A Cinematic Flavour at Wessex Speakers

Meeting Review – 25th July 2012 – A Cinematic Theme

There was a distinctively cinematic flavour to this weeks meeting as the theme for the evening was The Cinema.  We don’t always have a specific theme at every meeting but tonight, the theme was woven, intricately, like a silver thread throughout the proceedings.

A Cinematic theme for the evening from Eric Skates - Vice President for Education

Eric Skates

Our President, Janet Blann, was away enjoying a holiday and so, for the first time, Eric Skates, our VP of Education (and Club Vice President) stood up to take on the role of conducting both the opening and the closing of the meeting.  He certainly didn’t waste any time getting in to the cinematic theme as he threw in several cinematic references in his opening.

Our Toastmaster for this evening was ……… me, taking control of the meeting for only the second time since I joined Wessex Speakers, earlier in February of this year.

The cinematic theme continued to weave its way through the evening when, for our Icebreaker, I asked the audience to tell us what their favourite film was, and why.  And there were some great answers, ranging from the Battle of Britain to the Lord of the Rings and from Superman to The Mummy.  (I think Penny managed to mention The Mummy about 20 times during the evening 😀  ).

Alex Robinson - a member of Wessex Speakers

Creative Imagination – The title of Alex’s speech

The first of our Prepared Speeches came from Alex Robinson who was doing his CC4 with a speech entitled, “Creative Imagination”.  As it happened, I immediately understood Alex’s passion about this topic as I, very recently, read his blog post on the very same thing.

Alex, is a very creative person working in a highly creative field as a web designer.  Interestingly, he also has a book keeping business, as well, which implies that he’s probably using both sides of the brain in the world of business, which is no bad thing.

The whole premise of Alex’s speech revolved around how companies try to stimulate the creativity of their employees by sticking them in a dull environment or by offering financial incentives that encourage them to be anything but creative.

Creative Imagination stimulated in a creative environment

Creative Imagination stimulated in a creative environment

Why not do something different, he suggests, and get people in a creative environment if you want to stimulate the imagination.  The suggestion that a company might take their employees to drink wine in a restaurant on the Mediterranean Coast was of, particular, appeal to me.  🙂

He did give us the example of Google and their approach to the helping their employees to be creative.  They give their staff ‘Play Time’, which takes place in a dedicated environment in their offices that is suitably decked out to, not only have fun, but to stimulate the imagination, as well.

And it works.  Many of the most creative, and successful, ideas that have come from Google have been conjured up in the imagination of their staff during ‘Play Time’.

Great speech, Alex.

As it would happen, I was the second speaker of the evening, with a speech entitled, “Just Because You Can’t See it ……”.

A Cinematic Theme with Steve Bimpson talking about Nano TechnologyI was working on my CC3 project and the purpose of my speech was to inform my audience about Nano Technology – which, of course, is something that we can’t see, feel, touch or smell …….. but it’s definitely there!

I opened my speech with some ‘Magic’ to capture my audience’s attention and then explained that, as I’m not a member of the Magic Circle, I’d explain how the trick was done, a little later in my speech.

I then introduced Nano Technology, explaining exactly what it is and how I first came to hear of it.  Luckily for me, I first came across Nano Technology in a film, which fitted in perfectly with our cinematic theme.  Of course, some might say that I cheated a little as I was involved in choosing the theme – but I don’t think we should dwell on that.

Chemical Structure of a Nanocar

The Chemical Structure of a Nanocar

Actually, some of the facts and figures and developments in Nano Technology amazed me as I researched the subject.  (Did you know, for instance, that scientists have already created a NanoCar? – see picture to the right – Amazing!)

But many of the areas I discussed are still a long, long way from every day use.    However, when it comes to the field of Nano Coatings, this isn’t the case.

In fact, the magic I performed in my opening was possible because of a Nano Coating.

Anyway, once you see what a Nano Coating can do, you’ll appreciate that “Just because you can’t see it …. doesn’t mean that it isn’t there”.

Our third speech of the evening came from Eric Skates.  It was and Educational Slot called “Motivation II” and was, actually, more of a workshop than a speech.  It followed on from the excellent speech Eric delivered at the last meeting (see that meeting review) about “The Learning Curve” and he gave a very comprehensive re-cap of that to begin with.

Eric Skates on Motivation

Eric Skates on Motivation

The purpose of this speech was to move forward and encourage members to think about what they’re looking to achieve from Toastmasters and put a plan into action to support that.  We’re also setting up a mentoring structure and we want all members to be proactively involved in encouraging and supporting their fellow members.  Particularly, offering tips and advice to members that are at an earlier stage on their Toastmasters journey.

Leadership is an essential skill to develop and we’re all being encouraged to stretch ourselves a little and proactively work towards our CL, as well as, our CC.  This means taking on roles within the meeting to help develop those skills and the club wants to support all members as best we can.

Eric had put together a couple of great questionnaires to gather the information he needed to help pull all of this together and is planning other Education Slots, including one on how to Make it Easier on Yourself”.  I’m, definitely, looking forward to that one!  🙂

He left us with a few words of wisdom;

“If you love something, let it go …………  If it returns, it was meant to be.  But, if it doesn’t return then  …….”

After the break Conrad Hoe, Penny Hoe and Julian Gee carried out the Speech Evaluations this week.  All three are very experienced members and make the Art of the Evaluation look deceptively simple.  We are lucky to have the depth of experience that exists at Wessex Speakers.

After the Evaluations, Eric returned as our Table Topics Master and continued with the cinematic theme.  Conrad was asked about his most memorable moment at a cinema and talked about an experience he had at Saturday morning cinema as a child.

The Mummy PosterSaturday morning cinema ………… doesn’t that take you back??

Penny was asked about her favourite movie genre and explained that it depended on her mood.  There were times when she liked to see a Rom Com and others when seeing Arnie ‘Strip ass and streak across the screen’ appealed to her.  But it also seemed very apparent that she could watch ‘The Mummy‘ almost any time.

Alex was given the question, “Harry Potter – Love him or Loathe him?”.  He explained that he loved the books but had been disappointed when the first film came out, although, he did find that they gradually improved and he really quite enjoyed the last two.

Mind you, he also got quite irritated when at Oxford because everyone described Oxford as looking like Hogwarts – rather then the other way round.

The Dictator PosterRavi was asked if he was ‘Holding out for a Hero’ – and who it was.  He almost burst at the seems with enthusiasm as he told us how India made so many more movies than Hollywood and then went on to passionately regale us with tales about The Dictator and what a terrific movie it was – his hero being Sacha Baron Cohen, of course.

Matt was, also, asked the genre question.   I hadn’t realised that he was a kindred spirit – a lover of Science Fiction – surely the best genre there is?

Julian was asked for his most memorable movie moment and, whilst claiming that he hardly ever watches the movies ……. he went on to give us 2!!

That moment in When Harry Met Sally

I’ll have what she’s having

That moment in “When Harry Met Sally” – need I say more?  And then a scene from the Battle of Britain (also his favourite movie, if you remember?) when a pilot was shot and his goggles slowly filled up with blood.  Nice one Julian.

Andy Brine stepped in to the role of Table Topics Evaluator which, I tend to think, is probably one of the toughest roles to take on as you have precious little time to prepare before having to give your evaluation.  Andy did a great job.

A favourite moment of the night, for me, came when The Matrix was mentioned and Eric immediately quipped,

“What do the French say when they experience Deja vu?”  ………..  Something along the lines of, “Ooh, that seemed a little familar”?

I love it.  🙂

The Wessex Speakers Oscars AwardsAnd then we were in to the Final Analysis.  Ravi brought his boundless enthusiasm to the role of Grammarian and Matt did a splendid job as our General Evaluator for the night.

It then fell to Eric for the closing comments and awards for the evening.

Conrad won the Best Evaluator, Ravi the Best Table Topic and I was surprised – and delighted – to win Best Speaker.

Eric left us with a few reminders.  Firstly, that Hamwic Speakers have a workshop on the 31st July – Using Humour in Speeches.  Eric said that he’s going along and I’ve decided to join him.  If you fancy joining us you can register for your attendance via the link.

Tall Tales Evening at Wessex SpeakersHe reminded us that we’re holding a ‘Tall Tales’ evening at our next meeting on the 8th August and, finally, that it’s the Humorous Speech and Table Topics contest on 22nd September.  Anyone wishing to put in an entry should let us know soon.

Well, I have to say.  Film Directors make movies to connect to people and to stimulate their emotions.  If we’d had a room full of Film Directors with us at this meeting, they’d have been feeling very proud of themselves.  Why?

Well, the emotional content that everyone had to demonstrated during their respective cinematically themed stories, clearly showed the strength of emotional connection to the film concerned.  Well done to one and all.

And finally, a big ‘Thank You’ to everyone that stepped in to a role for this meeting.  As always, it’s greatly appreciated.

Well, that’s it for this time.  Have a great one,

Steve Bimpson

Comments are closed.