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Monday 4 May 2020

Meeting Report for Wednesday 29th April, 2020

We held an extra meeting this month - because there were five Wednesdays - and took advantage with an entertaining and high quality speechathon, in which six members delivered a wide variety of speeches; six others evaluated them. There were twenty-two attendees for this Zoom meeting.
Screenshot of a Toastmasters Zoom meeting
Brian was Timekeeper and Flemming, Toastmaster. Zoom Master was Marcin.
The speeches were:
Melanie ~ "Fat Away" Failure. Public Relations #4 - Speaking Under Fire (6:00-8:00 mins)
Eugene ~ "Turning Points" Leadership Development # 1-1 - Icebreaker (4:00-6:00 mins)
Debbie ~ "The Waiting Game" Dynamic Leadership #1-2 - Evaluation and Feedback - 1 (5:00-7:00 mins)
Gosia ~ "Been there, Done it, Got the T-shirt!" Presentation Mastery #101 - Icebreaker (4:00-6:00 mins)
Julie ~ "Against all Odds" Engaging Humour #1-1 - Icebreaker (4:00-6:00 mins)
Alice ~ "Story" Innovative Planning #1-4 - researching and Presenting (5:00-7:00 mins)
The speeches were evaluated by Rembrandt, Ian, Sarah, Sonia, Ilaria, Simon.
We then held the Open Feedback session - chaired by David, in which audience members are invited to add an extra two minutes of commendations and one minute of recommendations per speech.
It was then time for Nick, our President, to award the prizes which were as follows:
Best Speaker: Gosia
Best Evaluator: Ilaria
Our next Zoom meeting will be on 13th May, 2020. Guest are very welcome! Please visit our club EasySpeak page if you'd like to attend as a guest.

In other news:
Many congratulations to Excalibur members Latifa, who gained a superb second place in the District International Speech Competition, and also to Cat, who came an excellent third in the Speech Evaluation Contest. The club is proud of you!
And last, but not least - a huge congratulations to Excalibur's Sonia, who was MC for the conference. Nothing fazed her as she handled everything thrown her way with great professionalism. We are all in awe!

Monday 27 April 2020

Meeting Report for 22nd April, 2020

Twenty-five Excalibur members attended our Zoom meeting, with Sarah acting as Toastmaster and Rembrandt performing the ZoomMaster role.
Andrew kept everyone on their toes with his Table Topics session. 
The formal speeches were:
Lynne: "Go Forth and Lead" (Strategic Relationships #2-1 - Understanding Your Leadership Style.)
Sonia: "Six Degrees of Separation" (Interpretive Reading #4 - The Play).
Sue: "Yearbook" (Presentation Mastery #2-3 - Introduction to Toastmasters Mentoring).
The speeches were evaluated by Ian, Cat and Flemming before Simon hosted the Open Feedback session. This session invited everyone present to add 2 mins more commendations and one minute more of recommendations.
Thanks to Excalibur club member Simon, who delivered the Open Feedback report.
The awards for the evening were:
Best Speaker: Lynne
Best Table Topic: Ken
Best Evaluator: Cat
Our next meeting is on 29th April - courtesy of an extra Wednesday in the month. This will be a speakathon, with six speakers delivering high quality and very different speeches. Guests are most welcome - please see our EasySpeak page for meeting-joining details.

In Other News...
Huge congratulations to Excalibur members Cat and Latifa, who recently conquered all in the Division L Speech Evaluations and International Speech Competition. And congratulations also to Excalibur member Flemming, who also performed superbly. Cat and Latifa now advance to the District level competition. Good luck to both of them!

Tuesday 14 April 2020

Meeting Report for 14th April 2020

Excalibur enjoyed its second online Zoom meeting. Members are already on top of the new technology; Zoom will continue to be used until the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.
Toastmaster Melanie negotiated us smoothly and efficiently through the evening. Guests were introduced by Anne; then Ian headed a thought-provoking Table Topics session.
Three very different speeches were delivered. Freddie amused us with "An Ode to Brian Skelton" (Special Occasion Speeches #3 - The Roast - 3:00-5:00 mins ); Flemming practised his Area-winning speech "Step by Step" (Competent Communication Manual #9 - Persuade With Power - 5:00-7:00 mins) in preparation for his inevitable win at Division; Ilaria provided very useful advice for virtual meetings with "On Air" (Strategic Relationships #2-1 - Understanding Your leadership Style - 5:00 - 7:0 mins). 
Eugene, Cat and Andrew then evaluated the speeches, before Errol took the Open Feedback session, in which members and guests are invited to add additional commendations and recommendations.

Our thanks to Karthik - a former member - who was the meeting's General Evaluator. He told us what he liked and gave suggestions as to what might be improved for future meetings.
Thank you to Sarah who did an excellent job as Zoom Master.  
Nick, our President, then announced the awards. The Best Speaker award went to Freddie; Sonia was judged best Table Topic contestant; and Cat, once again, demonstrated her prowess as a speech evaluator - taking that award, despite strong competition.
Our next online Zoom meeting is at 19:00 on 22 April. Guests are very welcome - the meeting link will be available on easySPEAK. For security reasons, the meeting will be password-protected. Please inform the Excalibur VPE or Zoom Master in advance if you would like to attend. 


Monday 30 March 2020

Meeting Report for 25th March 2020

Never shy of a new challenge, thirty Excalibur members took part in the club's first virtual meeting, via Zoom. Members were soon joining in, (and with growing confidence), thanks in part to the tireless efforts of our dedicated and excellent VPE, Ilaria, who is very familiar with Zoom, and took the time to demonstrate the tech to some of the members before the meeting. For a number of our members, the challenges and rewards that lie ahead offer a whole new dimension to public speaking.

The meeting followed our familiar format, and the prize winners were:

Best Speaker: Ian Brown
Best table Topics: David Lennon
Best Evaluator: Lynne Cantor

Our next meeting, which will also be online, is on 8th April at 19:00.
Guests are very welcome - you can find the next Zoom meeting link on the Excalibur easySpeak page.

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Excalibur 2020 International Speech and Evaluation Competitions

11th March found Excalibur members and guests in a spacious lecture theatre, generously provided by University College London, for the club's annual International Speech and Evaluation contests.
Entrants in the Speech Contest were: Flemming, Simon, Ben, Ian and Sonia, with Jill kindly stepping in as Chief Judge, at short notice. Monika was Competition Chairperson.
Contestants in the Evaluation contest were Cat, Sarah, Ian E, Andrew, Ian B, and Eugene. Ken performed the Chairperson role.
The quality of the speeches and evaluations was high, but there could be only one winner in both categories (who will go on to represent Excalibur at the Areal Level). The results were as follows:

International Speech Competition
Winner: Flemming
Second Place: Simon
Third Place: Ben
Evaluation Competition
Winner: Cat
Second Place: Andrew
Third Place: Ian E
It was a great evening - and many thanks to everyone who attended, competed or performed a role - with the coronavirus threat hanging over us. And of course, many congratulations to our winners!
Our next meeting will be at 19:00 on 25th March, but due to the spread of the virus, this will not be at our usual Fitzrovia venue. Instead we will be trialling our first online meeting, via Zoom. Watch this space!

Sunday 1 March 2020

Meeting Report for 26th February, 2020

Flemming welcomed guests at the door, before Brian called us to order. President Nick then introduced the evening before handing over to our Toastmaster, Ian.
Our Time Keeper was Eugene.
Melanie was our Table Topics Master, and she delivered a challenging but very entertaining theme: define the (obscure) word. Each TT contestant was, as is the Excalibur way, immediately evaluated for up to 45 seconds - that evaluation must include a recommendation.

We then settled back to enjoy three prepared speeches. Nick delivered "No Good Deed Goes Unpunished" (Humorously Speaking #5 - The Humorous Speech).
This was followed by Ken, with "Broken Childhood Dreams" (The Entertaining Speaker #2 - Resources for Entertainment).
Finally, Carolina delivered "Unmatched Socks" (Her Centurion TM Club International Speech Winner).
The speeches were evaluated by Desi, Ian and Lynne.
Freddie then took the Open Feedback session, in which audience members are invited to add three more minutes of feedback per speech (2 mins commendations, one min recommendations).
Our General Evaluator for the evening was Rembrandt, who spent nine minutes analysing what people with roles had got right, and what could be improved.
Our prize winners were:
Best Evaluator: Lynne
Best Table Topic: Julie
Best Speaker: Carolina

Our next meeting is om 11th March. It will be the Excalibur Club International Speech Competition. We start at the earlier time of 18:30, and the venue will be University College London. Guests are very welcome but you must sign up on Eventbrite.

Sunday 16 February 2020

Meeting Report for Wednesday 12th February, 2020

The evening began with Robin calling us to order, before handing over to our president, Nick. He then introduced our Toastmaster for the evening, David.
Lynne wore two hats tonight - she performed both the Meet & Greet role and stepped in at the last moment to be Timekeeper, as our scheduled Timekeeper suffered a calendar mix up.
After our guests had been invited on stage, Debbie, our Table Topics Master challenged us with a number of well-chosen questions. Each TT contestant was evaluated for 15-45 seconds by a member of the audience immediately after they have completed their talk.
We then moved on to our prepared speeches. Monika's speech was "Pathways is Coming to Town" - Speeches by Management #5 - Delivering Bad News. This was followed by Freddie, with "An Award for David" - Specialist Occasion Speeches #4 - Presenting an Award. Thirdly, Ian delivered "Selective Moral Disengagement in the Exercise of Moral Agency" - Speaking to Inform #5 - The Abstract Concept. 
The speeches were expertly evaluated fir 2-3 mins each by Ken, Brian and Sarah.
We then enjoyed an excellent additional item: our data scientist guest Eduardo, after analysing thousands of TED talks, spoke for 10 minutes to reveal the secrets of effective public speaking. As they were "secrets", I'm not sharing them here...
Chinkata ran the open feedback session - in which members and guests are invited to contribute additional commendations (2 mins) and recommendations (1 minute) to each of those who had delivered speeches. 
Julie then delivered an insightful 10 minute Open Feedback on everyone who hadn't been previously evaluated. 
President Nick then awarded the prizes: Sarah was red hot tonight, scooping best Table Topic and best Evaluator, and congratulations to Ian, who won Best Speaker. 
Our next meeting is at 19:00 on Wednesday 26th February, at The Fitzrovia Community Centre, 2 Foley Street, W1W 6DN. Guests are very welcome!