Our first February meeting of the Reigate Rhetoric took place last week, and it went well. Continuing the theme, new members volunteered themselves with roles, to get their public speaking progress going 

Silvia, back from Italy with her stylish shoes, opened the meeting as Sargent at arms and gave us all a warm welcome. The meeting then was run by our esteemed Gatwick Communicators president, Tom Thompson. He brought fun, energy and a high level of organisation to the proceedings. He was well supported by Dave Lister who took a last minute offer to be timekeeper.

As ever, we had guests from other clubs in the area. Debbie Crate, a long term member from Mole Valley, came to see us, as did Pauline, a new member at Gatwick Communicators. It was a pleasure to welcome them

The warm up was delivered by Paul Burlacu who asked the question often asked by parents: “should I get a dog?” which had the dog owners rushing to show off doggy pics, and the non dog owners suggesting that he steer well clear!

Then we had a variation on the speeches. We had one manual speech followed by two educational talks. The manual speech was by Feargal Hogan. He gave us insights into both the world of mentoring, and his own profession relating to shipping and maps of the world

Then I did an educational section about the use of props. I love using props and find them to be very handy for all sorts of reasons – to create vivid imagery, be playful, and break up the wordiness of public speaking. Feargal has kindly edited this talk and posted it on our website

Then Dave Goodman did an impromptu educational talk about…. Impromptu speaking! His top ten tips are well worth knowing. If you missed them – come along another evening and you may see them in action

Two of these talks were evaluated. Silvia evaluated the props talk, and offered nuggets, insights and suggestions. And Doris offered some feedback on Feargal’s speech, with some helpful recommendations

After a break, we had a stimulating topics session led by our own Leon Gadson. No drums in evidence, but some interesting and challenging topics to think about. It was a fun session and by the time Leon had finished, all had been able to speak. As we are starting to do, we had a vote, and it was wonderful to see John Drinkwater, from Epsom Speakers, win the topics ribbon.

The evening was closed with a brief general evaluation by me, and an encouragement to attend one of the many other Toastmaster meetings in the area

A fun evening, and we are now well into the groove of our meetings. We’ll be looking forward to the next meeting of 2019 on 25th February– see you there!

Charlie Warshawski

For The Reigate Rhetoric