Happy new year to you all! I was extremely pleased that so many of you joined us for the first meeting of 2019 – and what a fantastic start to the year it was!

Sim was our brilliant Toastmaster for the evening, helping us to celebrate our achievements of 2018.  She was helped by our timer Sin and grammarian Agawho announced “altruistic” as our word of the day.

Our first speaker was Jo,  delivering her second speech on how she prepared for the London Marathon last year. The key for her was to find a motivation for this long-distance challenge which she found in fundraising for a charity. In addition, the support of her running club and having a strict training plan were fundamental to her achievement.

Our second speaker, Kate,  delivered her icebreaker speech, always a key milestone in a Toastmaster’s journey. She explained why she joined Toastmasters and how her first appearance on a big stage at SeaWorld when she was seven wasn’t the best start, but she is now aiming to push the envelope and get out of her comfort zone!

Lynn delivered an educational speech about the US oil boom, giving us a crash course on hydraulic fracking and how this technology enabled the US to become the largest oil producer in the world. If technology has enabled this, surely technology could be harnessed to find better solutions to climate change?

Carrie delivered a speech from Level Two Pathways on Dynamic Leadership which had the objective of defining what her leadership style is. She explained how she doesn’t really identify herself with the concept of leadership, and looked back at her Toastmaster journey and how she increasingly got involved in the club committee and Area 56 leadership.

The speeches were evaluated by me, Ailsa, Marianna and Siobhan.

After the break,  we continued with TableTopics where our TableTopics Master JT shook things up a bit by changing where the stage was in the room, sometimes at the front, sometimes at the back, sometimes down the side. We heard some creative descriptions of real book titles allowing people to give their opinion about the title or to imagine what the book might be about.  Anqi, Nicola, Maria Katie, Rochelle and Asha took turns talking about “Why Time Management is Ruining our Lives”, “The Women in the Window”, “Refuse to Choose”, “She Lies in Wait”, “Time to Think” and “An Easy Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones”. The Table Topics were evaluated by Emma.

The award for best evaluator was won by Ailsa, the award for best speaker by Carrie and best TableTopics speaker by Anqi.

Club announcements:

We will host our club international speech and evaluation contest on 6 March. Please sign up to compete or help to chair the contest or take any of the other roles such as Counter, Timer or SAA.

The Area Contest will be held on 20 March.

I hope to see many of you at our next meeting.

Best wishes,