Chair Pat Burness chose (sigh) “end of summer” as theme of the September 1st meeting.  We’ll miss the balmy days but we have lots to look forward to, for example, the club’s Humourous Speech and Table Topics contest to be held on September 29th.  Lorraine Van Wagner will chair and Mike Proudlock will act as Chief Judge.  As with any contest, we need judges, timers, ballot counters and most importantly, contestants.  Visit easy speak and sign up.  It’s easy.  As Nike says, just do it.

Many people avoid Table Topics because they fear impromptu speaking.  It is literally fear of the unknown.  But, as Mike Proudlock stressed, you can prepare for the Table Topics contest.  How can you do that?  Here are some of Mike’s tips and given that he has won many TT contests in the past, his ideas are well worth considering.  First, read the rulebook and familiarize yourself with the judging ballot.  You can download these documents for free from the Toastmasters International website.   Pay attention to the timing lights.  Going overtime will disqualify you.  Project a professional appearance, e.g. leave your comfortable but ragged blue jeans at home.  Avoid eating before any contest  You don’t want to fight the belchies before you have to speak.  In short, you want the judges to remember you in a most favourable way.

At Table Topics contests, you no doubt have seen contestants slowly stroll to the podium.    It’s better to walk briskly and confidently to the podium.  You do not want to look like a foot dragger who can’t think of something to say.

Mike suggested that you always have a structure in mind when you tackle Table Topics.  For example, you can start with a question to the audience and then make a point that likely has relevance for the audience.  Look at connections that could be helpful to you.  For example, if the contest is being held close to the date of November 11th, Remembrance Day, it is likely that the topic will be related to that particular date.  Keep in mind that there are many different ways to approach any topic.  Create a structure for yourself, dig deeply and use your imagination.  Even if you don’t like the topic that is presented, you can put your own twist on it and bring the house down.

Thanks Mike for a most informative and helpful presentation.  Bart Burness and Zana Maksimovic delivered prepared speeches this evening.  Bart is working from an advanced manual and demonstrated how to initiate a conversation with a stranger.  Zana is also working from an advanced manual.  She explained how to use CASE to create a memorable speech.  CASE stands for colour, authentic passion, shape/structure and execution.  Thank you Bart and Zana.

Pat asked us to remember to use easy speak to sign ourselves in for roles.  Bolton Banter’s Humourous Speech and Table Topics contest will be held on September 29th.  We will be holding an open house on October 20th.  Caledon’s Mayor has been invited to attend.

Our next meeting will be held Thursday, September 15th.  We look forward to seeing you then.  In the meantime, jump in and sign up for a role for our club’s contest on September 29th.  Should you have any questions,  contact Lorraine and Wagner or any member of the Executive Committee.

Best regards – Lorraine Van Wagner, DTM, Webmaster