It started as a rather unremarkable, hot and humid Educational evening. The meeting theme “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” had the privileged attendees eager to capitalise on the event.
Ben Light admirably stepped up to lead the warm-up on our first school memories where he admitted to crying, Marian Timms remembered kneeling so nuns could measure her skirt hem and some confessed to becoming overfamiliar with the headmaster's room!
Impromptu Speaking - Just a minute
Steve Brookfield kicked the educational segment off by mimicking a popular BBC4 radio show. The four pre-selected victims (Antonia Harrison, Marian Timms, Claire Jewell and Ben Light) were joined by Andy Lawrence who was ensnared after a late arrival and accepted his penalty invite with good grace.
Our aim was to talk for a minute on an impromptu topic provided by Steve without hesitating, repeating or deviating. A transgression, if spotted by a competitor was announced by ringing a bell. If deemed correct by the judge, Ken Bannister, the competitor won the point and continued with the topic. If incorrect, the speaker continued, gaining a point.
All competitors slowed their discourse to allow for thoughtful, imaginative and playful speech. Marian displayed an impressive use of adjectives, to reach 45 seconds. Ben recalled all the green vegetables he could in “Greens are good for you” before hesitating. Antonia dinged, continuing the rendition with carrot, which went unnoticed until she hesitated . . . cue the bell. Talking of which, someone who shan’t be named did become a little overzealous with their bell!
On completion of the amusing and enlightening game, feedback was facilitated and it was agreed this format should be repeated.
“Speaking with Dramatical Effect”
Antonia Harrison delivered a fantastically gripping and intense speech which certainly lived up to its title. She told us a myriad of tricks and tips to make our speeches more dramatic whilst conjuring a performance the West End would have been proud of. I was on a rollercoaster of emotions from her prolonged pause at the start to her powerful statement about an event 17 years ago.
To demonstrate one point she shouted at Ken Bannister, which totally alarmed me. Later, I realised Ken had been primed. Ironically she continued; sometimes to be louder to get your point across you need to whisper.
As for what happened 17 years ago, that was an Andy Harrington technique https://www.andyharrington.com/
Toastmaster’s secret formula for success
Gavin Meikle, our final speaker, finished off the entertaining training by showcasing his facilitation skills on how Toastmasters provides a structured stretch under monkey see – monkey do formula. It was lovely to see our guest feedback to the rest of the room. The main lesson I took away is every role is a learning opportunity including writing this blog, which for me is a first!
This was a remarkable, entertaining and richly rewarding evening. I certainly won’t want to miss the next educational evening, will you?
Claire Jewel - Meeting Reporter