28/4/2014 Northampton Speakers 4th Meeting

Four Toastmasters and four welcome guest gathered in the board room at Billing road for a fun night. Awards went to Josie for a début win with table topics and Daniel won humour. Next meeting is 19th of May at 53 Billing road, Northampton, with Daniel as Toastmaster-of-the-Evening.

 The meeting

Sue revisited her icebreaker with a talk entitle “dance as if no one is watching you”. She told a lively tale of being cajoled into ballet because it was pink to find that she actually liked country dancing, but that ballet had an unexpected virtue later in life with fencing.

Topic-master Dave recalled his recent holidays to Hastings and wondered about other people’s holidays:

  1. A holiday at a Butlins style holiday camp? Daniel told how, with his wife, they enjoyed modern-jive partner dancing and had often been to weekends and weeks of dance camps to spent hours and repetitive hours in workshops and further hours social dancing until breakfast time.
  2. A holiday with a backpack? Josie recalled how she went hiking in Thailand and Vietnam, which as a refuge from Vietnam made her parents very anxious. All went well then a large python landed on her head. To be continued (ahhh dramatic tease lol)
  3. A holiday with B&B?  Katharine has just come back from conferencing in Brussels, making use of airBnB’s (rooms in peoples houses) including a visit to Brugge.
  4. A holiday in a tent? Lynda takes her carpet camping and finds it a great way to have a pleasant dry changing area in the front of the tent and to insulate the air bed when cold was the ground and dark was the night.
  5. A long distance holiday? Garesh recalled a trip to America where he had great fun in New York but then reach the bottom down South when he found Dallas to be too big,  too open, too dry, too sparse, and too tedious after walking round the same lake for the nth time.
  6. A walking holiday? Jordi had a very agreeable walking holiday in the Isle of Skye that passed right through a whisky distillery or two.

Many thanks for Dave who evaluated Sue’s speech and to Lynda who, given no real notice, managed to meaningfully evaluate all 7 table-topic participants within 5 minutes. Lynda also provided light entertainments with a 5 minute quiz around 20th-21st century years ending in 4 and chaired the meeting as Toastmaster-of-the-Evening. In addition to re-presenting her icebreaker, Sue was President and co-Timekeeper.  The other co-Timekeeper was Daniel who also acted as General Evaluator.

General Evaluator Notes and Reflections

Overall we did well, drawing on experience, to drive a fun meeting forward given surprises against plan and other character forming features. Well done to all the guest who each were quite happy to get stuck in to table topics.

In that light Daniel needed to stop his mind wandering between roles and the speaking and stay focussed on the timing. Finding a second recommendation would have gilded the lily on  Dave’s evaluation. Lynda pulled off an amazing feat of evaluation that just needed a polish to distil down to one key commendation and recommendation per person.

The meeting as a whole would have benefited with closer communications between participants to better anticipate when speakers might have difficulty attending. Pro-active new member mentor-ship and the progressive implementation of the meeting management website for the club will help shorten the lines of communication. Moving table topics ahead of speeches in the agenda would give a temporal and a mental buffer against speakers that are late or can’t make it, allowing for a prompter meeting and a chance to come up with plan B on the night.

The final reflective message was that attendance and other surprises are a feature of most clubs, and especially a prospective club. By staying positive and being creative we will maximise the generation goodwill and fun at every meeting, sending that out into the community at the end of the night.

I enjoyed myself a lot tonight, learned much more and met great people.

DLS 29/4/2014

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