Look Ma – No notes!

By | 23/11/2011

I attended the information meeting at Cummins Toastmasters – Huddersfield yesterday. It was a brilliant meeting with 28 guests attending and 14 expressing interest in joining Cummins Toastmasters.

One aspect of yesterday’s meeting, which amazed me, was Jane Craggs conducting the Table topics session – without notes. Usually when I’m the Table Topics master, I have this sheaf of papers with me; names of participants and then the table topics themselves; my notes etc – completely messy.

Table topics, for the guests to this blog, is the ‘fun’ part of a Toastmasters meeting. This part of the meeting is geared to improve our impromptu speaking. Topics are chosen by the table topics master and members come up and talk on the topics. Table Topics help members develop the ability to think on their feet and come up with a short speech with no preparation. The short speech too has a beginning, middle and an end. It is a very useful skill to have in the workplace or at home (read ability to create great excuses).

In yesterday’s session, Jane conducted the whole meeting without using notes. She waltzed in and asked members if we knew Julie Andrews from the Sound of music fame. She then sang the song ‘my favourite things’ and proceeded to ask members to speak about their favourite things. It was superb – the way she did it. For each participant, she extended her song and then logically created a topic. I found her session to be very smooth and inspiring.

It brings to mind the evaluation sessions conducted by some members at Leeds without notes. There are some members like Michael J Clarke (DTM) and Anthony Day (DTM) as well as budding speakers like John Fletcher, who conduct their evaluations without notes.

It is my ambition to someday be able to deliver table topics and evaluations without notes! (There is no harm in day dreaming is there.)

I shall attend Freddie Daniel’s workshop on Evaluations on 30th Nov @ Manchester to develop my evaluation skills further. The workshop is at Wednesday 30th November 7.30pm prompt – The Parrswood Hotel, Parrswood Road, Didsbury M20 6JD.

Until then I shall keep sharpening my pencil and continue to write furiously throughout the meeting 🙂

I would like to sign off with this mantra from Darren Lacroix World champion public speaker – Stage time – Stage time – Stage time!