The Jotter – 2nd and 15th of Nov 2022

The Jotter for meeting no. 1045 – 2nd November 2022 – by David Meriken

A feature of the meeting were the 8 guests – Rob, Rosalie, Meg, Doug, Melissa, Maddie, Mitra and Jenny – who added variety and interest to the meeting and were welcomed by the 12 members present on the night. Elaine gave a particularly impressive ‘welcome to guests’.

There were many highlights including:

  • Two outstanding but very different prepared speeches. Mike told 3 hilarious short stories about crazy antics with friends. But one story did not happen. Which one? “Camping with bullets!” Then Karen enthralled us with 3 amazing brain facts that explain “why we don’t see eye to eye”, and perhaps why world peace is hard to obtain.
  • Wonderful evaluations from Barbara and Dean gave us all some valuable tips on public speaking.
  • Four brave guests agreed to take Elaine’s Table-topics challenge and speak ‘off the cuff’ on topics related to adventure. They all did a fantastic job. Well done!
  • Other members explained and presented their segments of the meeting with style.
  • David W’s general evaluation highlighted the meeting’s good humour, cooperation, willing participation of all, and the social opportunity provided by the longer supper break.
  • And Fran, as Toastmaster for the evening, held it all together and kept the meeting moving along with typically assured and economical performance.


Jotter for Nov 15, 2022 – by David Whyte

Members and Guests

There were about 13 present including 5 guests.  Three guests (Rob, Doug and Mitra) were back for a second visit, and the others (Helen and Di) have been to Jetty Speakers and are seeing if our club meeting times suit them better. I remind readers that Coffs Harbour club meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month, 7 – 9pm. Jetty Speakers club meets on 2nd and 4th Thursdays, 7 – 8.15am.


If I had to choose one word to describe our last meeting, I would say “thoughtful”.


Warm up – Barbara

The quote for the evening chosen by Karen (our VPE) was: “Forgiveness is when we overcome our emotions that keep us connected to the past”. With this as her starting point, Barbara asked for our thoughts on forgiveness. Not an easy topic, and perhaps even confronting, but we all dug deep.


Speakers and Evaluators

Speaker 1 was Fran who repeated for us a speech she once gave to celebrate 30 years of U3A (University of the Third Age). As Speaker 2, DavidW spoke about the importance of telling and hearing personal stories as a way of connecting with each other. David was practising the speech he will give at the Area contest tomorrow evening (Tuesday, Nov 22) on Zoom. The Evaluators Claire (1) and Elaine (2) analysed the speeches, pointing out what makes speeches work well and how they can be improved.


Table Topics – Gerry

Gerry had time for 6 Table Topics and I suspect she was matching topic with speaker. In any case the 6 speakers sounded like they had already given their topics some thought. How would you go speaking for 2 minutes on the following?

Mark – What technology would you like to see invented?

Helen – What is your favourite food to cook?

Di – What have you learned from your children?

Rob – Cats or dogs?

Doug – What would be your “ultimate” career?

Mitra – An issue you are passionate about.

The Jotter – 4th and 18th Oct 2022

4th of October 2022 meeting by David Whyte

We were 11 in all with 2 guests, Melissa and Sandra.

The theme for the meeting was: “The sun always shines above the clouds”. This inspired the word for the evening, “atmosphere”, (thanks to Wordmaster Ernie) and the Warm Up topic, “How has the weather affected you?” (thanks Mike). Warm Up contributions included the joy (!) of icy rain and sleet in wintry upstate New York, and the murderous humidity of Grafton for a girl from Wagga Wagga.

There were two great speeches.

In her speech Fran explained synchronous rotation a.k.a. lunar locking. This was something I’m sure none of us had ever heard of let alone felt a need to understand, but having heard and seen Fran’s explanation it is now impossible to forget. Fran first introduced the puzzle: Why is it that although the moon rotates on its axis, we never see it’s “hidden backside”?. She then revealed the answer in clear and simple stages with the help of a desktop globe, a model moon, and a certain amount of walking in circles. Listening to Fran felt like walking into a dark room, step by careful step, with each step being lit by a guide with a torch. The answer to the initial puzzle, by the way, is 28 … twice! (All clear? Good!). I hope to be in the audience when Fran explains the Theory of Relativity in 5 to 7 minutes.

In the second speech of the evening Claire gave her Icebreaker, which is a new member’s first major speech and is typically a real test of nerves. Claire was no exception but at the same time she exemplified Hemingway’s dictum that “courage is grace under pressure”. She stood straight, spoke steadily and clearly, and kept a smile on her face and in her voice. All of this plus the careful preparation and touches of humour, and quite apart from her actual words, said a lot about the kind of person Claire is.

In his General Evaluation Mark reminded us once again of the need to observe the formalities and protocols of public speaking such as introducing a speaker, introducing ourselves, explaining our role, handing back to the Toastmaster and so on.

Coming up. There are 4 more meetings before the Christmas/ New Year break, and in that time we  expect to find 4 speakers, either through Club contests or by nomination, to contest in 4 categories at Area level. Winners proceed from Area to contests at Division (north coast) and thence to District (NSW north of the Harbour).

18th of October meeting by David Whyte

We had about 15 present including 5 guests.

Chatting with guests reminded me of the depth and breadth of life experience in the club, which is
revealed in speeches. You probably have your own list of memorable speeches, but some that I
remember are: “Forest bathing”; a visit by Air Force cadets to the Canberra war memorial; a
cruise on the Yangtze; the hidden cost of electric cars; feral deer on the mid north coast; a near
disastrous yacht trip in the Pacific; the obligations of lawyers to court vs client; and the story of
the “Buster” on Woopie beach.
There were 3 major speeches last Tuesday. Barbara began hers with the notion that “we are our
memories”, and then described scenes from childhood so vividly that I could smell the horses and
feel the rain on my face. Claire in her second speech, and only 2 weeks after her Icebreaker, told
stories both hilarious and horrifying of what can go wrong when house sitting with pets. Then
Gerry, also giving her second speech, explained how fasting for 15 hours a day gives our bodies
a chance to clean and repair cells and so improve health. That inspired me to fast (sort of) during
the next 2 days, and would you believe I could actually feel the autophagia working? (Thanks for
the new word, Gerry).
“Courage” was the theme of the evening and also of DavidM’s Table Topics. Almost of our guests
took part. Guest Doug was declared winner with his account of his 100 year old grandfather who
has led a life of courage. Guest Maddie had an interesting insight that it takes courage to shed
our habitual “mask” when the occasion demands.
Speaking of occasions demanding, Elaine as General Evaluator observed that gaps in the agenda
(due to late apologies) were readily filled by members stepping up. She remarked that this
willingness and ability to step up at little or no notice are part of being a confident public speaker.
(Welcome back Elaine. You were missed.)
Coming up are Area contests on Saturday 13 November, on Zoom. Winners go on to Division
and District contests next year and the culminating International contest. The benefit of Contests
is that they put you on your mettle: you can’t help but try even harder. Respect to Claire who is
competing even though relatively new and after only 2 speeches. Respect also to Glenn our Area
Director for working so hard to make this contest happen.

The Jotter – 6th and 20th Sept 2022

Jotter for meeting of Sept 6, 2022, by David Whyte

There were 11 at our last meeting including 2 guests: Melissa is a guest in name only, and it was
nice to good Anna again. It was interesting to note how some of us fit our fortnightly meetings
into already busy lives. Dean was going to go to Port Mac that evening but decided to attend the
meeting instead and then get on the road by 8am next morning. For Claire it was yet one more in
a week of meetings on top of her teaching hours. Melissa of course is in her HSC year, and Gerry
could only attend till half time before hurrying off to other duties. And those are just 4 examples of
busy lives.
I’m sending a wave to Fran and Elaine with best wishes for speedy recoveries from illness and
injury. We hope to see you both soon.
In the one major “speech” of the evening Mark gave a 15 minute presentation with online display
on the topic of Pathways, followed by 5 minutes of Q and A. Pathways is the Toastmasters
training program. Mark summarised the program, demonstrated how to navigate the website, and
explained how achievements are ticked off by Base Camp Managers.
The session highlighted age old difficulties, (Computer Age-old, that is), of imparting computer
skills to a mixed group.. These are difficulties that arise from varying abilities and different starting
points, and from combining subject matter with use of the computer tool. We needed to listen to
Mark, read the screen, follow the little white arrow as it darted around like a demented fruit fly, and
mould everything into a coherent lump to be absorbed by brains. That said, Mark did a fantastic
job: his presentation was confident and fitted neatly into the time available. It would have been
enlightening to get feedback from us individually. Claire for one, a new member, said she gained a
much better overall understanding of Pathways.
Contest season is upon us. Contests put us on our mettle: contestants speak to set criteria;
contest officials (chair, time keepers, judges etc) fulfil demanding roles; the audience observe and
hear best efforts. The 4 contest categories are:- International (or “regular”) speeches, Humorous
speeches, Table Topics, and Evaluation. Club and Area level contests are this year, and Division
(north coast) and District (NSW north of Sydney Harbour) are early next year. How we do Club and
Area contests this year with reduced numbers has yet to be determined.
That’s all folks. See you at the next meeting

Meeting – 20 September 2022 by Karen McFadyen

Theme of the evening…. Spring
Gerry brought the meeting to order with just the right mix of enthusiasm and formality.
Mark energetically opened the meeting, then Gerry welcomed the members and
introduced our wonderful guests – Anna (welcome back!) and Eric.
Toastmaster Ernie turned up with a new look and a spring in his step (literally!). Gerry
continued her multi-tasking and led the Warmup by highlighting the things in her
environment which indicate Spring. Members and guests all shared their thoughts on the
arrival of Spring.
Dean had us sitting on the edge of our seats as he described the lawyer/client
relationship under various scenarios – in a case where the client was guilty of murder. To
say that we all learnt a lot is an understatement!! Barbara provided a thorough, and
extremely helpful evaluation where she highlighted the importance of the opening
sentence, meeting our speech objectives, our physical gestures, stagecraft, and
audience engagement.
The Spring theme continued in Table Topics. David M told a delightful story about
betting on the Melbourne Cup and Eric shared his experience with a stubborn, grumpy
horse. Our memories of flowers are really our memories of family and friends (David W)
and there are cases where air conditioning is essential (Mark). David M’s general
evaluation was thoughtful and encouraging.
Thank you, David W, for your patient timekeeping and kind reporting. Gerry sincerely
thanked and congratulated both our brave guests for joining us – we hope to see you
again soon.

The Jotter – 2nd August 2022

Jotter for August 2, 2022 by David Whyte


’Kindness is like snow. It beautifies everything it covers’: Kahlil Gibran.

That was our theme last meeting. The Warm Up focused on “snow” which elicited magic moments and tales of thrills and spills, salted with pinches of cynicism (“Beauty is only skin deep while ugliness goes down to the bone”) and scepticism (as in “Pooh! I can’t believe that every snow flake is unique!”) to keep us grounded.

Barbara presented us with “two truths and a lie” (3 stories) and only 2 of her audience were able to pick the lie. I’m now sold on this game of creative eloquence. It’s a big challenge for both speaker and listeners with an immediate measure of success. In the past we’ve had Tall Tales contests which call for similar skills.

Two of our number last Tuesday are in their HSC year (one, our guest on Tuesday, and two, Melissa) which means we probably now have members in each decade of life, from 18 to late 80s – students, workers and retirees. In other words, a good mix for any club!



Last Saturday, as club Secretary I attended CLT (Club Leadership Training) on Zoom. Before Covid (BC) this would have meant giving up most of a Saturday to go somewhere like Repton (south of Coffs), with trainers driving in from as far away as Tweed Heads and Port Macquarie. Last Saturday (AC) we had finished in 2 hours, and instead of a handful of club officers meeting in person there were about 100 faces on screen from all over District 90 (ie. NSW north of Sydney Harbour). The training covered roles and responsibilities, challenges and rewards, and resources and support, and overall was a reminder of the many opportunities in Toastmasters to develop leadership skills while at the same time giving back to our own particular clubs. Why, one of the trainers last Saturday was Mark, our president, who has been in Toastmasters less than 3 years and is still at uni! Excellent preparation for when he lands a job in his chosen career!

The Jotter – 20th June and 14th July 2022

Jottor for 20 June 2022.

Theme of the evening…. Fortune favours the brave

Glenn, our trusty and dependable Sergeant at Arms called the meeting to order at the stroke of 7pm. Elaine our faithful President opened the meeting, welcomed the members, and introduced our wonderful guests – Joanne and EricMark outlined the alterations and then Glenn – this evening’s Toastmaster – ensured that the meeting flowed smoothly and kept to schedule.

Wordmaster/Grammarian Karen reminded us that our words impact our lives and the lives of those around us. Recognising this, Will Bowen created a movement called ‘A complaint free world.’ Karen encouraged us to attempt the challenge – to try and go 21 days without complaining, criticising, or gossiping (see the website – ). The word of the night was joyful and before the night was out Barbara had joyfully used it ten times, with Joyce a close runner up! Mark commenced the warm-up, encouraging us to share our stories about ‘fortune favouring the brave.’ Members and guests each gave their view of this saying – no two versions were the same!

When you become proficient as a Toastmaster, you gain confidence in your public speaking skills. Mark’s speech warned us not to develop beliefs around needing specific external, environmental tools to give a good speech. The skills you learn and develop at Toastmasters reside within you, and you bring them to every speech you give – wherever it is and whoever the audience is.

Supper included a delicious CAKE as we celebrated 45 years of the Coffs Harbour Toastmasters, thank you Joyce and ElaineBarbara had a mysterious object for each of the Table Topic speakers, and each speaker created a magical story around their object: an enlightened buddhist (Melissa), a magic teapot (Gerry), a genie bottle (Joyce), and a telepathic creature (Joanne). Elaine chaired the business meeting, where the members discussed issues relating to the venue and ongoing charges.

Ernie’s evaluation of Mark’s speech was thorough and supportive. Gerry’s general evaluation was warm and encouraging. Thank you to Joyce for your scrupulous timekeeping and reporting. Elaine sincerely thanked and congratulated both our brave guests for joining us and for their impromptu speaking – we hope to see you again soon.

The Jotter – Karen


Jotter for 19th July 2022

“When the rain tumbles down in July” (Slim Dusty)

It was a dark and stormy night as we drove in to Coffs through pouring rain from as far as Red Rock in the north, Bellingen in the west, and Bonville (our guest!) in the south. All 10 of us!, which was enough to celebrate the club turning 45 years old. Some quick history: Toastmasters began in 1924; the first club in Australia (Wollongong) started in 1957; and Coffs Harbour club started in 1977. By the way, our multi-talented President Mark baked and iced a cake for the occasion.

So what’s been happening in the last 45 years? I put that to two of our “elders” – Fran (30 years a member) and Barbara (18 years). (Ernie, 27 years, was AWOL and couldn’t be reached). Fran confirmed that in her time the club has run at least 6 Speechcraft and 6 Youth Leadership courses (for people outside the club), and she said the last Speechcraft course for a group of business women in Coffs was specially inspirational. As to what the club has meant to her over the years, she said: “All the lovely people I’ve met on the way”.

Barbara first joined Toastmasters in 1977 in NZ, long before she came to Coffs. She’s been in and started up many clubs since then and has observed how clubs each have their own culture, and how they interact with each other and the wider community. She’s done many different jobs and says: “I couldn’t have done as well in my career if it hadn’t been for Toastmasters”. For example once, as a nurse, new on the job and with only 10 minutes notice, she had to speak to 500 wharfies about health and safety issues, and that into a barrage of catcalls and whistles. She credits Toastmasters with helping her do that.

Getting back to the meeting, it had a couple of innovative items. In “Two Truths and a Lie”, Mike told 3 yarns from his time in a US Marines boot camp. (Members’ back stories are always interesting). After supper Melissa, instead of the usual Table Topics, had 6 people in 3 pairs, do 3 impromptu role plays. In the first one, for example, Mark and Elaine were Captain Cook and Cook’s mother. They had to chat away for 2 or 3 minutes, staying in character while trying to figure out who on earth they were speaking to.

That’s all folks. Stay dry.



The Jotter – 7th June 2022

Last Tuesday members voted for Mark as “Toastmaster of the Year” for “major contribution and/ or greatest improvement as a speaker”. Mark has been a member of both Coffs Harbour and Jetty Speakers for two and a half years, and in that time, over both clubs, has filled every one of the 7 executive roles except Treasurer and Secretary. In 2022/23, from July 1, he will be President of Coffs Club and VPE of Jetty Speakers. Mark says that through Toastmasters he has gained confidence not only in public speaking but in talking to people generally, he has discovered he can speak at length without notes, and has learned to be more assertive in leadership roles. Congratulations for a well deserved award.
Why do people join and stay in Toastmasters? I joined as a way into local community, to get better at clear thinking and communication, and to equip myself to step up when occasions demand. An added reason for staying is that I find every meeting is fun, friendly, and challenging. Last Tuesday, when asked what brought them back as visitors, 3 of our guests gave work related answers ranging from preparing for job interviews, to helping clients, to performing as leaders and trainers. Motivation is the key!
Last Tuesday recounts of personal experiences stood out. Elaine (Speaker 1) spoke about her “microwave moment” when one evening at home alone with the kids, feeling overwhelmed and under-appreciated, she decided that if life wasn’t going to change then she would, and moved from resenting to accepting and even embracing life’s difficulties. Mike (Speaker 2) told a polished tale of a security guard where he once worked, whose positivity energised the whole organisation. Mike added a professional touch by calculating how much this man had added to the organisation in dollar terms, and this came to $760,000 per year, or more than 12 times his salary! During Table Topics Karen spoke about the physical sensation – “like of bolt of electricity” going through her – at the instant she knew with confidence that she could undertake a PhD and succeed.
Thanks Fran for notifying us all that Sue Hereford-Ashley was presented with the Jazzer Smith award at the District 90 Conference in Newcastle. This award is presented every year to just one of the thousands of members in District 90 for “exemplifying the attributes and characteristics of Jazzer Smith”. Sue is a member of Jetty club (and 3 other clubs), has been our Area Director in the past, and is currently Club Growth Regional Support Officer in District 90.You can click on…/D90JazzerSmithForm.pdf for the story of Jazzer Smith.
And finally don’t forget tomorrow, Tuesday 14, is the night of the great debate between Coffs Rotary and Coffs Toastmasters. First time ever! A battle of the Titans!

The Jotter – 17 May 2022

Mark, as VPE and true to form, brought fun to the evening with the theme “space travel”, and as Grammarian, asked that we use the word “spaghettification” as often as possible. Joyce continued the unexpected in her Warm Up by situating us all in a space ship on its way to “save the Ewoks” (or some such mission), and inviting us to share what, if anything, was going through our heads.

President Elaine had a particularly busy meeting. She started by inducting our newest member Gerry, and then went on to conduct the election of our next executive who will take office on July 1. (Seven executive officers take care of money, correspondence, properties, membership, PR, and training/ education). Later still Elaine announced the choice of Glenn to be Area Director for a second year.

Inductions and elections remind us of the opportunities and the obligations we each have while doing our bit to keep the show on the road. This includes those attracted to the leadership path in Toastmasters, a path which begins in a club and goes via Area (Coffs and Jetty clubs), Division, District, and Region (Australasia) to its endpoint at International where a different person each year presides over 16,200 clubs in 145 countries, with about 364,000 members all told*. (*Wikipedia).

There were two main speakers. Barbara spoke about the critical importance of evaluation for improvement in public speaking. Next, in her “icebreaker”, Gerry described how her passion for environmentalism interlocks with the work she does and her motivation to improve as a public speaker. I’m guessing this link between work and public speaking skills resonated with many of us.

President Elaine was back on her feet after supper to progress arrangements for our debate with Coffs Rotary next month. It is now confirmed that the topic will be “Aliens are living amongst us”. Coffs club will argue for the affirmative, and our three speakers will be ElaineMelissa, and Mike.

Next meetings:

Coffs Harbour – Tuesday June 7.

Jetty Speakers – Thursday May 26.

The Jotter – 5 May 2022

Theme of the evening…. Choices in Life

Glenn, our faithful Sergeant at Arms called the meeting to order, and Elaine our President welcomed everyone and opened the meeting. The executive elections are coming up soon, and information on the roles will be emailed forthwith.

Mark outlined the alterations and thanked all those who stepped up to cover extra roles for the evening. First-time Toastmaster Gerry shone in her latest role, ensuring that the meeting flowed smoothly and amiably. Barbara earnestly welcomed our five daring and delightful guests – Jena, Caitlin, Anna, Cathy, and Melissa. Each guest brings enthusiasm and pluck to our meetings, and we all learn and grow in the process.

Wordmaster/Grammarian Melissa divulged the word of the night – in a ‘lackadaisical’ manner. Barbara commenced the warm-up, recounting a brave life choice involving leaving her country of birth (Ireland) and moving to the land of the long white cloud – a move that ultimately changed and saved the lives of her family.

Members and guests each described major life choices relating to changing locations, switching jobs, family, and health needs. When people listen deeply to us, we feel connected, valued, and understood, and this in turn builds trust and respect.

Elaine’s speech (Speaker 1) celebrated the power of listening and gave us valuable tips on how to improve our listening skills.

Joyce (Speaker 2) had us reflecting on our life choices – were they our own, or were they influenced by others? Her story took us from a young child visiting the corner store to embarking on a spiritual healing journey – an inspirational account.

Supper AND A BIRTHDAY CAKE was provided by the supremely big-hearted and talented Joyce, and we celebrated Melissa’s upcoming 18th. Congratulations Melissa we all wish you well in this ‘Year of the HSC!’.

Mark had us selling in Table Topics: a cardboard box (Barbara), an empowered rock (Jena), a big hole (Caitlin), an unlimited, self-emptying, garbage bin (Anna), and an outdoor bathtub (Gerry).

Mark and Glenn’s speech evaluations were thorough, helpful, and supportive.

Melissa’s Wordmaster/ Grammarian report included the number of times we each used the word of the day ‘lackadaisical’ and how many times we each ‘umm-ed’ and ‘aahh-ed’ (a few).

Karen’s general evaluation encouraged us to continue to support each other and offer helpful suggestions, whilst erring on the side of kindness. Glenn gave an insightful Area Director update. Thanks to Ernie for your meticulous timekeeping and reporting.

Barbara sincerely asked for and received feedback from our wonderful guests, who are already helping us to improve – we hope to see you again soon.

The Jotter – Karen

The Jotter – 5 April 2022

The theme of the evening…. Teamwork makes the Dream-work

Glenn, called the meeting to order and our acting President David M welcomed everyone and opened the meeting. Mark outlined the alterations and thanked all those who volunteered to fill in for those unable to attend. Toastmaster Barbara warmly welcomed our two brave and charming guests – Jena and Melissa. Each guest is inspired to attend when circumstances call them to develop their speaking skills, and we all benefit from their presence and participation.

Joyce presented a spirited and motivating Two Minute Tip which had us dreaming big and writing down the steps we need to take to fulfill our dreams.  Gerry commenced the warm-up, recounting a time when she was part of a ‘Dream Team’ at work. Members and guests each described their experience of a dream team – at work, on the sports field, or in other groups. Wordmaster/Grammarian Mark revealed the word of the night which was a wonderfully amicable one.

Karen’s speech opened our eyes to the power of our thoughts. A story of intention setting, focused thoughts, and group healing. Glenn told us two truths and a half-truth, and members and guests had mixed results in identifying the ‘lie’. Supper was provided by the generous, creative Joyce – a delicious serving of delectables.  Joyce then had us spellbound with a roving kind of Table Topics which saw an AFL dream team dig all the way to China (or thereabouts). There were sleepyheads (Mark), hardworking organisers (Dean), crocheting neighbours (Gerry), members of the constabulary (Melissa), and the finisher-upper (Glenn).

Mark’s evaluation of Karen’s speech was comprehensive, thoughtful, and encouraging. Mark’s wordmaster/grammarian report included how many times we each used the word of the day (‘amicable’) and how many times we each ‘ummed’ and ‘aahhed’ (a few). Mark also identified some noteworthy words and phrases used during the evening, encouraging us to increase our vocabulary every day.

Mark’s general evaluation was all-embracing, and he urged us to be mindful of the correct way to fulfill our Toastmaster roles and work together as a team. Thanks to Dean for your methodical timekeeping and Barbara for amiably and enthusiastically weaving the Teamwork theme throughout the meeting, with insightful quotes and kindness. Thank you to our fabulous guests, we hope to see you again soon.

The Jotter – Karen

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.