Armelle, our District Director and past member, came back to our club as the Toastmaster for the evening and guided us through an unusual agenda structure – 5 speeches, 2 open evaluation sessions and no table topics session.

The current UK and Ireland champion Simon Bucknall, delivered 2 speeches in preparation for next month’s international contest in Vancouver.  The first speech was his semi-final contest speech “To be perfectly honest”. He started the speech by asking us one of the most daunting questions – what is your greatest weakness? For him, he was trying to be perfect all the time, then started doubting himself whether he tried too hard to be perfect, and finally found the answer for himself that “we don’t have to be perfect, just need to be honest to ourselves”. This left every one of us with some food for thought.

Carrie followed with her 8th speech “Diving the Pit” using on-screen photos. She introduced us to ‘cenotes’ and ‘El Pit’, and led us through her exhilarating journey of diving in the cenotes (natural sink holes in the surface limestone) in the Yucatan peninsula, explaining the wonders of the crystal clear water, lit by shafts of sunlight and described her favourite cenote, El Pit. The photos were incredible and reminded us the breath-taking beauty of nature.

Lan came to practice her maid of honour speech “Metamorphosis: The best laid plans” before her best friend Megan’s big day on 9th August. She told us about how cool Megan was, how they met – where Megan said no to Lan’s first invite, how they bonded and followed each other’s steps around the world, and what a perfect match Megan and her husband to be Ross are. Lan, it is a speech that will leave any audience with plenty of laughter and tears. What a great way to celebrate the friendship.

In the second half of the meeting, our past District Director Nadine delivered her 3rd management speech with the title “Give it a try”. Nadine caused initial concern in the audience as she started off by commenting how rigid & strange Toastmaster meetings appear to the new comer; clapping, handshaking, fixed meeting agenda, etc., but she made a steep steer and used real life examples to demonstrate that it’s actually these aspects which give us security and confidence to push other boundaries and that now, she loves this “structure” and loves Toastmaster. Nadine’s call to action was that as Toastmasters provides us with a safe environment in which we can get out of our comfort zone, discover ourselves & be inspired by others, we should utilise it fully by bringing to the meetings, challenges from outside.

For the last speech of the night, we had Simon return to the stage with “And so did he”. The speech was about two boys who turned from foes to life-long friends based off a mutual understanding. Simon brought all the characters to life so well that I still vividly remember the sound when the Headmaster cleared his throat!

Our evaluators were Rowena, Esme, Helen, Jane and Ailsa. Thank you all and also to all of you who gave feedback in the open evaluation sessions. Special thanks to our GE evaluator Aza Cabrera from Deutsche Bank club.

Thank you also to our grammarian Shola for providing the word of the day comity and to our timekeeper Maria (Two roles in one meeting – thank you!).

Best Speaker went to Carrie and Best Evaluator was awarded to Rowena.
As always, we had several guests (Adeline, Chloe, Jan and Josh); we hope you enjoyed our club meeting and that can welcome you again soon!

What a fantastic evening full of comity and fun!