A Halcyon Meeting 29/08/2019

What a Halcyon meeting we had last night at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley.

Yes, Halcyon was the word of the Week and a few of the members managed to use it throughout the evening, which was definitely happy, joyful and gay, especially as the table topics were all about humour. Thanks David Henson for a great Table Topics Session.

Also, we had a very humorous speech by Ross Taggart, who won the Best Speaker Award, well done Ross!

Our members and guests were greeted warmly by our Club Membership Officer Vinu Madhavan and our fabulous Sargent at Arms James Kirkby opened the meeting, which was held in a room full of wonderful artwork. That’s one of the benefits of meeting at the Ripley Arts Centre; not only is it an entertaining and educational evening, it’s also a spectacular feast for the eyes.

Members and guests mingle amongst the artwork at
Ripley Arts Centre

Our President Christine Morrell introduced the meeting with a fabulous lesson on how nerves and excitement are both a state of heightened emotion and how a simple technique called ‘anxiety reappraisal’ can help people channel nervous jitters into improved performance.  When evaluating the meeting, our General Evaluator John Vickers noted that Christine created a good mood and led us into the meeting with positivity.

David Henson shared his success story, telling us about his forthcoming comedy slot where he will be performing in front of 300 people at the Professional Speaking Association (PSA) National Convention in October. What an amazing challenge to take on and he could never have even thought about doing it before he came to Toastmasters.

Here at Bromley Speakers we just love the success stories. Keep them coming guys!

Rajesh Deshmukh warmed us all up by asking about our amazement over the past few weeks and our Top Tip was delivered by Ben Lopez who shared with us a personal story and urged us all to persevere.

The Timekeeper was the ever-amusing Martin Langdon and Vinu Madhavan was our Ah Counter for the evening.

The Grammarian was Richard Green who picked up some great use of language throughout the evening.

Our first Speaker, Jamie Simpson delivered a speech entitled ‘The Three S’s’. This was Jamie’s icebreaker speech and Jamie told us that he joined Bromley Speakers because he finds it friendly and supportive and that he feels it will help him to achieve his goals, not only in business but in life. He regaled us with his tales of travel and he engaged the audience well by asking us questions. It was a great first speech, well done Jamie.  We look forward to many more tales from our newest member as he will no doubt go from strength to strength.

Our second speech was delivered by Susan Rayner who educated us on her thoughts on how we might improve as leaders. Her speech, entitled ‘Learning to Influence’, was an enlightening insight into the world of persuasive influence and understanding of leadership styles.

She told us that it’s easy to tell someone what to do but it’s more difficult to take someone on a journey with you. How true that is. Another gem of wisdom from Susan was that it’s good to give praise in public and reprimand in private. It was a great speech with lots of useful information on leadership skills.

Speakers Jamie Simpson and Susan Rayner

Our third speaker, Ross Taggart, had us all laughing with his speech entitled ‘Interview’. Ross should definitely enter into the forthcoming humorous speech contest as he is a naturally funny guy. As he told us about his hilarious experiences of job hunting, he improved on his last performance by incorporating feedback from a previous speech. When Neil Pettigrew evaluated Ross’ speech he said that it was his best speech to date. Nice one Ross!

Toastmaster Jenny Taggart reminded us that children have no shame when it comes to evaluating their peers as she encouraged our three evaluators up to give their reports.

Sue Shaw said that she liked the way that our first speaker Jamie Simpson linked into the word of the day and reminded us that, for a 6-minute speech we should have no more than 2 pages of A4 in a 14- to16-point font. She said that Jamie had excelled at his audience rapport.

Evaluators Sue Shaw, John Vickers, Neil Pettigrew and John Cross

John Cross evaluated our second speaker, Susan Rayner. He said that she had an engaging and interesting delivery, good punctuation and a good varied pace. It was a polished delivery.

Evaluating Ross Taggart, Neil Pettigrew agreed that Ross had achieved both of his objectives by incorporating feedback from his previous speech. It was humorous and, as mentioned before, his best speech so far!

Table Topics at Bromley Speakers always gets us laughing but this week the subject was indeed ‘Humour’. David Henson delivered the topics and kicked off the session by asking, is laughter the best medicine? Following this he asked, is swearing funny? (to which Alistair managed not to swear at all), Are women as funny as men?, Is it important to have a good sense of humour in a relationship? and a few other amusing questions.

Our Topics Evaluator, Eddie Barnes also tickled our funny bones with his amusing feedback on the topics.

Best Speech – Ross Taggart, Best Evaluation – Neil Pettigrew, Best Table Topic – Martin Langdon

As you can tell, here at Bromley Speakers we like to have fun. But at the same time we also take our learning and feedback seriously. At the end of the day, Toastmasters is about improving our speaking skills and that is always at the heart of what we do and why we do it. But if we can’t laugh at ourselves along the way, then life as a speaker might become a little dull. Our audience will dictate our level of seriousness or humour and that is always remembered when giving our speeches.

Learning can be fun and I can’t wait for the next meeting!

Bromley Speakers meets at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays of the month, at 7.15 pm.

For more information please email us

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