The Jotter – 15 March 2022

Theme: Spirit Animals

Our president Elaine welcomed everyone with a poignant story about the birth of her grandson and the signs pointing to his spirit animal – the eagle.

David welcomed our three courageous and delightful guests – Melissa, Alan, and Donna. Each guest has a different motivation for attending, but all are interested in developing their speaking skills and gaining confidence in speech writing – “Getting the butterflies to fly in formation” (to quote Barbara the master!)

Karen’s Warm-up began with her childhood memories of Flipper, a dolphin who spread joy and managed to save lives at the same time! Then in turn we each described our relationship with a spirit animal or animals in general. We heard about the magnificent presence of tigers, favourite native animals, team mascots, spirit animal internet quizzes, Harry Potter, land mullets, pets, and WIRES (the organisation). Wordmaster Dean revealed the word of the night and was very “decisive” about it.  

Joyce’s Icebreaker received a standing ovation. She recounted a moving story of losing her voice, finding it again, and now helping others to find their voice. A story of authenticity, changing mindsets, and meeting fear head on to achieve goals. It was an uplifting and inspiring first speech!

The next speech was Barbara’s second instalment in her ‘How to prepare for and give a speech’ series. We all now know that, generally speaking, people remember 7% of the words of a speech, 36% the voice, and 57% the delivery (ie the speaker). In the first 20 seconds grab your audience’s attention (or lose them!) with a question or statement, and introduce your speech; the body of your speech will have two main points; and the conclusion harks back to the introduction. Barbara also covered topics such as: choosing an objective relevant to your audience, eye contact, voice projection, pausing for effect, gesture, cadence, rhythm, variation in speed, small anecdotes, and light (non-offensive!) jokes. Barbara finished her 10-minute speech on the dot of 10 minutes, and the crowd went wild!

Ernie’s Table Topics continued the animal theme and then meandered into new territory. Mike had us spellbound with his impromptu speech about which animal he would be if he wasn’t a human. Of all things, it was a wombat – the single-minded, determined, powerful, Steve Irwin biting, James Bond style, wombat! David M told of when he and his wife were led on a wild goose chase by Satnav. Mark recalled getting the lion’s share of a birthday cake. Glenn let us know who he wouldn’t like to sit next to on public transport and Melissa gave us some insight into the contents of the back of her sofa.

David W’s evaluation of Joyce’s speech and Elaine’s evaluation of Barbara’s speech were both comprehensive, useful, and supportive. Dean’s Wordmaster report counted how many times we had each used the word ‘decisive’ and ‘umm-ed’ and ‘aah-ed’, and recalled good use of language generally.

David M’s general evaluation was a thoughtful overview of the meeting, recounting positives, congratulating speakers and evaluators, and reminding us that timeliness is a focus of Toastmasters, as both a skill and a sign of respect to others.

And finally a special mention to Joyce for the delicious sandwiches.