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Can I be a humorous speaker too

Report by: Faith Wilkinson

What a massive turn up at this week’s meeting. It wasn’t your ordinary weekly meeting with our usual set structure; this time we were treated to a double bill of great content from Ola Aralepo, a past winner of the Humorous Speech Contest.

Ola takes the stage amidst massive applause!

Kicking off promptly at 6.45pm, Yumi our toastmaster for the evening, set the atmosphere by welcoming all present, introducing her role and explaining what we were to expect for the rest of the evening. She then introduced Ola and the crowd went pleasantly wild with big applause for Ola!

Most of us had watched Ola on YouTube so it was nice to see him in person. He is just as cheeky and charismatic in person, as he is on video. He took a few minutes to give us a background of how he got involved in the contest and finally winning! It was basically after a gentle push from his mentor, encouraging him to join the contest at local level which he won, the win got him into the next round of competitions which also, after making the qualifying mark, got him into the final contest at district level which he championed! His advice at this point; try and get involved in any contest as you just never know where it could lead you.

Ola Introducing his technique called A.C.T.S

Ola Introducing his technique called A.C.T.S

Ola dived straight into his workshop. Introducing his technique called A.C.T.S of Humorous Speech; a 4 step process he has formulated to achieve his speech goals. I loved the fact that his opening subject was to do with adaptation to circumstances. As it turned out, we had a slight hiccup in technology which meant that we couldn’t use the projector as earlier planned so we had to improvise. Fahad and Sid took turns to hold the laptop to show people the slides. You could see how effectively Ola adapted to this set back which was a great example to explain his subject on Attitude.
The workshop was divided into two parts, each for 45 minutes sections. During the first half, we took a few minutes to pair up for an exercise that involved listening to each other’s short stories about a sad/bad/frustrating incident and then took turns to retell each other’s story showing the funny side of it instead. It was interesting to see how stories evolved into humorous speeches.

Fahad assisting Ola to show the slides

The audience interacted greatly with both the activities and content. We then had a 10 minutes break in between where members and guests took some time to engage in conversation to get to know each other and build relationships.

 

Great audience interaction. Pairing up for activities and sharing funny side of stories.

 

 

 

 

 

The highlight of the second part was a practical bit where Ola took us through a 15 second exercise to help overcome the fear of self-consciousness. We were tasked to do something crazy for 10 seconds and the feedback after this exercise was great as lots of people reported feeling energized and brave. We also took time to write a 5 minute speech incorporating some or all of the techniques that Ola shared. A few people had the opportunity to share their speeches with us; again, great transformation with people coming up with engaging speeches.

Sharing stories, looking at the funny side

Sharing stories, looking at the funny side

Tamara, our timekeeper for the evening played a big role given the nature of the meeting. She was quite flexible ensuring that we finished the meeting on time, maintaining the appropriate break time as well, and just enough time for the volunteers who shared their speeches.

Anna our Sergeant at Arms

Anna our Sergeant at Arms

Anna our Sergeant at Arms also did an amazing job introducing about 20 visitors in a short space of time. Adding humour to their introduction (keeping with the theme of the meeting) each of the guests shared what makes them laugh.
All in all, it was a great workshop. We had a great time learning and interacting with each other. It was an honour to meet Ola who left us with his wise words of humour “ Get your ACT together! You don’t have to be funny to write a humorous speech!”

Ola Aralepo

Ola Aralepo

Japanese British Etiquette Winter and Trolling

Report by: Georgie Williams

Full house in London Victorians this evening! Our President kicked off with a warm welcome and a big smile, and introduced our latest (and exceptionally brave) member Tamara.

Terry is the Toastmaster of the evening

Terry is the Toastmaster of the evening

Eleanor then reflected on the resilience and determination embodied by Gareth Southgate, noting the guts it would take to come back from the infamous missed penalty in 1996 to inspire a young and inexperienced english team to the semi finals last week – the lesson for all Toastmasters that we should all be inspired by that resilience to keep practising, keep trying, keep taking risks, and keep improving.

Grammarian Dana chose the word Ostentatious

Grammarian Dana chose the word Ostentatious

She then introduced our very own Gareth Southgate in the form of our Toastmaster for the evening, Terry Pullin.

Great audience with guests and members

Great audience with guests and members

Terry introduced the role with energy and charm. He outlined the programme for the evening, and introduced the functionaries for the evening.

First up, the timekeeper – Joseph! With a cracking summary of the timekeeper’s job to keep the meeting on track – ‘time flies and I am your pilot.’

Fahad won Best Evaluator

Fahad won Best Evaluator

Next up, our grammarian Dana! Who gave us Ostentatious- pretentious or showy (giving a certain D. Trump as the archetypal ostentatious person) – as the word of the day, encouraged us all to use it, and reminded us that he will be looking out for our use of language – good and bad.

Followed by harkmaster Faith – but where was she?! Harkmaster Faith appeared to have been waylaid, so we moved on to… me !, the meeting reporter.

Harkmaster Faith made a well-timed entrance and bounded straight on stage to introduce her role – to listen very attentively and ask us, the audience, questions at the end to make sure we have too.

Speeches that inspire and encourage: Japaneses Etiquette

We then moved on to … the speeches!

First off – Yumi with a fabulous and hilarious speech on ‘Japanese Etiquette.’

Everyone knows that in Japan it’s polite to bow, and accept a business card with two hands… but did you know that it is not OK to blow your nose in public in Japan? Or that it’s polite to use a ‘toilet silencer’ to protect your dignity while you do your ‘business’? Or that eating while you walk is a no no? But slurping is acceptable – nay, encouraged?

Next up with had Andy, with

‘I Hate Winter.’

Andy took us through a magical and descriptive journey through that much maligned month. His speech is a grammarian’s dream – with imagery from fox’s breath to frost on the ground to wind howling through the bare trees – and he managed to convince even the most hardcore sun seekers among us that winter should be cherished.

Trolls are real life things

Then we had Anna, with a hard hitting talk on the threats faced by journalists – specifically, the threats connected to online abuse. ‘The Rise of the trolls’ gave us some scary facts and figures and anecdotes about the increasing prevalence and intensity of online abuse of journalists. Did you know, for example, that 94% of UK journalists had experienced some form of online abuse? Or that when Laura Kuenssberg, for good reason, was accompanied by bodyguards to the labour party conference she was accused of being ‘pathetic’ and ‘a snowflake’? Or that 68 journalists were killed last year alone? Anna ended her speech with a plea for governments and social media platforms to do more, and the public to think before they write.

Panel evaluations, a way to discuss

Mohammed won Best Table Topics

Mohammed won Best Table Topics

After a lively report from our timekeeper we got kicking with the evaluations. Due to a programme change, we had two evaluators for Yumi – Mark and Arsen – and Terry cleverly engineered a panel evaluation. The evaluators commented on the excellent humour, use of props and structure of Yumi’s speech and recommended that she use a little more eye contact and vocal variety.

Next Fahad (with no notes!) evaluated Andy’s speech, commending Andy on his wonderful use of language, his brilliant booming voice, and his body language. Fahad recommended that Andy use pauses more and make more of the conclusion to make it even better.

Rob then evaluated Anna’s speech. Rob praised Anna’s speech for its structure; the great use of facts and figures; the examples of the types of trolling; how interactive she made it; and the topicality of the subject she had chosen. On delivery, Rob felt that Anna’s speech was very clear and fluent. He suggested that Anna could make more of the pauses and reduce the use of notes.

Clear, constructive, and commendable feedback all round.

After the evaluations, our newest member Tamara took on the role of sergeant at arms – having been coerced into the role by our very persuasive toastmaster. Tamara talked to show how pitch perfect is done, and shared her own experience of joining toastmasters before inviting our guests to share a bit about themselves. Reasons for attending ranged from wanting to practice for best man speeches to promoting their own business, to aspiring to be a presenter, to needing to speak at international negotiations.

Part Two- Table Topics

After a very sociable break, our toastmaster kicked the second half off with energy and enthusiasm.

Our table topics master for the evening was Yue, who introduced the excellent theme of Money money money!
How much is enough? What would you do with £1 million? What’s the biggest financial mistake you ever made? Can money buy happiness? Speakers confidently addressed those questions at tonight’s table topics.

After the timekeeper’s report our table topics evaluator Alex then gave speakers helpful, thoughtful and concise
feedback. One running theme was the importance of a good conclusion. Though acknowledging that this is hard in table topics, Alex’s advice was that less is more; repeat the question and then summarise what your answer was to conclude.

Our grammarian Dana then made a reappearance. Dana showed his thrills at all the excellent language this evening – in particular from Yumi and Andy. The word of the day was used extensively, with Terry in particular leading the charge. Dana reported that, happily, there were very few ums and ers from our main speakers.

Our harkmaster Faith then tested our attention skills and threw werther’s originals at us for our efforts, before our Toastmaster wrapped up with as much energy as he started with and our president awarded ribbons to: Fahad, Mohammed, and Yumi!

In just want to summarize it all by saying that we laughed, we pondered, we questioned, we were enraged, we learned and we clapped (a lot). Great stuff.

World Cup of Football 2018

Faith Wilkinson a new member with London Victorians

Faith Wilkinson a new member with London Victorians

Eduard Kim a new member

Eduard Kim a new member

Eleanor took charge not only of the meeting, but also of the whole club as she launches into a year of club President for 2018-2019. The torch is handed down from a lady to a lady, now how is that for girl power? Eleanor started by saying that her journey began, some time ago, with walking up to the stage and? Freeze. We are told that improving yourself means you need a team like that of the team crossing the antarctic. She told of the eagerness to climb a summit of becoming a Competent Communicator, which Eleanor achieved only to look up to the next summit of becoming a great storyteller, moving in leadership roles as Vice President Education to President, the only way is up. Now since we are living currently World Cup football, Eleanor reminded us that we can always become world class Toastmasters.

World Cup red cards are imminent

Paulina Dabrowska with speech The shadows of perfection

Paulina Dabrowska with speech The shadows of perfection

Motsabi managed our time being the time keeper, she spoke of her focus on two goals; to keep us all on time and to support the speakers with green cards, not American Green cards, yellow cards, well not a warning from a football referee, and a red card which is definitely comes from a football referee as the speaker will be sent off if they crossed their time limits.

Harkmaster Georgie Williams

Harkmaster Georgie Williams

Our Toastmaster for the night toasted us by starting with “I think there is some sort of a match tonight” Yes Vahagn it is English verses Colombia, but he supported Croatia because he like to support aspiring teams and nations, great choice as Croatia will be playing Russia the host nation in where? The quarter finals, WOW ! How did he do? He managed all the meeting with confidence, smiles, plenty of clapping and made is forget there was a game on, well done Vahagn, keep the energy up.

Mind your words

Grammarian Arsen Shnashev World cup

Grammarian Arsen Shnashev

Grammar was managed by Arsen, a recent addition to the club, but he spares no time in climbing up that summit of public speaking, so Arsen challenged us to use great grammar in our speeches, to avoid filler words because he will count them and he described himself as to be for the night a Doctor of Language, and selected word of the day to be “fastidious” to mean someone who has eye for details, nit picking almost with a magnifying glass looking for beautiful language use.

Eduard Kim with speech Blockchain 101

Harkmaster Georgie with a big smile and a box of chocolate walked up to the stage and encouraged all to listen carefully to what is being said. Hark is an old English word to mean attentive listening, she created a great list of questions to test our listening, but guess what? Those chocolates were flying into the laps of many attendants.

I walked up to the stage to speak of my role as a Meeting Reporter; taking notes and then writing this blog for you to read and enjoy, hopefully I would convey the growth, energy and fun inside our room to the outside world so when you read this blog post, the only thing that comes to your mind, “I want to go see these people next Tuesday” I see you nodding, so come along and practice your public speaking, in fact invite your friends too, and I would be happy if you shared this blog over social media with your personal touches, go on.

Speech on perfection

Florian Bay the General Evaluator

Paulina spoke of “The shadows of perfection”, she exhibited an image of a man walking, with a shadow reflection. She took the audience into the picture, to look at certain parts and what they projected, the feelings, the emotions and the lessons, as an example she drew our attention to the connotation that the shadow of the man looking ahead of him gives impression of the future one looks up to. “I would like to share 3 tips” she says in order to manage our development; Position visualizations for your outcome, Habit swap, and make it social. Habit swap is changing an disempowering habit like smoking or eating sugar to empowering habits like healthy eating and exercising. Telling friends and family about your change plans will help you become accountable to the goals you set. Paulina declares that if you tell your social circles about your intended goals there is a 65% chance of completion, and “Don’t chase the shadows” she concluded.

Block that chain bitcoin!

A mug with Eduard Kim to speak about

Faith Wilkinson talking about a necklace of flowers

With a speech entitled “Blockchain 101” Eduardo started by saying “A paper on bitcoin was published that launched market interest”. He made us wonder who started this phenomena teasing our thoughts but concluded that it is actually unknown for certain who started the whole thing, so it remains a mystery to this day. He used a graph of bitcoin market over 24 months where it soared and plummeted, and at times growth hit 1000%. He touched on the importance of technology for trading these days, and how easy is it to buy and sell. He compared the idea of Blockchain technology to that of Wikipedia where many participants work remotely to produce an article collaboratively. He concluded by exploring the benefits of using blockchain technology for bitcoin trading as; Makes trust more achievable as no one part own everything, none can change all records,removes the need for third party interference, and it is actually open source to all.

What went right, and not so

Blindfolding underway before handing over the prop

Eleanor went on stage to evaluate the speech of Paulina, she pointed out how good was the metaphor for time and the tips offered for not chasing shadows. Eleanor flagged the power of 3 used in the speech during offering tips. She commented “I wanted to hear more introduction about the artist Alberto Giacometti and perhaps more personal story from Paulina so that we can feel her message”, off course an encouragement to use the stage more to empower message and we all benefit from a good conclusion.

Andy evaluated the speech of Eduard Kim stating right at the beginning that he was going to focus on 3 aspects of evaluating the speech; research, stage movements and words used. It is really a smart way of structuring ones evaluation to help the speaker improve on vital skills that the evaluator thinks important. Andy described the speech as being “fastidious” with details and when one speaks of technical issues, Andy recommended to “Let out the inner nerd”. Also Andy wanted more drama added to the point when there was a discussion of who is behind blockchain? More drama, more engagement he noted. Concluding with some advice on use of words, “Use clear language, make sentences shorter for maximum impact”, excellent advice.

Hello guests, we are humans!

Jackie Gallego welcomed guests being Sergeant at Arms, with her smile, entertainment, and assuring words of how fascinating when we start something news, she linked this vibe to the choice guests made in visiting us tonight, in fact congratulating guests for attending labelling it the first step into public speaking “You took a great step to be a speaker” I totally agree, well done Jackie for awesome guest welcoming energy.

Paulina mounted the stage again, this time as a Table Topics Master, where impromptu speeches are delivered. She spoke of her recent visit to a museum, and how amazed she was with all different sorts of tools and gadgets, hence she decided to invite to the stage speakers that would be blindfolded and asked to describe what an objects placed in their hands and how would they uses them, very interesting innovative way. Off course some participants felt great speaking blind folded as they were not seeing the audience, some wondered in their imaginations,, and some found it weird to talk to those who you can’t see. The props varied from a pen, a mug, a necklace of flowers, bells, fridge magnet,

Distilling the whole meeting

Florian was destined to be the General Evaluator who is tasked with looking at the whole session and give feedback on what went well and what could improve, he spoke of the President who would do well with more energy at the beginning of the meeting, and using the gavel as “Wood on wood makes maximum impact for drawing attention, hence the use in courts of justice”, he pointed out to avoid hand clasp as much as possible and perhaps put at asides as an alternative. The toastmaster was organised with a sheet of on the responses to the theme question of the evening which was “In the World Cup of Football, what team would you see win and why?”. Florian commended the display of time cards by the Timekeeper, and recommended to deliver a mini speech about time as the role is being introduced. The grammarian was good in noting the word of the day was used 6 times, counted the filler words to be over 20 by some people, and Florian recommended to the grammarian to also try to focus on the se of language, beautiful and otherwise. Florian thought the Harkmaster did a great job constructing short questions that attracted many responses and he recommended to “Flesh out the explanation of the rewards for listeners”

Roles of the meeting

Use the gavel on wood

Use the gavel on wood

Florian commented also on Meeting Reporter to “mention that meeting reports are actually a documented history of the club” On .Sergeant at Arms role may be scary at the stat, but well worth it to make guests feel relaxed and perhaps join. Florian advised “Try to be snappier, and let the applause for the whole group of guests be at the end”. For the Table Topics Master, Florian liked the new twist of blind folding, and recommended that the role is explained and what each speaker needs to do clearly.

Table Topics Evaluator was focused and analytical, Florian noted that perhaps using less words to evaluate may help going through 8 mini speeches of impromptu style. For first evaluator Eleanor the commendation was she used what, why, when structure in evaluating the great side of the speech. For Andy evaluating the send speech, Florian commended not using notes, but a good evaluation structure, Florian liked to see one recommendation for each of the 3 points the evaluator set out to evaluate.

Awards you can get

Best Table Topics award won by Faith for her story of a necklace given to her on Christmas while being in a refugee camp in Africa, that necklace meant a lot since it had emotions, memories and struggle connected to it, very moving.

Comedy Cures, Take Your Dose

It sounds like comedy is a needed daily dose.

Once upon a time, there was a child that laughed every day at anything that appeared before his eyes. Giggling seemed natural that actually came as easy as breathing does.
Over time, things began to be more serious, demanding that one is more cautious of what is funny and what isn’t. Now it is not funny to laugh at the cat that fell into the water, or to watch someone’s umbrella blown away by a gusty wind. Perhaps one is reprimanded with “Wipe off that smile off your face boy!”.

President Obama himself has always been shockingly good as a comedian

President Obama himself has always been shockingly good as a comedian

It seems that the environment around us is collaborating to wipe off that smile, via many ways; the news, drama, poverty, wars and “Be serious”. Actually, a smile is the first step towards happiness, there are things that make us smile readily, and there are things that make us frown. However, through much studies, seminars and NLP it seems to me that happiness is a choice.

Choosing Happiness

In every situation, we can roll down the misery hill, or we can climb up the pleasant summit to plant the flag of happiness. Usually the choice is within us. From the first moment we wake up in the morning, the eyes blink, the lungs pull a deep breath, the third choice usually is connected to mood; Either I am happy to be alive or O no! Not another hard day! Those few seconds set our outlook for the day, and if repeated it will set the mode for our life.

I wonder what happens when we remember our childhood years, how do we suddenly find them funny, and at times hilarious to be able to share them with friends and family. What childhood memory do you remember that makes you smile? giggle and perhaps laugh? At that scene, do you see yourself that vibrant child happily exploring the world and trying things out? What happened to those moments? Did you bury them and escape?

Fun and Comedy at Hard Times

Hard times can be funny, this is because what we see as hard times will become funny later with a fresh pair of eyes, ears, hearts and minds. So why wait? Why can’t we see the funny side today that appear to us as challenges? Tariq Suwaidan a management guru and public speaker relate this story. “As I arrived to deliver my talk, the projector wouldn’t work, so I laughed. The technical guys stressing asked: Why are you laughing? He said: Stress or laugh, it is not going to fix it, so I might as well laugh”. If we can smile in the face of misery, we can lead with confidence, our bodies will radiate rays of positive energy that we all crave for, which will help us get through the day, with such a state solutions start flowing towards us like a waterfall.

The Child is Calling You

Ola Aralepo teaching comedy

Ola Aralepo

Now! That giggling child still lives inside everyone of us, let’s breathe life into his heart and enjoy a night of learning how to do comedy, how to lift others through a smile we create. Our friend Ola has agreed to do just that for us, to show us how to do comedy, so come over, let’s have fun and take your dose of energy.

Keep smiling, keep living, keep shining and remain a great force for positive energy.

When? Tuesday, the 7th of August 2018 at 18:30.

Where? St James the Less Church, Vauxhall Bridge Road, Victoria, London, SW1V 2PS Map Location 

What? Comedy Workshop, Just turn up for FREE!

Smart Moves! You Can Count On It

Meeting Reporter: Zahndri Prinsloo

On Tuesday 26 June 2018, the London Victorians Toastmasters club hosted yet anther great evening… A spectacular evening well prepared speeches, amazing evaluations as feedback to improve and good old fun with unprepared speaking on an interesting topic – ancestry. Just so you know, every Tuesday a spectacular things take place during out meetings. No exception. No compromise.

If you could’t join us, you missed the fun, but below are some of the highlights of the evening.
Why don’t you come and visit us and share your passion to become a spectacular public speaker, it happens every Tuesday, the next meeting is on 3rd July 2018. at 18:30 at

St James the Less Church, Vauxhall Bridge Road, Victoria, London, SW1V 2PS.

Nuala (Club President) presenting a New Member Certificate to Ariel (new club member)

Our club President Nuala McHugh welcomed one of our club’s newest members – Arial Elboyim.
The Founder of the Toastmasters Organisation – Mr Ralph C Smedley said: “Ours is the only organization I know dedicated to the individual, we work together to bring out the best in each of us and then we apply these skills to help others.”

Congratulations to our very own club President – Nuala – who was recently appointed as an Area Director in District 91 for 2018/2019. Wonderful to see one of our very own setting themselves up for increased leadership development.

The theme of the evening was “Smart Moves” as chosen by the Toastmasters of the evening – Mohammed Salih (aka Moh). Moh introduced each speaker and each role player with what they have experienced as a smart move. The one smart move that definitely stood out was the friend of club member Luke, who made the move to work on a yacht. Now a few years later, that very friend is a captain of a yacht and doing very well for himself. That was a smart move!

WORD OF THE EVENING: SYMBIOTIC

Word of the evening (Artist: Ariel the Grammarian)

The Grammarian for the evening was Ariel (yes! You guessed it! Our newest member!). The word he chose for the evening was: SYMBIOTIC. Symbiotic is defined as denoting a mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups. The word of the evening was used a total of 13 times between the various speakers! Well done!

 

2 ladies. 2 speeches. Smart Move!
Yo Li – “How to have it easy”
Yo came to the realisation in her life that for her to have it easy, she will have to work really hard. Her scuba diving trip to Thailand was no exception.
She experienced 3 very particular challenges during the scuba dive trip:
– 1st dive: challenged mentally
– 2nd dive: challenged physically
– 3rd dive: challenged mentally and physically and physically suffered
After the scuba diving trip, she posted a thumbs up photo on social media about an awesome scuba diving experience despite the challenges she incurred.

Yo (on the left) and Jackie (on the right) were our fabulous prepared speakers for the evening

Yo Li is a great storyteller – she clearly took us through her hard working and challenging experience while scuba diving.

Jackie G – “How to have a good argument”
Having a good argument is not natural territory for most of us.
Jackie talked about conflict avoidance – she goes into flight mode not fight mode. But she does slam the door close to emphasize her feelings. ☺
From Jackie’s speech we learnt that in an argument there does not always have to be a winner and 3 ways to save our relationships:
1. Always get the full story
2. Avoid adding fuel to the fire
3. Compromise

Ahmed (on the left) and Sid (on the right) were the evaluators for the speakers’ speeches.

And like a truly innovative speaker, Jackie included the work of the evening in her speech. Well well done!!

At the meeting we had 4 most welcomed guests present at the meeting, each with their own unique reasons for attending:
1. Hugh – he has 2 best men speech to prepare for.
2. Victoria – want to work on developing her public speaking skills
3. Eric – recognises the need to grow personally and professionally & that is why he visits the club. He will be a member soon… Watch this space!
4. Lola – (like Lola’s cupcakes) want to develop a symbiotic relationship between herself and public speaking

Nuala recognising Yo for presenting her Ice Breaker speech

The Harkmaster for the evening (Joseph) was an absolute hero! He brought a box of Cadbury Hero’s with him to reward each member that successfully answered his questions which tested our listening skills of all the speakers on the evening. Just as Mr Ralph C Smedley has been quoted saying: “Real communication is impossible without listening”.

Nuala presenting the Best Table Topics award to our guest – Lola

In conclusion ladies and gentlemen:
Each club meeting at the London Victorians club meeting is truly unique and spectacular. It will be our pleasure to host you at our next club meeting. And YOU will definitely reap the rewards of increased self-confidence and personal growth.

Jim Rohn said it best when he said:
“Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune”.

Only at the Toastmasters. Where leaders are made.