Toastmaster Meeting – Inspirational Leaders

On the 4th October Isabelle made her debut as Toastmaster of the Meeting in confident style. Isabelle had asked all speakers and functionaries in advance who their most inspirational leader or speaker was and why. She then used their answers whilst introducing them to the stage.

Prepared Toastmaster Speeches

The first speech was Karen who spoke about the “Gig Economy”. She talked about disruptive “market transforming technologies” and used the examples of eBay and Uber to paint a picture of what she believed was coming to the freelancer market. It was an informative speech talking about the risks and the opportunities to those involved.

Next up was Nuala who spoke about mindfulness. Nuala used a metaphor to explain what mindfulness was, she said “buses are like thoughts in our heads, we can let them go past or get on board”. She used visual aids in the form of photos of everyday items, such as washing up liquid, and taught us how we can practice mindfulness while doing the most basic chores.

The third speaker was Annabel who won best speaker for the meeting with her speech titled “A Short History of Fashion”. As a speech 8 (get comfortable with visual aids) Annabel used Powerpoint to help tell the story of Coco Chanel and her greatest rival Elsa Sciaparelli. She took the opportunity given by the subject to use rich and varied adjectives, talking about “innovative, imaginative – almost dreamlike” designs.

The fourth and final speaker was Warren who gave an adaptation of his recent humorous speech contest speech. He explained the reason he didn’t win in the contest was not because his speech was not funny but because the audience didn’t recognise his jokes. He therefore said he would helpfully hold up a sign saying “Ha” so we wouldn’t miss out. An innovative approach well worked into a funny speech on his predictions of our future relationships with robots.

Table Topics

The second half of the meeting Terry took the role of Table Topic Master. Continuing the inspirational leaders theme, he asked participants to imagine they were in certain leadership roles and to give impromptu speeches to further their cause. Eddie won the best table topic by acting the CEO of a naturist society who encouraged everyone to get naked for world peace!

Join us at our next meeting on Tuesday 11th October at St James the Less Church in Pimlico.

Linguistic Devices

I have been researching linguistic devices for my grammarian role at tonight’s Toastmaster meeting.

Tonight I will particularly be looking out for the following linguistic techniques.


An alliteration is the repetition of the same sound or letter at the beginning of each word, or many words, in a sentence.


Imperatives are instructions or orders. Used sparingly these can have serious effect on the listener. E.g. “You must listen carefully to what I’m about to say”.


A hyperbole is the deliberate over-exaggeration of something for effect. This could be for humorous reasons or to make something more memorable through dramatic effect.


A litotes is the opposite of hyperbole. The downplaying of the importance of something for effect.

Parallelism / Patterning

Parallelism or patterning is the use of patterns through repetition or the balancing of meanings.


An allusion is a figure of speech that lets the listener paint the picture for themselves.


The use of words and phrases that imply strong, harsh sounds within the phrase. These words have jarring and dissonant sounds that create a disturbing, objectionable atmosphere.


Placing a person, concept, place, idea or theme parallel to another so they can be compared or to highlight the contrasts.

There are many more linguistic devices, many with names that I find close to impossible to pronounce. See my sources below to explore further and impress the grammarian at your next Toastmaster meeting.

If you have any good examples of the above then please comment over on Facebook or below. I will update this post with any of the good suggestions.


Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests – Area Finals


London Victorians is excited to host this years Area 8, Humorous Speech & Table Topic contests

This will be held at our Toastmaster venue between Victoria & Pimlico stations on Tuesday 27th of September

Anyone is welcome to come along and see some of the best Toastmasters in the Victoria and Westminster area compete to win the chance to speak at the Toastmasters Division B contest in October. 

The Victoria & Westminster Area 8 final will start at 18:45 promptly, please arrive any time from 18:30 to get ready for the contest. There will be no admittance once the contest has started!

How to find the Victoria & Westminster Area 8, Humorous Speech & Table Topic Toastmaster contest

Our venue is St James the Less church function rooms. The venue is slightly closer to Pimlico underground station and only a 10 minute walk from London Victoria Station. 

The entrance, behind a set of black iron gates is set back from Vauxhall Bridge Road behind a paved square area with trees and planters, along side a restaurant called ‘Moo Cantina’

Once you go through the black iron gates you will see a black church door, there is a buzzer to the right, please ring and one of our Toastmaster members will let you in. 

What to expect at the Victoria & Westminster Area 8, Humorous Speech & Table Topic Toastmaster contest

Toastmaster contests are held twice a year to allow willing members to showcase their skills at Club, Area, Division, District and once a year at an International Level. Our Toastmaster contest in Westminster will showcase the best humorous speech and table topics speakers from the 4 clubs in our area. 

During the first half of the meeting you will see up to 8 of the Victoria area Toastmasters delivering prepared speeches, which will be designed to be humorous. These should make you smile and laugh, while being a definite speech rather than a series of jokes. 

In the second half of the Westminster area Toastmaster meeting, you will see the best Table Topic’s speakers compete against each other to deliver a 1 to 2 minute speech on a completely impromptu subject. This is a masterful Toastmaster skill of turning a statement, question or sometimes even an object, in to a speech without any prior preparation. 

WE WELCOME ANYONE TO COME AND SEE THE CONTEST, and we particularly encourage members from the competing clubs to come and support your fellow members while they attempt to win representation of our great area at the Division B final

If you have any questions please get in touch via Facebook on our contact us page.

Homorous Speech and Table Topics Contest

The lights were dimmed, guests were in their seats, and the judges had been briefed; most were relaxed, looking forward to the evening’s entertaining speeches. The contestants and organisers were looking a bit more serious. 13th September 2016 was the London Victorians contests evening.

rsz_IMG_1082The first half of the meeting was the Humorous Speech Contest and, after a short introduction from the club President, Sophia to took the stage as Contest Chair.

Sophia bounded with energy and enthusiasm as she explained the important rules and order of events. Looking calm and relaxed on stage, it is great to see the amazing benefits of regular toastmasters practice coming together for such a demanding role. She made sure each and every contestant was welcomed to the stage with rapturous applause, London Victorians style.

Humorous Speaking Contest

We had four humorous speeches lined up. Christophe was first, with a speech titled “Worst Advice”, where he told us of all the wonderful advice he has received in his life, along with the consequences. With advice like “just be yourself and everything will be fine” and “if you ignore the bullies, they’ll get bored and leave you alone”, Christophe took life examples many people can relate to and emphasised the ridiculousness of the advice they are  often given. A sure fire way to ensure the audience would be roaring with laughter.

Next up was George who used a part of his life story to take us on his journey from being “caught” by his wife through the Plenty of Fish dating website to his experiences as a white man living in Uganda. In particular, the way he was perceived by the locals and his attempts to negotiate a fair price on anything he bought. George mixed his humour with a serious message, concluding with a plea to treat everyone fairly.

rsz_IMG_1105Then came AK who taught us the art of lying. He said that lying was a very bad thing…if you don’t have the skills. AK then proceeded to go through the ethics of lying with using very funny examples.

Last but by no means least was John who, apparently (see photo), is a life coach but is definitely aware of how prolific the industry has become with “self help gurus”. John explained that he specialised in helping those suffering a “quarter life crisis”. He dispelled some myths in his attempts to convince us the condition was real and was adamant that a quarter was not equal to half a midlife crisis, rather it was a full on medical condition in its own right!

Table Topic Contest

The second half of the meeting Tom took over as Contest Chair for the Table Topics Contest. The format here was slightly different so Tom asked the Sergeant at Arms, Stephen and Ed, to escort the contestants outside the room. They then returned one at a time where they each answered the same table topic question:

“What little white lies do you tell?”

As you would expect, each contestant put their own spin on their responses but, let’s just say, it turns out a lot of London Victorians lie about their age!

Tom kept everyone entertained with an informal table topic session while the judges formalised the results. He then handed the stage to Florian who, as Chief Judge, announced the results of both contests.

John and Christophe took first and second place respectively in the Humorous Speech contest. Christophe, Lawrence and Gary came first, second and third in the Table Topics.


Toastmasters Meeting – 6th September

On Tuesday 6th September guests and members were treated to a meeting full of fun, energy and enthusiasm as former President Florian Bay took to the stage as Toastmaster of the Meeting.

Eleanor G was grammarian with the word of the day being “quaint”, which with this being London Victorians, this meeting was never going to be! Gary stood in at the last minute as timekeeper, telling us that if you want to be a valuer of life then you should be a valuer of time. Eleanor H completed the functionaries as harkmaster, ensuring everyone listened intently, with the promise of chocolate rewards if we did.

Competent Communicator Speeches

Bruna doing Competent Communicator Speech 2 - Organise Your SpeechMajdouline El Aasemi gave the first speech with her icebreaker titled “Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum” which translates to “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”. Majdouline’s speech gave us insight into how she views the world by sharing some short stories of her life. An impassioned speech, definitely achieving the objectives and displaying a vast array of speaking skills far in advance of an icebreaker.

The second speaker was Bruna who was doing her second speech from the competent communicators manual. Immediately grabbing the audience’s attention with a theatrical opening, Bruna used rhetorical questions throughout to encourage us to think about how we make decisions in life. The speech was titled “Oh, noooo, it’s going to be a disaster” but Bruna’s confidence and engaging style made sure it was never going to be.

The third speaker of the meeting was Fahad who was doing an advanced speech from the Speaking to Inform manual. Fahad had the whole audience involved, he had us all on our feet, eyes closed, breathing purposefully, demonstrating how we can find calm in stressful situations. He called this finding your “Ha-Ra”, which was also the title of his speech. With everyone feeling so calm and refreshed after his interactive demonstration, it’s not surprising Fahad won the best speaker award for the meeting.

Table Topics

Terry doing Table Topics

The second half of the meeting Sophia took to the stage as Table Topic Master. Instead of asking a question of the speakers, Sophia asked them each to pick a surprise item from a bag and to sell it to the audience. This led to some hilarious instances including Pranav almost convincing us that a paint brush was in fact a magical brush that makes you love life and Terry doing an amazing improvised sketch of a mum and daughter extolling the virtues of the platinum range of Fairy Liquid.

The competition was tough as the standards were high but it was Florian who won the best table topic speaker award with his promotion of a can of hairspray that would, apparently, prevent your hair from making you look like a shrew!

Join us at our next meeting on 13th September when London Victorians will be hosting their annual Humorous Speaking and Table Topics contests.

View all the meeting photos in our gallery or see us on Facebook.