Willpower, Life Authorship & Hurling – No Conspiracy at London Victorians

London Victorians Toastmasters Club meeting report by Matthew – 8th of August 2017

Our Toastmaster Ed kicked the evening off with wit, enthusiasm and a time-honoured Toastmasters theme – where’s our favourite place to go on holiday, or place we’d like to go?

In case you’re interested I’d really like to travel across Iceland for the barren moon-like landscape, but no doubt you’re now thinking about your own holiday dreams….

Back to the meeting – we had some exceptional speeches, of course. Nick managed to triangulate two themes from the previous week – spending too much time on your phone, and being a bit obsessive with news. For Nick, his problem was both, as he almost wished his phone to feed him another story. Nick challenged us to think about willpower and training the brain – qualities that I think investing your time in Toastmasters is a solid demonstration of.

Charlotte introduced the concept of ‘life authorship’. In essence it’s about taking control of your own narrative and crafting the story that you want to. In order to do this you need a character (yourself), a quest and allies. For Charlotte her quest was met when she performed live music on stage in front of thousands of people. I think this was particularly poignant for all of us taking our next steps at Toastmasters – setting yourself a goal will push you out of your comfort zone.

Shifting from the self to the wider world (well, Ireland at least) Karen took us through the world of hurling, so every person at the meeting should now be suitably knowledgeable to explain what a hurl is (the stick they play with) and why it could be termed a ‘clash of ash’ (the hurls are made of ash!). Karen used visuals particularly well to illustrate her speech in my opinion, including to demonstrate her hurling heritage with some ol’ school pics of the family and the local club. But we need not rely on old photos to get a taste of this curious sport – it’s now on Sky Sports.

For the table topics, Alexandro challenged speakers to come and defend or challenge some conspiracy theories, ranging from the old fashioned to the slightly risqué. I particularly liked John assertion that the world was flat, and that the spherical idea had in fact been concocted by greedy globe salesman.

This evening also saw the experimentation of using a panel for evaluation, which was an interesting exploration of how we can give feedback in different formats. I think it’s definitely an area that we can develop as a club.

Well done to all the speakers, thanks for all who took a role, and finally a particular round of applause for:

Best Speaker – Karen

Best Table Topic – John

Best Evaluator – Annabel

New Member – Mohammed

New Member – Ahmad