Michelle Obama’s “The journey never ends” is true for Toastmasters – both for the individuals on the ‘pathways’ and also for the club. There is always more to learn!

This particular meeting taught us that we may need to rethink the format of our meetings! There were only eleven people in the restaurant (and, according to Oana, we have to pay for fifteen or sixteen meals in order to keep our reservation). It is certainly testimony to the success of the hybrid form. Once again the possibility of meeting on Zoom allowed members to join from a distance – something very much appreciated by those unable to come in person.

We were joined by three guests, Marcel, Philippa, and Christelle, and were delighted to have Iana, our Area 4 director, join us: thank you for coming to visit us! A warm welcome was extended to Caroline as she started her TMP journey: we hope you enjoy the voyage, Caroline.

Vicki, recently returned from a fabulous trip herself, toasted journeys. Suzanne’s word of the evening, betterment, reminded us that voyages lead to self-improvement. Silvia’s joke presented four priests traveling together: deciding to confess their sins, the first admits he drinks, the second that he is a womanizer, the third that he gambles…. while the fourth is a gossip, excited to get home to report all!

In response to Nelum’s table topics…. Laura B told us what she thinks of when she hears the word ‘journey’ – living, evolving, and accepting failures as part of our general betterment. Peter, asked to advise someone starting out on their career journey, counseled, “Learn, learn, learn! – It can be fun.” Claudia confided that her proudest journey was when she was able to let go: it takes courage to make a change. Tricia, asked how she had evolved in her life journey, explained that she had learned to look at herself objectively and to be more diplomatic.

Marcel, a first-time guest, told us about his plane trip and how, despite being in a bad place personally and professionally, the journey was wonderful. Christelle was asked about her favorite road trip and told us about moving to Paris.

Benoit presented the first prepared speech of the evening, “An Unsolvable Puzzle”. Tricia complimented his smooth and professional presentation, helped by his use of PowerPoint. She noted his good eye contact, title, and speech structure. She recommended that he should use greater vocal variety, cut unnecessary words from slides and concentrate on images, and make sure he does not put his hands in his pockets.

Bob evaluated Paula’s “An Existential Rant”, claiming that he had enjoyed many things about the speech. He liked the title, her voice and delivery, and the direct addressing of the audience. He suggested that she could use questions to involve the audience further and that she should work on the conclusion, making it a little less abrupt and perhaps giving a more profound take-away.

In “Can you hear Me?” Anäelle urged us to listen to our inner voice. Laura F congratulated her on her ‘impeccable’ performance. She commended Anäelle’s opening, which started with a question, her strong message, and her excellent vocal variety.  She should now explore greater vocal variety and more deliberate gestures.

General Evaluator Alex noted that all three evaluations were excellent. He reminded Siobhan, Toastmaster of the Evening, that the TME has to be the one to make decisions (e.g., about timing). He noted that it had been difficult to set up the hybrid meeting, as a second computer was needed, and wondered if the time had come to abandon virtual attendance to focus on meeting in person at the restaurant….



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