On a dark and cold night when others didn’t dare venture out, the members of Bromley Speakers turned out en masse for our first February meet up. There was a warm welcome as you stepped through the door of The Ripley Arts Centre and visitors quickly found that there were members willing to share their experience of Toastmasters and answer any questions.
It was great to see ex club President Joe, and our past Area Director, Samir and Paul Rhys-Taylor from our District Committee.
Neil our Sargent at Arms efficiently ensured that everyone was ready and seated so that he could introduce club President, Paul on time. Paul reminded members that there will be an extra meeting in February on the 23rd. This meeting will be a Speakathon with six speeches. The places will be primarily for newer members wanting to do CC1 to CC5. To book a place contact Susan Rayner or enrol via Easy Speak.
The clubs International Speech Competition and Evaluation Competition will be held on March 16th. Competitors must have completed the first six speeches in the Competent Communicator manual. The club also needs judges, counters, ushers etc. to run the event. Please speak to Dave Henson or Susan Rayner if you can compete or help. Everyone is encouraged to take part in the event, as you don’t know what you can achieve, until you have a go. Even if you do not have a role, please come along to the meeting as an audience is needed to clap, laugh and respond to the speeches.
Simon was our fabulous Toastmaster. Simon has been a member of Bromley for four months and a Toastmaster for four years. His humour and energy were on show from the moment that he took control, to the moment when he handed back control of the meeting to our club President. We all loved his phrase, that Toastmasters ‘changes your brain without drugs.’ In other words it is life changing and allows you to step up successfully to take on new challenges.
Alexanderz was in charge of the lights at his first meeting after becoming a member. Congratulations Alex on a great job. Clear and succinct reports throughout.
Dave took on the roles of Ah Counter and Grammarian. It was a sign of the quality of the meeting that ten members did not use any filler words such as ahs or ums. Another six had only one or two.
Our musician Luke was in control of a very different warm up. One by one the members joined in until the room was filled with a glorious sound.
Carrie was in charge of the Hot Tip which was, ‘believe in yourself, stand up and get on with it’. Good advice which was well delivered.
Christine was the first speaker. Her talk was titled, ‘giving up is so very hard to do’. A personal story of her struggle with cigarettes. It was also interesting to reflect on the changes in attitude over a relatively short time.
Next up was Annelise with, ‘welcome to my digital world’. Again a speech that reflected on changes in her lifetime which included, vinyl to downloads and phone kiosks to Skype.
The last speech was from the very experienced Chris, delivering a Special Occasion Speech from the Advanced Manual Series. Chris praised his friend Kevin who has given a lifetime of service to the RAF cadets. The applause was both for Chris and Kevin at the end.
The three speech evaluators were Riya, Richard M and Richard G. Each found much to commend from the speeches that they had heard. They reminded us that a personal story can give the audience something that they can relate to. Also, that if the purpose of a speech is to inform, to make sure there is content that the audience will want to know.
Our session on Impromptu speaking, (Table Topics,) was led by Alain. His theme was ‘nature or nurture’. A great selection of subject matter that all the respondents could tackle well.
Georgina gave the evaluation on Table Topics suggesting points for improvement, as well as commendations. She gave a very well structured review of the session especially as it was her first time. We look forward to many more evaluations from her.
Paul G rounded off the evaluations as General Evaluator in his own inimitable style. Upbeat and very energetic. He gave two great bits of advice; after a meeting reflect on what you have done; and, to take all the opportunities that you are offered at Toastmasters.
At the end of the meeting, awards were presented by the club’s President to Samir (Best Table Topic), Richard G (Best Evaluator), Christine (Best Speaker).
Not wanting the evening to end, many members and friends of Bromley Speakers, headed off to the local ale house to reflect on the learnings of the evening.
The next meeting is on February 16th.