By Rose Marie Burke, General Evaluator of the Meeting
Paris Speech Masters Goes Back To School
And what a dramatic night it was for the club, which took place in the Grand Salon of the American University of Paris. President Antonio Meza thanked AUP Director of Career Development Danielle Savage, for organizing the splendid venue. Among our ten guests, he acknowledged the presence of a Toastmasters VIP, our District Governor, Danaë Margerit.
Our Toastmaster of the Evening, Nicolas Stricher, introduced the theme for the meeting, which ironically sounds like his last name: strikes. As he noted, this is the usual time of year for French workers to strike, but at least in Paris (knock on the cobblestones) the streets have been unusually devoid of big demonstrations. David Logan struck up a toast to our host, and we raised our plastic goblets to an excellent year for the American University.
Jean Delauney, delivering the Word of the Day, asked us to go wild in using the word “rambunctious” throughout the evening. (In the end, we were a bit unrambunctious about it, saying the word only six times.)
We all studiously took our seats again as Jill Bates-Jacquot delivered the Speech Tip of the Day. Jill explained three key ways to be a memorable speaker:
1. Deliver it in an attention-getting headline.
2. Repeat the message.
3. Tell a story.
She explained that the third way is perhaps the most powerful because stories fix themselves easily into our brain’s long-term memory. And that must be true, because the evening’s storied speeches were truly memorable.
First, Elisabeth Dancet told us a personal story about the power of intuition in “Follow Your Gut,” a tale of unpaid bills and big windfalls. Second, Sean Ryan dressed up like a cat burglar for “To Catch A Thief,” and had us all admitting that we were a pack of thieves! Third, Antonio Meza in “Get Your Wings,” likened launching into a speech to piloting an airplane, taking your passengers on a voyage of hope and inspiration. This speech was a milestone for Antonio, his tenth speech, earning him his Competent Communicator award and a standing ovation from the club—as is our custom.
Bob Mohl, Ed Cameron, and Benoït Sarazin were the three able evaluators of the evening.
The stories didn’t stop during Table Topics, led by June Allen. Cyrille Jerabek was asked what he would he have written on his protest sign. Danaë Margerit did not at all agree that “lightning strikes twice,” while Jay Bezavada refused to “go on strike.” Karine Neutzem argued that “three strikes and you’re out” can be a good thing, if you are a bowler and not a baseball player. Eiichi Nakazawa, asked to proclaim the “next revolution,” advocated an end to underwear, inspired by his youngster who likes to strip it off in public. Finally, Heli Aru spoke about how to lead a strike.
Our General Evaluator, Rose Marie Burke, lead a discussion about what exactly made tonight such a special one. At the top of the list were the quality of the speeches and the venue, which offered good practice in using a microphone or in trying to project and articulate. Since the club likes to try out technology, would it consider investing in a lapel mike, which would allow the speaker to use both hands?
Best Table Topics: Karine Neutzem
Best Evaluator: Benoït Sarazin
Best Speaker: Antonio Meza
Our President Antonio Meza invited everyone to congratulate Marc Yoshikawa for winning the District N Humorous Speech Contest which was held the previous Saturday in Luxembourg City and to Bob Mohl for his second place in the Table Topics Contest. He then “struck” the gavel to the podium, and wished us good night.
November 18 at the Café de l’Echelle, 3, rue Echelle, 75001 Paris