Toastmasters, weddings and cheeky squirrels

Bute House at Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, Sco...
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As usual, the meeting last Thursday was another cornucopia of ideas, information and good fun.  The TME, Graeme Buck, started off with a brief explanation, for the guests, of the founding of  Toastmasters, the aims of  Toastmasters clubs and the benefits you can expect to receive when you join.  Graeme introductory question was, ‘If you were either the First Minister or the Prime Minister, what would be the most enjoable part of the job for you?’   

Answers ranged from ‘ going on Question Time’, ‘living in Bute House (The First Minister’s official residence in Edinburgh), ‘having a parking space near Bute House’ to ‘practising public speaking and communication skills’, ‘using the lovely stationery’, and ‘the food’.  Fortunately, no-one in the room was standing in the election on Thursday.  However, as effective public speaking skills have been shown to enhance a politician’s chance of success (see Barak Obama), perhaps some of our members are taking the first step on the road to a political career?

Due to unavoidable circumstances, two of our speakers had to cancel and that left us with one speaker – me.  I delivered a speech entitled ‘Border Crossing’, the 4th project – the Dramatic Speech, in the Entertaining Speaker’s manual.  Eileen Scott gave a very assured and balanced evaluation and quite correctly pointed out  that I rushed the ending, probably due to the fact I went over time.  

In Club Business I reminded members that we will be holding the club’s AGM and elections for the next committee, to take over on 1st July, at the next meeting on 18th May.  Other dates for the calendar are Thursday 26th May when I will be conducting a 2 hour workshop on boosting your creativity, which is part of the Success Communication Series, ‘Building Your Thinking Power, The Power of Ideas’.  The workshop is open to members of the club, is in the Central Library where the club usually meets, will be interactive and fun and is absolutely free.  Exact details will be sent by email nearer the time, but if you want to sign up now, please contact me at .  The other date for the diary is Saturday 18th June when we will be holding the club’s annual dinner at the Royal Scots Club, Edinburgh.  we had such a good time at the Charter Dinner , incorporating a Tall Tales Contest, last year that we have decided to make it an annual event.  This year it will also include the presentation of the Toastmaster of the Year award and the Waverley Achievement Award for the most improved speaker.   We also welcomed new member Pauline Dix to the club. 

As we were ahead of time, we had an extended break which gave members and guests the opportunity to get to know each other and guests to find out more about the club.

After the break, Andrew Newman facilitated a very topical, creative and hilarious Table Topics session as members and guests  were asked to adopt the personae of participants in the royal wedding.   Characters included the organiser of a street party in the Midlands; a waiter in attendance at the royal stag do; the equerry who fell from his horse during the royal procession; a member of MI5 who spilled the beans about the security. We also heard a rant from a member of the public on the cost of the royal wedding and the impressions of a villager listening to the commentary on the radio in a hut in the African bush.  The award for the best TT went to Kirsten Mckenzie for her transformation into a squirrel caught up in the crowds outside the palace at the royal wedding.

David Dick gave well balanced TT evaluations that were constructive and useful.   

New members Pauline Dix (Timer) and Jacqui Thomson (Ah Counter) performed their roles for the first time and gave well prepared and informative introductions and report.  Stephen Dix was in the GE hot seat for the first time and proved that he is not only a good listener but a good observer. 

It was another successful, well attended meeting.  To visit the website go to

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