First of the year

For those of you who don’t know, the beginning of July represents the beginning of the Toastmasters year. The Chinese refer to 2013 as the year of the Snake. People born in the Year of the Snake are reputed to be thoughtful and wise, and the year itself is meant to signify ‘steady progress’. So what? I hear you ask.

Well I think this is rather apt because for each and every toastmaster- no matter what your level, each week we come to Toastmasters, we make steady progress. Even if we only take part in the warm up and don’t utter a single word publicly for the rest of the night, we are talking small steps to becoming world class public speakers. I stress this point because I really believe it. Case in point, on Wednesday 3rdJuly, one of our guests-Larissa made massive progress. She did her first table topic telling us confidently how Lewisham toastmasters feels like ‘her family’ She even lasted the full 2 minutes which was amazing!
We were honoured to host several guests on Wednesday night who also gave many other ‘First’ anecdotes. Including the first day at school (Didier), the first time on holiday (Afam), and the first time in the sea (Roystonof Bromley Toastmasters). Karlios, who took on the table topic evaluator role for the first time, managed to give positive feedback to every single table topic speaker. I look forward to witnessing their steady progress in the weeks to come.

There were lots of other noteworthy ‘first’ times. For example, Wednesday night was the first time Manoj attended a meeting as our club President and had a speech prepared. The first time Jason took on the Toastmaster role which he did extremely well. The first time our newest member Jacqui gave her speech to us – her new family which was about her family. We all hope to meet your sister one day!

We had a wonderful speech from Zhanna, who gave us a plotted history of Tea and even showed us how to make it! It’s the first time, I’ve seen tea drunk as part of a toastmasters speech and definitely the first time anyone has ever told me to pour tea into milk, not milk into tea. Clearly I’ve been going wrong all these years!

The 3rdprepared speech of the evening came from me, where I lamented on the quality of our decisions. That speech that won speech of the night, with Richard providing the winning evaluation for evaluating Jacqui’s speech. The table topic award went to our lovely American Toastmasters veteran guest- BiBi. In her week-long stay in the UK, Toastmasters Lewisham was the first club she attended. Her 16 years of progress was obvious as she skilfully avoided the ‘Kiss-and-tell’ question and instead told us to:
 “Never evaluate yourself as others will do it for you”  
We all need to take these wise and thoughtful words on board – for if we don’t, we will only stifle our own steady progress. Umm… I wonder if our new American friend was born in the year of the snake!

Should you choose to make the wise decision to continue your steady progress, I will see you Wednesday 17thJuly. In the meantime,

Happy New (Toastmasters) Year!




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