PR*s Prattle from November 2019

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PR’s* Prattle

Autumn is here. The colours are beautiful and yet, to have their beauty we have to contend with rain, dark mornings and evenings, fog and mists. My dad used to say ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.’ In other words, if you are properly prepared, all can be overcome.

It is the same for Toastmasters. Fear of standing up and speaking – the bad weather, can be overcome with the correct preparation.

It’s not the fear we concentrate on, it’s how we react to it.

All the people who came to the meeting had given their 90% to turning up and discovering the ‘best clothing for bad weather’ – how to prepare for and improve their speaking skills.

The meeting was opened by Alan and then James. Both of whom were very welcoming, enthusiastic and set the tone for the evening. James question to us      ‘ Would Guy Fawkes have been so keen to blow up his adversaries, if he had the gift of communication?’

Alan was our Toastmaster for the evening and we used the new voting slips that he had designed. Thank you Alan

The word of the day from Lynn and delivered by Michael as Grammarian,  was opulent. Inspired by the opulence of beautiful colours of autumn

Kay was the timekeeper for the evening saying how important it is to stay on time, to be succinct whenever possible.

Peter was our Ah counter. An accomplished explanation for the first time talking on this role. Well done Peter. He explained that we need to remove crutch words as these are the words we use to fill the gaps.

Irmine gave her speech # 1-2. The best day of the year? Halloween. As an Archaeologist interested in the dead, it is the only day to feel ‘normal’. Very interesting and entertaining. It was good to be reminded that, as a child, we can be considered odd for our interests and then, as an adult, those interests become our passion and career.

Oliver presented his speech #1-3 An Actual Actuary. This was a very thoughtful and interesting speech. Definitely putting the ‘colour’ into the importance of pensions. I believe this speech gave us all valuable advice and encouraged us all to think about the future.

A strength and benefit of toastmasters is the fact that everything is evaluated. This offers the opportunity for improvement. Gilli and Michael are keen observers and were able to give recommendations to each speaker. Everyone has the opportunity to be an evaluator. As you watch and listen to others, your own speaking will develop.

I lead the Table Topics and the theme was Autumn. I wanted to share a technique for giving a 2 minute impromptu speech. This technique was ‘ Express an opinion’.  Each person was given a choice of two topics. They had to choose one and then give their opinion e.g. ‘Wellies or Boots’. ‘ Scary Masks or Fireworks’.

We had an amazing 7 first time speakers take part Well done everyone. Felix, Ethan, Marionna, Sally, Caspar, Freya, Ellie, Mansi, Peter and Jenny.           I believe a hidden bonus from coming to and taking part in meetings, you learn to think on your feet and deal successfully with the unexpected. It isn’t the 10% of what happens, it’s the 90% of how we deal with it. Toastmasters is a really safe place to deal with the unpredictable happenings of life.

James evaluated the Table Topics. This is not an easy task as you have to listen very carefully to each one and not get distracted. James observed different ways that people had used to fill the allotted 2 minutes. He commended the good points and gave everyone a suggestion for improving.

Sean was the general evaluator and gave a comprehensive overview of the whole meeting. We had role changes, agenda changes and yet all were dealt with very efficiently

Best Speaker  Irmine
Best Table Topic  Caspar
Best Evaluator Gilli
First time . Felix, Ethan, Sally, Caspar, Freya, Ellie, Mansi

A wonderful meeting. It is a delight to see so many people there, stepping out into their adventure zone and helping to make it a very enjoyable night for everyone. I thank everyone for bringing their 10% of what life gave them and responding with 90% courage. I enjoyed the joy and laughter of the evening.

What 10% has life thrown at you recently? How could you respond? What is the one step that you could take that would lead in a positive direction?

Speaking can be scary. Speaking in front of others can be seen as very, very scary. However, coming along to a Toastmasters’ meeting will dispel that fear.
Turn from the 10%. Focus on the possibility of progress and the surety of support.
Enjoy the fun and new friendships. Remember that TM is there to support. It is there to have fun. You will never be judged. It is one of the safest, if not the safest place to practice and hone your speaking skills.
See you at the next meeting November 20th.   Come along, invite your friends and have a great time.

*   PR – Vice President of Public Relations. Lynn Gregory