It was another well attended meeting with both members and guests, together with our Area Director, Dawn Rowlett.
Amonn al Mahrouq had the honour as Sergeant at Arms of opening the meeting, and after the usual housekeeping advice he introduced our Toastmaster of the evening, Keith Oliver.
Keith welcomed members and guests and referring to the Toastmaster magazine and quoted Ralph Smedley who advised that the Toastmaster name “offers a suggestion of a pleasant, social atmosphere, free from anything like work or study.”
Keith then explained the Toastmaster programme and set out the protocols.
He then asked Marie Newman to explain the timings as Timekeeper, before calling on Matt Roseblade to explain his role as Grammarian. Matt explained he would be listening to the language sued throughout the evening and also set a word for the evening “vicarious” – to take pleasure from someone else’s experience.
In the absence of Clare Lay, Russel Streeter took on the role of warm up. Taking his cue from the drumming next door he asked those present to describe their experiences of carnival. Strong claims were made for the carnivals in Cornwall, Somerset and Notting Hill while others recalled smaller carnivals in which they had participated.
With four speakers to accommodate Keith then moved us swiftly on to the prepared speeches. First up was Sarah Waters with her Project 4 speech “A Cautionary Tale” about not allowing enough time for preparation.
She was followed by Sophy Smith with her project 3 speech “A day in the life of a clinical scientist” explaining her daily routine at the QA. Sophy was followed by Aaron O’Sullivan who in his Project 4 speech “Amazon” explained what was behind this major organisation.
Finally Amonn did his Icebreaker with “Who is this. Baldi?” with snippets from his life and the importance of music.
The additional speaker meant a curtailed break and people were asked to take their drinks back to their seats so we could resume promptly. Sarah Waters had supplied cake, and was overheard saying it was her birthday that week. A rousing chorus of Happy Birthday was quickly organised.
It now fell to our four evaluators, Wendy Benson, Ann Carver, Brent Crouch and Russell Streeter to pick out the strong points of our speakers and identify areas for possible improvement.
Keith Oliver now picked up the mantle of Table Topics Master and taking the theme of Peace invited those present to answer speak for between 1 and 2 minutes on topics of his choosing. These were somewhere quiet (Sarah – guest), being lost for words (Michelle Sullivan), a favourite bird (Dawn Rowlett), a peace offering (Andy – guest) and how to relax (Marie Newman).
With the main part of the meeting over, Keith now asked Matt to give his report, before inviting Ellie Zheleva to give the General Evaluation.
It finally fell to Wendy Benson as Club President to deal with club business and hand out the awards, after which she invited comments from our guests before closing the meeting.
Best Speaker – Sarah Waters
Best Table Topics – Dawn Rowlett
Best Evaluator – Russell Streeter