I think that’s probably the best way to sum up the latest meeting of the Brighton and Hove Speakers Club last Wednesday, 28th April. Happiness, pleasure and positivity were the subjects of the three speeches: Happiness Now from Lotus LoanThu, my own interpretive reading The Sands of Pleasure by A. A. Milne and Look for the Positive from Eric Haworth, who was brave enough to make his CC9 speech available as the target speech for Linda Hooper’s special Education item on Effective Evaluations. We were particularly relieved to see Eric, having been delayed for some time in Peru due to the volcanic ash problem.
After we had all participated in three different group discussions facilitated by Peter Cornwell, Mike Flannery and our visiting guest, Area Governor Gordon Piggott, three equally brave souls who had never evaluated before, Lotus Loan Thu, Craig West and Wendy Kier, each had a go at evaluating Eric’s speech. Many thanks to all those participants and especially Linda for putting in so much time and hard work to organise it. I now look forward to evaluations by Lotus, Craig and Wendy and anyone else who might now feel a little more encouraged to undertake them. The other two speakers were evaluated by two more experienced evaluators, Patrick Bland and David Robertson.
Others undertaking particular roles for the first time were Charlotte Blant, who made a very confident and commanding Sergeant at Arms, Paul Matthews, who gave us a great warm-up around who we would like to accompany us to a desert island and Aisling O’Leary, who did a very competent job of keeping us all under control in the role of Toastmaster. Well done to all. No-one would have believed that you were all novices!
Timekeeper Mike Flannery, who is hardly a novice, kept us all to time with his stopwatch and his bell and Mary Thomas kept a beady eye on us all in order to feedback as General Evaluator at the end. We dispensed with Table Topics and the role of Grammarian for this meeting in order to give us more time for the workshop.
We had two very welcome visitors in the form of Frank Van Heeroen and Nagisa Susuki, both of whom we look forward to seeing again.
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The Division H heat of this competition was held on 17th April in Dorking. Our representative was our nominated President for next year, Mike Flannery, who had already won the Area competition in Eastbourne on 3rd April to get there. Unfortunately, however, Mike’s luck ran out and he wasn’t placed, but I know that he feels entering was well worth the effort in terms of what he has learned from the experience. The Divisional winner was actually Ian Upton from Solent Speakers and we wish him all the best as he goes forward to the District 71 contest during the District 71 Conference in Sligo, Ireland, from 14th-16th May. Details of the conference can be found here: http://d71.org/portal.php?page=7 .
Our next meeting, on 12th May, will be our Annual General Meeting. All are welcome to attend but naturally only those who are currently paid-up members will be able to vote. We will have a very brief (I promise) annual report from each of the Officers on the Committee and the end of year Financial Report will be made available to the members before they are asked to cast their votes for those who are standing for election to the new Committee to succeed the current one at the beginning of the 2010/11 Toastmasters year on 1st July. We would like as many members in attendance as possible in order to ensure that we have a quorum. The nominees for office are as follows:
- President Mike Flannery
- VP Education VACANT
- VP Public Relations Lotus LoanThu Nguyen
- VP Membership David Robertson
- Treasurer Paul Matthews
- Secretary Dave Sutcliffe
- Sgt-At-Arms Craig West
You will see that we are currently still without a nomination for VP Education. However, I have an optimistic feeling that someone out there is hovering on the brink and will come forward any minute now with a firm commitment. Just to remind you, the duties of the VPE are as follows:
• Organise the agenda for each meeting
• Know and chart the progress of each Club member
• Choose prospective CCs & ACs early in year
• Organise and lead Educational sessions
• Organise Club competitions & joint meetings
• Build up contacts in other Clubs
• Organise mentoring for new members
It would be great if we could have an actual name in that vacant slot very soon so the members know exactly who they will be able to vote for.
I have been doing the job of VPE this year alongside being President and yes it’s been quite hard work but I can honestly say that the VPE work I have done has been the most exciting, rewarding and, above all, educating! I have learned a great deal about my own leadership skills and have really enjoyed seeing new members come along and helping them get stuck into the programme. It gives me a real thrill to chart their progress and watch their confidence grow. The opportunity now exists for someone else to gain the same benefits from taking on the role.
I attach a draft agenda for the meeting, showing which meeting roles are still available. I did have a hard copy at the meeting last Wednesday, but unfortunately it has disappeared, I suspect scooped up with other papers and put away in our cupboard at the hotel. I don’t know if anyone had entered their names for roles but if so I’m afraid you will have to let me know again to make sure I’ve got it. You can also enter yourself onto the forward agenda planning schedule which is available on our Googledocs website (login details below), but do let me know you’ve done so to prevent double booking.
Speech slots are now all booked up until the end of June. One speech is booked for 14th July but all others on that date and from then on are still available. If you are too impatient to wait until then don’t forget that Meg Heyworth has kindly extended an invitation to any of our members who would like to speak at the Worthing club, which, being a small club, often struggles to fill its speech slots. For more information contact Meg directly: firstname.lastname@example.org . Also remember that you can visit any Toastmasters Club anywhere in the world and, as long as you are a current Toastmasters member, participate in the meeting. The other clubs in our own area (Area 32), as well as Worthing, are Eastbourne, Battle and Arun Speakers (Chichester). You can find their contact details here: http://d71.org/orgdata.php .
The mentor list is still not quite complete, although it does have all mentors’ contact details on it. I attach it again here. If you don’t currently have a mentor and would like one, please feel free to either contact me in order to be allocated one or contact the mentor of your choice directly. The most suitable method and scheduling of mentoring will be determined by the mentor and the mentee themselves.
NOTE TO MENTORS: It would be very useful if you could let me have the names of the members you are currently mentoring for my records, also biogs and photos for those which are still missing.
Young Speakers Award
This is a new venture being undertaken by our founder member, Jackie Arnold. It involves participants from schools and colleges in the Brighton area. This is not an official Toastmasters sponsored event, but individual members are encouraged to support it. Wendy Kier and I are due to run some mentoring workshop sessions with the young people next Thursday and the final event and awards ceremony will take place at Roedean School on Friday 28th May. Further details are on the website: www.youngspeakersaward.co.uk
Finally, my thanks to all you members for your continued support and willingness to participate in club activities. There is a great energy and enthusiasm among our members and that makes my job so much easier.
I look forward to seeing you all at the AGM on 12th May.