14 Sep 2016 Meeting: Achieve

By Chris C


11_conference-800_0Sergeant-at-Arms Ann M welcomed us all and introduced us to Club President, Jacqui H. Jacqui welcomed us and our guests to the club.

She also proposed a small increase in fees to £66 for 6 months, to apply to the next round of subscription payments, partly due to increase in Toastmasters costs paid in dollars.

A vote was passed by a simple majority of the quorum present. Jacqui then passed us on to our Toastmaster for the Evening, Hira S.

Hira explained the club protocols and that this meeting was a Speakathon with prepared speeches and no table topics. She introduced the Timer for the evening, Melvyn K, who explained his role and the importance of keeping on time to run things on schedule. Grammarian, Anna G explained what she would be looking out for and introduced the word(s) of the day: ACHIEVE.

Prepared speeches

Nikita P was our first speaker, presenting topic 2 from the Storytelling Advanced Manual with a talk titled ‘30 years Later.’

She described her passion as a youngster for sailing, when she won championships. She told us how her friend Alistair had invited her to sail to France, and she was heartbroken to turn him down because of her partner. It was 30 years later before she got her chance, and also to sail around the western islands of Scotland. You just pursue your passions.

Our second speaker was Julia H. Her speech was project 2 of the Competent Communication manual: ‘Beg, Steal, Borrow to succeed’. She invited us to twist our right arms behind our backs and then to imagine going a third further before trying again. The power of the mind.  Paint a positive picture over any negative image in what is called “Visualisation”. That let her derive inspiration from Bradley Wiggins to cycle faster up Winter Hill.

Our third speaker was Nicola M. Her speech was project 3 of the Competent Communication manual: ‘How to get motivated from within’. She explained that experience and influences can inspire us to scale new heights, but the motivation has to come from within. She gave us various tips, such as writing down “Why?”, believing in yourself, and surrounding yourself with positive people.

Our fourth speaker was Nee V. Her speech was project 4 of the Competent Communication manual: ‘Acres of Diamonds’. She asked whether people thought grass was greener on the other side? She then told the story of an African farmer who sold his farm to search for diamonds elsewhere, only for the purchaser to find massive diamonds on his farm. Take time to see if grass is actually greener where you are.

Our fifth speaker was Karolina E. Her speech was project 6 of the Competent Communication manual: ‘Finding inner peace and joy’. She encouraged us to exercise body, mind and spirit. Change fear to love. Adopt ‘Mindfulness’ – keeping in the here and now, not past or future, and meditate a few minutes a day to declutter the mind.

Our sixth and final speaker was Ann M. Her speech was project 8 of the Competent Communication manual, to use visual aids. She has pictures to describe ‘Three fine knights’ being “Royal Knight”, “Stranger Knight” and “Knight Companion”. The latter includes Sir John Major, whose Coat of Arms represents Chequers, the Houses of Parliament and his love of cricket.



Jacqui H evaluated Nikita’s story; Jacqui commended the title and how she got down amongst the audience, poised, relaxed and natural.  But could be more relaxed.

Nour S evaluated Julie‘s speech; she commended her on having the confidence to own the stage. The talk objectives were well met, in terms of an outline and a clear message, plus humour.

Ian S evaluated Nicola’s speech; he commended her on an informative and well-written speech, with good use of gestures and an easy style. He recommended having 3 pints instead of 6, with more practical examples, so could slow down and take more time to explain.

Nour S returned to evaluate Nee’s speech; she commended her on not using jargon, speaking in simple clear sentences, and using rhetorical questions. She liked the use of a question to engage everyone at the start. He recommendation as to use more open body language

Jacqui H returned to evaluate Karolina’s speech; Jacqui commended the phenomenal use of language, the resonant peaceful voice and the use of pauses.   The suggestion as to choose a better topic to use more variety of voice and not swallow the last word in a sentence.

Nikita P evaluated Ann’s talk; she commended her on using humour effectively to cover up when things go wrong, especially with the audio-visual equipment. The slides were colourful and the talk interesting. The recommendation was to slow down, and take more time to explain.

Anna G gave us her Grammarian report. She commented that there were very few um’s and ah’s, and congratulated people on the use of the word of the day ACHIEVE.



Club President, Jacqui H, presented the following certificates to members:

• Best Speaker: Julie H
• Best Evaluator: Jacqui H
• Best Use of the Word of the Day: Julie H
• Most Expressive Use of English: Karolina E


Next meeting

The next meeting will take place on 28 September 2016. This will be the club’s Humorous and Table Topics Contest.

We look forward to seeing you then.

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