helping to develop speaking and leadership skills 
Wokingham Speakers Club

News, June 2014 

 
 
 
It's our Birthday! 
 

 
June 2014 marks our first birthday as an official club of Toastmasters International. To celebrate this, we recently received a special certificate from our parent organisation. 
 
In this time, we have gone from strength to strength. We have new members joining us every month, and we regularly welcome visitors to our meetings. 
At the end of this month, our first committee will stand down, to be replaced by a new group, with Steve Catchick handing the Presidency of the club to Amanda Bouch. 
 
Our aim for the next year is to grow the membership even more and to continue to help each other become better speakers. 
 
Happy Birthday Wokingham Speakers! 
 
Mell Sheppard 
Notes from our meeting of 3rd June 2014 
Celebrations are in the air this month as Wokingham Speakers celebrates it's first birthday and as a fitting tribute, the theme for this evening's session was 'anniversaries'. Incoming Sargeant at Arms, Mia Towndrow did a sterling job warmly introducing the evening with some interestingly facts before handing over to TME Mell Sheppard to begin the evening. 
 
We started, as always, with our rehearsed speeches. Uniquely this evening we would enjoy two final competent communicator speeches. The first of these entitled 'My Inspiration' was delivered by Rachel Tinker who took inspiration from the recent courage shown by Stephen Sutton to achieve your dreams. A very fitting and timely end to the Competent Communicator journey! 
 
Next to speak was Ian Rodwell, with an Advanced Speech entitled 'Operation Golf'. This was a very moving speech about a lady that Ian and his wife once met who had been diagnosed with fistula. The speech was beautifully delivered and very honest in its approach. 
 
We then heard from our second Competent Communicator victor, Therese Edkins who gave a speech called 'A 20 second moment of inspiration' and we were certainly inspired as we heard about Therese's passion for the opera singer Pretty Yende and urged us to let opera into our lives! 
 
Finally, we heard from Amanda Bouch who gave a very Educational speech on 'Using Body Language' and gave us all some very useful tips to consider when performing our next speech. 
 
The winner of the best speech award went to Therese Edkins
 
A short break was had and enjoyed by all, (particular thanks to stand in BreakMaster Richard Shearing, whom I've discovered makes a mean cuppa as one of his many skills!!) 
 
We returned back to the action for the second half to be 'TableTopic'd' by Tsitsi Madzinigra who decided to challenge us to think laterally about what we might do if we had to plan a future existence on the moon!! We had some hilarious attempts to put initiatives forward. In the end the spoils went to Richard Shearing for his imaginative response! 
 
We then moved on to the Evaluation part of the evening. This gives speakers an opportunity to gain feedback and insight into what they did that worked well and what they could do to improve their performance. We heard from Jo Thayer, Steve Catchick, Christina MacGuire and Sandra Rodwell ( Evaluating TableTopics). In the end, best ribbon was won by Christina MacGuire who gave a splendid performance. 
 
We were delighted to hear from our Grammarians, Brian Moffatt and Aysha who picked out the best and worst of our language. 
 
Finally we heard from visiting Area Govenor, Mark Emanuelson as he gave us his thoughts on the evening. 
 
Special thanks to Timer Nadir Ahmed for keeping us in check! Once again another cracking evening at Wokingham Speakers. 
 
A Fortuitous Meeting 
 
Amanda Bouch 
Notes from our meeting of 17th June 2014 
When the Grammarian, Therese, introduced the word of the day – fortuitous – I immediately appreciated how lucky I had been as Toastmaster for the evening. As I was on holiday the week before, I’d contacted role-holders early to get their confirmation, so I wouldn’t have to worry about the agenda while I was away and everyone had confirmed. However the day before the meeting I realised I’d not allocated a Table Topics evaluator and asked Mell, who was happy to oblige at short notice. Then on the day another evaluator had to drop out and I put out the word to members and received two offers – how fortuitous that they were attending the meeting and willing to step up. The timer also dropped out at the last minute and Rachel kindly took on that role. 
 
The four speakers both entertained and educated us with their talks. Brian used cartoons in his slides to explain a highly complex technical process and simplify the matter for us – particularly memorable were Lady Buzzard’s cocktail and the grubby rugby players! 
 
Steve also used slides to illustrate his talk on Isembard Kingdom Brunel – a truly great Briton – and fascinated us with his command of Brunel’s achievements and also his personal challenges. 
 
Carole pointed out how we spend 80% of our lives on Autopilot and what we can do to take back control, where we choose. I liked her analogy of wearing a jumper inside-out and her challenge to us to think about how we could do things differently and wake up to our world. She won Best Speaker. 
 
Marce used his own significant sports achievements to analyse high-paying sports in the light of the World Cup. What a bombshell that golfers have to work harder for their money than footballers and that the top pay goes to boxing! 
 
Their evaluators – Richard Shearing, Paul, Tsitsi, Richard Moore – all did justice to their analysis of the speech and provided constructive feedback to support the speaker in becoming even better. In particular the visual quality of the slides added significantly to the spoken message and kept our attention. The use of props to illustrate the skills required in mastering sports added both information and entertainment. The vocal variety – pace, pausing, emphasis – brought the messages home, especially when using quotes. Richard Moore won Best Evaluator. 
 
Table Topics was run by Christina, who used the theme of Ascot week to ask speakers to be creative in how they approached their questions. Sandra thought the dress code should be elegant not extreme, Jo made an aviary for a lime green hat, Ian created chaos by letting his horses run free, Cheirf organised a contest to name a horse, Nadir thought the jockey must be clairvoyant and Asha went back to primary schools to create distinguishing colours for the horses. Mell’s evaluation of Table Topics gave supportive feedback to all 7 of them. Jo won Best Table Topic. 
 
Therese was pleased with the use of ‘fortuitous’ and highlighted some great examples of rhetorical devices, whilst reminding us of our verbal crutches. All most helpful in improving our awareness and skill. 
Jen, as General Evaluator, was thorough in touching on all the aspects that make for a good evening and giving feedback to the evaluators. It’s inspiring when we finish an evening with such enthusiasm. My thanks go to all; I’m always re-energised and inspired after our meetings. Amanda