Club meeting – 1st September 2016

We kicked off the meeting a little bit late tonight, it might have been the premium room available to us tonight, or the darkness as we tried to get the lights on, who knows – but it’s all part of the fun and part of the challenge of life that Toastmasters prepares us for.

To begin the meeting, the toastmaster for the evening, Eoin, welcomed and introduced us all to the meeting, and as is customary then asked everyone to introduce themselves. As part of the introductions, each person also answered on whether they were looking forward to Christmas. This caught more than one person off guard, and as we have only just dealt with summer, it was a fun and cheeky way to kick off the meeting!

Sam as grammarian introduced the word of the day, germane. Nick warned us that he would be watching out for crutch words such as ahhhs and umms. Holly had a new app to help with timer duties.

Next came the organised speeches element of the evening. Stephen introduced the first speaker, Raju who was delivering his 2nd speech from the Competent Communicator manual. This was entitled “Mindfulness, because some questions can’t be answered by Google.” Stephen quipped that already his illusions were shattered, and Raju went on to capture the attention of the entire audience with his take on mindfulness and how it can benefit our lives. He invited the audience to participate in one of the best known tools of mindfulness, observing the breath. We all took some deep breaths and counted to 10 in order to experience the effects of mindfulness for ourselves.
Continuing with the speeches, Alex introduced the 2nd speaker, Alistair, who was delivering his 6th speech from the Competent Communicator manual: “Let food be thy medicine!” Alistair delved into the world of juicing, highlighting all the delicious benefits we could reap from introducing juicing to our diet. Alistair’s vocal variety was on top form, using volume, tone, pace and pauses effectively to convey his message.
Stephen then evaluated Raju, picking up on Raju’s excellent audience interaction, confident approach and rich language. However Raju went slightly over time which was fed back. Alex then evaluated Alistair commending him on his fantastic speech and authoritative style, and gave some recommendations on adopting a relaxed manner when speaking.
Moving on to club business, Sam announced that Holly would be stepping down from her role as VPM in order to focus more energy at work following a recent promotion – Holly clearly and quickly reaping the tangible benefits of membership of our club. Sam also reminded us of our public open night in a fortnight and our speech contest on the 29th. It’s an exciting month ahead!

The second part of the meeting was devoted to table topics. Pauline led the session, asking speakers to put on their best tourist office hat to give advice and recommendations on Fife’s well known visitor attractions. It turns out they aren’t so well known to our members, but all the speakers gave it their best shot, leading to an interesting and exuberant table topics session! Penny was asked to promote Deep Sea World, and while she admitted she has never visited, Penny drew on her knowledge of marine wildlife to entice us all – or not – to go and see the sharks in a safe environment.
Then David was asked to describe the Old Course at St Andrews. Although golf is not a forte of David’s, luckily impromptu speaking is – so he kept us entertained with stories of the history of golf in Scotland, how it is said to derive from shinty, and gave us some insight into the enjoyment of following a professional golfer in a competition.
Thirdly, Anas was invited to tell us all about the Scottish Deer Centre, and he drew on his knowledge of the road signs to this visitor attraction to deliver a fantastically energetic speech. Anas’s table topic celebrated Scottish wildlife and was a cheerful reminder of the wonderful country we live in.
And lastly Duncan spoke on the subject of Dunfermline Abbey – short and sweet, much like his first and only visit there!
Wynn then evaluated the table topics, praising each of the speakers for their gusto and their speaking skills and offering some useful recommendations on use of the stage as well as body language. Overall, a really brilliant session – one which we all look forward to, even if it is a bit daunting to begin with!

Each of the role takers (functionaries, who knew!) then gave their report. Holly gave us a breakdown of times, acknowledging where we had run over time and where we were able to make up time. She also berated the app, reporting that it was more distracting than useful! Nick reported on the use of crutch words, and tonight speakers were very heavily reliant on the word “so”. So, we all learned something tonight! Sam gave the grammarian report, highlighting the exceptional use of germane throughout the night. Well done Team Toastmasters!

Finally, the General Evaluator, Sudha gave her report. We were all aware of the timing issues by this point, so Sudha gave a concise and comprehensive evaluation of the venue, Eoin as Toastmaster; Wynn as Table Topic Evaluator; Holly, Nick and Sam as role takers; and Stephen and Alex as speech evaluators. Feedback was generally positive, with recommendations on use of the stage, stance and body language.

It was a great turnout tonight, a fun and enjoyable evening as we are coming to expect with Dunfermline Toastmasters, and we are all looking forward to our next meeting, the Open Night (yes there will be Prosecco!) and our speech contests on the 29th. See you next time!

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