Blog For Meeting 17/09/16

Hertfordshire Speakers Club

Meeting 2016-09-16 A Piece of Cake

As General Evaluator for the meeting on 12 September my role was to evaluate the whole evening. I can legitimately say that if you weren’t there you missed a real treat. And you’ll also have just missed my point-scoring in-joke, because LEGITIMATE was our “Word of the Day”. The challenge for all speakers was to incorporate that word into their speeches; not an easy task when you have carefully prepared and rehearsed your speech.

First of all we had four excellent prepared speeches. Three new members made their debuts with their “icebreaker” to introduce themselves. Though given the same project instructions, each speaker tackled it differently. Of course, you would expect their life-experiences to be different – Charles from Nigeria, Ruth from Germany and Claire from the UK – but it was more than that: their approach and their focus were different. They all spoke fluently and with humour, like old pros. They made it seem like a piece of cake. With this level of skill as a starting point, they should be able to race through the Competent Communicators’ projects with no problems.

Our fourth speaker Philip’s project objective was to entertain us, and he certainly did. His DIY experiences were much more surreal than the usual attempts at trying to put together a cupboard, and we laughed with him.

Then came another treat – delicious chocolate and red wine cake, courtesy of Ruth. (I think it a great idea: if anyone mentions food or drink in their speech, they ought to provide us with a taster. What do you reckon?)

In Table Topics, you really have to be able to think quickly. Mark asked 8 volunteers to answer what seemed like a simple question: “How do you… ?” But the range of subjects was wide, from “motivate yourself” to “deal with rejection”. Was he really asking for advice, or did he want to know how you do it? The speakers all managed well, speaking for their allotted time, some with humour, some very seriously – there is no wrong or right way to do it.

All the speakers were formally evaluated by experienced Toastmasters, and given appropriate praise and recommendations. This feedback is the main way of learning in Toastmasters, not just for the speakers themselves but for the audience too.

It gave me great pleasure as President to give the awards for the evening to Bob Ferguson as Best Table Topics Speaker; to Peter Ford as Best Evaluator and Ruth Williams as Best Speaker (and cook!)

Davina Malcolm