In memory of Janet Thomas who died 15 April, 2013.
by Sarah O'Mahony © November 2013
I really looked forward to the Toastmasters meeting tonight. I needed to see some familiar faces and have a good chat with the people that I have come to know over the last few years.
I particularly missed Janet Thomas there, especially at the topics session. She would usually have a seamless, entertaining, interesting slant on her impromptu topic ‘speech.’ Her reply to a subject would be fashioned like a mini speech. She would present it calmly and clearly. She had composure, a steadiness and self-assuredness. I used to really ‘look up’ to her style and admire her keen talent. I used to think as she delivered yet another well-orchestrated one, ‘I’d really like to be able to do a topic like that someday’.
As I wrote this I felt sad for her passing. She has left the club with a great legacy; we now know how to present topics. My eyes well up a little as I write as she has taught me so much about speaking in public. I loved her evaluations– the sense of knowing that she’d always give feedback to a speaker as it needed to be. She always focused on the good points of the speaker and speech and then would highlight one or two key areas needing improvement.
She could make a point about the club meeting in a way that was skillful and non-critical. She did so in a fashion that clearly separated her from the meeting, establishing herself 'outside the meeting' and then constructively put her comments in a positive way. She challenged the most articulate speakers.
Janet, I give you my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all your insight and inspiration over past years as a member and participant at Toastmasters.