• We meet online every Tuesday at 18:30! Zoom meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/580017929

Fostering global connections: guests from all over the world attend London Victorians

Written by Michelle

London Victorians moved to online meetings in March 2020, in response to the emerging coronavirus pandemic. Two months on, virtual meetings have become our new normal: anchoring our weeks, teaching us new skills, and giving us the unique opportunity to chat to fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests from across the globe.

In recent weeks we’ve had visitors from all four corners of the world – including Italy, Poland, The US and Nigeria – join us each Tuesday for speeches, evaluations, and table topics. Visitors get the chance to participate in our meetings, and we in turn get the unique opportunity of finding out first-hand what life is like right now in far-flung parts of the world.

Together, we are mastering the art of Zoom meetings (who know you could assign people to break-out rooms?!), perfecting our public speaking and speech writing skills, supporting each other with thoughtful feedback, and continuing to keep our vibrant community of speakers connected.

Our online meetings follow the same format as they did before the lockdown, albeit virtually. Following an introduction from our president Paulina, the toastmaster of the evening – in this case the bubbly, vivacious Lucy – took to the stage to introduce our functionaries. These roles, which include timekeeper, grammarian, and meeting reporter, offer all members of our club the chance to take to the stage and build varied skills. Members then delivered prepared speeches, which were followed by evaluations. Evaluations are a key part of the Toastmaster journey, offering speakers the chance to grow and improve week after week. Following a break, where members and guests alike chatted and got to know each other, we moved on to impromptu speaking slots in the form of table topics. This might sound scary, but it truly is one of the best ways to improve your speaking skills and your ability to think on the spot. The evening finished with a report from our guest general evaluator, to ensure that every speaker and functionary received an evaluation to support their development – and the evening closed with awards and updates from our president.

Wherever you are in the world, and whether you’re a member of a Toastmasters club or a curious guest, we’d love to welcome you into our club one Tuesday evening. If you’re looking for a friendly community to learn from, a supportive place to practice your public speaking and leadership skills, or if you just want to chat to some friendly faces, join us at our next meeting on 26 May, from 6:45-9pm.



Speech Workshop with Kirti

There are limited spaces available for this fantastic workshop on Thursday, 30th April – so get in quick! All donations go to support the #nhsheros!

Tockets are here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/amplify-your-speech-tickets-103145372586

PPE Hunt

* PPE (personal protective equipment) reference hunt, written by Agatha

Hello there! The London Victorians Toastmasters community has not been so exciting as in recent times. The opportunity which the current pandemic presents in terms of personal development is evident and utilised in our online toastmasters meetings. Some of those opportunities include; Organising and chairing online meeting, Use of online tools to facilitate meetings e.g. poll taking, Communication skills. We were delighted to have a first time guest and other returning guests.

Our meeting on Tuesday was just after the Easter celebrations, many of us might have had a different experience from previous Easters. For our Toastmaster Anabel, her egg hunt did not go quite as planned, and so, in this week’s meeting report, there are PPE related references for our readers to participate in a hunt, also as a tribute to our frontline healthcare workers.

The meeting was packed with as much energy as usual.

Florian, our first speaker shared the story of the Siberian conquest with us. His online delivery was very engaging, Florian even employed the use of a fur hat prop appropriately donned and doffed to avoid distraction from his message.

David was our second speaker, with speech titled ‘An Unwelcomed guest’ the audience was already anticipating what the speech was about. But David did not divulge this quickly, with a careful, slow, unravelling style he finally unmasked the unwelcomed guest – The Evening News! David also advised us to socially distant ourselves from the news.

Evaluators’ tips come in useful as ever not only to speakers but for all in attendance. The evaluators reminded us for what is important in online speech delivery; audience awareness, eye contact and having a clear structure.

We had good table topics participation with 11 speakers. All topics involved speakers exercising their abilities in impromptu speech with questions relating to emotions during this pandemic. Facilitated by our Topics master Lucy.

If you feel like you do not know what to do during this pandemic, here are few words from the Queen’s speech on the 5th of April,

“… I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge… The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future”

According to the Queen’s speech, whatever we are doing, working from home in our dressing gowns or the doctors and nurses in their visors and coveralls, or researchers and scientists in their gloves, this is going to be a part of our proud history.

Similarly, at London Victorians we are adopting the same philosophy, strengthening our community and supporting each other’s public speaking goals is what we do now, what we’ve always done and what we’ll be doing in the future.

There are six PPE references 😉

JOIN US EVERY WEEK FROM 18:30 ONLINE: Zoom meeting Link:  https://zoom.us/j/580017929)

Getting to know the members behind the screens

By Stephanie.

This Toastmaster’s meeting we were able to see into each other’s home as well as our online speaking skills.

Here are some things I have learned from London Victorian members and guests.

  • Agatha, the first speaker, admires people who have struggled, are academic and can solve problems. She is best suited to a mentor she appreciates. In the past, most of her mentors departed before Agatha was ready, yet from every relationship she has grown.
  • Nikki, the second speaker, enlightens people to think about how they speak to themselves. She taught us how positive compassion increases opioids in our brain and decreases stress.
  • Phillip, the third speaker, enjoys informing people about coffee. He knows a thing or two on the different types and how much it costs. It seems that Phillip does not agree on fee of a coffee. He enjoys buying single origin coffee and making it himself. He also has a fabulous plant in his home.
  • The fourth speaker, Camilla, opened our eyes to the reason people have been panic buying. She identifies people panic buy because they are disgusted, mirror other and need control. If you need any help understanding your panic buying behaviour, she is your girl.

From what I could gather, the evaluators want each speaker to improve. They encourage them take leaps and congratulate them on their speaking achievements. They all had some great voices and we can all learn from their advice, which was less filler words, more vocal variety online is needed and that we can all focus on our language.

Now onto the table topics enthusiasts.

  • Charles, a guest, is a doctor and can work home from with ease
  • Mike, another guest, misses his friends and would start an isolation band
  • Raj,  who looks like a cat person, told us about how the airline and events companies would join forces and become stronger through alcohol
  • Rolan, another guest, has experienced a lot of high and lows during this uncertain time

There were other members who I think we would all appreciate knowing about.

  • Paulina, club president, is a believer in kindness and connectivity.
  • Mohammad, the toastmaster, speaks motivationally and enjoys virtual backgrounds.
  • Lucy, the timekeeper, enjoys turning into different colours of a traffic light and reports on time in a unique way.
  • The grammarian, Chris, showed us all some Liberty and we can work on our “ums” and “ahs”.
  • Jackie, the sergeant at arms, a friendly and kind soul, can really make people feel welcome.
  • The general evaluator, Priyenden, pushes the members to improve their roles.
  • And lastly David, the table topics evaluator, he has an eye for the distance one should sit from electronic devices and facial expression are a way forward with online meetings.

There is a place and role for everyone at London Victorians and if you want to push yourself, visit us and become part of this great club.

Zoom Top Tips

Weekly meetings are now online. Here are some tips for roles that have changed:

Toastmaster

  • Mute: Everyone must stay on mute when they aren’t speaking.
  • Applauding: As everyone is on mute, there’s no need to clap. Wave your hands around to show you’re clapping! Remember to show your support in funny parts of speeches so the speaker get’s immediate feedback.
  • Votes: All votes should be sent to the Sergeant at Arms using the chat function. Don’t chat everyone!!
  • Functionary Roles: Remind everyone with a role to include their role in their name on Zoom. Just click rename on the right hand side:

Timekeeper

  • The beloved lightbox will not be coming online so you will make your screen the colour!
  • Step 1: Save the 4 backgrounds you’ve been sent
  • Step 2: Add your 4 backgrounds to Zoom
  • Step 3: Practice changing backgrounds before the meeting.
  • Dinging the bell: If the speaker has gone over time change to the BELL background and mute them immediately. If you cannot mute, then just say DING!
  • Remember: Time easily slips away from us in meetings, and online is no different.

Grammarian

  • Word of the day: Make this your background so the whole club can see it when speaking. 

Sergeant at Arms

  • Guests: Welcome as normal and ask them to put ‘Guest’ in their name
  • Counting Votes: As the votes come through on chat, keep a tally and then private chat them to the President at the end of the meeting.