Archive for July 2006

My Second Table Topics Speech

July 27, 2006


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This week, I had my second table topics speech, and I made a real hash of it.

Unlike the first time, where I’d had some prompting from Helen (our then president), this time I was called up without any time to think about it.

And I was told I should talk about the worst job I’d ever had to do.

Which should’ve been easy enough. I was clear on what it was: working in a pea factory in Scotland. Now, this was a truly awful job, and there are a whole host of memorable and funny anecdotes I could’ve drawn on.

But my knees went to jelly, my mind to jam and I couldn’t remember anything much. So I blubbered on about the peas till the yellow light was lit, and I felt I’d done enough to be excused.

Pretty poor show, but at the end I felt relieved. After all, I’d not done very well but my first “cold” table topics speech was over. It hadn’t killed me. And I could live to fight another day.


“The ‘Yes, but…’ Man”

July 11, 2006

Another Monday night meeting is successfully behind me. I still haven’t got up there and strutted my speaking stuff, but it was good to take part and hear some excellent speeches.

The “Yes, but…” Man

The quality at Maidenhead Speakers Club is outstanding, and now I’ve been going for a few weeks I can really see the improvement in some of my fellow members, even if I have yet to do much speaking myself.

The first real speaker of the evening (real, as opposed to table topics or educational speaker) was David. I’d seen David speak a couple of months ago (actually, on my first night) and while his good humour had come across, and he’d really given a great speech, there was certainly some evidence of nerves that time.

This time, however, he was much more relaxed; better able to deal with the subject matter. One or two “erm”s crept in, but it was a great speech to listen to – really funny. I was especially impressed when he attempted to do a Brummy (= Birmingham, for non-Brits) accent – and failed. He fluidly managed to turn it into a joke and moved on.

His speech centered around an anecdote, about a Portugese person he’d been on a sales training course with, or given a training course to – I forget. Anyhow, this Portugese chap would not/could not accept responsibility for anything. No matter what the circumstances, his reply was always “Yes, but…”.

Now, this was interesting. Books on improving your public speaking will tell you it is important to use self-deprecation in your speech humour. And here was David centering his theme on a fault of someone else. It was funny. And it worked…

A Debate! Should We Support Dual Members?

July 6, 2006


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Well it’s been a few weeks since my last meeting, and I’m actually getting ready for the next on Monday.

My last meeting at Maidenhead was an unusual one, as much of the evening involved a debate, and there wasn’t time for “table topics”.

One of the members had attended a public speaking competition in Ireland – and she’d won! This trip had meant some out-of-pocket expense for her, so one of the Maidenhead club members had suggested she be given a contribution towards this from the club.

Sound uncontriversial?

Well the thing was, this person is a member of both the Maidenhead and Windsor clubs – and she’d won the competition on behalf of Windsor, not our club, Maidenhead.

However, Windsor did not have sufficient funds to support the trip. While the member had really represented Windsor in this case, it was suggested the visit had benefitted both clubs – and Maidenhead does have the funds.

The funds it was suggested we use were the proceeds from an event Maidenhead had organised on behalf of local clubs. So it was argued it was appropriate for this purpose.

The comittee had met and were split on whether or not this was the right thing to do, and on the night the club members were fairly undecided too. But everyone who wanted had a chance to have their say, and in the end it was decided the member should be supported with some cash.

It didn’t seem a great deal of money for so much debate, but it was the principle that counted.

Club democracy in action!