The merry, merry month of May

Member blog by Louise Landess. Sometimes it would appear that the world conspires against the blog, or the bloggers, so in this post, to fill in some gaps I’m having a crack at summarising the Merry, Merry Month of May and a little bit of the tail end of April.

Highlights and random memories

30 April: A reminder from Toastmaster Cam with his Winter theme that it’s the time of year to replace car batteries, cover wing mirrors with plastic bags and clean chimneys

Hunky Dory as Grammarian Max’s Word of the Day choice was – I thought – ka pai.

David Clarkson and Gerald Hartley finally receiving their Division D Contest trophies as winners of the Table Topics and Humorous contests respectively. A nice surprise and a definite highlight.

7 May: The AGM. Everyone’s favourite meeting of the year. Lol. BUT we managed to elect a new Committee without too much trouble, which will mean we can have a smooth transition from this Toastmasters’ year to the next. It’s exciting that we can keep the club heading in such a positive direction and rise above the post-lockdown disruption.

And we celebrated Deb McAlpine being awarded Mentor of the Year and Gerald Hartley, Boaters Toastmaster of the Year… awards that are extra special as contenders are nominated and voted for by club members.

14 May: Something different today… a panel discussion featuring four club members – Roydon Gibbs, Morgane Honore-Forde, Henry Thomson and Jacqui Anderson – speaking on The Business of Storytelling. Facilitated by yours truly, it was an engaging half hour with panelists sharing insights to their approach to marketing in their respective business/industry.

Another excellent Word of the Day. This time Huzzah brought to us by Craig Mason, along with a bit of background on its origin. Another fun one to try and incorporate.

21 May: Crocs or not? Following on from a hilarious moment of improv in the previous week’s Table Topics, Dee chose a Crocs theme for this week’s meeting. Unfortunately Dee put in her apologies due to illness, so yours truly took over as Toastmaster at short notice. I didn’t take any notes but I do remember there were lots of laughs. And Dee made life easy for me by having contacted everyone with a role well ahead of time to get everything organised, so it was an easy pick up.

28 May: It was back to the 90’s for us this week, with Gerald Hartley at the helm as Toastmaster… and living out his boyhood dreams, up the front dressed as The Rock.

Corinne Bataille delivered part two of her Research and Evaluation project, aptly named Te Tiriti, pt 2. Very informative – packed full of stats and facts about Ngāi Tahu and our local mana whenua.

Then I knocked out a LONG speech – 22 minutes… one of the Level 5 projects in Presentation Mastery. Fortunately my Evaluator Steve Kennelly managed to stay awake as I shared some ideas following on from the Panel Discussion a couple of weeks ago, with my topic the Business of Storytelling Continued.

We had some welcome visitors – Gemma Woods and Sean Joyce from Sunrise Toastmasters. There to encourage as many of us that can get along to our combined meeting on 10 June to do so. It was lovely to see them and we’re looking forward to our return visit.

And I know for sure that in each of these meetings, there were a ton more highlights, but from memory, those were the ones that sprang to mind for me.

A general, general evaluation

To close off this blog, I would like to finish in true Toastmasters style with a little CRC delivered in a very general way…

Commendations for:

Sgts at Arms who arrive early to get everything organised and give us a warm welcome

Timers who query discrepancies on the Agenda ahead of time

Introducers who contact the speaker well ahead of time to prepare some background information and ditch the lectern

Anyone who gives an overview of their role when there are new members or guests in the room

Table Topics Masters who read the question before calling up the person (gives everyone in the audience a chance to think what they might say… more broadly engaging than getting the speaker up first and then asking the question… which is what the format is in contests. But more of that another day).

Recommendations for:

Sgt at Arms – familiarise yourself with the overall meeting time and length of the various speaking slots

Grammarian – write the Word of the Day on the whiteboard and put a printed version on the Timer’s table at the back of the room where speakers can see it from the stage

Introducers – remember to announce how long the speech is meant to be (eg. 5-7 mins). This is helpful both for the Timer and the audience.

Evaluators – try and find expressions and words other than ‘really good’ to describe a speaker’s delivery.

Table Topics Masters – invite an experienced Toastmaster up first, before any guests or new members. Shows them how it’s done and lessens any tension.

Bloggers – my strongest recommendation is for the peeps who opt out of this role (btw, it’s not optional!!)  If you are scheduled to write the blog… please give it a crack. Take some photos. Note down some thoughts. We are all here to learn and share insights, and this is a helpful role for the club in many ways.

Commendations for:

Toastmasters who contact all those with a role earlier in the week to make sure everyone is available, well prepared and that everything will be hunky dory come Friday’s meeting

Speakers who, finished or not with what they’d rehearsed, quickly wind up their speeches when they see the red light come on

And… oops, speaking of which… that’s me. 7:30pm. Time for tea. Is that a red light I see? Must be.

Ka kite ano folks. Until next time.