Our MeagaMeeting on 23 January included members from three Toastmaster clubs: Victorians, the Cardinals and Phoenix Speakers. MegaMeetings are an opportunity to visit neighbouring clubs or to be visited, to meet some new people and to get inspired. Every toastmasters club is different and we celebrated that by having some speeches, evaluations and roles like the time keeper and harkmaster handled by members of other clubs.

Brad was our dynamic Toastmaster of the Day who made sure that the various parts of the meeting were seamlessly joined. Caroline, a former Phoenix who was just visiting, got hoodwinked into the role of grammarian, so “hoodwinked” became the word of the day. To add variety, we had two table topics sessions with two different table topics masters and two different styles

First table topics master was Robert, whose topic were inspired by transport. Carolina was asked to reinvent the wheel but skilfully turned the topic into a complaint about failing here driving test for driving too slowly. Ariel insisted that there will be no “bus of the future”, as nobody at the department for transport finds buses sexy. Michelle was asked who should fund the railways and suggested that it would be best to close them down and just scrap them. Trang was fascinated by the depth of some underground stations and declared the tube as her favourite British transport system.

The second table topics session simulated a parliamentary discussion. It was chaired by Shane who took on some habits of John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, and insisted on “order”. On the floor of the mock parliament, Nuala, Caroline, Ga Lok and Zack fought valiantly against Aaron, Alex, Roland and Robert. Nonsense ruled. Vegetarian meals in schools were pitted against more burgers, the high-speed railway was just about stopped and a motion to dissolve Britain was proposed.

In the prepared speeches section, Trang described how she had experienced conflict with her family and how she had coped with it. She made the audience feel the discomfort of having their private space invaded by asking them to stand very closely in groups of three.

Ga Lok gave a “Toast to the Lassies” based on a poem by Robert Burnes, a Scottish poet who liked strong and outgoing women and managed to sire 12 children. Ga Lok handled the explicitly sexual terms in the poem by spelling them – which showed playful willingness to conform to taboos – and naturally drew more attention than the simple words would have done.

Roland looked for evidence that having fun by getting drunk was what motivated our forefathers to give up hunting and gathering, settle down and cultivate grain. He finished by quoting Benjamin Franklin: “Beer is living proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy”.

Ana evaluated the table topics sessions  and Bryan, Carolina and Nuala evaluated the speakers. Ariel, the harkmaster, dished out sweeties to all people who could show that they had listened well. Best table topics speaker of the evening award went to Michelle, Carolina was elected as the best evaluator and Ga Lok took the award as best speaker of the evening.

Members of Phoenix Speakers and its sister clubs as well as guests continued socialising in the White Horse pub across the road.

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