By Siobhan Berry

I’m still smiling from the October 19 meeting! The theme, ‘When You’re Smiling, the Whole World Smiles with You’, was chosen by Cindi, Toastmaster of the Evening. Recently returned after several years’ absence, she has evidently lost none of her Toastmasters experience, managing the evening with a subtle blend of sophisticated ease and a taste for craziness: as Laura remarked in her general evaluation, no other TME got the group to sing! It has to be acknowledged that it made us smile, although we certainly speak better than we sing!

Once again, we were joined by many guests.  Caroline, Claudia, Marcel, Sandrine, Sabrina, Tsiorisoa, and the Mukais attended for the first time. Joseph and Eliza came for a second visit. Anäelle was on her third visit – we hope she’ll now want to become a member. Laura B, making her final guest visit, requested permission to join. Past president Danielle, officially on sabbatical, was with us. I hope she misses us enough to come back; we miss her vivacity, eloquence, and humor.

Cindi’s opening remarks included praise for Oana’s leadership. Taking on TMP presidency is already a huge role, but Oana is currently also acting as sergeant-at-arms – lugging all the equipment to the meetings, IT expert – she sets up the Zoom, checking it is working and adjusting volume, and she also steps in for absentees – she told the joke. Perhaps someone could help out in one of these roles?

Tricia gave the toast, encouraging everyone to smile more, as it creates ‘feel-good hormones’, and there were smiles a-plenty with Paula’s table topics. Bob recalled the last time he received good news, Eliza the last time she was thanked for something, and Danielle for the last meal that made her truly happy. Anäelle talked about a film that made her smile, Jessica recalled good childhood memories, and Joseph reported having colleagues who spread good cheer.

Alex evaluated Vicki’s speech “The Lifecycle of Love”. Vicki hoped to make us laugh, and she did, taking us through the stages of (scary!) nursery rhymes, puppy love, and first kiss. She was also able to engage other emotions, and her description of what happens after love rings in my ears, when “Loneliness becomes your constant companion.” She concluded with Tennyson’s idea that despite any pain, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Sylvia evaluated Suzanne’s “How to Optimize your International Communication”. Suzanne’s aim was to improve the speech she presented at the last meeting. Last time, Sylvia recommended that Suzanne add examples to show the damage that can be caused by miscommunication and suggested that the beginning of the speech could cover the benefits that the business would bring. She also noted that it might be easier to present in person rather than over Zoom. Following Sylvia’s advice, the difference was notable – proof that Toastmasters “works”!

Finally, Vincent considered “Personalized Medicine – is it really the “future of medicine”?  Siobhan congratulated him for his command of the subject, his ability to interest his audience, and the excellent structural organization of the ideas.

Always an exciting moment, the winners were announced at the end of the evening. Danielle and Eliza were awarded a tie for the table topics; Suzanne won the ribbon for best speaker (the other speeches ran over time), and Alex received recognition as best evaluator.

See you all next time, 2nd of November !

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