Tragedy, Drama and Plenty of Inspiration

Marko Salopek delivering his speech What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

It was an upbeat, energetic meeting this week, despite Toastmaster and newly-appointed District Programme Quality Director, Florian Bay jokingly comparing it to a three-part Greek tragedy. “Though no one actually dies, luckily”, he added. But there was certainly some drama…

Florian Bay announcing club achievements

Kicking off the evening’s speeches with his first project from the Innovative Planning pathway Alex shared the story of how his creative outlets of music, cooking and film have taken him around the world, from London, Ontario (where he was born), via Italy, to London, England (where he now lives). In his speech, entitled Tale of Three Cities, he explained what kept him moving: “I needed more! More what? Everything!”

Alex Liberatore gets his ribbon for Ice Breaker on Pathways; Tale of Three Cities

Speech evaluator Mohammed declared that Alex did “an awesome job” with his speech. Also presenting the inaugural project from Innovating Planning, Marko displayed excellent leadership as he stepped in to take up the second speech slot which had become free earlier in the day due to a last-minute cancellation. With less than an afternoon to prepare, it was apt that he chose the speech title What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid? He spoke about how squaring up to the things that scare us, from moving countries to overcoming a fear of heights, can bring amazing personal rewards.

Eleanor Handslip gets Best Table Topics Award

“Marko created suspense and made us think deeply about the questions he was posing,” said speech evaluator, Andrew.  Ignorance Is Not Bliss was the final speech of the evening and took a sombre and serious tone. Exploring the realities behind both the meat industry and the gold-mining industry, speaker, Siddarth, took a creative approach to completing the fourth speech project in the Competent Communication Manual, How To Say It. Pascale, evaluating Siddarth’s speech said: “His vivid words really stirred the imagination!”

Marko Salopek gets Best Speaker Award

In the second half of the meeting, Table Topic Master Yumi challenged the volunteer impromptu speakers with a particularly tricky task. They randomly selected a subject, object and place and had to craft a spontaneous speech mentioning all of them. From “receptionist, lip balm and toilet” to “expat, mint and Japan”, this mechanic led to some excellent storytelling speeches, in particular from Eleanor, Andrew and first-time guest, Jeremy.

Despite all the drama, there were plenty of laughs and enough inspiration to keep us all working hard on our public speaking. “Every time you open your mouth, you are a public speaker,” said Mohammed, “so you may as well get it right!” Giving up? Now THAT would be a tragedy.

From Down Under to Front Leader

Paul MCoy The Toastmaster

Fahad – the stand in presedent – this is becoming a habit now, talked about the importance of using and following the manuals from Toastmasters International. Paul MCoy from down under in Australia was the toastmaster taking charge of everything that moves within the room, off course no shyness shown, instead courage, humour and leadership.

Fahad stand in president, use these 2 manuals

Paul spoke of a great night of 2 speeches, evaluations and impromptu speeches.
His first speech in Austerial down under was delivered under harsh weather conditions of 40 degress heat and to 8 people, “My first speech, my heart was pounding” but off course later on relaxed with the club London Victorians, what a journey of courage well done Paul.

Thomas: When losing your mobile drink coffee

Thomas sprung up on stage like mounting on a horse and announced that “My role is feed you candies, your role is to gain those candies by carefully listening” to every single one that comes up on stage tonight. Fair enough Thomas. By the way they call chocolate candies over there in Canada.

Joe Higgins: I am your Town Planning Officer

Joe I am your Town Planning Officer, O WOW! I was looking for you Joe. Planning is a service to society where planners decide how best to use the land we have. Joe talked about how her researches what we are lacking in our towns to help him decide granting yet a new chicken shop in south London or not. We are told that town planning policies are incredibly vague    and they are open for interpretations.  jow talked about how he spends time negotiating with various people trying to find common grounds and he introduced the concept of BANANAS (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.
Joe was trying to bridge the knowledge gap between the public perception and the actual work of the planning officer recommending to read the Draft London Plan which is only 500 pages for the introduction part, sure Joe sent it through.

Matthew Noble: Watch your Red Herrings

One million Australians use Oral-B switched today was the opening, just because something is popular doesn’t make it worthwhile, so what are the popular methods of distractions Mathew?

1-Ad hominem is Latin meaning “against the man”, the American recent presidential elections was used as an example of personal attacked between candidates. 2-Arguments from ignorance and just because we can’t prove X it does’t mean that X is not true. 3-The straw-man argument and what if we wanted to improve prisons does that mean turning jails into holiday camps? 4-The Red Herring a bad smelling fish used to distract dogs.

Claudia Donea: Table Topics evaluater

Mohammed evaluating Joe’s speech which was entitled “What my Mum thinks I do, what society thinks I do, what I think I do, what I actually do”, Joe took us into his world of planning officer using great descriptive language of “wilderness of planning” and “bridging the knowledge gap”.

Fahad described the second speech as “A fantastic speech” commanding the stage with confident stance, voice projection. Good summary is an advanced skill shown by Mathew.

Faith: Winner of Table Topics speeches

The meeting was warm we enjoyed the comedy presented by our table topics speakers who we all love for their courage, innovation and leadership in stretching themselves to stand up and share their thoughts, feelings and just do it. Paul’s leading as a Toastmaster showed confidence and execution and joy.

What Invention Would You Want To See

Tension was building up as people filled the room for Toastmasters at London Victorians, 30th January. Words of encouragement peppered around as new connections formed between members and guests. What’s going to happen? Am I in the right place? Do I really want to be here? Questions flitted through guests minds as they sat nearer the back of the room.

Joe getting his membership from Fahad the standing in president

It was Joe Thomas’s first time as Toastmaster. He paced & smirked at the front of the room. A natural entertainer anticipated his approaching experience.

The Grammarian Siddharth Jain

Mohammed Salih Caesarean Operations Adventures

First section
Fahad, a master of inclusion, asked people to introduce themselves – a smart way to break down barriers. Joe’s time travel story was a hit, laughter followed. Are we at a comedy show? Joe put everyone at ease and brought the timekeeper (Anna), grammarian (Siddharth) and meeting reporter (Andy) to light. Each performing their own delivery to inform guest of their purpose. Speech one, Mohammed’s passionate delivery set the bar. Speaking of real life experiences whilst educating and inspiring the audience. 6 babies! The man’s got super sperm and his wife’s a heroine. Alex, the second speaker, started with a bold statement telling us to forget inspiration, take action! Practical tips sprinkled with compassion brought us closer to his speech intention. Vibesan kept the audience on the edge of their seats. Will Vibeson break free of his stutter to maintain s-speaking fluency? Yes indeed. Vibesan flowed through the sales role play, winning the crowd over with his smile & determination to deliver. Solid evaluations from Matthew, Thomas and Ahmed. Complex literation, smooth deliveries. Educational tone from Thomas and soft encouragement from Ahmed. Susanne welcomed the guests creating new energy in the room.

Table Topic Master Sara Bham

Final section
If only we’d had a trumpet to announce in the table topics. May the knights stand ready for battle! Sara added the twist of cards – truth or lie . Ooo I heard the crowd groan. Anticipation kicked in as the first name was read out. People navigated through the twists and turns. Emotions of uncertainty flared before coming out on top. Laughter and satisfaction ensued. Well done everyone. New skills, new awareness, new challenges and imprinted memories never to be forgotten.

Guests introducing themselves

Guests introducing themselves

Our General Evaluator Jamie Hamer

Vibesan Illampooranan speaking about the iWatch and trying to sell it to Andy

Best Evaluator Award: Matthew Noble

Best Speaker Award: Alex Liberatore

Andy Turner doing a table topic


Workshop: Hoopla Improv Course

Speech Improvisation or “improv” for short is about working together as a team with other improvisers to spontaneously create group stories, scenes & sketches to maximise impact of speakers.

Best courses for people new to improv are the Beginners Improv Courses.

Timing ? for 8 weeks starting in January

  • Mondays
  • Tuesdays
  • Wednesday
  • Thursdays


  • London Bridge
  • Liverpool Street
  • Brick Lane
  • King’s Cross

Also on offer are one day introductions to improv

Startup with these references

  1. Quick guide to improv
  2. General improv exercises part 1
  3. General improv exercises part 2

Start today and become a dynamic speaker Book Hoopla Improv Course

For more details, contact

Steve Roe
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: /HooplaImpro
Twitter: @HooplaImpro
Phone: 07976975348

A Night of Story Telling

Stories are fundamental parts of our lives, we relate to them, learn from them and live by them.

Our standing in president was Mohammed, he took us back 40 years ago to grade 1 primary school, where his teacher Madeeha (Praiser in Arabic) praised his performance in tests by saying “Mohammed I gave you 10 out of 10, if I could give you more I would give you 11 out of 10” This is how positive words build us and we remember them for a long time. Same in Toastmasters, we build each other and encourage each other to keep improving. We all have inside each one of us a story, a message a song that is wanting to come out to the world.

Isabelle, Toastmaster talked about the power of story and how her interest in the refugee crises has given her the opportunity to visit camps in Turkey. Stories convince us and many times motivate us into action. Watch the clip here.



Sara, Time Keeper talking about her role and the use of coloured cards to control the flow of the whole meeting, green you are ok to continue your speech, amber it is good to start wrapping up, red you have run out of time and the bell after 30 seconds of red would mean that you are having too much fun.

Anna Bevan, Grammarian introduced the word of the day with a smile “Cantankerous” which apparently means bad-tempered, she watched beautiful uses of the language and interesting descriptive ones not forgetting counting all these filler words that we all are trying to avoid using like Ems, O I just used it, that must’ve made you cantankerous Anna.

Joe spring up to be the Hark master waving the box of chocolate if we listened carefully and answered his inquisitions at the end of the evening, he emphasised the importance of listened for public speakers and how he would be listening to those salient words and phrases.

Andrew Steavenson the first speaker flexed his muscles as he danced his way into displaying what Salsa is all about, how it all started and how it developed over the centuries starting from Nigeria, via Cube and the rest of the world, as it passed by countries, the people added their own flavour, now stop that dancing Andrew you are infecting us with fun. Salsa; a visual guide was the title and it was really.

Florian had a workshop up his sleeve entitled The SAVE Method to convey complex topics simply. The audience enjoyed picking up a number of skills on how to get your point across quickly. Florian suitably injected entertainment and group exercise that showed effective teaching methods. I am sure many of us will use those thoughts in many years to come in our journeys. Here are the clips part 1 and part 2.

Oriana evaluated Andrews speech and she stepped in with obvious confidence commenting on the effectiveness of using visual aids in the speech shedding light on the use of music and Andrew’s passion on the subject.


Pascale evaluated Florian’s workshop dishing out what she found great as well as points to consider to make it even greater. She liked the interactions with the audience, the use of group exercise being engaging. She reminded us of the need to use clear to see displays so that people at the back can see them well.

Ten minutes break gave all the chance to stretch, refresh and hand over those tiny strips of paper with commendations and recommendations to the two speakers.



We chatted to our guests and encouraged them to sign to talk on the night by heading to our Table Topics Master Yumi who swiftly came up with three boxes to choose from to base our speeches on; A subject box, an object box and a location, boy we had fun. The line up included Edwin, Azeem, Amy, Andrew, Claudia and Oriana.


Edwin talked about Aladdin and how he wanted to marry the girl of his dreams, however let’s not forget that Aladdin was a thief.

Azeem described the scene in a tiny cottage with 7 dwarfs cosy compared to the outside world of thunder in the forest.

Amy pulled us into Maleficent drawing comparisons with witches from similar stories like Snow White and how innocent she was as a character.



Andrew went with Cinderella and emphasised that at times you would find yourself working under oppressive work conditions and yes Cinderella did have her slippers made of glass, perhaps a matching glass dress would be good.


Claudia walked us with Shrek and a magic wand that might be more useful in bringing some food to the table instead of just converting a toad to a prince.



Oriana had to select Ario and a poisoned apple juggling both into a story woven around some vocal variety and her melodic voice. Our Grammarian Anna reported 5 uses of the word “Cantankerous” and 17 Em’s. Florian’s descriptive languages “The web is getting denser and denser and denser”, his SAVE acronym.

What a wonderful night packed with high energy, learning, speeches, evaluations and proper time keeping.

For the table topics the winner was Edwin ! Yay ! Congratulations to him and to all those who contributed in turning up and sharing value to improve our lives.

Is it time you joined the fun?