All that is new, and glitters…


Maidenhead Speakers Club – Blog 11th July 2016 

With Guest Blogger – Gerard

All that is new, and glitters…

Summary:  First meeting with new Committee, President promises to ensure meetings end on time,   new video camera available for members,  mentors and mentees best practices,  General Evaluator (GE) recommends:  have fewer chairs and bring attendees to the rows at the front when attendee numbers are low,  include clock times in agenda, throw away the HATS acronym,  decide who should organize the speaker/evaluator lineup. 

Best Topics Speaker: Vidhya, Best Evaluator: Mell, Best Speaker: Tony

A rousing and humorous welcome by the new, yes NEW, Sgt@Arms Mike who told us that it was the first meeting of the new Toastmaster Year (which starts on 01 July), as he invited the NEW President Chris to take the stage.   In his ‘Manifesto’ Chris reminded us about how strong Maidenhead Speakers Club (MSC) was – with good membership figures, excellent speakers and evaluators.  He highlighted the Toastmasters International motto ‘Where leaders are made’, emphasizing that people look up to those who speak with authority, conviction and passion, and that experience gained at Toastmasters opened up leadership doors.  ‘Subtle changes are coming’  said Chris, promising that one of his key goals is to ensure meetings finish by 2145 (or 9.45 pm)

Having been introduced as a ‘legend’ by the President, Toastmaster of the Evening (TME) Richard had a lot to live up to.  A well thought out and managed Topics session by Mukesh focused on a world that is changing faster and faster.  Regretfully other commitments kept numbers down with a total of 23 attendees (which included 5 guests) so the Topics session was restricted to just 4 speakers getting an opportunity to practice impromptu speaking.

Four prepared speeches followed.  Jon in a speech titled ‘Run Daddy Run’ outlined how he is preparing to be fit enough to run with his children when they are 16 years old.  Through a combination of running during his lunch break and changing his diet, he has got fitter, lost 5KG in weight, felt a sense of achievement and made friends with other colleagues from his workplace who also run at noon. 

Jivan, with a thought provoking speech titled ‘Gift of Life’, started off by offering sums ranging from £10,000 to £1 million to members willing to chop of a piece of their little finger.  Having grabbed our attention he spoke passionately about how donating one’s organs could save up to 8 lives and donating tissue could help up to 50 people, sobering us with the statistic that just in the USA, 4000 people a day die waiting for an organ.

Rajeev lifted our spirits with ‘People Watching’ – an amusing advanced speech about a recent trip to San Francisco, where he was bemused by the voice volumes and appetites of the natives and the size of the food portions in restaurants.

When Tony jumped onto the high stage with a multicolored hoop around his waist and proceeded to open his speech while ‘hoopla-ing’ it brought home to the audience what a group of multi-talented members MSC has.  

President Chris introduced a change to the meeting format by asking the visitors to introduce themselves and asking ‘what brought you here tonight?’ before the break.

During the break members entertained themselves (and entertained others) by trying out the 6 hoops that Tony had brought in.

Sgt@Arms Mike re-convened the meeting by showing us the new MSC video camera which all members can use during speeches to record themselves.  They need to bring their own SD card.

Nick delivered an advanced speech / education session about the relationship between mentors and mentees.  Mentors should make more recommendations than commendations,  listen actively, ask open questions, identify mentees potential, while mentees should take time to practice, read feedback slips and act on recommendations.

The GE Steve introduced the 4 evaluators Lorraine,  Alan, Riccardo and Mell who delivered valuable and insightful feedback to the speakers.  Steve then dissected the evening, making several forceful suggestions.  Looking around at the number of empty chairs he said that the TME or President should invite attendees to move to the front of the room when attendance was low and also perhaps change the layout to deliver more energy.  Steve recommended that the Agenda should have not just the duration but the clock time for each activity (e.g.  Speech 1 – Joe Blogs 8.05-8.12 pm rather than Speech 1 Joe Blogs 7 minutes) since this gave the TME a more accurate indication of how the schedule was being kept. He pointed out that the HATS acronym was not a TMI standard and MSC should consider not using it during meeting introductions.   Steve also raised the question as to whether the TME should organize speakers AND evaluators to minimize confusion.

The meeting concluded at 9.30 p.m, delighting the President that he had met one of his key objectives.

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