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Notebook, printed agenda and chocolate bar wrapper on a chair

Member blog by Aaron Gale.

“A television newscast” was the theme chosen for today’s meeting by our Toastmaster for the day, Alana. Alana bravely moved outside of the standard meeting format, to encourage each assigned role to be part of the newsroom team – whether in the studio or roaming.

Gerald gave the meeting an energetic start, and introduced the ‘anchor’ for the day, Alana, using the microphone.

Janet was Grammarian and introduced her word for the day ‘memorable’, by taking us down memory lane, reminiscing about a few TV adverts from yesteryear. Borrowing from the milky bar kid, the ‘crunchie bars were on her’ with a bowl of the snack sized treats provided for the group to munch on.

Natalie had the honour of presenting the first speech of the day, ‘Know your sense of humour’. Natalie shared some tips and tools to use to promote mental health and used some well-matched slides of dogs chasing tennis balls underwater to get some great laughs and chuckles during her speech.

Louise Landess was up next, providing some reflections of her journey through the Presentation Mastery pathway, as the final speech required to complete the path. Louise’s speech was titled ‘The perils of kidding yourself’. Being a Toastmaster since 2008, her reflections spanned what she had learned over that time. The learnings shared included:

  • Advice that contrary to popular custom, you don’t have to evaluate in the third person
  • Only you know what you wish to achieve in Toastmasters, and feel free to do it in your way
  • With change, rather than being evangelical or a nay-sayer about the change without really understanding why – educate yourself with the resources available
  • Get clicking on the Pathway guidance – even the most experienced Toastmasters will pick up something valuable

After the break, Louise Green introduced an entertaining Tabletopics session with the theme of answering questions from viewers regarding the 2036 Olympics being held in New Zealand. The questions included the sports that should be included, diversity, and how sports should be encouraged in schools.

The evaluations were all relevant and well considered. A few reminders for all of us featured, such as:

  • Including an introduction, body and conclusion to your speeches and Tabletopics
  • ‘lectern hugging’ – doesn’t look as great as it sounds…
  • Using a clicker instead of hand signals when slides are to be changed (if one is available)
  • Wait for the next person to arrive on the stage before leaving yourself
  • Avoid speaking directly to the Toastmaster, Tabletopics master. Or the speaker when evaluating
  • Check on the pronunciation of names before the meeting if you are not sure
  • Avoid playing down your recommendations – they are your opinions, state them with conviction
  • Don’t take pens or things to fiddle with up to the stage with you
  • Use pauses and vocal variety to emphasise humorous bits
  • Tabletopics evaluations need to be short and sharp. Not longer than the speech itself!
  • And our old favourite – the hand clasping. Find something else to do with your hands!

After a bulletin from Gerald (in Sabine’s absence), Janet wrapped up the meeting by awarding the “Toastie” award to the Toastmaster for the day, Alana, for the novel way she ran the meeting. Congratulations!