Written by Elena (edited by Swarajit)
As usual, the meeting was opened by Club President Glen who welcomed new and returning guests along with regular members and gave a short overview of the Toastmasters organisation and how it works.
The Toastmaster of the evening was the club’s Sergeant at Arms Adam, whose role tonight was to guide the audience through the agenda and to wind up the meeting on time. He was assisted by the Grammarian Jo and Timekeeper Wayne, who performed functionary support.
In this section speakers present speeches on whatever theme they want around a set of objectives for their chosen project. It is often easier to choose a topic that covers what you know, what you love and what your audience cares about.
Saija took the plunge and opened the session with her Ice Breaker speech entitled “The Journey”. She appeared in her running club T-shirt and told us its special role, how she got involved in running and how it had changed her life.
The second speaker was Janet, who presented her No. 3 speech entitled “How to Make a Face Cream”. In an innovatively delivered presentation, she revealed to the audience the secret of making a face cream to the accompaniment of Beethoven’s 5th symphony. Janet stated: “All you need is to bring a lot of different people together and to make a beautiful piece of music” and demonstrated it as if she was a conductor of an orchestra.
The next speaker, Henry, gave his No. 9 speech entitled “The Purpose of Education”. He thoroughly described the original purpose of our existing education system (comparing it to a factory production line) and gave convincing arguments for why it needs to be changed now to respond to our current economic situation. Henry stated that the education system should be deeper and teach problem solving, creativity and innovation.
The last speaker this evening was Hari, who presented his No. 10 speech entitled “Why Stretch?”. Based on his own experience of never stopping learning and growing, Hari inspired the audience to expand their usual comfort zone and stretch themselves, for example by gaining experience through Toastmasters or finding a new job. He summarised his message with the quote: “The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible”.
While evaluations are intended to provide an objective critique of a speech, it is important to always be positive, encouraging and inspire the speaker to improve.
Swarajit gave an evaluation of Saija’s Ice Breaker speech. He reminded the audience that the objective of this speech was to discover speaking skills which the speaker already has and skills that need some attention. He noted that Saija had started with a rhetorical device –a great way to get the audience engaged in the speech – and then continued with a chronological story, ending with a call to action. Swarajit suggested that using a bit more body language in future could enhance the message of the speech. Overall he praised Saija’s great start to her Toastmasters career.
Paula evaluated Janet’s No. 3 speech. She acknowledged that Janet’s uniquely structured and highly creative speech was enhanced by her open body language, expressive voice, engaging humour and her constantly keeping the audience’s attention focused using the conductor’s baton. Paula noted how long it took Janet to practice maintaining the pace of her speech with the music and that using notes in this case could interfere with it.
Renars evaluated Henry’s No. 9 speech. He gave a very comprehensive analysis of the speech’s opening, body and conclusion, as well as the relevance of the topic in general. Renars commended Henry’s delivery, including his use of descriptive language but noted that it had been difficult to hear Henry’s voice at the back of the room and recommended that he speak louder.
The last evaluator, Jason, gave an evaluation of Hari’s No. 10 speech. He liked the relevance of the topic to the audience, the use of examples and quotes as well as drawing a diagram and tapping on the shoulder, all of which had been very powerful. However Jason would have liked to have heard a few more jokes during the speech.
This evening Nimit hosted a Table Topics session themed around sharing a rented room in London with various superheroes. He asked every participant: “Would you love or would you be uncomfortable if a particular superhero stayed with you?” The superhero roommates were: Batman, Kung fu Panda, Harry Potter, The Incredible Hulk, The Invisible Woman, Tarzan and lastly Iron Man.
All seven participants got challenging questions and were evaluated by the evening’s Table Topics evaluator Femi. He gave recommendations useful for all speakers: do not be afraid of using body language to emphasise what you are saying; try to build up a short speech with an introduction, body and conclusion; and expand your topic.
After Femi’s evaluation, Jo presented her Grammarian’s report and evaluated the use of language by participants during the meeting and reminded the audience about the evening’s most memorable expressions and rhetorical devices.
The General Evaluator for this evening was Alexandra, a guest from St. Paul’s Speakers, who evaluated all the meeting participants that were yet to be evaluated and gave some useful recommendations to the club as a whole.
Closing the meeting, Glen gave out the awards based on the votes cast during the evening and one President’s discretional award.
The Best Evaluator award went to Paula for her brilliant evaluationof Janet’s speech. The Best Table Topics Speaker award went to David for his great table topic about flat-sharing with Batman, and the Best Speaker award went to Janet for her highly creative speech. The President’s discretional award went to evening’s Toastmaster Adam who had performed this role for the first time with great success.
The certificate for successfully completing her Icebreaker speech – an important landmark for any Toastmaster– went to Saija.
Our next meeting is on Monday 11th June 2012,upstairs at The Clerk and Well pub, 156 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1R 5BX.