Written by Siobhan Berry
A few attended the October 5th meeting via Zoom, but most of us enjoyed the reality of restaurant and a lovely meal (magret de canard with fruit!). Credit once again goes to Oana for her technical whizz in managing this tricky hybrid format.
Every Toastmasters’ meeting seems special in some way, and this meeting was noteworthy in having almost equal numbers of members and newcomers. Our guests originated from the States, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Morocco, and Oana welcomed them to TMP, “a family of nations.” Marco learned about TMP from Bob years ago, Hannah was attending at Siobhan’s suggestion, and Josep had heard about the club through Vincent. Rim had been encouraged by her uncle in Canada, Eliza was “expecting great things,” and Monica wants to use her English, although she says she will be terrified to speak! Kate had heard that Toastmasters was good for preparing presentations (something that was later to be proved by Suzanne, rehearsing a business pitch speech), and Anäelle was returning for the second time.
Tricia, acting as Toastmaster for the Evening in Vicki’s absence, introduced the theme of the evening, Autumn Leaves, and Paula toasted the season, welcoming the “plethora of colors.” Alex, master of the comic tale, regaled us with a funny story and proposed some interesting table topics. Laura talked about childhood memories of autumn, particularly Halloween. Silvia described the most brilliant colors she has ever seen. Guest Laura B talked about what she is thankful for, her travel experiences. Cindi recommended Villers-sur-Mer as the perfect place for an autumn break. Jessica has lived where day and night are of equal length and recommends it, as “Balance is the key to happiness!”, Anäelle supports autumn rather than having a second spring, as she enjoys the newness of the change each year. Paula reminded us of the Icarus story, her favorite myth. Vincent gave us the benefit of over twenty years’ professional experience in one place: you can’t trust everybody!
Siobhan’s “Love Your Ass(umptions) was evaluated by Laura, who liked the powerful message and the use of attention-grabbing tools – a well-told story and props in the form of a drawing. She advised the use of fewer details, as the audience was lost at times under the weight of too much information and recommended that it would be better if the ending could be revised to wrap up with a reminder of the opening.
Silvia commended Suzanne’s excellent set-up in “Introduction to Invisible Message Risk”, which ensured that the audience understood the point, that although a business presentation may use easily understood words and grammar, the message can nevertheless be misunderstood by a multicultural, multilingual audience. She praised Suzanne’s ability to create uncertainty and the way the problem was framed as requiring a business solution that her company could provide. She recommended that examples be given to show the damage that can be caused by miscommunication and suggested that the beginning of the speech could cover the benefits that Suzanne’s business would bring.
Although Oana found much to praise in her general evaluation of the evening, there was only one award. Congratulations to Laura, who was able to take a real ribbon home with her. (Some things can only be achieved with a live meeting!)
Hope to see everyone at the next TMP meeting, October 19th.