As Toastmaster for the first time with Dunfermline Toasties, Anas warmly welcomed us all to the meeting. He reminded us that life needs leaders, and that leadership is a skill we learn at Toastmasters. After a brief introduction to Toastmasters, Anas also asked the audience to introduce themselves, with the question “What is the one thing you couldn’t live without in the shops?” There were lots of interesting answers, and unsurprisingly, chocolate and energy bars featured prominently! Anas then introduced the Functionaries of the meeting – David as Ah Counter, Bruce as Grammarian – selecting Bridge as word of the day, and Alex as Timer.
Moving on the speeches, Espen delivered his Ice Breaker speech, entitled “Grown Up”. He entertained the audience with stories from his earlier years, and the steps that led to him pursuing a career in ecological consultancy. The whole audience was enchanted by Espen’s experiences in the Arctic and in South Africa – and everything in between. Espen ended on an inspiring note, revealing to the audience how his goals are a moving target which he enjoys chasing.
Next up, Nick delivered his speech, “Experience with Speech Ideas”. Nick’s speech was based on his personal experience of how to develop ideas for a speech, and how to develop ideas to build a speech structure. This was packed with helpful pointers and stimulating suggestions that everyone in the audience could learn and benefit from.
After the speeches, we heard Club Business from President Sam. She provided an update from the Area Competitions and Contests and the recent Club Officer Meeting. Sam also drew attention to the Edinburgh Advanced Toastmasters club and encouraged everyone to visit – not just for the cake, but to benefit from the longer speeches, open evaluations and the benefit of Toastmaster points for your home club. EAT meets every 2nd Monday. Sam was also pleased to announce that Dunfermline Toastmasters is close to chartering, which means that payments are due from all members for the coming 6 months. She encouraged everyone to come along to next meeting where we will be able to induct the new members, and mentioned that we now have the capability to film speeches, so she encouraged anyone who wants their speech recorded to get in touch with the Committee to request this.
Moving on to the Evaluations, Sam was back up to evaluate Espen’s speech. Sam highlighted the topic Espen chose, remarking that it was thought provoking and a subject we could all relate to. Sam commended Espen on his first speech, which was confidently delivered, well structured, and provided a lovely insight in to Espen’s life thus far. Sam also praised Espen’s good use of eye contact and gestures throughout the speech, and provided helpful guidance on gestures and vocal volume as pointers to work on for the next speech.
Sudha provided her evaluation for Nick, commending his choice of subject, speech structure, excellent vocal variety, and call to action. Sudha also suggested that Nick’s speech counts towards the Advanced manuals. She picked up on the use of anchoring techniques, and simply recommended maximising the use of the stage.
Following the break, and with the meeting on schedule, we moved on to Table Topics. Pauline as Table Topics Master continued with the meeting theme “Celebration or Challenge” –
- Bruce was asked how would he celebrate winning the national finals of the Table Topics Contest, and not wanting to overly tempt fate, Bruce treated us to a delightful story about learning to play bridge, a “vicious game”, and relating it cleverly back to the question;
- Stephen recalled his most memorable birthday, which involved a delicious sounding multi-layered cake, with marzipan, sponge, icing – very much something for everyone;
- James described his plans for Christmas, which will revolve around playing games, and perhaps a Batman costume;
- David tempted us with a story of how he would tackle a charity fundraiser by organising a three course meal with whisky tasting – something to be enjoyed and not suffered;
- Wynn was tasked with organising a Halloween themed meeting, and drew on his Army experiences to regale the audience with tales of mischief and hijinks; and
- Nick provided an estimation of how he would prepare for the West Highland Way Challenge, with plenty of preparation and advice from experienced colleagues.
As Table Topics evaluator, Penny declared the Table Topics participants “silver tongued toasties”! She summarised the highlights, including Stephen’s great comic timing and Wynn’s hallmark style, and provided relatable recommendations such as avoiding hand clasping, and addressing the audience as a whole.
Wrapping up the meeting, the Functionaries provided their reports. Of note were the infrequent to non-existent “Ahs” and “Ums”, the erudite language, and good time keeping – we were ahead of schedule for the first time! Wynn then provided the General Evaluation, giving credit to the Toastmaster, Anas, for keeping us on track with time.
An extremely successful and enjoyable meeting – and we look forward to the next!