Meeting on October 21, 2013 at Café de l'Echelle

by Carol Bausor, General Evaluator of the Meeting 


A new venue for our meeting tonight …… what’s the effect on our communication, our exchanges, our old habits …… well, after a slightly conflicting understanding of the time when our meal was to be to served …. We got off to a good start.



Our President, Antonio Meza, welcomed our guests (10 of them!) before handing over to our genial Toastmaster of the Evening (TME), Sean Ryan who had chosen “Harvest Time” as our theme for the evening. He explained to us that in Ireland harvests are rather late, leading celebrations to be confused with those of Halloween. But then, the Irish will do anything for a celebration, will they not?


Sean confidently explained the evening’s proceedings, and called on June Allen to tell us a joke or give us a toast (or both). June chose to have us raise our glasses, and bad luck for those who wanted a giggle. Karine Nzeutem invited us to be EXPANSIVE in our use of the word of the evening, and Bob Mohl took the time to explain the Voting Grid used by Judges in the Humourous Speech contest. … and no prizes for guessing why ….


Prepared Speeches 

We were all invited to encourage Marc Yoshikawa who delivered his Area 2 Humourous Contest winning speech “Control Yourself”. We certainly did not control our laughter, and then conscientiously filled in our evaluation grids.


Speaker number 2 was Mr Tall Tales himself: Ed Cameron, whose "California Dreaming" could well have been inspired by... some famous California dream-inducing produce. His most convincing initial narration gradually gave way to a totally off-the-wall and entertaining yarn.


Benoït Sarazin was speaker number three with "Innovation and Sweat". BlackBerries gave way to assorted toilet products, and his objective, Vocal Variety, was …. less obvious than the variety of deodorants we discovered.


Table Topics 

Our Timekeeper, Heli Aru, confirmed that everyone was on time, and we moved on to our vote and to some harvest appropriate Table Topics launched by Jean Delaunay; guest Jay Bezavada and members Bob MohlCarol Bausor and David Logan struggled to wax lyrical about grapes, apples and Gaugin, roses from Kenya, and picking mushrooms in forests with fallen leaves respectively. We had no Dinner Break because ….we had already eaten dinner!



Antonio Meza proposed a new style of evaluation to give helpful feedback to Marc in his Division Contest on Saturday, and everyone seemed to have something to say. My personal favourite was the suggestion to insert a “Yoko? Oh no” joke, but then it was me who made it.


Bob Mohl and Rose Marie Burke did very creditable evaluations. Sean led the voting and Karine counted the number of expansively used words of the evening (not very many) , but did not deign to give us any grammar or stumble catching feedback. “I wondered why I had four minutes ….” she said ….Heli reminded us of our excellent time keeping.


General Evaluator Carol Bausor led a discussion on the merits of the Restaurant at Café de l’Echelle, and suggested that members remember to bring their Leadership manuals.



Our TME handed out some beautiful paper napkins in lieu of ribbons to our winners: Carol for Table Topics and Marc as Best Speaker.


In his conclusion our TME Sean wished everyone a Celtic New Year which begins on November 1.


Our President closed the meeting by leading a resoundingly unanimous vote for Elisabeth Dancent as VP Public Relations (congrats, Elisabeth!), and asking our guests’ opinion of the meeting: they seemed to like it, and we look forward to seeing many of them again (even more if they join …)


Next Meeting 

We enjoyed it, too! Thanks to all and see you in two weeks on November 4 at the American University of Paris.


Best of Luck
And … lots of good vibes to Marc (Humourous Speech Contest) and to Bob (Table Topics Contest) who will represent Area 2 for the Division N conference in Luxembourg on Saturday, October 26.

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