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  • ‘Give it a go!’

    Club Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest – 27 Sep. 2021
    Ian Rees

    Carefree and amused bearded guy, touching stomach as smiling and laughing out loud

    ‘Give it a go!’ That was the advice I was given at the dawn of my TM membership. I’m still doing so. On 27 September I found myself being Contests’ Chair; it’s done now and I have time to reflect. I had enough to do. There is no skipping the pre-meeting chores if you wish to avoid a display of your incompetence on the night. Lots of checks that sufficient resources are in place, most of those being people and some you’ve never met. Reliable resources also come from TM International which is a trove of rules, guides and advice. I had the tools and it was time to see if they would work and I could handle them. Zoom and e mail provided effective channels for communication and by the time the day arrived the tasks were tied up. The whole team had done it’s homework. I’d also prepared my script to avoid embarrassing my memory.

    Clayton B brought all to attention in his S@A persona with sound advice: don’t delegate decisions to your builder. An embracing welcome was issued by our Club President Tom H who introduced his sister Margie from 3 thousand miles west and 3 hours behind. ‘Over to you Contests’ Chair!’. Agh, that’s me. A moment before we heard the first speaker it was time check the key administrators were ready. Of course they were, they’ve been ready for days. Our four contestants chirped away with their humour while we soaked it up. No serious hiccups from any corner although there was a couple of trembles in transmission during one delivery and a bit of pedantry lurked in the background. Half time and I was feeling in need of that cuppa. Watching, listening and monitoring had kept me permanently on duty.

    We’re underway again. The Table Topics contest went along the rails before the judges had their second conclave. While the removed judges consulted, and counters added, the remainder of the audience contributed in the main ‘room’. Each talked briefly of how their 20 year old self would see them now. Authenticity is unmatchable. The results were in, the winners were feted and the President was there to close.

    The deed was done and our evening complete. Would I do it again? Probably yes, as it reminded me of the latent reserves of Toastmasters’ generosity, energy and ability. The team was attentive and polished, the contestants showed their mettle and the pedants proved pointless. My advice to you is…… ‘Give it a go!’.

  • 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.

  • All of the Elements…

    Toastmaster of the Evening Stuart got the August 24 meeting of 21 strong off to a rousing start with a round-robin session – 15 seconds each identifying what the phrase ‘conscious living’ meant to them.

    The warm-up was quickly followed by a very thought-provoking Table Topics session led by Everton, using the various elements of the weather as a theme.  Seven members were called upon at a moment’s notice to elaborate on the question posed to them, and all came across as if they were experts on rain, mist, snow, forecasting, and of course their favourite season.

    The evening then moved on to the prepared speeches segment of the meeting, where there were three speeches delivered.  Alex was first up, giving his Ice Breaker – his first-ever speech at a Toastmasters Club – with confidence and conviction. Angela and Maria followed him with the same level of enthusiasm.  

    Concluding the formal evening were four evaluations – one of each speech and one of all 7 Table Topics speakers. With little time to prepare, the evaluator’s role is both rewarding and challenging. Listening is the key.

    Alistair, Club President, wrapped up the meeting and concluded with what we were all anxious to hear – as always  – who won ‘Best’ for the evening?

    Best Table Topic – Tom Hostetler

    Best Evaluator – Tom Hostetler

    Best Speaker – Alex Bradley  

  • Zoom, Zoom, Zoom
    ‘Last year if someone had said let’s hold meetings on line all thumbs would
    have pointed downwards. Now it seems that we are in the groove, and our screen meetings are running on enthusiasm.
     
    Twenty-three attendees were with us this evening including Diane from Chiltern Speakers and Melanie from Reading Speakers. Clayton conducted the evening with his relaxed manner and vibrant Welsh tones.
     
    We had our regular complement of three prepared speakers who were preceded by Table Topics. Lockdown issues threaded the theme together and gave plenty of scope for the speakers to expound.
     
    Julie led the Evaluation segment of the meeting with a smoothness that would make silk look ragged. Excellent.
     
    The best-prepared speaker of the evening was Rajeev with a succinct summary of his life influences, Melanie topped the charts with her teetotal Table Topic, and Steve was voted Evaluator of the evening. Another good episode in our Clubs online chapter.’
  • Humorous Speech & Table Topics contest – 23 Sep 2019
    It was a great Humorous Speech and Table Topics contest held on the  23rd September, everyone who participated did a great job. Plenty of guests visiting the club went away very impressed by the evening. The standard was exceptionally high with lots of laughter in the room. Contest Winners For those of you who weren’t able to attend the results for the contests were…

    Humorous Speech

    • 1st Kashmira  – Ah! The Little Devils !
    • 2nd Richard  – The Break Up
    • 3rd Naeem  – Mistaken Identity

    Table Topics

    • 1st Doreen
    • 2nd Ian
    • 3rd Tony

‘Give it a go!’

Club Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest – 27 Sep. 2021Ian Rees ‘Give it a go!’ That was the advice I was given at the dawn of my TM membership. I’m still doing so. On 27 September I found myself being Contests’ Chair; it’s done now and I have time to reflect. I had enoughContinue reading “‘Give it a go!’”

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 anyContinue reading “Participation is Progress”

All of the Elements…

Toastmaster of the Evening Stuart got the August 24 meeting of 21 strong off to a rousing start with a round-robin session – 15 seconds each identifying what the phrase ‘conscious living’ meant to them. The warm-up was quickly followed by a very thought-provoking Table Topics session led by Everton, using the various elements ofContinue reading “All of the Elements…”

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