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

From London to Bermuda to Lesotho

Today’s virtual meeting was opened by our club president Lucy, remembering the days of vis-à-vis meetings.

We welcomed 4 new members! 3 new toastmasters and 1 returning Victorian. After welcoming new members, Lucy introduced the Toastmaster of the evening, Florian, who has just returned from a spell as District 91 director this past year.

Our first speaker, Natalie, took the virtual stage and took us with her to the multi-sensory and provoking yoga retreat she attended, remembering parsnip cake and warm oat drink with cardamom, she galvanised us to keep an open mind and try new things. Congratulations to Natalie as this speech completes her Level One on the Toastmasters “innovative planning” pathway.

Galvanise is our word of the day set by our Grammarian, Annabel, meaning to shock or excite into taking action.

Second speaker, Mo, is direct and analytical as he relates to us his communication style from his motivational strategies pathway. He leaves us with this nugget: people will forget what you say, what you do, but not how you made them feel.

Thirdly, we had Massimo speaking from the Dynamic Leadership pathway, he took us on the hero’s journey of separation, initiation and return as he relayed to us his extraordinary encounter with Fred the baboon.

Following the speeches were helpful and inspiring feedback by our speech evaluators, Darren, Jon and Paulina.  

And then we welcomed 3 guests! An old friend of the club, who was kindly acting as an external evaluator of our meeting, a returning guest from Bermuda and a new face from Lesotho, yes the countries, not a borough in London, one of the joys of online meeting.

Now, what would you say to a buyer, if you had to sell a property in these unusual neighbourhoods? Property located next to a Powerplant? The centre of the Grand Canyon? the Katy freeway (26 lane traffic)? UK’s biggest sewage plant? The top of Mount Everest?

Our topics speakers performed excellently in this impromptu speaking session, from offering incredible finance deals to convincing us of the panoramic views from the top of Mount Everest that will literally take your breath away. This session was led by Michelle, our Topics Master, and speakers received helpful feedback from Camila, Topic Evaluator.

We have big dates in our calendar! Join us for our Humorous speech and Table topics contest on 22nd September 2020

Four ladies fighting to lead

Meeting 2020-06-16

By Mohammed Salih

Paulina is still our president and there are no coups so far, it looks like she is going for a home run after a year. One thing she drew our attention to, and that the post of Club President has be occupied by four females in a row! What? How come we didn’t have the same thing as Prime Minister? Well done ladies. We are reminded that so much has changed over the year; UK left Europe, Covid-19 and Black Lives Matter campaign. But “Life does not stop, we keep going, we are London Victorians”. Paulina appeals to us to reflect over a simple question, after all “What would be your contribution? What would be the legacy you leave behind to people?”.  

Agatha is Madam Toastmaster of the evening, on her plate was three speeches and three evaluations, she still managed to bring to the meeting her own sister, well done, why don’t we all? It would be nice to learn how to provide an evaluation to our partners, telling them what we liked and what they could improve on, maybe not, let’s stick with sisters. Agatha’s moto was “Learning by applying” this is to improve how to communicate better.

Michelle kept times for us announcing “I will use these cards, if you pass your time, I will find a way to make some noise”. I guess we can experiment with screaming, however we did not go there. Why should we stick to time? Well! There are 3 reasons according to Michelle: –

1-Helps you think about your speech delivery

2-Keep audience focused

3-Everyone get their share of stage time

We are told also that there are mobile apps that we can use to practice timekeeping during speechs.

Grammarian? Hello? Anybody home? Never mind, Lucy is on the block so with a split second we had word of the day; Bucolic which describes the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life, an example would be “The villa is lovely for its bucolic setting”.

First speaker Stephine spoke of “This too shall pass”, this is a phrase so dear to my heart, it unearths emotions when I use it especially when the whole world seems so tight on me going through hard time. The phrase echoes in my head to calm me down; This too shall pass. We heard of how a life crisis on breakup can be so hurtful, drawing the image of the night, outside an underground station and the news dropped on her like a shell.  “I was in an indulging evening with some girls when I had a phone call”, it wasn’t a normal call because it included “We need to talk!”.

Annabel stoop up to deliver the second speech “The good, the bad and the ugly”. This included taking the audience on a trip we are familiar with; the 13 weeks of covid-19 lockdown. “This little virus that came from a tiny town, Wuhan in China to spread through all corners of the world!”. Did you know that at time of hardship and crises, we humans go through and number of stages? Some of those include (1) Denial, (2) Depression and later one (3) Acceptance. The good side of lockdown was having extra 122 hours for Annabel saved through cutting travel times working remotely. The bad side exposed domestic violence and increase of 24% more incidents. Annabel took us to her childhood back in Scotland when she was about 13 years old, having lots of free time and taking care of a fig tree.

Table topics was lead by Jon and his innovative juices started to flow throughout the meeting. He selected “Home” as the strategic theme, and all questions were related to it. I love this kind of structure as it makes us all think together what could be the question? With a number of questions like

-At home, what would you change?

-What or who do you love most at home?

-For a new home, would you prefer a beautiful porch or a castle?

-Apart from home, where would be your second home?

Our club meetings became home to visitors from around the world as far as India and America, no barriers at the moment folks, jump online and celebrate your thoughts with us next Tuesday, come say hello.

Join us every Tuesday from 18:30 GMT

102 Meetings over 35 countries!

By Mohammed Salih

Lucy got hold of the mike to announce “I am not your president yet, but I will be”. We were reminded why Toastmasters get together, well “to become better communicators”, this actually for many it means different things. If it scares you to speak public and scares the hell out of us, others want to be TED talkers, politicians. Tonight ! “We have an amazing structure of speeches that happen every week”. Also, being a Harkmaster, Lucy used the chat feature of Zoom to get answers, she was in for a surprise to discover how fast people type, guess how fast they would have typed if chocolate rewards were thrown over the Internet !

Jon, takes us on lessons learnt from his war on drugs and his wish to jump on a time machine going to the past to change things. Being a grammarian means listening to beautiful use of language, hey both British English and American English, this is how we learn about each other online. Jon selected the word TRANSITION to be word of the day, this is inline with the Theme of the Meeting; Change. Jon enterinded the club by comparing words in both dialects. “Magnum” is an ice-cream in the UK, in the US it is a gun! Beautiful language included “Squeeze this meeting into a blog post”, “A crescendo in learning to dance”, 

Dilemma means having two options, 3 options does not make it a dilemma as the prefix “di” means two 🙂 

Agatha took the role of Timekeeper, don’t mess with her because she warns us “I will be strict in time keeping, there is a minimum time and maximum speaking time” this threat seems to have worked as many behaved themselves in regards to time slots. A gadget she is eager to use “The Count Down” however she was denied by two speakers, poor Agatha.

Like a wonder woman, Stephani put on the clock of Toastmaster – if there is one, I think we should make one- She told us with a high voice an a smile that filled the screen “I will guide you through speeches, evaluations”. One wonders why bother attending such weekly meetings? Well, she promised that “Something would change in each one of you during the meeting” and that since “We had so much change in past few weeks” so change remains with us in human rights and change for a better future. “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SPEECH!” she chanted after speakers. 

Our Meeting reporter shed light on his intentions, he was going to be three things; a journalist, a blogger and a media guy, hold on! These things are the same thing? Yes, but we like to express ourselves in Toastmasters more. Mohammed told us he is going to write about the meeting, that’s what I am doing now. Why bother? Well, “You may not have joined the meeting last week?” so such blogs on our website will make you feel entice to visit us next Tuesday. Don’t forget to show the article to your boss to show your writing skills, that’s my wife actually. 

Speech 1, AK took us from London to Africa, where lions eat people for breakfast. In a speech entitled “Let’s Live Now, today and in the Moment”, the audience were asked to reflect on what happens when “We make long term plans”, well, it sounds smart to think of the future, however there’s “a problem! we forget today”. In 1885, John Henry Patterson supervised the construction of railways in Kenya. The story reflected how only focusing on completing the railways meant more workers were being attacked by lions, how solving immediate problems can help in achieving targets.

Speech 2, Charles introduced an app called “Headspace” dedicated to help people meditate especially at times of crises. What is being “Normal at 16 years of age”, Charles joined in his school the debating society learning how to construct arguments. And on the night we practiced that exact debating muscle. “In designing electric cars, would you make it safer for drivers more or safer for other road users?”, I guess for drivers as I paid for my car. “In a hostile takeover, would you submit or fire 80% of your staff being the CEO?”, I would be happy to submit to the takeover since I could have a better share in a more successful company. “In a crisis like Covid-19, would you implement a lockdown or would you ignore it?”, I would do both in stages.

Speech 3, by George entitled “Olé!” made the club stand up, not in ovation, but in shaking the rear sides of us, what else one would do during a speech on flamingo dancing. It looks like at times of lockdown, people have become more innovative. We were told how George found himself “Dancing along with 20 beautiful ladies, all middle aged”, well I worried for you buddy, lucky all this intimate mixing was online, phew! Dear reader You have a friend called Lidia that invites you to dance this Spanish andalusian style, let’s flamingo! 

Evaluator Annabel noticed how AK “Took us into a journey into Kenya”. How storytelling was used to tell us about the speaker’s father, seeing emotions, day to night, night to day. A recommendation was “Use body langues, use better camera angle to show us your eyes”

Evaluator Natalie was still waiting for hairdressers to open up so she can go dye her hair. Come on Boris ! Open up business buddy! She pointed out to us how confident and engaging Charles was using suspense, vocal variety and humour. 

Evaluator Raj started with 3 .. 2  .. 1 to structure his feedback on George’s speech. 3 things Roy liked, 2 things Roy recommended to avoid rocking while standing to speak and act the voices of characters. One takeaway that was the juicy part of the evaluation is that after listening to a speech, one may ask “What can I try and change in my life?”, so we speak to inspire.

Chris pulled his weapons of welcoming guests as he was the Sergeant at Arms. HE spoke of “We all once were guests at a club” when Chris wanted to change something in his life, he joined London Victorians and found himself in a Toastmasters meeting. His question to all guests “What is one thing you changed today or wish to change?”. Answers included

-Travel around, Australia and moving from technical to management role

-I don’t like change, when my mobile number changed I cried, tiny changes shock me.

-So many unexpected things happen, I moved home, I try to live in the moment.

-I used to live in the UK, back to France, I was a Toastmaster before, looking to get back. 

-I have enjoyed my time, nothing to change. 

-I changed bedding from winter to summer then realised I need to change them back.

It seems that Lukas adopted the debating fever of the night and presented Table Topics as comparisons between many aspects of life including companies like Astrazeneca vs HSBC, BP vs. US Tobacco, alcohol vs. mining, Tesco vs. Coral, BAE Systems vs. JustEat. Well those battles were safely settled on the night. 

What did we do well Beatrice? Our General Evaluator commended, encouraged, praised and guided with some thoughts. What a wonderful feeling infused in us when she declared “In 102 meetings I have attended in 35 countries, your meeting is the most accomplished” WOW if this is not a medallion on all club members I don’t what what. What is that Beatrice? She explains the reasons

-Before the meeting started, the Sergeant at Arms was already welcoming guests.

-The link to join the meeting was sent via email using the club website.

-Members kept video on which made me feel welcome.

-The Toastmaster was joyful that I could be with her all day.

-Grammarian selecting a word that was aligned to the theme of the meeting.

Well ! Is it time you turned up to our meeting? We meet every Tuesday at 18:30 GMT.