helping to develop speaking and leadership skills 
Wokingham Speakers Club

News, April 2014 

 
Toastmasters Promise to Make It Happen 
Amanda Bouch 

 
One of the keys to a successful Toastmasters club is that all the members get stuck in and participate fully in the club activities. 
Amanda Bouch and Steve Catchick 
This creates a great atmosphere and a buzz, such that when visitors come along to see what Toastmasters is all about, they want to be part of it. President Steve Catchick reminded us that Wokingham Speakers is just such a dynamic and successful club because of its members and encouraged us all to keep up the participation and bring a friend along to show them how much fun it is to develop your communication and leadership skills. 
 
We learnt a lot from Kunaal Patra about how the government is seeking to control the internet and that we should be worried about both hackers and controllers. This was his last speech at Wokingham as he is moving to Manchester – our loss will be a Manchester club’s gain. 
 
Sandra Rodwell exposed the excuses we make at work and highlighted the cultural difference in excuses and forgiveness in the 3 countries she has lived and worked in – Brazil, UK and Qatar. Entertaining and illuminating, especially thanks to the body language (the speech project was Your Body Speaks). 
 
Therese Edkins inspired us with her speech “All about Will”, which wasn’t telling a story about Will, but reminding us that the difference between success and average (at best) is Willpower. She posed the thought that Willpower is a finite resource … so use it wisely. Good Luck to Therese in the Area 21 Contest on Saturday 5 April, she won Best Speaker tonight, so that’s hopeful. 
 
Impromptu speaking is something that terrifies many and Toastmasters makes this skill part of every meeting agenda. Ian Rodwell hosted Table Topics™ and told us that he had gone to school with Nick Hornby and then showed us a photo of a famous celebrity when young and invited the speaker to tell a story about how this person was when the speaker went to school with them. Many of us didn’t recognise the celebrity, but told good stories of our schooldays anyway! Paul Gardner won Best Table Topic with his humorous story on earthworms… 
 
Key to improving the results you get is to receive feedback on what you do. Evaluation is part of the recipe for success at Toastmasters and each speech was evaluated. This is done so that we can all learn from the feedback, not just the speaker – very helpful. Evaluators this evening were Jo Thayer, Richard Shearing and Christina McGuire, who won Best Evaluator. 
 
We received club feedback from our guest General Evaluator Chris Boden, who was both helpful and complimentary about the standards we achieve. All in all an awesome evening, masterfully chaired by yours truly as Toastmaster of the Evening. 
 
 
First Class Service With Added Drama 
Christina MacGuire 
 
The meeting on Tuesday April 15th was as vibrant as ever. There were two icebreaker speeches, Catalina Pedrazam talking about “Learning to Sail” and Graeme Hobbs on “Big Thinking in a Small Thinking World” who even managed to incorporate a smattering of quotes. It’s always great to hear about our new members and this meeting was no exception. Each had a very different style but an extremely high standard! We had Faisal Mooraby all the way from Swindon to give his advanced speech “Ardiente” where he showed us some salsa moves and managed to complete his latest award for Wokingham. Thanks Faisal! 
 
It was one of those evenings where we had to improvise, one of our speakers was delayed. We decided to hold the table topics session before the break. This was ably presented in dramatic style by Sandra Rodwell with an entertaining and imaginative foray into first class air travel with celebrities and politicians. Who knew our members had the opportunity to speak their truth with so many famous people and to ask a variety of questions. Best topic speaker was won by Tsitsi Madzingira who included lots of brilliant questions with so much enthusiasm we couldn’t not vote for her. 
 
The last speaking opportunity was held over till after the break, and we were lucky enough to have two Distinguished Toastmasters, Amanda Bouch and Steve Catchick present a superb impromptu educational on Frequently Asked Questions. It was useful for us all to hear the different approaches each had and very interesting to hear the various tips they kindly shared with us. What fabulous talent we have in this club. 
 
We had four strong evaluations, Mia Towndrow, Richard Moore, Ian Rodwell and Amanda Bouch. Best evaluator was won by Richard with his first ever evaluation. Best speaker was won by Catalina. Thanks to Russell Searle from Riverside Communicators, Fluor and Woking Speakers for providing a guest General Evaluator with some interesting suggestions. And of course no meeting would be complete without a trip to The Ship afterwards.