Meeting Report 19th Jan 2012 by Richard McIntosh

First off, Euan Bayliss was serving as our Meet and Greet as well as Toastmaster. As always, he was friendly and chatty to guests, but in my report at the end of the meeting I offered the opinion that the club president shouldn’t be serving as Meet and Greet – they have other things they’re doing before the meeting – being introduced to guests, sorting out problems etc.. This is perhaps the most vital role at a club meeting as the M&G is the first person a new guest sees, so I encourage members to take on this role – and there’s no reason why you can’t do this and another one at the same meeting. I should point out that I could and should have offered to do the role instead of Euan, so I’m speaking to myself here as well!


Jane Craggs was the Sergeant at Arms and did her duties professionally all evening.


Euan Bayliss, as mentioned above, was our Toastmaster. He did something different in that he called on Jane and Anthony to speak about clubs recently started in Huddersfield and here in Leeds, which was something new that I liked. Euan then spoke about the beginnings of Toastmasters but told it in a different way to the standard narrative, which again I thought was good.


He then called upon four people to speak about their meeting roles.


Jonny Worthington was our grammarian and got a laugh from the audience straight away by asking “Is this part of table topics?”, when called upon to give his impromptu talk. He chose two words for his word of the day – audacity and visualise, which were good choices as they were words we know and understand but don’t use regularly. As always, he was called back on stage later on in the evening to give his feedback for how well people had used the words and any good uses of grammar.


Leigh Sterling stepped in at the last moment to be our timekeeper. He gave an excellent and clear explanation of the role and performed his job well throughout the night.


Celia Berrell, visiting from Cairns in Australia, was our ah counter. She said that she was pleased to take on the role as she never got to be then ah counter in her home club. Celia was very attentive and provided each speaker with their number of ums and errs in her report later on – a different way of presenting it.


Euan then asked each guest to stand up and speak. They seemed very confident in addressing the club for the first time and some of them got the words of the day in – well done to them!


Peter Millen was our first speaker and he was introduced by his evaluator John Fletcher. Peter’s speech was called “Not as bad as Chillianwallah” and was on the topic of whether failure can in fact be a good thing. Peter is a fairly new Toastmaster who is fast becoming a big part of the club, and he once again showed his excellent speaking skills here tonight.


Anthony Day gave out second speech, where he performed in character as an estate agent and posed a question to us as to whether he’d done the right thing in not telling some home buyers of spooky goings on in a house he’d sold. His evaluator was Celia Berrell, who’d taken on her second role of the evening – thank you Celia!!


Michael Bottomley gave our education session on organising your speech. Michael kept it fairly simple and as a result I found it memorable – could that be a good tip for all our speeches? He encouraged audience participation in both asking for people to shout out answers and bringing two people up to the front to try out what he’d taught us, which again enhanced me remembering his advice. This was a great education session, thanks Michael.


After the break, we had the evaluations – John Fletcher for Peter Millen and Celia Berrell for Anthony Day. As always, they were excellent and a help to us all.


Jude Baker then led the table topics session. She explained how she works in sales and asked us to sell various objects to the audience. I liked how she showed something of herself in telling us about her work – it added a personal side to the session. I also liked how both guests and members got a chance to speak – I think it’s important members get a chance to have a go at table topics as well as guests.


Daniel Woodwards took the stage immediately after and evaluated the session. There were some great pauses instead of ums and ahs while he was speaking (or should that be pausing?) and he got some humour in by impersonating a market trader after it featured in one table topic.


We then had the reports from the Jonny Worthington, Celia Berrell and myself. After a suggestion from Euan, I reduced the time limit for the general evaluation slot to 5-7 minutes and tried to make it more of an evaluation, less of a account of the meeting (as opposed to this written report, which is both), but I unfortunately still went over time so I’ve work to do there!

Hope you can make it to our next meeting on February 2nd.

By Richard McIntosh