New Year Resolutions 2019

Report by: Kam Johal

We had another dynamic meeting on Tuesday, filled with loads of great speeches and valuable feedback.

To begin, we had our Toastmasters for the evening, Arsen Shnashev, who introduced the theme for the evening: New Year Resolutions. Highly topical given that we are seven weeks away from the New Year 2019.

Arsen

The Toastmaster then moved the meeting along by introducing the functionaries, who helped keep the meeting on track. Rebecca Jarvis, was our timekeeper, whose role was to ensure that the meeting ran on time which it did. Then our grammarian, Joseph Omeiza, who recorded all the wonderful uses of language throughout the evening, as well as keeping track of “umms” and “uhhs” and the word of the day ‘ARTICULATE’ which was used at least 13 times. Lastly we heard from our harkmaster, Batool Aljufairi, tested our listening skills and spoiling us with many treats until they all ran out at the end of the meeting.

Joseph

Batool

Rebecca

First up we had Mark Brown present Dynamic Leadership – 1 Icebreaker entitled “How I learned to learn”. Where he showed how his many useful techniques including spaced repetition in learning.

Boyko

Next, we had Boyko Tzankov presenting “Emotional Intelligence”, which is for perspective Strategic Relationships – 4 Researching and Presenting. For this speech, Boyko demonstrated an understanding in this topic, between our different brains and building good skills in perspective, understanding and reasonable behavior. All in all, helping us from self-sabotaging, road rage and preventing getting ourselves fired. All useful stuff!

Eduard

Swiftly following that, Eduard Kim took the stage presenting his Competent Communication Manual -6 – Vocal Variety in a speech called “The future of Fitness”. In this speech, we saw the future of a successful gym environment tailored at improving connectivity for members, accountability/motivation and gym performance. All in all, inspiring greater use of the gym.

Florian

To round off the speaker portion of the evening, we had Florian Bay, who presented an advanced level speech entitled “High Performance Leadership – 2 – Presenting the Results”. During the speech, we were able to see how Florian has left a legacy for Toastmasters International. He also talked us through his speech in Chicago. We all toasted that!

David & Mark

After four inspiring speeches, we moved on to evaluations. First we heard from David Scott, who emphasized the importance of use of the “threes” in Toastmasters.

Robert

Next, Robert Nicholson took to the stage and gave constructive feedback regarding engaging the audience powerfully with situations they could relate with.

Pascale

Then Pascale Monteil reminded the audience of the importance of vocal variety and how it had been applied with the speech.

Lastly, Eleanor Hanslip came on stage to discuss the speech of Florian Bay. She pointed out some great things about the speech and the legacy that Florian left behind together with achievements. Eleanor wanted to understand the details how the great results were achieved together with the strategies used to overcome obstacles.

Annabel

Before our break, our Sergeant at Arms, Annabel Lamb, introduced the eleven guests for the evening. Guests are an important part of what makes meetings special, so please don’t be shy to stop by!

Susanne

After a break, we returned for a round of table topics! This week our Table Topics master was Susanne Alfs who asked lucky members of the club to take the stage and answer some questions, all based around the theme of New Year Resolutions. We heard about resolutions fluctuating from procrastination, an assessment of the virtues of having no resolutions, and then New Year resolutions which extended to world denomination.

Mohammed

We then invited our Table Topics Evaluator, Mohammed Salih, to give constructive feedback to all the participants. Some themes included taking pauses, position on stage, and engaging the audience through humour.

Which brought us to the end of our meeting. Congratulations to the winners this week!

Mark

Winning The Best Speaker: MarkPlease feel free to join us! We meet every Tuesday at 6:30pm at St. James the Less Westminster, SW1V 2PS (nearest station Pimlico). Guests are more than welcome to stop by and ask any questions they may have.

Best Evaluator Award: Pascale

Winning Completing Level 1 Pathways: Boyko

Talking about the BFI London Film Festival 2018

Report By: Mohammed Salih
Contributors: Mark B, Florian, Dana, Pascale, Joseph, Annabel, Kam

Paulina, the standing president told of a cycling adventure for charity in France, off course anybody would be proud of achieving such a ride so she suggested when you want something to “Just do it” and added that it would help to remember “Don’t waste time thinking whether you should or shouldn’t”.

Annabel spoke of how it feels when one has not taken the role of a Toastmaster for a year, but reminded us about the importance of managing our progress on the newly launched system of Pathways where all mentoring, coaching and speaking are taken care of. She challenged the audience to “Avoid social media during the meeting” and declared that the chosen theme was swinging between October, pumpkins, Christmas, and finally settling with the British Film Festival BFI.

She asked members what is your favourite film and why? She pointed out that perhaps our favourite films tell us a lot about our personality. She started with “My favourite film is Moulin Rouge, I love the fact it combines cabernet, amazing costume design, set in Paris and of course heartbreak”.

She asked “Which country produces the most films? From 2015” it looks like India with(1,986), then Nigeria (997), then the USA(791).

Dana was the time keeper who introduced the role with a poem with appreciation from the audience. Dana used different styles each time he came up to deliver the time report. It looks like in his words that “Any role, even as boring as timekeeper, can be enjoyable if done with passion”. To be strict with time, we at London Victorians pride ourselves on respecting the time of everyone, hence Dana declared that “What kicks off my timekeeping a word or a gesture” and indeed he was talking to speakers in colours, those red, amber, green lights. If one was to go over the 30 seconds limited after the dedicated time his threat was “You will be dead, think of me as Jack the Ripper of timekeeping”.

The grammarian was Kam who took stage to declare the Italian word of the day “Crescendo” pronounced “cresh-endo” which means “Increasing in loudness”. She spoke of her interest in adopting words from other cultures and where literal meaning can be used in abstract ways.

She pointed out that crescendo is a very useful word despite that it may be misused at times to mean “climax” or “high-point”. We are told of the musical nature of the word as crescendo is most popular and that “It should be applied to anything which is growing in volume, seriousness or excitement but hadn’t reached a climax”.

David S. took stage as the Harkmaster and confessed that attending London Victorians is one of the few places where he practices his public speaking skills, however he reminded us of the importance in being good listers too because such skill gets you sweets at our club. He put is beautifully as he said “I will be asking questions, if you get it right I will give a chocolate, if you get many questions right, you get diabetes”

I am the meeting reporter, or rather the blogger, walked up to the stage to share my recent experience of completing my Master NLP Practioner course of 9 intensive days, I realized that in life “Every change is worth it”, I spoke that tonight I will be changing the role of reporting the meeting from it being written by one person to collaborative effort where more members chip in the writing each a paragraph. Now I am glad that his is the first report where it has at the top the word “Contributors”. I think blogging this meeting is designed to bring change to your life if you found your way to it, the next change is to visit us on our weekly meeting, we can’t wait to welcome you here.

Mutiat doing her Ice Breaker Speech

Speech 1: Mutiat spoke of using her ice breaker speech to tell us a little about herself. One morning she just decided to jet off to Paris to learn French, and why not? But she faced 3 challenges.
As she found herself in the Sorbonne and having to find a room, depending on her mobile as a navigator, it stopped working so she had to use a map instead. Next it was her survival was at stake as she “Couldn’t cook”, ever since she had her food cooked at home and shuttled between Manchester and London, now being an amateur cook was weaning her off meat. This is because there was no “No Halal butcher so I turned vegetarian”. The last challenge was interactions with people, she admits of being “a daydreamer a lot like”. But one day she had to share a book with a girl, this kicked off her comfort with people to the point of Mutiat started to talk to random people.

Speech 2: Hue started with a confession of “This is a truncated version of a best man speech due to time constraints and me having to comply with current social settings”. This certainly was an entertaining speech as he spoke of his mate Paul when he took us back years ago to introduce us to the beginning “At the tender age of 6, Paul met me”. Addressing the bride and the groom with a smile he complemented saying “Great to see how beautiful Liz looks, and how great Paul looks, now I am lying”. The rapport Hugh began to create turning to Liz and understanding that you may be feeling now “A bit apprehensive, I don’t blame you as you are marrying Paul”. Public speaking is not Hugh’s daily work, as he remembers that the last time he was doing public speaking, he was found guilty and was fined £200.

Speech 3: Boyko spoke about the car of the future, he made us wonder what that car would be and when do we expect to to appear in mass productions on our roads. The market seems to be in favour of electric cars, in fact “Tesla is struggling to produce enough to satisfy market demands”. Not any electric cars, but autonomous electric cars and manufacturers like Volkswagen and Ford will mass produce by 2021. So why are we leaning more and more towards such vehicles? Well the answer seems to be buried in these four reasons according to Boyko. Electric autonomous cars are:

1-Good for the environment, this is where 50% less polluting is generated to current models.
2-Price: now expensive but by 2019 they become becomes cheaper approaching mass productions.
3-Convenience: Just imagine Robo Taxi waiting for you, for your spouse and kids each going in different directions.
4-Safety: Statics show that there are 1.3 million deaths a year involved in car accidents
There you go, time to start ditching you petrol based car for an electric one and perhaps an autonomous one, so buckle up.

Speech 4: Sussane drew our attention to an important sector of management Technology Governance. She shared many facts and figures to prove that many organisations are missing the point of IT Governance when it comes to board members. Sussane had identified a number of possible reasons:
1-Boards don’t fully understand technology challenges
2-The term for a board member is 3 years assignment so not enough to build a technology appreciation.
2-Technology Governance is not high on the agenda of the board compared to revenue and marketing.
3-It is a team making decisions on the board, geeks are not good communicators so they get side lined.

Evaluation 1: Priyen began by summarising the speech, he loved using gestures as the speaker delivered the speech, he felt this added to the message being delivered. Priyen commended the high energy displayed by the speaker and stated “This is not usual of an ice breaker”. Not using notes was also a great thing the speaker did. Priyen commended the structure of using 3 points to build up the speech with a recommendation to “Make the conclusion sharper”. He suggested looking at the pace of speech and perhaps slowing down to let audience absorb the information.

Terry winning the Best Evaluaor

Evaluation 2: Terry started his evaluation with a high impact energy as he look to the audience, offer a big smile and begins “What a great best man speech” and we are told of a good formula to use when doing a best man speech to include acknowledging the bride, the bride groom and the groom’s mother-in-law that Hugh did. Terry offered “Tips for the future” that to consider delivering a joke every 45 seconds of such a speech, this is because in contests, speakers are expected to do so every 30 seconds of humour. Hugh had more time of 7 minutes that could have injected more humour. A recommendation to think of setting up the audience for the joke and after delivery, perhaps to pause to let the joke be enjoyed before moving into the next one. Terry concluded by saying “You can use notes, however, look up to the audience and speak to them”

Evaluation 3: Joseph first reminded us of the objectives of the speech which was to do speech a second time taking into consideration the feedback given in the previous speech. Joseph was asked by Boyko, the speaker to look for vocal variety, eye contact and moving on stage on purpose. Joseph recommended using moving as one spoke is to give point then move to a new position not move while they are delivering a point

Evaluation 4: Pascale I was evaluating Suzannes speech from the Speaking to Inform manual on technology in the boardroom. She commended Suzanne on how she engaged the audience to relate the topic to an area they were familiar with, her structure and her use of facts. Pascale suggested that the speaker could increase the impact of her facts by using pauses, repetition and different vocal tones. Overall Pascale thought the topic was a great choice and learnt a lot. Why a good conclusion is better than an abrupt one is that the audience will be able to take away final thoughts easily. If using facts and figures, Pascal recommend to pause a bit, let the numbers sink in the minds of listers and perhaps repeat those numbers.

Michelle a new member

Michelle who joined London Victorians was our Sergeant At Arms welcoming guests at the door and inviting them to find a seat. She took stage to introduce all the guests and tell them about our registration process. To encourage speaking, Michelle wanted to celebrate our achievements be telling us about it, she added “For example my recent achievement at work was that I took extra projects, the result delivered and I got promotion, tell us about yours”. Off course when we look for achievements in our lives, we find many to talk about, here is a list from the meeting guests:
● Started a new job
● Organising brother’s wedding
● Waiting to join Toastmasters
● Get a proper job
● Getting up early to go to the gym
● Complete a triathlon
● Changing jobs after 8 years to a new skill area
● Become more disciplined and organised
● Being here in this meeting after putting it off for a year
● Spoke at dad’s 60th birthday

Florian spoke of how table topics and impromptu speaking helps us in three ways.
1. Building confidence: every second of stage time builds up the ability to communicate with an audience.
2. Develop sharpness: of the mind for meetings daily conversations.
3. New ways: helps in finding new ways to deliver a speech on the fly if you forget something.

This is where all the creative skills, humour and determination begin to show up clearly through the participants short 1 to 2 minutes speech slots. The audience had fun in listening to a multitude of reflections on movies they selected at random prepared by Florian. The result? Here are the highlights.

Steph a new member

In the forest, in the dark night, when the moon is the only source of light, a wolf lies among the trees. The Golden Eye, or was it the fish with the golden eye, it doesn’t matter, that fish gave the man 3 wishes to fulfil. What was that movie all about? The Ready Player 1? Did I find myself in Las Vegas wanting to gamble? I wanted only to play Blackjack putting down $2, but the minimum was $5, so I put the money on the table for the roulette wheel.

The movie Red Sparrow came up, and we wondered was it a real movie or a chance to drift into imagination, the speech drew us into the Japanese Studios of animated movies which is Japan’s version of Disney. But Star Wars 1 was present reminding us of Skywalker, Darth Vader, some of us prefer Yoda as a puppet compared to the animated character present in later versions of the movie. But what do you talk about when you have 4 Weddings and a Funeral? Well we will need 4 actors for the weddings and perhaps a butcher for the funeral. This is because movie worlds like Hollywood and Bollywood are there to visit, consider going to visit Universal Studios and discover the world of casting in movies.

Mark a new member

Mark evaluated our table topic speakers. For each one, he drew out a point that they did well, and an action they could take to improve their speaking further. One suggestion was to use of structure – demarcating different sections of the speech with a clear header “in conclusion” or rhetorical question “so what does this all mean?”, followed by a pause to allow the audience to hear that the speech has moved to the next stage. A useful tip for the whole club!

Ariel winning the Best Tabletopics

Mark also touched on more specific issues like how good it is to project vocal variety, audience engagement by asking the audience questions, using descriptive language when in a new environment like the casino, using good, hand gesture, take the speech into your chosen area of comfort, ending with a clear call to action and starting with a fantastic introduction. We can also improve on other aspects of speech like, move on stage on purpose avoiding pacing side to side, working on your structure of speech, walk on stage to avoid being static, own the stage and sticking to one message.

As a Toastmaster of the evening, Annabel asked many what were their favourite movies, here is the list that we enjoyed:
Dana: Godfather – shows the many different aspects of man.
Kam: Goodfellas; I love New York, Crime Thrillers, Robert De Niro and life transformation.
David S.:Alien – reason being great characters, set design and scare factor.
Mutiat: City of God because it gives a real insight into real peoples’ struggles.
Hugh: The Departed, all his favourite actors under one roof.
Boyko: The Shawshank Redemption, the film has a very inspiring message; a person should never give up.
Susanne: Invictus – about the life of Nelson Mandela.
Terry: Quentin Tarantino ‘From Dusk till Dawn’ because it goes crazy and turns from a crime film into a crazy zombie murder fest.
Joseph: Vantage Point. Whist not a British film, I like it because it was a wonderfully told story of a short event seen from various perspective and how the truth can be difficult to determine without knowing and seeing the big picture from all sides.
Pascale: Lord of the Rings trilogy brought to world I love to live with the most incredible detail….made a fantasy seem like history.
Michelle : True Romance, because I am a true romantic at heart and love a bit of drama.
Florian: Star Wars episode 6 / because good triumph over evil.
Tom T. :Think and Grow Rich, because it shows that you can achieve what you believe.
Paulina: Tim Burton film its quirky but fun. She getting her film playlists ready for long autumn evenings

Our General Evaluator Tom T, spent around 8 minutes telling us what great things we did as a club and members and what things to improve. He noticed we are organised, professional, project high energy and friendly environment.

We at London Victorians love to see guests, if you visit us you would get 3 things for free:

  1. Enjoy a high energy meeting
  2. Learn how we speak publically
  3. Start your speaking career

Now !Put in your calendar when are you going to visit 🙂

 

Imagine your holiday destination

Report By: Mohammed Salih

Boyko with "Challenges"

Boyko with “Challenges”

Eleanor our President started the meeting with a story of a legend called Michael Jordan, this is an american legend who focused on developing his skills in basketball that he attracted the lime lights from the whole world to shine on him. He invested his fame in sport to create business worth today 1 billion dollars. Eleanor spoke of how “Talents wins games just like we have in Toastmasters, we have goals”. The inspiration was when members develop individually, the club develops collectively. With a call to action “Tell us when you develop! Get up here on stage!

Fahad with guests

Fahad with guests

Volunteer to lead meetings as a Toastmaster! So you too can run the show!”

Robert being pumped by now was strolling to take over the rein mounting the stage and kicking off. He asked us where did we want to go next on holiday, off course some places were real, some were only real in our minds.

Paulina rode along as the Grammarian watching for beautiful language use “It is about connecting better with clarity and creating impact”, to this “I want you all to use the word of the day MAGNITUDE !”. Avoid filler words guys “Because I will be counting them all”. Filler words include emmm, so, errr, ahh.

The Harkmaster Mayur spoke of how important it is to listen. And to entice us he declared “If you want chocolate, listen carefully”, this is a very tough call to combat against so silence descended upon the room ready for the speeches.

Boyko launched the speaking fever with “Challenges”. Interaction with the audience from the start with questions like, What do you do when you are faced with a challenge? We listened to how a boy 12 years ago began his first challenge in studies. We are told to “Face it”. Boyko used vocal variety to act scenes of his story, this included how learning Salsa also was seen as a challenge. One should try even if they suck at the start.

Boyko gaining his Ice Breaker Ribbon

Boyko gaining his Ice Breaker Ribbon

Arsen told us of how the company Apple founded by Steve Jobs had a budget ot 1 trillion dollars, to put that in perspective, he compared it to the budgets of countries like the Netherlands just to appreciate the size Apple as a company. Aresn drew our attention that “Digital companies are transforming our lives” and with examples of Uber, AirBNB and Amazon we learned that Uber doesn’t own a taxi, AirBNB doesn’t own a room, and Amazon doesn’t own stock, yet they are all digital successes. Bill Gates was quoted to have said “640KB ought to be enough for anybody”, well that was back in 1981.

Alex winning Best Table Topics

Alex winning Best Table Topics

Yumi questioned the audience about what do they consider doing in public to be embarrassing? Do you eat? Do you blow your nose? What do you find embarrassing? In Japan “We bow to greet, and we bow three times, we go lower in bowing in the 3rd time”. When exchanging business cards “We use both hands”. The Japanese culture is exposed to us via speaking of how each one is “expected to carry their own hankachy” Aha you read it right because “Handkerchief” is shortened to “Hankachy” as the “Japanese are efficient”.  Yumi pleasantly demonstrated how in public the Japanese blow their noses, sniff and slurp. In toilets the Japanese provide flushing sounds in toilets to mask off the sounds produced “as you did your business” as a form of polite gesture, however this was not demonstrated during the speech for lack of equipment.

Matthew winning Best Evaluator

Matthew winning Best Evaluator

Dana took stage to evaluate the first speech “Challenges”, he praised Boyko for the clarity of voice and for vocal variety used during delivery, how Dana spoke of his choice of dressing up in the Kurdish traditional dress due to celebrating Eid Al-Adha which is the Muslim’s festival for completing Hajj in Mecca. The pilgrims celebrate in Saudi Arabia while we here also pray, entertain and dress up for the occasion. Dana expressed his appreciate for the speech structure, the meaningful eye contact and the confidence displayed by Boyko. Dana also recommended that Boyko use more vocal variety, utilise the stage more to deliver the story and to engage the audience by asking questions at the beginning.

Anna followed by evaluating the second speech “New reality – Digital Revolution” delivered by Arsen. She pointed out to the good start of the speech as it began with “Something we know well; the company Apple”. To make figures understandable, she praised the use of “Comparing the GDP of the Netherlands as a country to the revenue Apple generates”. We are told how Arsen “Hammered home digital supremacy” of some companies via audience interactions and multiple examples. Anna recommended points to improve; perhaps “Using more pauses to let us absorb the points”. also , working on the structure would definitely aid Arsen in having a better speech next time so that “We connect well the statement of Bill Gates to the Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution”.

Yumi winning Best Speaker

Yumi winning Best Speaker

Matthew with a towering stance took stage with a big smile to evaluate the third speech “Japanese Etiquette” delivered for the second time as required by the programme Pathways. This is so that feedback obtained from the first delivery of the speech is taken seriously and integrated to a second version of the speech. Matthew liked the purposeful and kind eye contact as Yumi “Looked individually to members of the audience”. Despite recognizing that Yumi glanced at notes at time, she project a good flow of content. Also, Matthew noticed vocal variety of voice and tone going up and down during speech and recommended use of dialog. He recommended raising the volume a bit and construct a stronger conclusion.

Fahad, being the Sergeant At Arms decided to give all guests stage time collectively as he invited all visiting guests. He called it “Stage Ville”,I guess next he will have his own game on mobile apps. We listened to how each guest introduced themselves, told us why they decided to visit and we all applauded all these wonderful commitments and aspirations. At London Victorians we just love seeing guests come see us in action, we would love them even more when they join us to be great speakers, so come along and invite your friends to an Tuesday evening of learning and entertainment.

Jackie was the Master in charge of Table Topics where you can take the stage and speak for maximum of 2 minutes on a topic given to you on the spot. This time Jackie asked participants to imagine they are book authors introducing their newly written books which covered various topics and title through the imaginations of speakers such as “Eyes Wide Shut”, “My Cooing Secrets”, “24 Hours in London”, “A Brief History of My Country” and “Why Facebook Will Kill Us”.

The Toastmaster Robert was now ready to handover the meeting to the President Eleanor who lead the applause for a job well done by Robert. Now it was time for awards and photos, so on the sound of drum rolls the Best Table Topics Award went to Alex, the Best Evaluator went to Matthew and the Best Speaker went to Yumi, Hooray !.

Now! How many skills can you pick up from one meeting? Plenty, it depends how you listen and modal great strategies of speakers. It is fine to aspire to be a public speaker, but when you stand up and speak, that’s where you really can say you are a public speaker. Have you pondered for a week? A month or even a year on what would really be like standing in front of colleagues, family or bigger masses and deliver an inspirational speech? Is it time you walked into London Victorians to start? Make sure you block Tuesday to come visit us.

 

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.