Walking with Mark, TMC all over the world
Vol. 16 North Avon Speakers Club
England is the country where English language was born!
Bristol is an old port city located 160km west of London.
From London, It takes about an hour and a half to get there by car,
using the M4 Motorway toward west. Motorways are expressways in Britain, basically free of charge, the speed limit is 70 miles an hour ＝ 112 km/h.
Bristol has some toastmasters club, and I’d like to report on the “North Avon Speakers Club TMC” which meets twice a month, in the evening on the first and the third Thursday.
The venue is a community centre in the west section of the city of Bristol.
The club climate of the “North Avon Speakers Club” is friendly, open and congenial, whereas some clubs in London are competitive, and the atmosphere is filled with tension.
Our current Program Quality Director, TM Kyoko KITAMURA was once assigned to the Bristol University as a researcher, and belonged to the club.
At that time, I lived in Paris, and TM Kitamura invited me to the club’s meeting as a guest speaker.
Because of its proximity, I took the advantage of the opportunity.
It takes only a bit more than an hour to fly from Paris to Bristol directly.
I rented a car at the Bristol airport, picked TM Kitamura up at the Bristol University located on the hill top overlooking the entire port city in the evening.
The road to the meeting venue in the western suburbs was very congested, but we managed to arrive in a timely manner somehow.
As a guest speaker, I felt extremely nervous.
However, the club members all welcomed me with heartwarming smile.
I was elated!
As for the meeting, I was most impressed with the following two things.
?1. The Table Topics Session
Some questions were about Shakespeare,,.
Wowza! A British TMC, indeed.
They also talked about Alfred Tennyson’s beautiful poems.
Famous lines of “Wuthering Heights” were also mentioned in an evaluation
?2. Before introducing prepared speaker, individual evaluator read speech
objectives without fail.
I thought it was a good idea.
Because it’s necessary for the audience members to know about the speech
Toastmaster of the Day(Evening) can also do this.
Why don’t we adopt this idea widely, in Japan as well?!
I think some clubs here do this already.
It seemed that they had been well informed beforehand that a dubious Japanese speaker Marc Yoshikawa was coming from Paris, so there were a lot of attendees.
Especially, some members who are professional speakers sat in the front raw.
They all smiled to me in a British manner, which scared me,,,no!,,,cheered me on.
Somehow, I managed to speak for 20 minutes smoothly,,, I could accomplish my mission, thank goodness!
The entire atmosphere of the club meeting was congenial and comfortable.
The speeches and evaluations were authentic, orthodox and yet, the meeting was filled with gentle, soft air which I found superb.
Time management? They seemed to be lenient about it.
The North Avon Speakers Club’s climate was more mild, matured, and meticulous than some high-powered clubs in New York and in Paris.
Furthermore, Indeed, British toastmasters seemed to be talented in handling the English language superlatively.
I was most impressed with evaluation speeches delivered in a concise manner, and yet filled with practical suggestions embellished with beautiful words and phrases.
Later I knew that those evaluators were seasoned professional speakers,,,no wonder!
When you go to England, I would suggest that you visit other places like Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, etc, if you have enough time.
Then, try to attend some TM meetings which meets suburbs, or a bit far from the city centre.
You’ll have more chances to meet local people, and get the feel of living there.
After the club meeting of the North Avon Speakers Club in Bristol,
many members went to a pub in the vicinity.
It was fun, but most of them had to drive home after that, though,,,!
The North Avon Speakers TMC was, and is a charming, fun, and an exciting club where you’ll hear authentic English, orthodox pronunciation, PlUS local English accent.