Develop Speaking Skills


Prateek as Toastmaster, developing his leadership skills

At 6:30 every Tuesday we meet in St. James the Less Church conveniently located between Victoria and Pimlico to develop leadership and develop speaking skills. On Tuesday 16th August Prateek was Toastmaster of the evening running an energetic night. He had a team to assist him, Bruna was timekeeper and Nuala was sergeant at arms. Isabelle was grammarian and Christophe was harkmaster.

There were four prepared speeches on the night, first on stage was Pranav delivering his Icebreaker. He informed the audience of his challenging journey which resulted in outstanding achievements while working in the robotics industry.

Pranav delivering his icebreaker speech

Pranav delivering his icebreaker speech

Second on stage was John, delivering speech 4 from the Competent Communication manual ‘How to Say it’. He compared facing adversity to teabags; it’s only when you put teabags in hot water you find out how strong they are. Similarly, when people face adversity it can bring out their best.


Robert delivering his speech

Third on stage was Sophia delivering speech 5 from the Competent Communication manual ‘Your Body Speaks’. Inspired by a book ‘Hinds Feet on High Places’, Sophia delivered a message about developing courage to overcome fear and humiliation.


Members and guests conversing at the meeting break

Fourth on stage was Robert who spoke about advances in tech, how the speed of technological change has made life easier for the end consumer. Providing examples such as apps such XE currency which offers convenience and the best foreign exchange rates possible.

The four speeches were evaluated by Stephen, Fahad, Romain and Florian respectively. Evaluations happen throughout a Toastmaster meeting so speakers learn where their strengths lie, and are also made aware of areas they can improve. 

Majdouline then hosted the table topics session to develop speaking skills, with the theme of idioms, speakers were challenged to speak for 1-2 minutes on idioms such as ‘out of the blue’ and ‘as keen as mustard’. An inventive session with interesting answers that were then evaluated by Tatiana.

Guests are always welcome to join us so come along to our next meeting on the 23rd August!

Public Speaking and Leadership Skills – 9th August 

Tuesday 9th August and Eleanor G was Toastmaster, introducing the theme of festivals for the meeting. She had a team to assist her, Pranav was Timekeeper, John was Sergeant At Arms and Christophe was Grammarian introducing Jovial as word of the day. Every week we have meetings to support our members in building their public speaking and leadership skills.

Eleanor as Toastmaster

Eleanor’s leadership task of being Toastmaster

Eleanor B was harkmaster, informing the audience of the importance of listening by stating “Hearing is uncontrollable whereas listening is a skill”, citing 5 types of listening; pseudo, appreciative, empathetic, comprehensive and critical listening.

We had three speeches on the night, first on stage was Miller delivering her icebreaker which is the first speech in the competent communication manual. Miller informed the audience about challenges she has overcome, how in life sometimes things work out differently than planned. Her speech ended with the message, that only by repeatedly asking ‘Who am I?’ do we truly start to know ourselves.

Miller who delivered her Icebreaker

Miller who delivered her Icebreaker

Second on stage was Cleo, delivering the second speech from the competent communication manual “Organise Your Speech”. Cleo informed the audience of the traditional Brazillian and Portuguese food, Feijoada. Likening the dish to a magic potion, Cleo informed the audience of the history, ingredients and how the Feijoada dish came to life in other parts of the World.

Lastly was Yyvonne delivering speech 3 from the Competent Communication manual “Get to the point”. Her speech was about the Olympics including some interesting statistics such as how there are 13,000 athletes competing in Rio, in 33 sports and 400 different events. Yyvonne also informed the audience of when her dog competed in doglympics in Taiwan!

Fahad then hosted the table topics inviting impromptu speaking volunteers to the stage to deliver a 1-2 minute speech. Speeches were then evaluated by Isabelle, who provided each speaker commendations on what they did well and also included tips on how to make their impromptu speech better. Join us next week to see how we help our members improve their public speaking and leadership skills.

Speaking off the cuff – 2nd August

Thomas was Toastmaster of the evening introducing speakers to the stage with an anecdote about what they each speaker had wanted to be when they grew up. Lots of interesting answers from aspirations to being a police woman to ambitions of driving a train. Thomas had a team to assist him, Pranav was timekeeper and Christophe was Sergeant At Arms. Cleo was grammarian introducing ‘epiphany’ as word of the day and Annabel was harkmaster. In the run up to Toastmasters table topic contest, we had several members speak off the cuff in preparation for the competition.  

Thomas as Toastmaster of the evening

We had three prepared speeches, first on stage was Romain delivering speech 2 from the CC manual “Organise your speech”. Romain informed the audience about his passion for traveling which allows him to relax and disconnect. For him, traveling is more than a passion, and helps him put life into perspective. 
Second on stage was George, delivering his speech 4 “How to say it”. George detailed his experiences in Uganda where his wife comes from. He informed the audience of the locals perception of Muzungos like him, where it affects financial dealings and perceptions of wealth. 
Third on stage was Tatiana delivering speech 5 “Your body Speaks”, she explained to the audience how restrictions ignite creativity rather that restrict it. From calligraphy to engineering, Tatiana provided examples of how restrictions pushed and inspired, increasing creative output. 

Tatiana delivering her speech

Eleanor H provided original and inventive table topics for impromptu speaking volunteers to deliver off the cuff speeches. Questions ranged from how would you entertain a crowd to considering if it is right to celebrate criminals. Nuala then evaluated each volunteer who took part in the impromptu speaking table topics session. 
Fahad speaking off the cuff

Fahad speaking off the cuff

Impromptu Speaking Challenges 26th July  

Tuesday 26th July George was Toastmaster with the theme of dreams. He told the audience his dream of making a million pounds a year on his Ugandan Farm. George had a team to assist him, Stephen was timekeeper. Cleo was Sergeant At Arms. Tatiana was Harkmaster  and Romain was Grammarian introducing Euphoria as word of the day.


George was Toastmaster

There were three speeches on the night. First was Bruna with her first speech as a member. Bruna told us of a difficult period in her life when she was 15. Rather than be labelled a victim, a strong and resilient Bruna told the audience how she has overcome these events to “turn her poison into medicine”.


Bruna after completing her Icebreaker

Lawrence was next on stage delivering speech two ‘organise your speech’. With a powerful swing and a golf club as a prop, Lawrence informed the audience how he likens Golf to life; how failure is part of success, and passion is one of the most important elements to maintain.

Third on stage was Eleanor delivering her 6th speech focusing on ‘vocal variety’. Her speech began with the inspiring story of Gladys Cooper who at 113 was one of the oldest people in the UK. Outlining the events in Gladys life, and the changes in society that she experienced, Eleanor stated that age should not be thought of as a number, but more a value. An inspirational speech about reframing age in society.

The second half of the meeting was hosted by Christophe providing volunteers with topics for impromptu speaking which were based around the topics of morality and spirituality. Questions ranged from what kind of personality God might have to whether it’s ok to not tell the truth. Challenging questions with very creative and funny impromptu answers. Annabel then evaluated all impromptu speeches providing each speaker with commendations and recommendations.


Annabel evaluating impromptu speaking volunteers

Impromptu Speaking Galore – 19th July

We last meeting basked in summer heat and guess what. With four speeches, including an impromptu one by our past President Florian, we raised the temperature yet further! Robert took charge of the meeting as Toastmaster for the very first time (well done Robert!) and quickly introduced his team of functionaries for the evening. Christophe as timekeeper, Andrew as grammarian and last but not least, Cleo as harkmaster.

Toastmaster of the meeting Robert showing the Competent Communicator manual

Toastmaster of the meeting Robert showing the Competent Communicator manual

Andy did the first speech of the evening ‘A Caribbean Pirate’ telling us the story of Wolfie, a dog his family adopted while he was working in the Caribbean. Thomas followed on by beginning his speech ‘Practice Pratice’ with a reference to Carnegie Hall and how only the best musicians perform here. The secret to performing here is indeed practice and Thomas told us a personal story of how as a cello player, he and a friend could have avoided making a routine mistake by practicing more. The third speech was an impromptu one delivered by Florian who was asked what he would do if he became UK Foreign Secretary. Visits to Germany, Russia, France and the United States featured in the speech and an insistence that the UK should always be open to others. Finally, Fahad in the last speech of the meeting ‘The Most Powerful Force in the Universe’ told us the power of exponential growth. A power illustrated by mankind’s population growth since antiquity, house price inflation and many more examples. The value of the pound if our pocket is diminishing as we speak, scary…

Practice makes perfect according to our second speaker!

Practice makes perfect according to our second speaker!

John, Sophia, Romain and Tatiana evaluated the speakers in turn, giving them feedback on their strong points and areas for improvement.

Speech evaluator Tatiana

Speech evaluator Tatiana

More impromptu speaking followed after a short break with AK taking control as table topics master. AK came up with questions based on how people would behave in an alternate universe were they were infamous politicians. These could be Nigel Farage pursued by a mob or Donald Trump with his wig falling off. Guests and members took turns answering these questions and were provided feedback on their performance by table topic evaluator Terry.

AK our lively impromptu speaking master

AK our lively impromptu speaking master

John and Cleo then came back for their respective reports followed by our general evaluator Karthik.