25 Nov 15 Meeting: It Isn’t Quite Christmas

By Kitty H

Wednesday night’s theme of the meeting was: It’s Not Christmas Yet. James, the Club President and the Toastmaster of the evening had asked all speakers to give their worst Christmas Carol or Song. James also mentioned that 100 years ago today Albert Einstein handed in his theory for Relativity.  Not such a boring day in history really.

Brian served as grammarian for the first time. The word of the day he chose was: “procrastination”. He explained that the word came from the Latin ‘crass’ meaning tomorrow – thus putting off until tomorrow.  ‘Procrastination is the thief of time.’ Jordan was in the Timer’s role for the first time.


Prepared Speeches

James introduced each of the Evaluators and the Speakers along with their worst Christmas Carol. Anantha’s worst Christmas Carol was the Band Aid ‘Feed the World’ as she felt the world should be fed all year round and not just at Christmas. She gave us an exciting Ice Breaker speech entitled ‘It Can Only Get Better”.

Anantha told us about the many changes in the first 12 years of her life as the family moved from Borneo to Singapore to Indian and finally to the UK.  Her loving and optimistic father always quoted the title phrase and to “embrace the changes and challenges of life” – and she certainly did!

Ruth was up next with her Ice Breaker speech. Her worst Carol is ‘Jingle Bells’ because while in Holland she heard it in reggae form and has disliked it ever since.  Her Ice Breaker entitled “What’s In A Word” was both positive and wonderful. She started by quoting Carl Jung: ‘I am not what happened to me – I am what I chose to become.’ One word can have many meanings and she fills her life with positive words: wonderful.

The third and final prepared speech was from Nikita who did her third speech. Nikita’s worst Christmas Carol is ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ by Slade.  Her speech was entitled: “How Does It Hurt?”

In her speech she described how she had overcome a personal problem of narcissism which leads to a permanent fate of discontentment.  It is the state of extreme selfishness with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration. She spoke with great emotion.

Unfortunately Nikita had gone over time, so there was no voting for the Best Speaker.

Table Topics

Paola was our Table Topics Master for the evening. She explained how the session was going to work. Each person was given a particular person, an attribute of that person and a type of gift. They then had to speak for 1-2 minutes and give the reason for giving that gift.

Jacqui was up first and had to explain why she brought a poster for an old-fashioned Astronaut. She amusingly bought Neil Armstrong a poster of the moon showing the Sea of Tranquillity to remind him of his visit there.

Nikita was up next explaining why she brought a concert ticket for a bus driver.  She would send him on a busman’s holiday to Blackpool with a ticket to Ken Dodd’s show. Hira spoke next for her first time at Table Topics and said that she would buy some wigs for her trendy teacher so she could change her appearance at social events.

Next was Jonny who bought his imprisoned sweetheart an ‘Age of Ultron’ DVD with the hope that they could watch it together in prison. Timmy (a guest) brought his awesome colleague (who loves the sun), a ticket to Iceland for a holiday. Finally Brian humorously procrastinated to tell us what magazine he would buy his inflatable gran.


Anthony evaluated Anantha’s first speech. He said that Anantha has an engaging personality who made good eye contact to one part of the room but should look around more and make the lectern her friend.

Sheila was Ruth’s evaluator and said she started with a good opening quote – but we learnt nothing about Ruth until she reached the centre of her speech as she ‘wove a tapestry of words’ into her speech to tell us about herself. Sheila said that this was the best Icebreaker she has heard and her only recommendation was that Ruth moves around the floor a little more.

Finally Yannick evaluated Nikita’s speech. This was Yannick’s first time as evaluator. Yannick said that Nikita gave a good opening to her speech using the word ‘narcissism’ which made members take note. She had good facial expression, eye contact and body language. He suggested that she use the lectern more rather than holding notes in hand.

Mary evaluated our Table Topics for the first time meticulously going through each person and saying what she liked and giving her recommendations. Jacqui won the votes for Best Table Topics Speech and Sheila won Best Evaluator.

Brian gave his Grammarian’s report and there were very few negatives. There were few ahh’s and um’s but more attention needs to be made to pauses. Ruth won the Grammarian award for “Least ahh’s and um’s” and Jonny won best use of the word of the day.

Jonny and Ruth with their awards

Brian‘s word of the day was not used as much as he had hoped. He was pleased with the expressive use of language was good e.g. words to express emotion like ‘anxiety’ with a good use of gesture as well. He recommended that speakers try to graduate away from using notes as it deters one from relating to the audience.

Jacqui was our General Evaluator and commended all the speakers and the audience. She commended all the evaluators for giving their report in third person and giving good recommendations. She noted that Anthony specified what objectives are before giving his evaluation, Sheila reminded us of the title and Yannick again gave us purpose of Nikita’s speech.

Mary, closing the meeting for the last time as Sergeant-At-Arms

A special thanks to James, our Toastmaster, for accommodating a very fun meeting and to Mary, our Sergeant-At-Arms for closing the meeting for the last time. Mary will be leaving us for Southampton where she will join her new local Toastmasters club. We wish her all the best.

Next meeting

Our next meeting will be next year on Wednesday, 13 January 2016.

We look forward to welcoming you then.

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