Meeting on May 19, 2014 at Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Sean Ryan, Vice President, Membership


Antonio Meza, Club President, welcomed members and guests to our meeting. He began by congratulating two of our members who took part in the District 59 International Speech and Evaluation Contests in Krakow, Poland the previous weekend.

Bob Mohl came second in the final of the Evaluation Contest and was also a finalist in the International Speech Contest. Meanwhile, Carol Bausor won the French Evaluation Contest. She also took part in the first round of the French Speech Contest and the International Contest.

“A big congratulations to you both,” said Antonio, “we are proud that you are members of our club.”

He called upon Rose Marie Burke to the lectern to be the Toastmaster of the Evening. One of her roles is to decide on the theme of the evening. A couple of weeks ago, when it was raining a lot, her mind started wandering and reflecting. Suddenly she had an idea. The theme could be daydreaming.

Toast of the Evening
In his toast, Mark Finneran said that daydreaming was important. Even the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell because he was daydreaming of how to improve the telegraph. “Live in the present moment and be attentive to your surrounding environment,” he urged, “but let yourself daydream and your mind to wander.”

Word of the Evening
Elisabeth Dancet chose ‘Serendipity’ as the word of the evening. The word means making fortunate discoveries, valuable or pleasant things by accident.

Prepared Speeches
Karolin Kruger was doing a speech project #6 Vocal Variety from the Competent Communication Manual.  She spoke about how her fiancé recently proposed to her in Parc Monceau surrounded by their friends. Using her voice she expressed the shock, surprise, joy and excitement of the most important event in her life.

When asked by an editor of an exclusive subscription based travel magazine to write about Paris Heli Aru found the experience very challenging. In her speech entitled ‘Searching for the right words about Paris’ (project number four How to Say It in the Competent Communication Manual) Heli said that she didn’t identify with the many features of Paris that visitors experienced such as high fashion, perfume, museums or even wine. Her Parisian delights were much more private such as eating the meals cooked by the mother of her boyfriend, playing chess with strangers or sitting in cafés with a live music concert.


In the end she decided that Paris was a photographer’s heaven so she sent some text and her own photographs to the editor. However, the editor had a better idea to have Heli’s article and photographs of a famous village in her own native Estonia.

Benoit Sarazin lived for seven years in Silicon Valley in the bay area of San Francisco during the 1990s. In his speech using Prezi he shared with us his experiences of working for HP and what it was like to live and work in now familiar places of Palo Alto and Cupertino plus the many different technology companies that have emerged since that time: Sun Microsystems, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, eBay, Cisco, Yahoo. When he analyzed these successful companies on how they were able to succeed he came to two main conclusions: they were open to ideas and they liked to have fun plus they just did it.

Table Topics
Jean Delaunay led a session on impromptu speaking and asked a series of questions:


  • Antoino Meza said that the favourite quality in a woman is her smile.
  • Bob Mohl said that his favourite hero in fiction was Don Quixote who spent a lot of time daydreaming and tilting of windmills.
  • Elisabeth Dancet said that her favourite qualities in a man were communication, openness to other people and lack of ego.
  • Our visiting Toastmaster from Toronto Shu Liang said that her idea of happiness is something that she likes to smell and to do what she really enjoys doing particularly Toastmasters.
  • For Rose Marie Burke her idea of misery was two weeks previously when she thought the Paris winter would never end.


Speech Evaluations
Bob Mohl complimented Karolin on a wonderful speech with a good story that was suitable for vocal variety. He recommended that she could have used a different voice and accent for her fiancé and that she could use more eye contact with the audience.

In his evaluation Antonio Meza spoke about how the audience could identify with Heli’s situation of trying to write about Paris. He suggested that she had opportunities to make her different points more humourous and that she should practice more in advance particularly on some word pronunciation and having a more definite conclusion.

As an experienced public speaker and consultant Benoit is used to using visuals aids so Elizabeth Dancet focused on what he could improve. She gave a few ideas including zooming in on specific examples of meeting people who had ideas and which turned into successful products or services. In addition, when using Prezi, Benoit could use more images. And last, assume that things will go wrong so come early to ensure that the technology setup is done in advance so there is no long void of time before giving the speech.

General Evaluation

Shu Liang focused her evaluation on each of the meeting roles and said how much she enjoyed the evening and could bring home many new ideas.

Ribbon Winners
Our winners on the evening were:
Best Table Topics: Shu Liang
Best Evaluator: Bob Mohl
Best Speaker: Benoit Sarazin


Concluding Remarks
The Club President Antonio Meza thanked everyone for such an enjoyable evening and especially the Toastmaster of the Evening Rose Marie Burke. He complimented her on her improvisation skills learned from her time doing radio shows at university. These came in very useful as she had to fill a void of nine minutes as the technology was being set up for a speech. She shared some personal experiences of daydreaming which was the theme of the evening. 


It is a valuable lesson for all TMEs so that we are ready to deal with unexpected situations during a meeting and to be able to improvise!

Next Meeting
Our next club meeting will take place on Monday evening, June 2, 2014 in Chez Clément, 9 place Saint André des Arts, 75006 Paris.

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