A double bill of self-improvement

Our Guy Fawkes evening meeting last night ably chaired by Phil Bradley as Toastmaster gave us two very high standard speeches, some entertaining table topics, and a new word to add to our vocabulary: taradiddle – a lie, fib or pretentious nonsense from grammarian Jenny Gater.

P1060222Matt Hegarty delivered an impressive speech urging us to take the ‘magic pill’ of daily exercise to fulfill project 9 ‘Persuade with power’ from the Competent Communicator manual. Matt used convincing arguments of the physical, mental and emotional benefits that a daily walk can bring to refresh the mind and body and remind us of the delights of the natural environment around us. All this for free! As he moved confidently between points, engaging us all with frequent eye contact, urging us with his voice and gestures, his control over his audience was palpable and he seemed to grow as he spoke. I’m off for a walk.

Already inspired, we were then treated to Paul Brennan presenting a 25-minute seminar on ‘Enhancing your personal impact’ from The Professional Speaker manual. This advanced speech challenged Paul to create and maintain interest in his audience over a much longer period than most speeches. He achieved this by deploying a variety of delivery methods: simply talking to us, using slides and a flip chart to demonstrate key points, and audience participation. lionWe learned about the impressions we leave on people, how eye movements can indicate our thought processes, and the impact of the ‘power pose’. A fascinating talk that held our attention right to the end.

For table topics suffice to say that if you ever see a lion tethered outside Asda, it belongs to Eddie Leeper (our winner) and is called Charles.

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