Dazzling Variety Before Christmas

The meeting on 14 November was opened by the President, Roland, who welcomed members and guests and announced that Phoenix Speakers will move to another venue. Starting 9 Jan 2019, it will convene at the Department for Transport, 33 Horseferry Road. That will mean new, interesting guests and members from the department and much lower membership fees (£91 for a full year).

Shane, the Toastmaster of the Day, provided some background on the Toastmasters organisation and the personal experience of being a Toastmaster before guiding the meeting with style and flourish along its course.

During the Table Topics session, Trang introduced a new Table Topics format by using the end of the previous speech to make up the topic for the next speech. She did that fast and seemingly without effort, so that the session acquired a very dynamic character and covered a variety of topics. Scott, a guest, remembered being called up to the headmaster in his school days – that he worried about what would happen  – only to be told that he had been selected for an elite school. Roland remembered his early school days as having been member of various science fiction clubs that had formed among his friends at school and about igniting small rockets. Bryan talked about whom to take on a space ship trip. Damian, a guest and Shane’s son, talked about football and how he finds relaxation in sport. Shane, Damian’s father, talked about running and how he finds relaxation in sport. Alex, a guest, remembered her shy days in school in a confident presentation that showed that she had overcome that problem. Iannis, a guest, elaborated calmly on the many skills one can learn and Brad gave examples from his own live to show that one can turn failure into success.

In the prepared speech session, Brian talked about “Tailoring your communication”. People have different communication styles. Some are controllers who want to stay on top at any cost. They might even turn down your ideas only to use them later for their own purposes. That can be annoying. But it can also be used to “seed” them with ideas – which they will try to use to their own advantage – and do what you actually wanted them to do. That is communication at top level.

Brad presented a fact finding report on cholesterol. Right after a milestone birthday (we keep that number  confidential), he had a routine health check and got an immediate prescription of heavy medication. Naturally, he queried that and that led to his presentation on HDL (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and many other things. Even without the heavy medication prescribed, he seemed very much alive.

By general vote, Brad was chosen as the best table topics speaker and Ana was chosen as the best Evaluator.

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  • Where

    We meet at the Department for Transport at Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR (see map).

    Nearby underground stations are Pimlico, St. James's Park and Victoria.

    Non Member Guests

    Civil servants with a Common Access Pass or staff of public bodies working with DfT are welcome to attend. Known colleagues and friends of existing DfT staff can attend if signed in by that DfT member of staff and escorted at all times by that DfT member of staff.
  • When

    We meet every second and fourth Wednesday of each month (except for the second meeting in December, because of Christmas). Assemble in reception of Great Minister House at 18.15 to sign-in for a start at 18:30.

    Next meeting Wed 22nd Jan