Report by: Agatha Amachree
It is 6.30 pm on a Tuesday evening and members and guests are arriving to London Victorians toastmasters meeting at Grange Wellington hotel. There’s a bit of networking before the meeting because you never know just who you might meet and what you could learn even before the meeting starts.
The meeting starts at 6.45 prompt with our President’s introduction. Our president, Eleanor always opens and closes our meetings, she starts tonight with a quote from Henry Ford:
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success”
before handing over to our Toastmaster of the evening. The difference between the president of the club and the Toastmaster of the evening is not much really (or you judge for yourself), they are both members and volunteers from the club, only the president is responsible for the running of the club all year and the Toastmaster is responsible for running the meeting for the evening.
Our Toastmaster David Scott talked about his year here at London Victorians and how he’s developed in confidence and finds that he speaks up more. He did a good job in the meeting tonight, first he introduces his helpers; the timekeeper, grammarian, harkmaster, sergeant at arms and meeting reporter (interesting titles aren’t they? Visit our club to find out more about these roles).
He explains the different parts of the meeting with the first part made up of three speeches and evaluation of speeches followed by a break and then table topics, and with that the first speaker is introduced, Vahagn with his speech titled ‘3 fundamentals for Dynamic Leadership’.
Vahagn gave us an excellent speech using his personal experiences
in leadership and gave us the 3 fundamentals of dynamic leadership of self-leadership, influence and relationship.
Next we had a speech from Anna titled ‘Tying the knot’. Another brilliant speech from the pathway Engaging Humor and Anna accomplished this by giving us funny sketches of memorable moments from her marriage.
We had yet another wonderful speech from our third and final speaker Lucy, with her speech titled ‘The ‘S’ word’. You might as well get some inside knowledge since you’re here, the year Lucy stopped saying sorry was in 2018, Jan 2nd to be exact. So the ‘S’ word is Sorry and Lucy told us three ways we could cut down on saying sorry.
- Take it out of the first sentence
- Replace it with Thank you
- When you need to be sorry, say, okay, that didn’t go as planned, here is the solution …(insert solution)
After the speeches, each speaker gets evaluated by evaluators who are also volunteers and members from the club. Everyone in attendance get the opportunity to learn from what each speaker has done well and what they could improve on. Audience also vote on best speaker and evaluator for the evening.
That is followed by introduction and welcome of our guests, executed by the sergeant at arm, Paul.
After the break we return for the next part of the meeting, Table topics. This is the part for unprepared speeches lasting up to 2 minutes. We had nine impromptu speeches which all went very well, in fact so well, we had a draw and three speakers won Table topics and all guests. It is humbling that our club is so welcoming to guests that they feel comfortable to come on the stage and deliver a speech impromptu.
The Toastmaster hands back club to president who then gives out the awards won this evening along with closing remarks.
Report by: Ariel Elboim
Good evening London Victorians and wayward visitors to the London Victorians site. London Victorians is undoubtedly the most energetically vibrant Toastmasters club in London and it has achieved this, both objective and subjective reputation, by instilling one of the key attributes that all great speakers possess…Confidence. And by God was that evident tonight.
As you walk into the room you can feel the energy, the chitter chatter of long time members, the beaming smiles of guests being welcomed, a subtle but electrical ambience of a club that is both comfortable and confident in its identity.
To kick off the meeting our always proud and ever smiling President Eleanor cracks the gavel to commence the meeting. She starts the with a calm and considered message about Promises. She reminds us all that as a Toastmasters we make a variety of promises to the club and that, as Boris Johnson once said, “It’s not making the promises but keeping them that is hard”. We are expected to keep our promise to the club
Taking the stage as tonight’s Toastmaster, Jackie enthusiastically bursts onto the stage. For tonight’s meeting she will be the director or as she likes to put it “The Oil to our Cogs” that make this whole machine run smoothly. And how could she not, with such an exuberance as well as that London Victorians confidence. Tonight’s theme, as per Jackie’s selection is: “How long have you been a Toastmaster and what has been its greatest benefit to you?”
First functionary of the night is the Timekeeper Bertie. He has been with the club for around 2 months and the greatest benefit he has realised is the boost in confidence to get on stage and that when you’re up there it’s really not that bad. In his usual dapper 2-piece, Bertie confidently tells us of how Time is money and money is time. His self-assured tone and perfectly dotted humour conveyed a member who has been here for longer than 2 months and for whom confidence has never been an issue. This is the development that we foster at London Victorians
Grammarian for the Night, Pryendan. With the club for 6-7 months, his greatest benefit has been the increase in his confidence toastmasters has given him across all aspect of his life. His calm and collected queens English screams “high calibre” Grammarian coming through!!!! As he clearly explains his job for the evening…. Even if his choice for “word of the day” is destined to get infinitesimal usage
Meeting reporter for the evening Ariel. London Victorian for 10 months. This guy is a living Toastmaster legend, enough said.
Harkmaster Lukas. Another relatively new member he is enjoying the confidence that London Victorians has helped him develop. Not that you would know!!!! On the stage, own the stage off the stage, Lukas Mic Drop!!!!
An so we move onto the prepared speeches for the night à and boy did we have an unparalleled set of performances tonight.
Jack – London Victorian for several months now delivered an impactful and hugely informative speech on the London Olympics and its legacy. A recipe of hard hitting facts about the Olympic bid statistics to the subsequent housing issues, with Mayoral based political humour Jack delivered an educational and wholly digestible speech on why the Olympics where that bit more important than you may have thought
Next Anna. Long-time London Victorian Anna also claims an enhanced level of confidence has been the greatest benefit. And she was the epitome of her very own claim this evening. No notes, fluid and agile language, body language to enhance her message, stage presence of a someone giving life coaching lessons, facial expression to keep the audience engaged and a content that resonated in the minds of everyone at the meeting “Are you actually too busy in your life? what does this say about you? and 3 tips on how to be even MORE productive”. As ever a stellar performance and prime example of what London Victorians can achieve with hard work and dedicate
Finally, Michelle and her “Mind Matters” speech – a informative speech on the controversial topic of mental health problems. Straight away she brought the audience into the speech by asking questions on who has experienced mental health issues. She continued this engagement by debunking common myths using official figures that would make you think twice before ever dismissing the topic again. A brave and eloquently delivered speech with a valiant message on how we can make the world a better place.
“Evaluating the Hell” out of the speeches tonight we had Agatha, Florian and Steph who each gave insightful and constructive feedback on everything Improved vocal variety to the added gravitas of a pause. London Victorians, once again demonstrating how and why our member develop so quickly.
We finish the speeches off with our Table Topics Master Benedict and his creative assortment of topics mental gymnastics topics – from the controversial “Ugly and smart or Beautiful and dumb children” question to the friendship destroying “who of you and your 3 friends gets the single parachute in your nosediving plane”. All contestants as well as 2 guests! Showing just how flexible their minds can be.
Another fantastic meeting from the most energetic and confident club in Town – no wonder everybody wants to join 😊
Report by: Agatha Amachree
This was a special meeting because we held our International speech contest which was chaired by
Batool and Jackie.
Our President of London Victorians opened with an introduction, citing this quote by Colin Powell –
“The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting above average effort. “
And with that the contest began with our chair Batool setting out contest rules and the aim of the contest which she stated are;
i. Opportunity for speakers to improve speaking skills
ii. For us to be motivated by the best
iii. To visualise each contestant’s progress in their toastmaster’s journey
The chair Batool then introduced the 1st speaker Mo with his speech titled – One leader.
Mo is on the toastmaster pathway Dynamic leadership. And he has discovered three things from his pathway and he described this to us in three points.
i. Style of leadership
ii. Scene/story from his life which reflected leadership
iii. Suggestions (to us) on leadership
Mo ended with this quote by Jim Rohn “…be strong, but not rude, be kind but not weak, be proud but not arrogant”. He also motivated us to lead without a title.
Our 2nd speaker for the contest was Robert with his speech titled – Growing up
Robert describes his ‘Malcolm in the middle’ growing up experience to us with three recollections
Of course the Christmas ends up with a fire on the dinner table as you would expect.
Our third and final contestant was Anna with her speech titled – The f word. Yes Feminism.
Anna presented us with some interesting statistics to illustrate her points.
And she related to us some of the reasons why people were not on board with feminism which were;
i. People thought the idea was Outdated. With some statistics from 2019, Anna was able
to prove to us that that was not the case.
ii. Man hating
iii. Angry bra burning women. Anna assured us that the bra burning never happened. A
misunderstanding arose from a protest where women were throwing out stuff, and a
bra was dropped in the pile, but it was never set on fire.
This concluded the first part of the evening and we broke for tea and chat. We had guest judges
carrying out secret votes.
The 2nd part of the evening was chaired by our 2nd chairperson Jackie. Jackie introduced our mystery speaker, Dorota. Dorota is a member of another club who volunteered to be our mystery speaker for the evaluator part of the contest. It was her first visit to London Victorians and she delivered a speech as a mystery speaker. Dorota’s speech was titled – Is failing a failure. After narrating to us a rich story of her personal experience, Dorota concluded by reminding us that failing is not a failure, it is a lesson, failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it.
Now it was time for the evaluator contestants to prep their evaluations on the mystery speech.
The chairperson Jackie used this opportunity to run a table topics sessions which is when people give an impromptu speech on anything the table topics master presents.
The evaluators emerged with their evaluations.
First Andrew who recommended open body language and commended the speaker for her bravery to share.
Then Stephanie who commended structure and content of speech and recommended for more purposeful movement on stage.
The third evaluator was Joseph who commended the mystery speaker for vulnerability and inspiring the audience and recommended vocal variation and use of repetition.
The fourth evaluator was Robert who commended the speaker for good chronological order, structure and humour in the speech.
With such interesting speeches I forgot we were having a contest but alas the votes were in and it was time for the awards –
Winner of speech contest:
Winner of evaluator contest:
Congratulations to all of our contestants and participants especially our mystery speaker and judges.
Now unto bigger and better for the participants and winners who will represent London Victorians at the area contest.
Report by: Raj Roy
Our President, Eleanor, opened tonight’s proceedings with a warm welcome to the club. She reminded us: “it’s not all about me – it’s about us!” You might improve your public speaking, but you also become part of the London Victorians team. You support others, who support you.
Eleanor introduced our sharply dressed Toastmaster for the evening, Joseph. His role – to quarterback tonight’s session. And his theme for tonight, motivation. Many things motivate us – friends, family, mentors, work. What keeps you motivated, dear guests, in the pursuit of life’s ambitions?
Alongside our Toastmaster, keeping the session ticking along, we had introductions from our Timekeeper, Chris; our Grammarian, Jack; our Harkmaster, Anna; and your humble meeting reporter. Jack encouraged us be precise & succinct, and to incorporate the word ‘amicable’ into our speeches for bonus points.
Prepared speeches & swiftly prepared evaluations
Four speeches awaited us this evening, with evaluators providing their commendations and recommendations. First up, Kam, relaxed in a chair, had decided to join a walk. “How hard could this be?” “54 miles. In the Scottish West Highlands. In 24 hours. Without a break.” Kam leapt from her seat, pacing the stage, her body language mirroring her trials. Rebecca’s evaluation: “Kam’s excellent use of the stage, use of language and use of body language”.
For our second speech, we joined Stephanie, “diving into a world of fantastic animals – the shark”. The Jaws theme tune, hummed by Steph, soon echoed around the room. She left us with the thought: “if cows kill more people than sharks every year, then why are sharks considered to be the ultimate killing machine?” Michelle loved how “her hand gestures conveyed her points”, and her intro to sharks: “tall, dark and handsome; a killer smile”.
Priyendan, with a speech about forming habits, challenged the audience: “Psychologically, there is no difference between fear and excitement. In time, we could start to associate the fear of public speaking with excitement. Just keep telling yourself you’re excited!” Robert commended Priyendan on a speech, “the audience can use and take away with them,” along with his natural flow.
Our final prepared speech this evening was from Florian, about a Tinder date. We were captivated with storytelling part rom-com, part personal diary. “The date was on!” was bellowed across the chamber. Ariel valued how Florian’s “language and tone changed… giving us a personal experience through storytelling.”
Great things never come from comfort zones
Annabel, our Sergeant at Arms, welcomed our new guests: “I’d like to tell you a secret. I’m always inspired by the new guests and members of our club.” Our guests told us why they were joining us tonight – do any of these resonate with you? “To try something new.” “To try new things and push my comfort zone.” “Self-improvement.” “To escape my comfort zone.” Annabel reminded us: “great things never come from comfort zones.”
David introduced our table topics – impromptu speeches lasting 1-2 minutes. “We’re all here to improve our public speaking. But in the real world, we don’t always get the opportunity to prepare.” We were kept amused by Edward, Benedict, Lukas, Agatha and Sam, speaking off the cuff, with only a few seconds to marshal their thoughts. Mark, our table topic evaluator, provided the invaluable advice: “repeat the question back to the audience… very… slowly.” “And if you’re trying to do a serious speech in 2 minutes – good luck!”
Try us out
“For my second date, I even took her to Toastmaster’s.” Perhaps an unconventional second date venue, but, dear guests, please do feel free to bring a friend, partner or date along if you wish. Just turn up, any Tuesday. How better to be wooed, than in an impromptu speech?