Visit to Croydon Communicators

paola-croydon-2015-11By Paola K

As the Club Sponsor & VP Education, I visited Croydon Communicators twice this November.

As the Club Sponsor & VP Education, I visited Croydon Communicators twice this November.

I met the President, Paul RT, at the D91 November conference and was very impressed with him.

The club does some things differently, some of which I would like to introduce to Ascot.

  • President introduction puts the club in context of Toastmasters
  • Feedback slips for prepared speeches are collected at the end of the minute
  • Members are encouraged to get the CL role evaluated at the end of the meeting

Arriving

Croydon Communicators is one of two Toastmasters clubs in Croydon. They meet at a nice, light venue near East Croydon train station. Their meetings are the day after we meet in Ascot – that is, the 2nd, 4th & 5th Thursdays each month.

Meetings start at 7pm and end at 9:15pm. I went with Nikita P for my first club visit. Nikita won Best Table Topics speech! I attended the second meeting with Anantha R.

On arriving, there is no sign-in sheet. Guests are offered a label with their name. Nikita and I were greeted very warmly. Club officers and members said hello to us.

Like most Toastmasters clubs, there are no tables. Chairs are arranged in rows with a gap in the middle.

Venue

The main meeting room (left) and break area (right) and a nice size, friendly and light.

 

Agenda

The club uses easy-Speak for their printed agenda.

The meetings include a warm-up at the beginning. Everyone – including guests – is invited to stand and talk on a simple subject for 10 seconds.

They have quite a strict agenda with regard to speech evaluations immediately following prepared speeches, and Table Topics evaluations immediately following Table Topics speeches. The breaks are quite short at 5-10 mins.

There were two Table Topics Evaluators, one for odd-numbers speeches, the other for even. This is a default in easy-Speak but I haven’t seen this at any of the other nine clubs I visited this year.

Opening

The opening by the President was very motivational. It was also inspiring, by putting the club in the context of Toastmasters with regard to the worldwide organisation and number of clubs. With several choice words and with some humour, Paul put people at ease and pleased to be there.

Tip of the Day

The VP Education spoke for a few minutes on a subject about Toastmasters.

Schmoozing

Anantha did a fantastic job talking to members, before the meeting started and during the break. She is a great ambassador for Ascot Speakers!

Timing

The club uses paddles of coloured paper for timing. There is a Timers report for each session – they go to the front of the room to give their reports.

A bell is rung, 30 secs after the red card is shown. However, there are no consequences for going over time. Votes were taken for everyone, regardless of whether they were in or over time. The club introduced voting just a year ago.

Guest comments

At the end of the meeting, the President asks each guest to stand up and answer three questions:

  1. what brought you here?
  2. what did you like best?
  3. will you come again?

There were no member comments solicited (although both meetings I attended overran).

Attendance

The club is 10 years old. There were less than 20 attendees when I visited.

My roles

For the first meeting, I was asked if I would be a Speech Evaluator in advance. I evaluated an advanced speech in which the speaker is given a topic just before they first start speaking. Joyce made an address as if she’d just won the election for Prime Minister. It was very believable! When I saw her at the following meeting, I greeted her as “Prime Minister”. 🙂

The VP Education asked if I would be General Evaluator at the second meeting. On the way, Paul asked if I would also be aSpeech Evaluator for an advanced speech.

At this club, the General Evaluator sits next to the Timer at the back of the room.

Conclusion

It’s always interesting to see how other clubs run meetings. I have visited 10 other clubs this year and have always come away with a few positives to apply to Ascot Speakers.

It is also gratifying to compare the 6-month old Ascot Speakers with older, established clubs. It shows that we are on track and doing the right things.

Thank you, Croydon Communicators, for welcoming us to your club. I look forward to visiting again.

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