Hello lovely Toasties,

Super to see those of you who were at our meeting this evening. Thank you for everything you all do to make these meetings enjoyable, challenging, and successful.

Actions & Opportunities
1. Shout out to all of us: the Area Director visited the club for our previous meeting and was really taken with everyone’s energy and engagement. That’s not an accident. Those things are built over time, and everyone in the club has contributed to this – whether you’re here for the Zooms or you raised the level of the club when we were meeting in person. So, what’s the action here? Give ya self a pat on the back, that’s the action.

2. We’ve got our club competition coming up on 30th September. You’re very welcome to take a place as a competitor, a functionary, and of course as the audience – there’s always something to learn, even just by watching. Carrie has been writing helpful insights on our LinkedIn page and you can always ask anyone on the committee if you have any questions.

3. We’re looking at running mini workshops during meetings that showcase the expertise we have in this club. And we have a *wealth* of experience here. So, if there is something you would love to share from your skillset, be it in PR, HR, investing, inventing, … then we will love offering the space to you. Get in touch and we’ll make it happen.

Learning points & Summary
The toastmaster leading our meeting this evening was Laura. Amazingly this was Laura’s first Toastmaster-ing, and she ran the meeting like an expert. Hat tip to you. The topic of the day was ‘what is your favourite feature in your home?’

We had a variety of responses to that including- the bath tub, from Georgina
– the window seat, from Amina
and- the sofa, from Veronica

What’s interesting about this question for us as communicators is how we can answer it for impact: We exist in the physical world (even us daydreamers and thinkers and intellectual analysers…), so using physical descriptions in our answers is very effective because in order to process the information, our minds have to connect the words heard with our own lived experience.

Connecting our senses (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, gustatory), evoking memories, triggering associations, combining layers of consequences (sofa – soft – rest – everyone in better moods – card games & calls with loved ones – feeling safe & connected & warm and fuzzy), then adding a twist by disrupting the narrative with humour or something unexpected ( … – feeling connected – then they proposed / the doorbell rang / the cat threw up…), all of this brings the listener in.

Do this and you’re giving the audience a vicarious experience, and unique details, to make what you say engaging, impactful, and memorable.

Helping making the meeting possible we had- Georgina as our SAA keeping Zoom happy and playing nicely
–  Jenny as our timer, who showed the joys of matching stationery
– Esmé as our grammarian, who chose zealous as the word of the day, which three of us succeeding in using. She also noted the use of less obvious filler words, like ‘y’know’ and ‘basically’, and called for us to be intentional about our own improvement, for example, deciding to use more precise terms to say what we mean instead of a drifting sentence. 

We had Anju and Veronica as our speakers, developing their skills and sharing with us the benefits of The Discomfort Zone and the effectiveness of recognising and readjusting to others’ Communications Styles, respectively.

Providing them with constructive feedback were Aga and Amina – who won Best Evaluator this evening! They shared thoughts on
– adding a personal narrative to analytical information to enhance audience investment in our material
– making use of the animation functions in slides so the audience don’t read ahead and get distracted
– finding a place to be brave and risk some audience interaction.

Helping us develop our off the cuff speaking skills was Jo who asked some challenging questions toShruti, Vikki and Esmé, with Esméwinning the contest this evening. Congrats!

All TT participants were evaluated by Lynn. Again, this was Lynn’s first TTE-ing – well done! Lynn drew our attention to a couple of useful ways to manage our reactions to being asked a question:

1. buy yourself time to compose yourself and your answer by saying hello to the audience and thanking the TTM for the question

2. feel free to answer a tangent of the official question! and here I will add an even stronger permission (if permission is needed!), in fact, it’s an invitation:

3. if a question isn’t OK for you to answer then just don’t. I know, it’s easier said than done. Some questions may unexpectedly or unintentionally hit a nerve. You are not obliged to answer anything asked of you. You can ask the TTM for a different question, set yourself your own question in the moment, or simply decline and pass to the next speaker. Ideally, no question should put you in that position, as we do ask people to avoid more sensitive or controversial topics (such as politics, sex, religion, death, monarchy, grief, loss and so on), but if you find yourself there, feel free to say no.

And on that note of respecting boundaries… time to draw this email to a close.

Hope you all have a super fortnight.
See you soon


Eve Parmiter

President, City Women Speakers

Toastmasters International