Sunday, May 2, 2010

Everybody does it this way, don’t they?

Everybody calls these deep-fried potato sticks French fries, or perhaps chips. Obviously they are best eaten with ketchup, or malt vinegar, or mayonnaise, or fry sauce which is a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup.

Toastmasters club meetings have three main parts: prepared speeches, evaluations of those speeches, and impromptu speaking (known as Table Topics). The speech evaluators are introduced by a General Evaluator, who later also gives an evaluation of the meeting.

In a blog post on April 30th Jason Peck described how in the U.K. the General Evaluator role is filled by a guest from another club. The General Evaluator thus is an outside critic and can provide very useful constructive criticism. Here in the U.S. the General Evaluator is a club member, and typically is less critical than an outsider of how the meeting was run.

Some clubs have Table Topics before the prepared speeches. My club does them after the prepared speeches and their evaluations. Our format lets the length of Table Topics vary depending on the number of scheduled speakers. If a speaker cancels, then Table Topics is longer and may include all the attendees.

Some clubs have a separate Ah-Counter and Grammarian. We have a single role of Ah-Grammarian. Many clubs have fancy “traffic light” timers for the speeches. We just have three flags and a stopwatch from Radio Shack.

It is good to find out that not everybody does things the exact same way. If you think that your way is the only way, then you may have institutionalized something like a Ministry of Silly Walks.

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