Written by Michelle
London Victorians moved to online meetings in March 2020, in response to the emerging coronavirus pandemic. Two months on, virtual meetings have become our new normal: anchoring our weeks, teaching us new skills, and giving us the unique opportunity to chat to fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests from across the globe.
In recent weeks we’ve had visitors from all four corners of the world – including Italy, Poland, The US and Nigeria – join us each Tuesday for speeches, evaluations, and table topics. Visitors get the chance to participate in our meetings, and we in turn get the unique opportunity of finding out first-hand what life is like right now in far-flung parts of the world.
Together, we are mastering the art of Zoom meetings (who know you could assign people to break-out rooms?!), perfecting our public speaking and speech writing skills, supporting each other with thoughtful feedback, and continuing to keep our vibrant community of speakers connected.
Our online meetings follow the same format as they did before the lockdown, albeit virtually. Following an introduction from our president Paulina, the toastmaster of the evening – in this case the bubbly, vivacious Lucy – took to the stage to introduce our functionaries. These roles, which include timekeeper, grammarian, and meeting reporter, offer all members of our club the chance to take to the stage and build varied skills. Members then delivered prepared speeches, which were followed by evaluations. Evaluations are a key part of the Toastmaster journey, offering speakers the chance to grow and improve week after week. Following a break, where members and guests alike chatted and got to know each other, we moved on to impromptu speaking slots in the form of table topics. This might sound scary, but it truly is one of the best ways to improve your speaking skills and your ability to think on the spot. The evening finished with a report from our guest general evaluator, to ensure that every speaker and functionary received an evaluation to support their development – and the evening closed with awards and updates from our president.
Wherever you are in the world, and whether you’re a member of a Toastmasters club or a curious guest, we’d love to welcome you into our club one Tuesday evening. If you’re looking for a friendly community to learn from, a supportive place to practice your public speaking and leadership skills, or if you just want to chat to some friendly faces, join us at our next meeting on 26 May, from 6:45-9pm.