First time? No problem!

Andrew Isabirye Reporting

theme for the night’s meeting was ‘Remembering the first time’, recalling moments when we do something for the first time. And what better way to start the evening by our President Nuala celebrating the club’s newest members Motsabi Rooper, Yue Cao, Joseph Omeiza (pictured below) and Ariel Elboim. Alongside the introduction to the club’s newest members came a celebration of the club’s long serving members who have served the club in outstanding fashion over the past year; Fahad Alturkait who had set up the mentor scheme and Pascale Monteil who ran the club’s questionnaire to find out what our club’s members wanted.

Yumi Lynch then took over the meeting from Nuala as the evening’s Toastmaster. Although it was her first time as a Toastmaster she smoothly took over proceedings and introduced the meeting functionaries who help the meeting to run effectively. Each functionary clearly explained their role and how it helps the meeting attendants get the most out of the meeting;
• Zahndri Prinsloo was the Grammarian who chose the word of the day as ‘Flabbergasted’ (meaning stunned, shocked or astonished)
• Yue Cao (pictured below) was the meeting’s Harkmaster
• Fahad Alturkait was the Seargant-at-Arms
• Anna Bevan was the Timekeeper
• Andrew Isabirye was the meeting reporter

Yumi Lynch as the Toastmaster for the evening

Yue Cao as the evening’s Harkmaster

Following these introductions, the meeting entered the speech section. The first speaker was Arsen Shnasev gave a speech entitled By all means, Marry! This speech gave us a humorous insight into the institution of marriage. Arsen delivered some memorable analogies which included comparing marriage to cooking, even comparing people in unhappy marriages to philosophers! His speech lasted for 7 minutes and 24 seconds and was evaluated by Mohammed Salih who highlighted the speeches structure and use of quotes and statistics as the strong points.

Arsen Shnasev seeing the humorous side to marriage

The second speech was by a visitor to London Victorians – Elodie Allion who gave a speech entitled Networking. This speech gave us a useful background on the value of networking and also provided us with useful tips on how to get the most out of the various networking scenarios we find ourselves in. Elodie spoke for 6 minutes and 45 seconds, and the speech was evaluated by Georgie Williams who praised Elodie’s super practical tips and the various speech tactics she used to persuade the audience.

Elodie Allion giving a speech on Networking

The third and final speech was by our veteran toastmaster Florian Bay. This was an advanced speech from the Public Relations Manual. Florian played the role of the UK Prime minister responding to an unprovoked nuclear attack during World War III. After Florian’s speech, Florian had to field difficult questions from an attentive and slightly distressed audience ranging from Martial Law, Food rationing, International Diplomacy and Conscientious Objectors! All in a day’s work for a wartime leader, who needs to see a blockbuster action film when we have our very own Florian Bay! The speech lasted for 6 minutes and the question phase lasted 4 minutes 12 seconds and was evaluated by Pascale Monteil who commended the emotional connection Florian was able to make and his ability to uplift the nation during a difficult time. This speech earned Florian the Best Speaker award and Pascale the Best Evaluator speech as voted by the meeting attendees.

Florian Bay winning the Best Speech award

After the speeches, our Sargent-at-Arms introduced the 12 guests to the club. A great sight to see as the London Victorians club once again demonstrating our ability to attract new people.

The club’s guests being introduced by Fahad Alturkait

The second part of the session was a special workshop hosted by Brad Revell who gave us a workshop on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). Brad explained the meaning of NLP as ‘A relationship between successful patterns of behaviour’. And during the workshop Brad shared insights into how we can use techniques of NLP to become more effective public speakers, going into some depth on how each part of the phrase Neuro Linguistic Programming relates to the different aspects of speaking. The tips could be applied to both beginner and advanced speakers and the London Victorian’s club will provide plenty of opportunities to apply these valuable methods!

Brad Revell giving a workshop on NLP

After Brad’s workshop, Yumi introduced our General Evaluator for the club as Andy Hammond who commended our club on our energy and enthusiasm and on the creative and informative speech titles. Yumi then handed the meeting back to our Club President Nuala who announced an award achieved by one our club’s most distinguished Toastmasters; Fahad Alturkait achieved the Triple Crown Pin Award given to members who achieve three education awards in a single program year. This is an immense achievement which also proves to show that you are never too experienced to achieve something for the first time!

Andy Hammond and Nuala McHugh