helping to develop speaking and leadership skills 
Wokingham Speakers Club

News, December 2013 

Who would you save if the hot-air balloon was sinking? 
17th December 2013 
Amanda Bouch 
This was the theme of our Christmas social meeting – a Balloon Debate. Each person took on a character of their choice and gave a short speech on why that character should be saved. Characters could be alive or dead, famous or not, it all came down to how well the person presented their case. 18 members participated and we heard from a wide range of characters from Paris Hilton to Nelson Mandela. 
The best case was presented by Paul Gardner as Joseph Michel Montgolfier the inventor of the hot-air balloon. Funnily enough two members had decided to take on this character, but I think it was Paul’s French accent that made the difference! 
Afterwards we enjoyed chatting and networking over nibbles and drinks and getting to know each other better without speeches, leastways not formal speeches! It was a fun evening and a great time was had by all. 
Jets, Animals and Hospitals Amongst Others 
3rd December 2013 
Ian Rodwell 
Another pulsating night at Wokingham Speakers Club with five speakers delivering superb speeches for the expectant audience in attendance. Despite the cold outside, the warm and inviting atmosphere inside soon made us all forget the winter chills. 
In the speeches we learned about why people are given their names (Tsitsi Madzinigra); how a local company led the world into the jet age (Gary Cranford); how to deal with animals on your holidays (Jenifer Compton); what not to wear (Rachel Tinker); and how to get out of hospital quickly (Andrew Sims). We were both warmly entertained and richly informed by these well delivered and well prepared speeches. 
One of the cornerstones of Toastmasters is to give and receive feedback, and tonight we all learned what was well delivered in the prepared speeches and some useful tips to improve for next time. Not only does this help the speakers but also everyone else as we can all learn from the observations of others. The prepared speech evaluators this evening were: Jo Thayer (Tsitisi); Richard Shearing (Gary); Faisal Mooraby (Jenifer); Amanda Bouch (Rachel); and Christina MacGuire (Andrew). 
Even with five speakers this evening for the first time, table topics was still lively and four members made impromptu speeches of between one minute and two and a half minutes. Much laughter and human emotion both with the speakers and the audience as speakers gave their off the cuff deliveries to entertain and inform us. The Table Topics Master this evening was Steve Catchick
A Toastmasters meeting also requires role players to guide the evening along and to keep it on time with all the requisite equipment and facilities in place. The role players this evening were: Toastmaster of the Evening, Ian Rodwell; Timer: Cathy Wells; Grammarian; Brian Moffatt; and the General Evaluator was Alistair Schreiber
The meeting builds to a climax when the President Steve Catchick presents the prizes for the best speaker, best evaluator and best table topics speaker. The audience votes on these categories and the votes are collected by the Sergeant at Arms, Jenifer Compton. Tonight’s Best Speaker was Jenifer Compton; Best Table Topics Speaker was Marce Colucci, and Best Evaluator was Amanda Bouch
We all headed out into the crisp winter night with our spirits lifted.