I feel very sorry for anyone who was unable to attend the Brighton and Hove Speakers Club AGM last Wednesday because they missed a great evening. The first part of our agenda was given over to AGM business. After a timely call to order by our Sergeant At Arms, David Robertson, and an enlivening warm-up from Craig West, inviting us to consider what in life we were most grateful for, there was a short report from each of the current Committee Officers (all three of us!) and the Financial Report (copy attached) was presented in the absence of our longsuffering (last year’s) Treasurer, Paul Rawlings who was unfortunately unable to attend. Then the Committee for the forthcoming new Toastmasters year, beginning on 1st July, was voted in as follows:
- President Mike Flannery
- VP Education Charlotte Blant
- VP Public Relations Lotus Loan Thu Nguyen
- VP Membership David Robertson
- Treasurer Paul Matthews
- Secretary Dave Sutcliffe
- Sgt-At-Arms Craig West
- Mentoring Co-ordinator (ex-officio post) Linda Hooper
This really does look like a great team and I for one look forward to seeing the club go from strength to strength under its leadership.
After the election we were ready for the speech section of the evening, when we heard two extremely confident and entertaining icebreaker speeches from Bhanu Rao and Brendan Hayden. After this we were regaled by an off-manual speech from Barry Miles entitled How important are public speaking skills? with references to speakers as diverse as Adolf Hitler, Michael Foot and Barack Obama, among others. Barry bravely stepped into the breach with this speech since the slot had become unexpectedly available at short notice.
After the break Linda Hooper and her team of Table Topics volunteers entertained us by taking on the personae of archaeologists of the year 3030 endeavouring to discover what certain 21st century artefacts discovered in the ancient settlement of Brighton and Hove would have been used for. They came to various conclusions as to what we would have been up to; communicating with a hairbrush, exfoliating with a cheese grater, lubricating with Marmite, performing surgical procedures with a coat-hanger, hydrating themselves with a hot water bottle, storing information in a head shaped wig stand, having charcoal for their dinner, teaching children their numbers with a tape measure and examining themselves with a mirror! I can’t help wondering how accurate the pronouncements of 21st century archaeologists are about ancient finds.
When we’d all stopped laughing and settled down again our three earlier speeches were evaluated by Wendy Kier, Craig West and Eric Haworth. Wendy and Craig were each giving their first “live” evaluation, after having taken part in the previous meeting’s evaluation workshop and they both show every sign of being a valuable addition to our team of regular evaluators.
The whole event was chaired smoothly and efficiently by our Toastmaster Peter Cornwell, who did a brilliant job of keeping us to time along with our Timekeeper Paul Matthews, who delivered the most detailed and entertaining timekeepers report I’ve heard for a long time.
There were no Grammarian or General Evaluator reports since we had dispensed with those roles in order to make room on the agenda for the AGM business.
We had one guest, Joy Aloor, who gave us favourable feedback afterwards and who we expect to see again in the near future.
My thanks to everyone who participated in the evening and helped to make it so enjoyable.
I attach the draft agenda for the next meeting on 26th May, which will be another of Eric’s very popular “Your Performance Workshop” events. I don’t know details yet but watch this space! Speech slots are now filled up to and including 14th July. The meeting on 28th July will be another “catch-up” evening, like the one already arranged for 9th June, when we will be having six speech slots. Two of those slots on the 14th are already booked so there are currently four slots on that date still available to the first comers. It seems incredible but the next meeting after that is on 11th August! Speech slots on that date are all currently still available. If you need to get on with your next (or your first) speech and haven’t booked your slot please be proactive and book your slot as far ahead as possible – otherwise you’ll end up waiting for months.
Just to clarify the position regarding booking yourself onto the agenda for either speech slots or meeting roles, although I will be relinquishing the task of agenda planning to our new VP Education, Charlotte Blant, at the end of June, you can still contact me up until then to get your name onto any future agenda. I will then pass the forward agenda plan to Charlotte together with all those names already in their allotted slots. Charlotte will then continue to forward plan from 1st July onwards In other words, if you have already been given a date by me to speak at any future meeting that date will stand after the handover. Charlotte will then begin to fill the next available slots. I hope that’s clear!
International Speech and Evaluation Competition
I understand that Iain Upton of Solent Speakers, who represented our Division (Division H), came third in the International Speech contest held as part of the Divisional (Division 71 – UK and Ireland) Conference in Ireland at the weekend. I don’t know how many competitors there were but I’m sure a full report will appear on the D71 website: http://d71.org/portal.php?c=7&page=1 fairly soon.
For some reason I have been without a broadband connection for some time so if anyone has been e-mailing me and not getting a response I do apologise. I’ll try to catch up with you all as soon as possible.
That’s all for now, except to say that I look forward to another riveting evening in your company on 26th May.
Regards and best wishes.