Participation is Progress

Maria Latronico, the Sergeant at Arms, opened the night and left us hanging with a question, how to build confidence and earn trust in a cat?

I think Alistair Morrell, the club president who opened the evening with positive energy, answered the question immediately after by stressing the importance of participation. By participating in any activity, we can make progress to become more confident and build trust in ourselves as leaders.

I feel the same can be said for public speaking. The only way to improve our ability and confidence, to manage fear and anxiety is to participate. It is by taking consistent action that we strengthen our knowledge and skill and become a more confident speaker.

Steve Catchik, the Toastmaster of the evening, did not disappoint and arranged another great evening. The night started with a 15-minute opportunity to socialise with our fellow toastmasters. This opportunity was well-received by all. Whilst Toastmasters is primarily to master our public speaking skills and improve confidence; it also provides an excellent opportunity to socialise with people who live in your area.

In this challenging time, socialising has been limited. The 15-minute section was hosted on zoom where all members were split into smaller groups and put into breakout rooms. It provided an opportunity to get to catch up and have a more personal conversation. The setup also offers opportunities to become confident in networking skills.

The night then moved on to the speaking line up and what a line up it was. Ana Belan completed her Ice Breaker with complete confidence. The Ice Breaker is a Toastmasters first speech and can be a time that evokes all of the emotions. Anxiety, Fear, Excitement and Joy. The joy is probably only felt once the delivery has been accomplished.

Two experienced club speakers followed. Norman Rhodes, part of the founding team for Maidenhead speakers club, used his masterful storytelling skills to enlighten us about a local power station and how he was lucky enough to take a journey to the top.

Ian Reese, a member of the club for 24 years, then used his masterful language and storytelling abilities to achieve his pathway objectives of telling an audience about something they probably have never heard of.

All of the speakers were captivating in their way. On the night, Norman Rhodes was voted as best speaker.

The evening moved on to the table topics session where Julie Farrell provided some much-needed positivity. The theme was uplifting and provided an opportunity for multiple members to practice their impromptu speaking. Seven people participated, and all provided their positive responses to the numerous different questions.

On the night, Tony Searby walked away with best table topics award.

To close the evening, we moved onto evaluations. This continues to be one of the most beneficial aspects of Toastmasters. Not only do speakers get feedback provided from all members, they also get to hear first hand from a fellow member on their perception of the speech.

We had three experienced evaluators in Maria, the club’s current Sergeant at Arms, Lorraine Hamilton, club past President and Tom Hostetler, club past president. Each evaluator role was executed brilliantly as each speaker was provided with commendations and recommendations and finishing with more commendations.

Tom Hostetler was victorious on the night and was voted best evaluator.

All in all, another enjoyable evening! Members were able to learn from experienced members. Each member had an opportunity to participate and make progress, even if just a little, to achieve their public speaking goals.

Every small action is progress.

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