The theme of the evening was Autumn. Serving as Toastmaster of the Evening, Larry explained his choice, introducing the subject by reminiscing about the beauty of New England at this time of year, and Patrick gave the toast. Vicki presented fall as word of the evening, suggesting that everyone should use it as there are so many ways to do so. Nadege’s joke was so much on theme that Vicki later confirmed hearing the word seven times!

In addition to his regular Presidential duties of opening and closing the meeting, Josep had also acted as Sergeant-at-Arms and IT advisor. Now, as if it is normal to have four tasks, he morphed into Table Topics master. Responding to his topics, Tristan described the perfect fall evening as one spent in sitting by a chimney – Suzanne evoked images of Thanksgiving food – Peter explained his favorite fall traditions of hiking and, in the colder weather, skiing – Sofia told us about her love of wearing fall colors, the brown and beige of nature – and Amine recommended Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” as the best music for the season because of his warm and soothing voice.

“Just Joking” was evaluated by Suzanne, who noted that Debbie is “a polished speaker” who enters the space with a big smile that communicates confidence. She praised Debbie’s choice of subject, that jokes should never be at others’ expense, suggesting that the speech had  great content, a well-written text, and a structure that made her argument “loud and clear.” As Debbie’s eye contact is excellent, Suzanne suggested she might not need notecards in future. Moving forwards, she recommended Debbie should practice using greater vocal variety. Finally, Suzanne noted that Debbie “has so much to offer,” and raised laugh by referring back to the title, “and that is no joke.”

Zooming into the meeting, Laura F said that Vincent’s passion for his subject, “Climate Change: The Great Paradox”, was clearly communicated through both voice and gesture.  He had some powerful things to say, which he did loudly and clearly. She congratulated him for speaking without stumbles or pauses, even when dealing with some complex facts, which he illustrated with a PowerPoint presentation. She suggested that he could strengthen the speech by adding more important facts (e.g., deaths caused by heatwaves) and challenging us with something we can do “tonight, this week, this month.”

Evaluating “Speechless!”, Anaelle appreciated Siobhan’s to bring stories and jokes to life and commended her vocal variety and use of gestures. She advised that using fewer slides would make the speech more powerful and warned about a tendency to turn to one side of the room.

Paula was full of praise in her general evaluation of the evening. Her points included the welcome members gave to guests when they arrived, Larry’s ability to “manage everything graciously,” particularly when problems arose, and the use of the recently-purchased clip-on microphones, which meant speakers can leave the lectern and still be heard by the Zoomers.

The evening ended as usual with feedback from our guests. Both David and Yannis told us they were impressed.  Sofia said it had been a great session and she had learned a lot. Zahra noted that she has often found learning to be boring, but not this time: she wants to come back. Fatu and Karen were both on their second visits: for Fatu, this evening was even better than the last, and Karen announced her intention to join us.

If she does, she will join our former guests… Congratulations to Amine and Tristan, who were inducted into the club.

Congratulations, too, to the evening’s winners – Armine (Table Topics), Siobhan (Speech), and Laura F (Evaluation).



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