain.
Are fashion models good role models or are they unrealistic role models?
Tony approached this difficult topic with his usual ability to present both sides of the argument with equal importance. He posed questions for the audience and highlighted that society has created this model and we all choose to buy into it. He concluded that by valuing the superficial we miss out on our deeper qualities.
How much do we love our pets?
Do our pets hold a place in our hearts? Toastmaster Nick spoke of the British connection with their pets. He highlighted the growth of dog walking businesses over the last few years, the expenses involved in keeping pets and how the British have a real connection with their animals.
Have you ever been told to get a haircut? Did you do it?
John quickly expanded on this question to encompass the broader context of personal appearance. He used personal examples from his own experience of working in an office environment, where others took dressing casually to another level and would wander the office in shorts. He confessed to enjoying dressing smartly at work and valuing wearing a good tie. John cleverly tied the end of his Table Topic to the opening.
Following the voting for best Table Topic we moved into the prepared speeches.
Our first speaker of the evening was Toastmaster Honor. This was Honor’s second speech from the Competent Communicator manual. She spoke about Inner Qualities and highlighted how we all make snap judgments about others. Honor explained how we view others through the prism of our own personal values, prejudices and beliefs. Often with disastrous results. She highlighted the importance of being aware of this both in our personal interactions and also professionally. With clever use of music and photographs, Honor used a well known incident from British television to perfectly encapsulate this concept.
Take off the headphones.
Our second speaker of the evening was Toastmaster Mike with his third speech from his CC manual. Mike began with a brief history of the Walkman, from it’s conception as a device for a new found musical freedom through its evolution into the most annoying element of any tube train journey today. Mike then spoke of the science behind why a walkman and every personal music device since is so frustrating for the people around them. Mike concluded that far from bringing musical freedom the walkman has actually limited peoples experience of the world around them. Isolating individuals from the full sensory experience necessary for the social animal that is humankind.
The Battle of the Sexes.
Third to speak this evening was Toastmaster Michael. With his Sixth speech Michael gave a personal example of “the age old debate”. Michael highlighted how he had needed to undergo a small but potentially painful operation on his eye a few years ago. He spoke of his best efforts to remain calm and collected but ultimately descending into panic and screams whenever the scalpel came too close to his face. Only to be chastised by the nurse for his dramatic reaction. The nurse pointing out that a woman patient had undergone the same operation in silence and without fuss. Michael concluded that “we are each others counterparts and we should raise each other up”
Following the break for tea and biscuits we resumed the prepared speeches with Toastmaster Grant.
Is the N.H.S sick?
Grant posed this question with his fifth speech. He began with a brief history of the NHS. From it’s creation in 1948 to its current position as the third largest employer on Planet Earth. Grant explained the huge pressure the organisation is under with the ageing population of the country stretching the resources of the NHS. Grant then compared the problems facing the NHS now with the early days of the I.T. industry. He explained how I.T. has moved from relying on a few knowledgeable individuals to using the full power of the Internet to find solutions for symptoms. Grant explained his involvement in helping the NHS to develop towards adopting a similar model.
Our final speaker of the evening was Toastmaster Julie. Julie gave an advanced Storytelling speech outlining the life story of John Lennon. Julie encouraged us to consider how John Lennon had felt during his short life. From his difficult childhood to discovering a way to express himself through music. Julie highlighted how John Lennon had struggled to cope with the incredible pressure that the unprecedented fame brought him during his time with the Beetles. Julie explained how that pressure ultimately took him to drug addiction, recovery and spiritual understanding. She managed to convey the emotional intensity he felt living a life in the public eye. A life that was to end as dramatically as it had been lived.
Following the prepared speeches and the vote for best Speaker the General Evaluator for the evening Paul introduced the Evaluators.
Toastmaster Yohan was first to seek. He was evaluating Honor’s speech. Yohan captured the essence of Honor’s speech and highlighted her use of props. He offered suggestions for using technology and highlighted how her speech had made him feel.
Our second evaluator was Toastmaster Mary evaluation Mike’s speech. Mary highlighted Mikes good use of props and the great choice of topic. She also highlighted Mike’s use of descriptive language and how his speech had inspired the audience.
Evaluating Michael’s speech was Toastmaster Cheryl. Cheryl began by reminding the audience of the objectives outlined in the manual that Michael was hoping to meet with his speech. Cheryl then went on to give examples of how Michael had succeeded in meeting these by giving specific examples. Cheryl ended her evaluation by reminding the audience of Michael’s closing quote.
The fourth evaluator of the evening was Toastmaster Steve. Steve used his conversational style to highlight Grant’s use of statistics and facts to outline the size and scope of the NHS. Steve also used humour to mirror and highlight Grant’s use of humour throughout the speech. Steve also pointed out that Grant had offered a practical solution to the question he had posed at the start of his speech.
The final Evaluator for the evening was Toastmaster Norman. Norman began by outlining the objectives of this advanced speech. Norman commended Julie on her energy and ability to keep the action going. He commended her use of descriptive language as well as her use of eye contact and gestures to connect with the audience.
Following the conclusion of the evaluations and the General Evaluators report, our Grammarian for the evening Kashmira gave her report.
As the night drew to a close our Club President Monica presented the awards for the evening as voted for by the audience members.
The Best Speaker ribbon went to Julie.
The Best Evaluator ribbon went to Yohan.
The Best Table Topics ribbon went to John.
Congratulations to you all.
Finally Club President Monica checked in with our visitors for this evening. Unusually of visitors, all three took to the stage independently to tell the room how they had enjoyed the evening. In doing so they crossed the first threshold we face as a new member of Maidenhead Speakers and overcame nervousness to make the stage their own. Heartfelt congratulations to you all Gentlemen.
Don’t forget our next meeting is Monday September 28th and is our Humorous Speech and Table Topics contest. It promises to be a great night and is a wonderful opportunity to see members speak under contest conditions. It’s a night not to be missed. Remember every speaker needs an audience, especially when it comes to the club contests. I look forward to seeing you all there.