Worcester Speakers @WGTA
Meeting Report Monday 3rd February 2020
Margaret Thatcher was in her third term as Prime Minister. The theme of the meeting that gave club Sergeant-At-Arms Dave Evans the idea to have a "quick quiz" about England's Prime Ministers, past and present. Did you know that the Liberals have only run the country once in the last 100 years ?? (David Lloyd George - PM 1916 to 1922). Formalities subsequently commenced with President Jen Cashmore informing her members & guests that there are three main things to do when you get up to speak to an audience: Take Authority; Love Your Audience; and Be a Great Entertainer, as her example to the room clearly showed.
Top tips over, and it was time to pass formal proceedings on to Toastmaster for the evening, Vice President for Public Relations, Elaine Watt. Elaine very quickly got the meeting under way and it was time for the knee trembling event of the Table Topics. Doubling up the role of Sergeant-At-Arms, Dave Evans stepped up as Table Topics Master and showed the audience a copy of the latest edition of "Toastmaster" magazine. Unsuspecting members were then asked to give a number between 1 and 30 (the total inside pages of the magazine) and were then asked to give the famous 60 seconds minimum speech on the subject that was the first word written on the page number they had chosen. OMG.........!!
First up was army veteran an ex Taekwondo champion, Kevin Bennison. His topic "Snapshot" was focussed around how our communication with each other in life, is merely a "snapshot" in time. Next came visiting Toastmaster John Christie, who had the unenviable task of creating a speech out of the word "Disney". Not too hard I guess for this veteran Toastmaster. Kenny Kayani did an excellent job of structuring a Table Topic from the word "Countdown", and explained to his audience how almost everything we do in life is literally that. But it was our firm favourite, Distinguished Toastmaster Steve Birch who was unfortunatly late on arrival, and walked in just at the wrong (or rather right) time to be landed the subject of "Musical" for his offering. As you would expect from this seasoned speaker, he immediately took the stage and delivered a masterclass in Table Topics, winning him the Best Table Topic award for the evening.
A very detailed and well structured evaluation of those Topics then followed by Table Topics Evaluator Claire Harris, who found both praise and points for improvement for each speaker.
The three prepared speeches then followed. First out of the stalls was newest club Member Helen Rich. Helen talked "A Whole lot of Nonsense" - literally that as her speech title, about how seeing a red Kite on her way to work had inspired her to think about Veloceraptors from Jurrassic Park, Fossils, and even Trace Fossils that are bourne out of the bacteria that is left from an original fossil. She then graduated on to such things as Stromatolites, and even the corrosion of metal alloys being "metal munching microbes" - a truly beautifully created alliteration.
The second speech was from Kevin Bennison entitled "Tales from The Balkans". Kevin took his audience of a fascinating but quite hard hitting journey of what life in a special deployment squad in the army based in Kosovo was like. "Lurch" (as he was nicknamed by his fellow troopers) vividly told the story of a particular mission his squad had been set to prevent Russian troops from taking over an airfield. The audience sat mesmerised as Kevin recalled his flight in a Chinookhelecopter with a JCB attached underneath, and being dropped solo in the middle of nowhere. a 7 minute speech never passed so quickly!!
Steve Birch stepped up as speaker #3 to give his listeners "Birchey's Top Ten Table Topic Tips" (a definate alliteration winner for the Grammarian) in the form of a Powerpoint presentation. Interestingly enough, his ten tips actually turned out to be twelve, explaining the twelth tip as "you don't have to tell the truth !!". Very cleverly constructed by the seasoned speaker, but sadly not enough to beat Kevin Bennison, who was awarded Best Speaker of the evening.
Three detailed evaluations followed from Megan Paul for Helen, John Christie for Kevin, and Kenny Kayani for Steve. Each gave good clear positive feedback, but it was Megan's detailed report of Helen's "Nonsense" that crowned her Best evaluator.
The ever more popular "who said that" summary of grammar, wrapped up in an Um Counter report followed by President Jen Cashmore, and finally a combined General Evaluation of the evening's events, together with an official Club Report from Area Director Jackie Preuss, brought the meeting to a satisfactory conclusion.
Sound like fun ? Why not come along to the next meeting and take a look: Monday 17th February @7.00pm
Worcester Speakers @WGTA
Meeting Report Monday 20th January 2020
Although small in quantity of people, this was a meeting of Toastmasters that was big in quality. The second meeting in 2020 of Worcester Speakers was kicked off by Sergeant-At-Arms David Evans asking everyone in the room "Did you make a New Year's Resolution?" (this was the evening's meeting theme). David then proceeded with a variety of statistics relating to Resolutions (how many make them, who, and why etc.) and ask willing volunteers to share their Resolutions with the group. A very interesting opening to the evening.
David then passed the batton over to club President Jen Cashmore to get the formal proceedings underway. Jen opened with a short educational speech asking the rhetorical question "are you a safe person?" This related of course, to being safe in the world of communication as in "if I communicate with you, do I get a safe and positive response?". Jen's message was clear, If someone is speaking to you, you need to listen and respond accordingly.
It was then time for First Timer in the Toastmaster role, Stassi Stavreva to get the speeches going. Following a few facts about sugar and the damage it can do (what else would you expect from a Dentist......) Stassi called up Table Topics Master for the evening (again, first time in the role) Stuart Watt to get the adrenalin flowing. Instead of giving the normal introduction to Table Topics (what it is, why we do it etc), Stuart set his listeners a Grade A scenario: Imagine you are at a friends wedding. Imagine the Best Man gets up and says "instead of me speaking, I am going to ask everyone in the room (250 people) to say something about the Groom" - and a microphone is put into your hand.......OMG. Stuart had immediately got everyone's attention!! Five first class speakers were then picked to talk about various subjects ranging from Who would you sack and why, to How would you reduce the Divorce rate of 42% in the UK ? All excellent subjects and very interesting speeches, but it was Distinguished Toastmaster Roger Granville with his Scandanavian explanation of how he would change houses in the summer that crowned him Best Table Topic speaker for the night.
Two excellent prepared speeches followed. The first by Veteran speaker Megan Paul was a cut-down version of a somewhat heart-rendering speech made by blind speaker Mark Riccobono. The 12 minute speech from Megan entitled "Understanding Fear in the Power of Progress" told of not just the fears of a young blind boy trying to come to terms with the unknown life that lay before him, but also of the perceived fears of blindness that sighted people have of blind people, and how often this can be misconceived. Although a lot of blind people actively work on how to reduce the fear of blindness, it is sometimes the humiliation they face from sighted people "getting it wrong" that can unnerve them. Had the evening had three prepared speech speakers, Megan would definately have been voted the best, but alas with just two speakers, no vote was cast.
Second up was Claire Harris who gave an extremely detailed and amusing account of her "Prison Break". Together with her Account Managing team, Claire had attended a team building exercise at The Manchester Prison Cell Escape Rooms, where teams are locked in a cell together, and have to work out the system and method of escape for themselves. An enthralling tail which included the graphic description of one colleague having to put their hand down a soiled loo to retrieve the necessary tool to undo fixing screws Uuggghh !!!
Both top drawer speeches were expertly evaluated by Elaine Watt for Megan, and welcome visitor (and soon to be member) Helen Rich for Claire. Both evaluators (first ever time for Helen) gave positive feedback and clear points for improvement, but alas, both were "pipped to the post" of Best Evaluator by Area Director Jackie Preuss who gave her audience a masterclass in how to carry out the role of Table Topics Evaluator, again giving each TT speaker clear commendation and improvement tecniques in her evaluation of their performances.
With a subsequent summing up of all roles & responsibilities (in time !!) by General Evaluator for the night, Rob Allen, and the subsequent distribution of yet more left over Christmas chocolate as prizes to the winners by President Jen Cashmore, an entertaining evening was had by all.
Sound interesting ?
Why not come and take a look at our Next Meeting on Monday 3rd February starting at 7.00pm sharp. You will be very welcome and you don't have to join, just come and see if Toastmasters has the potential to improve your public speaking skill. It definately helped me !!