Dorchester based speaker, Laura McHarrie, took advantage of a three week vacation in Oz to visit one of the myriad Toastmasters International speaker clubs in Australia.  Having been a member of Casterbridge Speakers since it founded in 2009, she was keen to experience how it is done down under!  Staying just a few miles from the Hawksbury Valley speakers club, members were delighted she took time out to attend their 699th meeting.

hawkesbury vale toastmasters“The first thing I noticed was how their agenda was upside down.  Once the meeting was opened, they began with the impromptu speeches. Whereas, in Dorchester, we always start with the three prepared speeches followed by their evaluations. The two minute impromptu speeches which we call Table Topics always come second as a lively finale to the evening’s meeting. Laura elaborates;

“There were a couple of extra things they had on their agenda which will be put on the Casterbridge Speakers committee agenda for consideration.  The first was a three minute book review.  The second was a two minute toast.  Given it had been the Queen’s official birthday the week previously, with thanks to Charles, we raised our glasses to Her Majesty.

Toasting is an art in its own right.  Many have joined Casterbridge Speakers because they have to make a best man or the father of the bride speech.  Honing toasting skills is just one of many speaker opportunities members are often found wanting.

Casterbridge Speakers, having been founded in April 2009, has a mere 416 meetings under its belt.  However, it is one of the top 20 clubs in the Uk.  It meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month at The Wessex Royale in High West Street, Dorchester.

Join us on the 17th July 2013 for the annual Open Evening.  You can choose to sit and watch how members practice the art of public speaking and evaluating.  Or if you fancy a challenge, then take part in the impromptu speaking session in the second half.

All are welcome.  If you’d like more information before you decide do contact Laura McHarrie the clubs Vice President of Public Relations on 07962 626604 or visit the website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.