We had another enjoyable meeting of Toastmasters in Dorchester on Wednesday 19 October, compered by Luke McLachlan, with moving speeches by Christine Wallach and Rosie Barfoot. As ever, we had lots of laughter as we learnt together.

Christine’s speech was entitled ‘A Mother’s Sorrow’ – a speech she has developed from her own research and experience to use in schools to discourage children from experimenting with drugs. She presented us with lots of facts about drug misuse and in so doing, amply filled the requirements of her seventh project from the Competent Communicator manual – Research Your Topic.

Rosie invited the audience to gather round as she sat to tell us the story of El Dorado. I’m not sure what we were expecting with such a title, but the story was about her visit to another Toastmasters club while she was abroad. She had inadvertently arrived at the club for their humorous speech competition and Rosie shared her very varied reactions to the speeches given – and her conviction that Casterbridge Speakers was, undoubtedly, the best club to belong to. This was for her fourth speech in one of the advanced speech manuals – Storytelling.

Table Topics with Steve Graham included such diverse subjects as whether we preferred town or country, and what we would queue up for. Laura McHarrie was grammarian and her word of the day was ‘Inclusive’.

My general evaluation included the challenge to advanced speakers in the club to have a speech prepared to give at short notice so that if, as was the case on Wednesday, someone had to drop out due to illness, someone could step in and take their place.

I also suggested to the evaluators generally that ‘less is more’ – concentrating on a few points can make more of an impact. Clearly the person who needed to hear that most was myself as I then proceeded to go over time! My personal challenge is to stay within my 9 ½ minutes maximum time next time I do a general evaluation.

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