Daring to be different

Meeting Number 1235, the third meeting of the month.

This was one of those additional meetings the club has when we have an extra Thursday in the month, generally touted as an opportunity to have a speak-a-thon or Speech Fest, but usually just an extra meeting with the usual fare of assignments, but not for this meeting. Our VPE really pushed the speaking program and ‘Dared to be different’ this was the challenge that Parramatta Toastmaster members quickly rose to meet. With a revised Agenda that had none of the usual assignments scheduled, in their place, a meeting filled with speeches and evaluations. A total of 11 speakers were assigned with respective evaluators.

But that’s were the dare ended. There was nothing different from that moment on. Parramatta members got up and did what they do meeting after meeting; performed to their best, delivering the same high standard that we see at every meeting. Everything was the same, thankfully. Once again we had the same High number of visitors who again left with the same opinion visitors leave with meeting after meeting – Toastmasters is great and Parramatta deliver a fantastic night, they knew something special was going on in that room.

That ‘something special’ has been identified, time after time, at every meeting. Not the great speeches, not the marvellous feedback provided from thoughtful evaluations, not the fantastic agendas offering varied speaking assignments and not the business sessions with it’s wonderful leadership activities. No, that same old ‘special something’ identified at all our meetings was the ‘Spirit of Camaraderie’. It’s not on the agenda, and nobody is assigned the role, but it’s there meeting after meeting, almost tangible, well tangible enough that every visitor can sense it, many want to be a part of it, and that’s exactly what attracted me to the club my very first visit.

This meeting dared to be different and (as in young Ronnie’s speech 200), Failed the challenge to be Successful. The meeting was finished, but no one hurried off, everyone remained with the room a buzz of activity. The visitors left the room, hands and heads full of information and visitors kits.

This was a special night, it was arranged to take a photo for Parramatta Toastmasters to show off the new Brand Material, it did more than that, it showed off the true ‘spirit’ of Parramatta Toastmasters Club 2274. If there was ever any doubt as to the camaraderie of the club this night would dispel that doubt. Gary took charge in organising the material, the chairs and member positions. I was assisted by Christine in framing the photo, looking for balance, the members grabbed their places and waited diligently for that magic click. There was plenty of excitement especially when the banner was proving difficult to hang from the chosen spot, giving me a laugh and Mrinal a headache. But the banter and laughs from all present was the real highlight for me as a proud member of the Best Club in the world, well in my world anyway, because that’s were my friends are.

Tom Woods, Parramatta Toastmasters

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