Monthly Archives: February 2012

Evaluating the Evaluators

Not many Toastmaster clubs anywhere hold evaluation contests that have more evaluators than audience members. I’m not certain that was exactly true last night at First Oakville but it came pretty close with 14 contestants.

Fourteen! I’ve never seen a contest with 14 competitors. 

Lots of new Toastmasters through their hats into the ring to give it a go and they did very well but it was the more “seasoned” who took the day. This is to be expected as evaluating another person’s speech is an art form and it takes some years to develop. That’s not to say a newcomer shouldn’t try. Entering a competition helps us to grow in confidence and get the nerves under control.

Toastmaster Val Clements was right on her game and several of us commented after the meeting at the bar in the Quality Inn hotel that we knew she had won the moment she ended her evaluation. It was warm and inclusive, helpful and well-structured. It wil be very interesting to watch the videos to study what she did so well.

And for the rest of us who didn’t place, there’s next year.

Glorious 2012 Charter Party

Comments were unanimously positive following Saturday night’s 2012 Charter Party.

The new venue at the Bronte Harbour Restaurant worked out very well and well over 100 people enjoyed an excellent dinner, an amazing International Speech Contest and then danced the night away.

As you will know if you were at the party, Marion West took first place in the speech contest and Tyler Bailey took second. Elaine Collins and Andy MacPherson both were at the top of their game and the contest could have easily gone any which way.

Congratulations to President Dave Webster and the Charter Party Committee and the contest crew for an excellent party and contest.

Photos from the party are available at Peter West Photography.

A Warmer Friendlier Parliamentary Process

Last night’s business session (for which I was the chair) presented the club with a warmer more accessible parliamentary process.

In several cases members asked questions in a form that was questionable at best and incorrect in fact. So why did I allow them to proceed?

It’s because their inquiries, although not correct in form, were quite correct in function.

We have, IMHO, become overly pedantic and dogmatic in our business sessions. This defeats the point of using parliamentary procedures which is supposed to ease the passing of business and not obstruct it.

In both cases the members, who were both fairly new Toastmasters, rose to points of parliamentary inquiry. Both were asking the chair to tell them: “What’s happening right now?”

To be correct, they should have risen (although rising is not absolutely necessary if for some reason the member is unable and raising a hand is permissible but just not as effective at getting the attention of the chair and said “Mr./Madame Chair I rise to a point of parliamentary inquiry”. Only if necessary can they interrupt a speaker who has the floor and no seconder is required and there is no debate (unless the inquiry ends up in a new motion being brought forward and then that motion is debatable).

Every member at anytime during a business session is free to ask “what’s happening” and that’s the important issue not the form in which the question is asked.

We can fix the form at another time. What’s more important right now is to encourage and not frustrate members from participating in their own business sessions.

To learn more, come to the Parliamentary Procedure Workshop tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 4) at the Quality Inn on Bronte Road from 9am to 11:30 pm.

I promise you a warmer friendlier workshop on our parliamentary process.

Last Chance

If you are still sitting on the fence about whether or not you should go to the Charter Party on February 11th, let me give you a little push.

For those of you who did not attend the International Speech Contest on January 19th, you missed an incredible evening.  Six speakers captivated us with their very personal stories about topics ranging from revenge to self-acceptance, and evoked emotions in the audience from laughter to heart-breaking sadness.  What a ride!  All of the speeches were excellent but only four were allowed to advance.  Congratulations to Marion West, Andy MacPherson, Tyler Bayley and Elaine Collins.

Too bad you missed it.

But wait!  You have one, and only one, more chance to see what you missed.  The four finalists have been practicing and honing their already brilliant speeches, and you can hear them at the Charter Party.  Be prepared to be moved by the extraordinary talent displayed by these four speakers.

So, yes, the venue for the Charter Party is beautiful, our President David Webster has tasted and confirmed that the food is wonderful, but it will be the speeches that will make the Charter Party an evening you won’t forget.

Now go buy a ticket.

Heather Cunningham, VP Membership, First Oakville Toastmasters