How do voluntary groups and organisations thrive and grow? One answer to this question is undoubtedly through the tenacity of their members.

Tenacity is one of Casterbridge Speakers Club’s values – “working determinedly to deliver agreed personal goals, club roles and the club’s success plan”. It was also the theme of  last night’s meeting and we experienced tenacity by the bucket load. We had new members speaking for the first time, and despite their nerves, receiving rapturous applause and heartfelt support. In fact, Siobhán Davis won best Table Topic speech.

We had members stepping proficiently into roles to cover for last minute sickness absence. Rachel Knowles delivered an inspirational education slot, by  In true tenacious fashion; having accessed the network’s training resources, she added her very own spin on it with humour and relevance. This led to her being presented with the evening’s Golden Nugget award.

Casterbridge Speakers Club is affiliated to Toastmasters International. We learn to be better leaders and communicators by practice and feedback. Evaluation is a key element of the process, and unlike many evaluations in the workplace, it is never judgemental. People are given suggestions about how they can improve their speech or performance in a role. Andrew Knowles gave Christine Wallach a great piece of advice about how she might increase the impact of her speech’s opening and ending by tying the two together. We all learned from his neat and thoughtful suggestion. Rosie Barfoot learnt that she could increase her impact on the audience by avoiding the pull to lean on the lectern. Of course I continue to learn that my ‘umms and errs’ in certain situations run wild and need to be better managed!!

Toastmasters is a journey of education and development. At Casterbridge Speakers, we are seeing individuals and the club go from strength to strength. The tenacity and commitment of our individual members is at the heart of that growth and our success. And it helps that we have a lot of fun doing it!

Caroline Brewer

General Evaluator 21/10/15

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