Spring was in the air with wonderful weather and a “Bring on the SUN” theme for the meeting, led by our ToastmasterDani.

We had a change to our usual structure this meeting as in addition to 4 Prepared Speeches, we were also hosting Fabio De Sio, winner of the Division L International Speech Contest, ahead of the following week’s District Contest. We dropped the Table Topics session in order to have time for Fabio to deliver his winning speech before a session of Open Evaluations.  This is where effectively everyone has the opportunity to provide Fabio with Commendations and Recommendations so that he can fine-tune his speech & delivery before the big contest on 5 May.

The meeting started with Emma delivering her Pathway Icebreaker speech “Snap Decisions”. In her speech, Emma told us that she is a maximiser, devoting herself to making the best decisions through extensive research and analysis. However, experience has shown that some of her best outcomes have been as a result of following the “satisficer” within her, someone who makes decisions on the spot.

The second speech was from Maria with her speech #6 from the Competent Communication manual (“CC”) “Roller Coaster Study”. Maria shared with us her experiences of taking on a Risk Management qualification study on top of her day job and family life; and the emotional rollercoaster she has gone through from Excitement, to Fear to Interest. This resonated with many of us in the room who have embarked on professional qualifications alongside work. It was great to hear that in the end, Maria enjoyed the study. And good luck in the exam, Maria!

The third speech was from Esmé with her CC speech #8 entitled “The Box”. The objective of the speech is to get comfortable with visual aids. Esmé grabbed the audience’s attention by presenting a mysterious “box” and kept us in suspense for some minutes before revealing that it contained knitting needles, used by her grandma. Esmé loves knitting, and she sees it as a way to not only connect with her grandma, but also a way to disconnect from the real world and relax; a way to produce something meaningful & tangible that can bring a sense of achievement; and last but not least a way to make the family tradition of knitting socks live on.

Marianna also gave her speech #8 CC with the speech entitled “Fatty Happy”. In the speech, she used a flip chart, leaflets and actual products – essential oils, to deliver a very informative speech of how essential oil could help us in different ways during our life. It can play a bigger role than we expect and help us produce the state of mind we desire.

Lastly, our special guest, Fabio De Sio delighted us with his winning speech “Believe in Yourself”. It was an emotional and inspirational personal story where he opened up on how his sexual orientation was judged harshly by society, including his parents. We could all relate to the inner voice of “Bad Fabio” telling us we were failures so forming part of “Team Fabio”, with bated breath, we watched as “Good Fabio”, grew in strength and encouraged us to believe in ourselves and pursue our goals – pushing the bad self / Bad Fabio (afraid of failure, being judged and being criticised) to one side; and cheering on the better self / Good Fabio who has courage, connection and compassion.

Fabio – Believe in Yourself

We are delighted to announce that Fabio won the District 91 Contest on 5 May (was it due to the feedback we provided??) and he will now represent District 91 in the final stage of the International Contest in Chicago, in August.

Fabulous Fabio – the District Champion!

Our evaluators were Carrie, Angie, Ailsa, Aileen and JT. Thanks also went to all the members and guests in the room who gave open evaluations to Fabio in preparation for his final district contest.

Thank you to our grammarian Zhenzhen for providing the word of the day Zeal (and a zealous grammarian evaluation) and to our timekeeper Marcin (Who stepped up in the last minute!).

Best Speaker went to Esmé, and Best Evaluator was awarded to JT.

Emma received the Ice Breaker Award for delivering her first Toastmaster speech; and also a Pathways badge for being one of the first three members of the club embarking on the pathways journey. Congratulations, Emma!

Emma – Pathways Icebreaker

As always, we had several guests including(Nadine, Monika, Samantha and Fabio); we hope you enjoyed our club meeting and we look forward to welcoming you again soon!