20 Apr 16 Meeting: Inventions and Reinventions

By Jordan S


2016-04-20-ann-sAnn M opened the meeting as Sergeant-at-Arms giving fundamental and useful general notices before passing the floor over to the President.

Club President, James H welcomed our ‘myriad of guests’ with a short introduction to the evening. He introduced our Toastmaster of the evening – Paola K.

Paola explained the agenda and the theme of the evening: inventions and reinventions. She gave examples of things that had been invented in the month of April including the first fire escape in 1776 and the safety pin in 1849. Paola explained the HATS protocol for the purpose of guests, explaining how to best fill out the feedback slips giving a commendation, recommendation and ending on something positive.

Hira S came up and told us what as Grammarian this evening she would be looking out for. She introduced the word of the day which was ‘transition’ and hoped that many people would be able to use this in their speeches.

Prepared Speeches

Dexter B was our first speaker of the evening giving his second speech from the Competent Communication manual. His speech was entitled ‘The role of the New CFO’. Dexter started his speech strongly with a question to the audience on the budgeting process and asked fellow accountant member Ian S for his experience of them.

Dexter then gave an overview of the role of the new CFO; he said that it frees managers from feeling over-powered, and to make clearer and more open plans through simplifying and rationing resources. The new CFO is the “ultimate champion” in reducing waste in businesses.

Dexter B receiving his certificate from Club President, James H

Our second speaker was Ann M . She delivered her fifth speech, ‘Piste Progress’. Ann described how she had always wanted to learn to ski. She related her first skiing lesson with her French instructor – André.


Her speech was made more humorous with her added gestures and good use across the floor re-enacting her skiing experience. Ann’s husband had filmed her coming down the slope and she believed to have been looking professional but in reality when she looked back at the footage, she was skiing like a “steady snail”!

The third and final speaker of the evening was Nikita P. She delivered the tenth and last speech from the Competent Communication manual. Paola, the Toastmaster, read out the speech title “If you could choose your own name, which name would you choose?” to welcome Nikita.

Nikita came to the floor and looked around at everyone for about 30 seconds. She made eye contact with each member of the audience before speaking. Nikita explained that the 30 seconds in which she had given us time to think about a name for ourselves was the same amount of time it took her to decide her name.

As a transgender woman she had the choice to change her name to whatever she wanted. Nikita explained how empowering it is to change your name. She explained the reasoning behind her full name, Nikita Alena Rosa Parks. She inspired the audience to choose a powerful name, even if we were just to keep it to ourselves.

Table Topics

Jamie C was our Table Topics Master and was doing the role for the first time. He devised questions on the theme of inventions.

A visiting Toastmaster – Nour was the first to be called upon – she spoke about a memorable phone call.

Dexter told us how the mobile phone has changed his life. Is it good? He is not so sure.

A guest, Anna, was invited up to talk about a time she had sent an email that she instantly regretted.

Visiting Toastmaster and friend of the club, Tina, talked about what one thing in life she would connect to the Internet? She decided it would be best to connect straight to her brain.

Finally, Ann gave us her thoughts about whether driverless cars are a good or a bad thing? Although she has been on a driverless train, she’s not so comfortable with driverless cars.


Anantha R was Dexter’s Evaluator this evening and this was her first time as a Speech Evaluator. She liked the opening question about budgeting. She recommended to not rely on notes so much and pause a bit more. She thought that Dexter used good examples and explained things clearly.

Jordan S was Ann’s Evaluator. She went through Ann’s objectives using examples from her speech to show these objectives had been met. Jordan recommended that Ann makes conscious eye contact with members of the audience she is comfortable with. She ended by saying that she loves Ann’s expressive and humorous story-telling ability.

Paola stood in as Nikita’s Evaluator because of a no-show. Paola commended Nikita’s opening where she waited for us to answer the question in teh speech title. She recommended Nikita not to clasp her hands or step back and forth, but to script gestures into her speech. Overall, Paola thought it was a well delivered and easily understood speech which met the project objectives.

Sheila HA evaluated the Table Topics session. She started off commending Jamie on the way he used the theme of the evening to come up with topics. Sheila recommended that rather than make people feel like this is the part of the evening people should dread, instead make it seem like the most exciting and best part.

A second recommendation was to use the Table Topics session to give people who didn’t have speaking roles a chance to speak. Sheila went through each Table Topics speech and gave commendations and recommendations for everyone, before wrapping up saying that they were diverse subjects which everyone tackled really well.

No vote was taken for Best Evaluator as two of the evaluations were out of time.

Our Grammarian for the evening was Hira and this was her first time in the role. She started off by saying how her listening skills had reached a new level. She picked out specific words and phrases she liked from certain speakers. She said that all three prepared speeches used good professional English that connected well with the audience whilst keeping their objectives in mind.

Hira gave individual feedback on the use of ‘ahh’s and ‘umm’s; she was disappointed that the word of the day wasn’t used as much as she thought it could have been.

Ian S was the General Evaluator of the evening. He suggested to use the room layout facing the stage because he liked speaking from the higher stage. He delivered general feedback to the Evaluators with specific points made to Paola and Sheila. He commended the set-up was on time and orderly. He recommends that the Toastmaster asks attending members what each letter of HATS means to reinforcement and interactivity.

Ann M, Best Speaker and Best Table Topic

Awards, News and Closing

A vote was taken on the Club Constitution and Addendum and passed.

James presented the following awards:

  • Ann received a certificate for completing her fifth speech and therefore half way through the Competent Communicator manual as well as her new Sergeant-at-Arms badge
  • Nikita got a Speech-o-rama certificate for completing all speeches in the Competent Communication manual
  • The certificate for “Least ahh’s and umm’s” was awarded to Dexter
  • The “Most Imaginative (or expressive) use of English” award went to Ann
  • Dexter won the “Most Improved” Speaker award
  • Best Table Topics and Best Speaker went to Ann

James thanked Paola for stepping in to be the Evaluator at the last minute.

Ian, VP Membership, asked for guest and member comments and feedback. On the whole, everyone felt it was a very welcoming club with diverse speeches and that the meeting was thoroughly enjoyable.

Everyone was invited to the pub for a catch up and drink afterwards. Ann then declared the meeting closed.

Next Meeting

Our next social meeting is on Wednesday, 4 May 2016 at Station Inn Pub, Station Hill, Ascot, SL5 9EG from 7:30pm.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday, 11 May 2016.

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