Meeting summary: Wednesday 27th July

Many thanks to everyone who participated in last Wednesday’s meeting, which was at times highly thought-provoking (even quite provocative occasionally!) and quite hilarious at others.

Our theme for the evening was Dreams, set by our Toastmaster Armelle, who invited our presenters to introduce themselves by sharing their dreams, whether personal or professional, with the audience.  One of our newer members, Jane, valiantly stepped in at the last minute as our Grammarian and Ah counter, and set a complementary word of the day ‘Ambition’.  Lana also supported Armelle as our Timekeeper for the evening.

We has two prepared speeches during the first half of the evening from the Competent Communicator (CC) manual – the first from Zhenzhen who delivered her Ice Breaker, telling us of her wonderful life-changing experience – a chance encounter at a ‘hat’ party during her gap year internship and travels, which led to romance, more travel, marriage and now a new career in financial markets in London.  Andra was our second speaker of the evening, with her second speech setting out her views on photography as an art form; she argued her case very coherently using several interesting statistics and examples, as well as some of her own beautiful photographs, but I suspect she didn’t manage to persuade the entire audience if some of the gasps and facial expressions I observed are anything to go by!

Rowena evaluated Zhenzhen as her mentor, and Brana evaluated Andra before we broke for a short networking session and a chance to greet our guests for the evening, Natalie, Carenne, Gintare, and Sara.

Our Table Topics master was Eliza, whose theme was advertising, but always with a twist!  Speakers picked a photograph of an object to advertise, and Eliza then imposed a special, quirky condition which would affect its marketability; examples included a two-person umbrella which needed a special license to operate, a beefburger + scrambled egg in a waffle that was about to sell out, a 5-spout tea pot, a royal dentists chair, an industry award for diet water and last but not least, a multi-coloured wig that had been banned in 12 countries.  Brana was voted our best table topics speaker with her sales-pitch for the all-in-one brunch burger, and if there had been an award for recovery from ‘corpsing’ (British theatrical slang for unintentionally breaking character by laughing) – Armelle would have won it with no contest!

Lana was a very effective time-keeper throughout the evening, and her most notable achievement was timing our Grammarian’s report – a welcome relief for some as she showed Jane the red card before she had finished going through her efficiently prepared list of all our ums and ahs – most of us will certainly heed her advice to video ourselves as we practice speaking, to try to improve our delivery style.  Rowena was voted best evaluator for the evening and we did not vote for best speaker as is our custom when we only have 2 prepared speeches.

We welcomed Natalie Cox, VPE from one of our neighbouring clubs, BlackRock Speaks, as our General Evaluator for the evening; Natalie is a great listener and gave us a number of interesting and useful observations and recommendations, for which we’re most grateful. She set a good example for us to go out and visit other clubs, to broaden our own experience and bring back ideas, as well as to complete projects in our leadership manuals.

We closed the meeting in good time as we held the first committee meeting of the Toastmaster year afterwards.  Thanks to all for your cooperation on this and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Looking Forward:

  • Save the date:  Our Area director (Nadine) is planning an area council meeting on 17th August – all club officers and interested members will be welcome to attend, and details to be confirmed soon.
  • Contest season starts in September – we will hold our club’s annual Humorous Speech & Table Topics contest on 21/9, ahead of our Area contest on 28/9.  We need a contest chair and judges, and particularly contestants!  Other roles such as time-keepers, counters are also necessary, so there’s something to do for everyone who would like to be involved.  There’s plenty of help and support available, so please, if you are able to come to the meeting on 21 September, put your hand up and volunteer!

We need to attract visiting judges for our contest and offer other clubs judges in return, so please make a note of the following dates for neighbouring clubs’ contests and let Ailsa know if you’re able to help them:

  • BlackRock Speaks: Tuesday 13 September, evening
  • Data Science Speakers: 12 September, evening
  • Deutsche Bank: Friday 9 & 16 September, lunchtime

Please click here for details of our next club meeting


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