helping to develop speaking and leadership skills 
Wokingham Speakers Club

News, May 2015 

An evening of culture 
Paul Gardner 
19th May 2015 

Before our meeting proper we held our Annual General Meeting, presided over by Acting President Steve Catchick. Each committee member supplemented their written reports with a brief verbal report, and a new committee was nominated and voted in. 
 
Congratulations to: 
Mell Sheppard (President) 
John Murphy (Vice President Education) 
Marce Colucci (Vice President Membership) 
Therese Edkins (Vice President Public Relations) 
Asha Narasimha (Secretary/Treasurer) 
Jo Thayer (Sargeant at Arms) 
Thanks to Steve’s efficient organisation and superb time management, the AGM was over in double-quick time and we proceeded with the main business of the evening. 
 
To celebrate Wokingham’s Month of Culture, Paul Gardner, Toastmaster of the Evening introduced a couple of cultural elements. 
 
Firstly, we learned the favourite piece of music of each speaker and evaluator. Paul revealed that his own favourite piece is Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor. 
 
Our first speaker was Jo Thayer (favourite piece of music: “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves), whose speech “Do you remember?” was both topical and powerful. As it was Dementia Awareness Week, she spoke about this disease and how it can affect so many of us. 
 
Secondly, Graeme Hobbs (“Ace of Spades” by Motorhead…yes, really) delivered “Great Britain or Little Britain” - another topical subject given recent national political events and discussions. 
 
Our third speaker was John Murphy (Fields of Gold, sung by Eva Cassidy), with his speech “Job Interview, What Job Interview???”. This was a project from the Advanced Storytelling manual, and John told us about the prelude to his first job interview…which included an unforgettable demonstration of his dance skills. 
 
After the break – managed by Breakmaster Margharita White – we experienced our second cultural twist of the evening with a Table Topics session with a difference. In recognition of how lucky we are to have members from many cultures, Table Topics Master Brian Moffatt (Schubert Piano Sonata No. 21 in B Flat), introduced three speakers who all spoke in their first language. 
 
Firstly, Asha Narasimha told us in Kannada (a language from southern India) about a person whom she much admires. 
 
Then Sandra Rodwell spoke in Portuguese about what she finds frustrating about the British. Her body language and facial expressions communicated much! 
 
Cherif Hemici spoke passionately in French about his love of French cinema. Finally, Rachel Tinker spoke in English about the advantages and disadvantages of a regional accent. 
 
A show of hands determined that the audience wanted to hear Asha’s speech again, but in English…which enabled us to fill in the gaps of our understanding. 
 
We then came to the formal evaluations of the prepared and impromptu speeches, conducted by Ian Rodwell (“God only Knows”, Beach Boys), Deborah Broadhurst (“Cavatina” by John Williams), Steve Catchick (anything by Status Quo) and Thomas White (“It’s a Wonderful World”, Louis Armstrong). 
 
Our Grammarian for the evening was Mell Sheppard (“Whiter Shade of Pale”, Procol Harum) and General Evaluator was Rachel Tinker (who would only say she was looking forward to seeing Take That perform shortly). 
 
Asha Narasimha won best Table Topics, Deborah Broadhurst was voted best evaluator and John Murphy was named best speaker of the evening. Well done to all of them. 
Not an election theme 
Steve Catchick 
5th May 2015 
 
President Amanda Bouch formally opened the meeting, and welcomed our guests, including Area Governor Tracy Miranda. Tracy presented Amanda with a trophy for winning the Evaluation contest at area level, on 21st March. 
 
Amanda then introduced the Toastmaster of the night, Steve Catchick
 
Steve had prepared a full evening and gave an opening introduction to his role, explained our protocol, and how we may differ to some professional business speaking bodies, but that we follow. 
 
Our first speaker was Nadir Ahmed, who spoke on how to make change lasting, giving us his experience on the benefits and beliefs on change. Our second speaker was Andrew Sims who delivered a speech from a technical paper, entitled “Winter is coming”, outlining some stark truths about climate change, how the two poles were being rapidly affected and how this would impact all our lives. 
 
Asha spoke next, and by now the technical challenges were fixed. With the aid of powerpoint, she gave her speech “My holiday that I earned”, showing just 3 slides of her holiday, and her friends, and explaining how and why she had earned her break. Finally, Ian Rodwell, our current VP Education, spoke last. His speech was entitled “Ladders and Lifts”. With a clever use of metaphor, flipchart, and referring humorously to one of our members, he took us on a journey describing how the seemingly impossible, or at least improbably, was very possible. 
 
This was Ian’s last speech to the club, as he and his wife Sandra, will be leaving the club shortly. Ian has been a huge strength, support and part of the club since we opened, and his humour and ability will be sorely missed. 
 
Steve then invited area Governor, Tracy, to give an update on what is happening within the area. She told us this would be her last official visit as area governor, that she had enjoyed her term, and that she always enjoyed coming to Wokingham Speakers for a fun, energetic meeting. She told us the next area Governor would be Nick Bailey, from Maidenhead Speakers. 
 
Finally, before the break, we had a group photo, taken ably by our ace photographer, Marce Colucci, who also managed to ask a visitor to take a shot with him in the picture. 
 
After the break, Table Topics (impromptu speaking) session was led very ably by Therese Edkins. She used a theme of the moral maze. 
 
We heard from Chris Hartnell about whether we would let a colleague take the blame or should he tell the truth? Tracy Miranda had the dilemma of whether to speak up that her child had been at fault for a minor accident. 
 
Alice had the dilemma whether to pass a winning lottery ticket to her neighbour whilst Padma had incorrectly won a free holiday. The final speaker was Sandi from Epsom speakers who enjoyed a champagne breakfast which was charged to another guest in the hotel. 
 
The evaluation section followed with Thomas White giving helpful comments on Nadir’s speech followed by Sandra Rodwell who gave tips during her evaluation of Andrew’s speech. 
 
Next was Brian Moffatt, who gave an excellent evaluation of Asha’s speech, some of which was relevant to Andrew’s speech, and for all of us when using technology. 
 
Next was Mell Sheppard evaluating Ian’s speech. Mell is an extremely experienced evaluator. She broke her evaluation into two parts. One was about Ian’s speech, and the other was about his contribution to the club. Finally, Marce Colucci evaluated the five topics speakers, giving commendations and suggestions for each. 
 
Best speaker award was given to Ian Rodwell 
Best topics award was given to Sandi from Epsom Speakers 
Best evaluator award was given to Brian Moffatt 
 
Our grammarian, Paul Gardner, then gave us his report on good/bad use of language and any verbal crutches. 
 
Finally, Amanda Bouch gave a report as general evaluator. She evaluated all the non evaluated speakers and stressed we must improve on our use of technology, stressing responsibility lay with the SAA, TME, but most importantly, the actual speaker. She also thanked Ian Rodwell for his work and support. 
 
Another successful evening at Wokingham Speakers!!