28/05/14 – The Finale
As chair for the evening, Jayne, invited us to enjoy the packed programme of what would be the final meeting of the 2013/14 season. Despite the wintery feel to the night, it was good to see many of the members in attendance.
James opened the meeting with his inaugural speech as President for the year. James never fails to surprise with his ability to add an anecdote to any occasion. Reminding us that the two newcomers would undertake their B1 speeches (Making a start) James was hopeful that we would give an insight into the lives of Simon and Graham. We were not to be disappointed….
First, Simon took to the lectern and we were soon hearing of how, through his speech “Life is what you make of it” the trials and tribulations that had surrounded him but had not stopped him from getting up, time and again, dusting himself off and looking for a new challenge. After seven minutes the audience were clearly ready to hear more. Ivan evaluated Simon’s speech and after giving pointers on poise and stance at the lectern left us in no doubt that Simon should move on. We look forward to Simon’s B2 in the new season.
Graham, our second ‘newbie’ then took his place at the lectern, again a B1 “The delivery room and soiled napkins” a title that certainly had us wondering if we would be sharing a fathers pain during childbirth. With an insight into the etiquette around napkins and place settings within Buckingham Palace this speech provided the meeting with an opportunity to hear of Graham’s professional skills and how to use a napkin should we be invited to the biggest home in London. Carol’s evaluation of Graham’s speech was loud and clear – move on to B2. A few points on eye contact and involuntary hand gestures but it was clear that once again another strong newcomer to Sans Souci.
With Roy being our third speaker of the night, taking on his B9 “I am not Fred West”, we knew we were in for Roy’s usual slant on a topic but perhaps had not anticipated his loathing of ants and how he has become a serial killer of these busy insects. With a new use for the gavel during summer looming, Roy told the meeting of the devastation caused by such small critters. Being evaluated by Phil the meeting were treated to the usual dryness of Phil’s approach as he started his summation with the phrase “B9 – Roy killed it”. Clearly ready to move onto the B10 Masterpiece, Phil did remind Roy not to bring something new into the conclusion although commenting on Roy’s good use of pauses and rhetorical questions.
The final speech of the night, the B10 Masterpiece by David did not disappoint. Again an extremely adept speaker we were invited to “Meet the ancestor”. With an insight into David’s genealogy we were taken on a trip through his parentage back to a shoe maker, Jackson Godfrey. It soon became clear from David’s knowledge of the subject as to how closely related our families are and how we are all linked as cousins. Being invited by David, at the close of his speech, to turn to our neighbour and “meet the family”. A speech evaluated by Hilary and Alan, and feedback being given by the guest evaluator, Alan. Clearly a speech that achieved the level of a Masterpiece and as suggested by Alan, one that could be called upon to be given at any Rotary event. Alan gave constructive feedback on the use of pause after rhetorical questions and raising the voice whilst commending David on his manner of voice and poise. With four speeches concluded and a definitive yes to each of the members moving on.
Breaking for an interval and a feast of homemade lemon drizzle cakes supplied by Chloe the meeting resumed with the Topics session led by Janet (E). Topics, probably the most dreaded part of the evening, witnessed Janet producing books from a black bag and asking volunteers to talk around the title of the book for two minutes. Bob on Rock and Roll. Always a pleasure, Bob told the meeting he is not one for jigging around and perhaps ballroom waltz would be best if he were to spare his partner’s toes. Janet (W) on Birds. Seeing a bird box had fallen from a tree with two chick blue tits lying on the ground, Janet shared the sad story of watching a magpie swoop down and take the youngsters away – with the group taking this on board, Janet quickly diverted the meetings attention from the sadness of the event with an anecdote of two ducks who had taken up position, for the last three years, on her garden pond. Brian on France. Bonjour started his speech and Brian was reminding us of the Eiffel Tower and the romance of a beautiful City. All before telling us about his experience of eating frogs legs disguised as chicken wings. Certainly something they don’t serve at Nandos which is a firm favourite on Brian’s list of eateries. Phil on Income Tax told us he is “not a figure man” but cleverly linked the speech to the aspect of individuals making exorbitant amounts of money from ‘meths’ but not being able to spend it for fear of being caught for taxes. Al Capone being used as an analogy. Hilary on Railways told us of her company being the biggest freight user out of Southampton and the challenges faced in providing a green/cheap service to customers who want their goods tomorrow. Ivan on Football, took us into a bookshop in Hay on Wye where he has inadvertently bought books that he had not intended to buy and of book sculptures that adorn the town. Carol on Butterflies shared the beauty of the insects, although admitting she knew little about butterflies, Carol managed to keep the meeting entertained effortlessly with her effusive personality.
Thomas as Topics Evaluator appeared probably the most relaxed he has at the lectern as he summed up the session. Unusually awarding scores out of ten as he went through the feedback, Thomas left the lectern having awarded Bob the Topics trophy and a clear candidate for future evaluation roles. During Club Business Janet (W) informed the meeting that Egor, who had recently attended a meeting to practice a business pitch for Richard Branson, had been successful and wished Janet to pass on his grateful thanks for the groups input into his presentation.
David reminded the group that he had copies of the new speakers guide for purchase and that he had a few more business cards left for members to hand out advertising Sans Souci to promote new memberships. Jayne confirmed that during the summer she would be emailing out regarding forthcoming competitions, the first of which would be in October and would be the Souffle Competition. On another point, following the recent email dissemination from Phil and David, Jayne had contacted The Speakers Trust and would be representing Sans Souci during the summer months working with 16-17 year olds on The Challenge a method of supporting young adults on learning how to speak in public whilst preparing for business presentations that they would deliver to a Dragons Den style session where peers and parents would be in the audience.
The first meeting of the newly formed committee would take place on Monday 2nd June at 7.00pm for 7.30pm at the Barn.
The evening climaxed with a general evaluation by James. Had we achieved what we had hoped to do, had the meeting delivered a variety of speeches at various levels where we had learnt from their content and the feedback given by the various evaluators? Had the evening entertained and had it been conducted within the formal setting of Sans Souci standards? James cannot fail to enlighten any event and with his lyrical waxings it was clear that the event had certainly lived up to Sans Souci expectations and levels of quality. With the best speech trophy being awarded to David and the best evaluator trophy being awarded to Ivan, a small presentation was made to Alan. With thanks to Brian for his excellent support as Timekeeper, the final meeting of 2013/14 was closed.
Jayne Youdan (28/05/2014)