All the world’s a stage, and last Tuesday, all of us at Toastmasters were fantastic players. 

 

And one woman, this time, played many parts. For Paulina was our Toastmaster for the evenings. Bringing with her the theme of the evening: theatre.

Our first speaker for the evening was Paul, delivering his second speech entitled: Pubs Pathways Proposal. The purpose of this speech was to practice organizing your thoughts and explaining them in a clear manner. His speech was entertaining, engaging and incredibly funny. Not only that, but he also is looking ahead to the new Toastmasters Pathways which will be introduced next year. We’ll have to reach out to the heads of Toastmasters to get our proposal through!

Next was Pascale, bringing us speech number 6 entitled: Difficult Paths Lead to Beautiful Destinations. Project 6’s goal is to work on vocal variety in your delivery, and Pascale did a fantastic job bringing her speech to life using a variety of different vocal tones, expressions and characters.

Then we had not one, but two advanced level speeches from two distinguished Toastmasters, which is always a treat to see such advanced speakers perform.

First was Florian, with a speech entitled: Carjacking, where he told the true story of his family visiting America and getting locked of their car in the middle of the desert. Florian shaped the story, taking us through the highs and lows, the troubles and the tribulations, and at the end, giving us some good takeaways so it doesn’t happen to us!

We then had a guest speaker David, who talked about different approaches to education. Drawing from different studies and his own experience, h reminded us that it’s important to both praise and recommend when helping people learn new things (something that we also practice in Toastmasters).

After the speeches, we had Annabel, Negin, Alex and Terry deliver their feedback to the audience about the speeches we just heard.

In the second half, we had everybody’s favorite part: tabletopics!  Negin was our Table Topics Master for the evening, and brought to us a unique scenario: the coffee supply for the world had been taken over by slothes, and each presenter had to pitch themselves as a different super hero. It was a fun part of the evening, where people had to think on their feet, practice pitching themselves, and keep the audience engaged.

After hearing from Disco Boy, Laser Lady, Makeover Man, Psychic Woman and a few others, Matthew took to the stage to give feedback on those who had just braved the storm of table topics. Focusing on good delivery, pacing, and clarity of the speeches.

As our meeting came to a close, we had the return of our grammarian Gabriele, who talked about the wonderful use of language throughout the evening, and our harkmaster Claudia, who tested out our listening skills to see how well we were paying attention throughout the evening.

And then, we announced our winners! Good job to them and everyone involved!

Come join us! We meet every Tuesday, and guests are more than welcome to stop by and see how meetings are run.

Introductions, Poems & Fairy Tales! Public Speaking full of Learning and Inspiration!

Our last week Toastmasters meeting was a great opportunity to learn a lot from, and about each other.

The former President of London Victorians club – Terry – has shared his thoughts on his experience in the past two years since he founded the club with Florian and Fahad in 2015. Terry, gained a lot of invaluable skills and experience and also really enjoyed the journey, especially by seeing how the others have developed as speakers and the growth of the club.

A Toastmaster of the meeting – Pascale, is a great example of how the activity of the club inspire great progress. Within six months from joining the club she not only can lead meetings with confidence but she’s also taking care of the new members as a VP of membership.

We can already see the results with our recent joiners – Alexandra and Claudia, who demonstrate great motivation and commitment from the very start.

Alexandra, as a Sargent at Arms has warmly welcomed all guests but only until two weeks ago she was a guest herself. Claudia, instead has delivered her Ice Breaker speech only a week after joining the club. She has shared an inspirational story on her path to confidence.

The meeting was studded with more learning and inspiration.

Fahad, encouraged by the success of London Victorians has tried to set up another club in West London. Although the idea did not took off yet at the first attempt he had some valuable leadership lessons to share. He emphasized the necessity of commitment, time and effort as key ingredients of any project, and the importance of face to face interaction.

Then, Alex and Eleanor enchanted us with great story telling.

Alex, has proved he’s comfortable with visual aids by using beautiful slides with no text but the title of the poem he recited “Highwayman” by Alfred Nayes. This powerful technique was further enhanced by vivid language, expressive body language and great vocal variety. No surprise he won The Best Speaker ribbon.

Eleanor, with Grimm’s fairy tale – Twelve Brothers – has transported us back to our childhood. In the feedback on her speech– Vahagn – summarized this as follows: “The content of the speech is a king, but the delivery is a queen, and she runs a household. “

Another useful advice was shared by Matthew – our Grammarian. The word of the day ‘simplicity”, reminds us about the top quality of a competent communicator – being easily understood.

The feedback extracted from our seasoned evaluators – Terry and Florian – is the power of vulnerability and opening up. It helps to build trust, connection and increase empathy of the audience. This is also discussed in Brene Brown’s  Ted talk, which I highly recommend to watch:

https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability/transcript?language=en

The second part of the meeting continued with high energy level. Andy – Table topics master – has asked seven randomly picked speakers to answer his creative questions. Big congratulations to our guests who bravely rose to a challenge! The winner – Paul – entertained us with a hilarious Aussie adventure in the desert which gave him a proud nickname MadMax.

Traditionally, the meeting has ended with a Harkmaster’s quiz held by Anabel. She not only has a good ear after years of musical education but also great listening skills. She tested us on this skill and rewarded correct answers with some Scottish sweets.

We’re already looking forward to our next session. Next week meeting has a theatrical theme – we welcome all members to conquer the stage and become a star of the meeting. Costumes are not required, please just bring a smile and positive energy

This report was written as part of our new club role of ‘Meeting Reporter’ the the fantastic Paulina! Not only do we learn to present in front of an audience, now at London Victorians we are learning to present to the world, via the Internet! (and look how much she enjoyed it :))

 

Personal health, Peaceful protests and Personal wealth….. all in a night’s work at London Victoria weekly Toastmasters Club

Our Toastmasters Club meeting in Westminster this week was full of informative speeches and inspirational learning.

London Victorians new president Nuala banished our fears by opening the meeting with a reminder of how our efforts to become public speaking ‘Hero’s’ will have a beneficial effect on other fears that hold us back.

Picking up the role of Toastmaster of the Meeting, Karen continued the energy and explained how the meeting would work, and how Toastmaster Clubs like ours near Pimlico give huge support to everyone who comes to the stage with huge applause and cheering.

Karen then introduced the functionaries of the meeting, Stephen in-charge of timekeeping, Fahad in-charge of grammar, Cleo in-charge of listening and Terry in-charge of the meeting report. Each functionary came to the stage and introduced their roles and what to expect from them later.

Karen’s theme for the meeting was inspired by summer and her FOMO (fear of missing out). She asked everyone taking part in the meeting for tips on things to do in London (other than Toastmasters) during the summer. This tied the meeting together nicely and gave everyone some ideas for what to do with their spare time!

Our grammarian Fahad offered the Word of the Day which was ‘Sizzling’, this was quite contrary to the weather, however every time it was used on stage the audience got to cheer “ooooh yeah’ in their sexiest possible voices that warmed us up a little.

Tonight’s Toastmasters meeting in London was blessed with 3 fantastic prepared speeches from our members.

Kicking us off, and our diet in to shape was Gabriele, who’s speech outlined what we need to know about carbohydrates in our diet, the effects of too much ‘white’ carbs and how we can change what we eat to make us healthier. Coming from an Italian the suggestion to reduce pizza & pasta in our weekly meals was obviously a tough recommendation.

Isabelle delivered the second speech of the evening with a project 8 speech from the Competent Communicator manual which sets the objectives of getting comfortable using visual aids. Her images conjured emotion and the artistic impressions within them lead to speech that needed to be explained, the perfect use of images when presenting.

Her speech linked art with protest and was a great example of not only how to use visuals to make point and enhance a speech, left us with takeaways that literally stayed impressed on our minds……. certainly long enough until the voting for Best Speaker which Izzy won for this great speech.

Izzy was the winner of the best speaker (give me that ribbon Nuala)

Our third speech at the London Toastmasters club this evening was from Thomas. An advanced speech from the ‘Speak to Inform’ manual this speech was perfectly executed to help the audience understand complex information in a non-technical way.

This was carried out perfectly by our in-house finance professional by explaining the importance of diversifying your investment portfolio to mitigate risk. Or ‘egg’s in a basket’, though I’m not sure whether the chicken came first.

Our speech evaluators Diane, Pascale and Negin carried out the role we learn so much from by offering the audience very professional evaluations of each speech.

Diane pointed out the value we can take from the power of facts and clear advice.  Pascale cleverly used visual aids in her evaluation to reinforce the impact they have on a good speech. Negin wrapped up the evaluations with very analytical detail on how the technical speech was made amenable for our non-technical audience.

Diane won the Best Evaluator Ribbon for a great evaluation, in particular for using no notes at all to give a 3 minute evaluation she’d only had 10 minutes to prepare for, well done!

Just before the break it was the turn of our guests to introduce themselves. They contributed to Karen’s theme of the meeting by giving tips on what we can do in the London in the summer including outdoor Zumba, visiting fake beaches on the Thames and drinking beer!

Florian handled a very interesting table topics session, each table topic subject was just a single number. A very clever way of inspiring creative impromptu speeches and we had a range of responses from the humorous to inspirational goal setting to travel. Here is a skill to take a single word or number and make a two-minute speech from it, only we Toastmasters can do this with style.

Out of 6 amazing table topics speeches, the audience picked Lorenzo’s speech about the number 14 quadrillion as the winner of the ribbon. A big reward for the biggest number of the night!

Andrew positively evaluated our table topics speakers, offering each of them a commendation to highlight what they did well in their impromptu speech.

Summaries of great uses of grammar followed from the grammarian Fahad, who made a point of words and phrases used throughout the night that had surprised him (in a good way). He also noted 16 uses of the word of the day ‘Sizzling’ “Ooooh yeah”.

Our harkmaster then tested how well we had been listening to the facts throughout the meeting, I was pleased that she through chocolate rather than healthy treats as the prizes for answering her questions correctly.

Before the meeting was wrapped up we were treated to a General Evaluation of the meeting and all those speakers who had not been evaluated yet by Monika, who visited us from the other London Toastmasters Clubs she is a member of.

The last thing to do was to welcome our newest members, Alexandra, Helena & Misha! Welcome to the club!

It really was a fun, upbeat and educational meeting, can’t believe we have to wait another whole WEEK till the next Toastmasters meeting near Victoria Station in London.

 

 

 

Education, Elections and Entertainment – meeting report 27th of June

Another interesting and exciting Toastmasters meeting at our great club near London Victoria was held on Tuesday 27th of June 2017.

Our president Terry kicked off, reminding everyone that this was the last meeting of the Toastmasters year and therefore his last meeting as president. From next week our incoming president Nuala will take the reins.

He also reminded everyone how the fear of public speaking is linked to the fear of rejection and by practicing the former, he has helped reduce the later which helps with his job as a sales person.

This evenings Toastmasters was Christophe, who has been caught up with other commitments for the last few months and reminded everyone that because of the nerves he felt carrying out the role this week, it’s important to stay well practiced at the skill of public speaking to help keep these nerves at bay.

Christophe – Toastmaster of the Meeting

Our first speech was from Nuala and it was an educational about the importance of the evaluations that take place for everyone who takes part in club meetings.

Her educational was really well structured and offered a mass of great information on how to enhance these evaluations to give positive, motivational and educational feedback to speakers within the 3 minutes we have to do so.

Our second speech was about the people power involved in political elections. For a subject that could be a little deep, our speaker Karen gave a text book example of how to present a technical subject in an amenable way for any audience.

This speech was littered with audience engagement, humour, great visual aids and the speakers own passion. Combined with hitting the objectives of this Project 8 Speech from the Competent Communicator manual, which is to have fully researched your topic and provide evidence of such in the way of relaying facts, Karen’s speech gave the audience real food for thought about the power of their vote.

The evening’s third speech was the eventual winner of the nights Best Speaker ribbon. Annabel gave us a speech from an advanced manual called The Entertaining Speaker.

Entertaining it was indeed, the topic of online dating made for a humorous speech which engaged the audience and caused many a chuckle from them.

Online dating wins a Toastmasters Ribbon (again)

As always, each of the 3 speeches received a personalised Evaluation. Our evaluators were Terry, Negin & Dan who all made an incredible job of giving motivating and detailed analysis of each speech.

After a break for tea, coffee and chatting we had our impromptu speech practice session called Table Topics. One of the clubs VPE’s, Alex, led the session with topics that challenged the speakers to persuade famous cartoon characters to take abstract courses of action.

Table Topics Winner Dan

As abstract as they were, members and guests alike took the topics in true Toastmasters fashion and delivered their 1-2 minute unprepared speeches with style.

Each table topic speaker was evaluated in style by Fahad, who had at least 1 commendation and recommendation for improvement for each of the speakers to learn for the next topic.

Fahad – Table Topic Evaluator

Toastmasters meetings can’t run effectively without functionaries. Our timekeeper, Florian, kept efficient track of the meetings time and livened up the role with a theme of time travel.

Our grammarian Nick did an amazing job of listening and recalling some great uses of the English language, as well as pointing out the number of filler words used in the meeting and how these um’s and ah’s can detract from our credibility as speakers.

Then our Harkmaster Matt tested our listening skills with some questions about what had been said throughout the whole meeting.

We are grateful to our general evaluator Kim, she tidied up the meeting by evaluating all those not evaluated till then. She also gave some great comments on how good the club and the meetings was, with a few pointers for the future.

Whether you are a meeting participant, audience member or guest, you will have left this meeting having learnt something and with a smile on your face….. If you weren’t there, make sure you come next week so not to miss out.

Click here for our location in London’s Westminster Area

London Victorian’s AGM

This week was London Victorian’s AGM, so we had an extra special meeting! In the first half of the meeting there were 2 fantastic speeches from our members, as well as a speech from Sonia about the upcoming Pathways programme. The second half was dedicated to the AGM.

Terry, our President and focused his introduction on the guests in the meeting and talked about the various reasons why people join Toastmasters.

Terry handed over to Isabelle, our Toastmaster for the evening. Isabelle is now an expert in this role and performed it seamlessly. She set the theme for the evening by stating that while our comfort zone is a very nice place to be, there is no growth there. We need to push ourselves to develop and improve and asked each speaker when they pushed themselves outside their comfort zone (apart from public speaking). Our courageous members have done marathons, stand up comedy, dance lessons and insanity workout programmes, to name a few.

Toastmaster Isabelle describing the meeting theme

Isabelle was supported by Paul M as Timekeeper and Ed as Harkmaster.  Annabel was our Sergeant at Arms. She introduced the hidden benefits of joining toastmasters (leadership skills) and warmly greeted the 5 guests.

Paul, displaying the traffic light system

Welcome back to London Victorians Ed after your break!

A big welcome to our newest member, Danielle!

Speeches and Evaluations

In the initial section of the meeting, there were 2 prepared speeches, followed by their evaluations.

First up was Negin, performing a number 3 speech, on her unlucky traveller hypothesis. Negin used great structure, visual aids and humour to describe how no matter where she travels, she will always have bad luck!

Negin talking about her unlucky travels

Pascale was up next, with a speech number 5 on “How to make your best better”. She used storytelling to emphasise the importance of asking for feedback and how to give it effectively.

Pascale incorporating movement into her speech

After the speeches Florian and Alex performed evaluations for Negin and Pascale respectively. Audience members also completed feedback slips.

Speech feedback tip for using PowerPoint presentations (from Florian): A good PowerPoint presentation includes lots of pictures and little text.

Pathways

After the speeches from our members, we were fortunate to have Sonia from London Cardinals speak to us about the upcoming pathways programme. Sonia answered all our questions about how the programme works in practice, after experiencing the programme during her recent trip to America. ‘Pathways’ is due to come to district 91 from March 2018 and will eventually replace the current educational programme. Please click here for more information.

Sonia, taking us through the pathways programme

AGM

The second half of the meeting was for the club’s AGM. Terry, our 16/17 president, took us through the fantastic achievements London Victorians had made over the past year. Not only have we attained the President’s Distinguished Club award (the highest level of recognition available) for the 2nd year running, we hosted the Area finals for Humorous Speeches and Table Topics and celebrated our 100th meeting! Terry also highlighted that the great quality of our speakers is what makes London Victorians a truly superb club to be part of.

Florian took the reins from Terry to discuss the Club Finances and did his best to make it interesting and interactive! Finally Terry returned to the stage, with the help of Sonia to vote in the new committee for the 17/18 Toastmaster year.

London Victorians is pleased to welcome our new committee…

President                           –             Nuala McHugh

VP Education                   –             Eleanor Handslip

Club success manager  –             Alex Liberatore

VP Membership               –             Pascale Monteil

Membership manager  –             Cleo Bispo

VP Public Relations       –             Terry Pullin

VP Mentoring                   –             Fahad Alturkait

Treasurer                           –             Florian Bay

Events manager              –             Paul McCoy & Paulina Dabrowska

Terry handing over the Presidency to Nuala!

We wish the committee all the best in their new roles and look forward to an exciting Toastmasters year ahead! Well done to all who made this a fantastic meeting and AGM and we look forward to seeing everyone next Tuesday!