Past meetings Table Topics

Animal Theme Meeting

This week, Hannah made her debut as Toastmaster with an animal theme. Hannah ran the meeting without a hitch and even surprised the general evaluator that this was her first time in the role! Hannah asked each speaker – what animal they would like to be and why? This was a fantastic way to delve a bit deeper into our members’ personalities. At London Victorians we have aspiring hippos, dolphins, haggises, lions and dragons, to name a few!

Hannah our Toastmaster of the evening presenting the animal theme
Hannah doing a fabulous job as Toastmaster

Hannah was supported by Paul M as Timekeeper and Pascale as Grammarian. Annabel made the many guests feel welcome as Sergeant at Arms.

Paul M, bringing a bit of humour to the timekeeper role


The initial section of the meeting was for prepared speeches. This week we had speeches from either end of the competent communicator manual!

First up was Paul L, performing his upcoming best man’s speech as his icebreaker. He presented humorous anecdotes about adventures with his brother, using the power of 3 to great effect!

Well done for delivering your icebreaker Paul!

Next was Ani, who performed an inspiring speech number 5 about how to pick yourself up and be unstoppable. Ani literally used her body to show how life can bring you down to your knees. She followed with tips how to get back up again.

Ani, bringing movement to her speech

The third speaker was Isabelle, who performed speech 6. As usual, Isabelle delivered an extremely moving piece, where she described how free speech is under attack!

Isabelle on free speech

George gave the final speech of the night and the manual (CC10) about his travels to Uganda, inspiring us all to go and build passion fruit farm irrigation systems. He captured the audience’s attention through his fantastic storytelling skills and acting out dialogue.

Well done George for completing the CC manual!


After the speeches, Diane, Alexandro, Charlotte and Florian performed evaluations for Paul, Ani, Isobelle and George respectively. Audience members also completed feedback slips.

Speech feedback tip for inspiring people (from Florian): Firstly, mention the inspiring message you are trying to convey early in the speech. Secondly, make sure the speech content relates directly to the message. Thirdly, include an obstacle that you overcame to make the message stronger.

Florian never gets tired of winning a ribbon!

Table topics

The second section of the meeting was for Table Topics. Paulina took to the stage as Table Topics Master. She presented a very novel and entertaining table topics theme. Paulina read a news story about a car crash and asked members and guests to re-tell the story as a news reporter, a dictator, a nursery school teacher, a director and at a nursing home.

Well done Matt – you make a great nursery school teacher!

Alex followed with some fantastic fast tips as Table Topics Evaluator. Well done to Terry, Eleanor G, Matt, Nuala and our guest, Dharmalingham for taking part!

Congratulations to Isabelle, Florian and Matt, who were tonight’s respective speech, evaluator and table topics winners and to all who helped make this a brilliant meeting as usual. We look forward to seeing everyone next Tuesday!


Education Toastmasters International

My 3 years journey to DTM

Distinguished Toastmasters – DTM

In the Beginning

When I did my icebreaker speech in Cheltenham Speakers in June 2013, little did I know back then that I would become a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) just 3 years later. A few weeks later I was living on the Clyde estuary and Toastmasters only came back on my agenda when I moved to London in late September 2013. Mastering public speaking and leadership was and remain a priority for me; so a rough plan was sketched in my head of joining several clubs to clock up experience faster.

My knowledge of the Toastmasters educational programme developed itself in drip by drip, mainly through my own research. Not having a mentor meant that I was on my own. But my natural curiosity coupled with an early promotion to VPE did the trick and so my first objective was set. Achieving Competent Communicator and Competent Leader status by June 2014! Once this was done, my next objective was a bold race against the clock, becoming a DTM before I turned 30; becoming a DTM before December 2016!

Launching London Victorians paved the way for completing all the leadership related tasks in time. The major stumbling block for me was the speeches, completing 30+ speeches in just 2 years. Like many I found the jump from the CC manual to the advanced manuals quite big and my speech progression stalled for a few months, adding to the dilemma. The dilemma was eventually sorted through a combination of forward planning and seeking out extra speaking opportunities whenever possible. Being a member of 3 and even briefly 4 clubs also helped in a big way! Eventually, my final speech from the Technical Presentations manual in late May, Speech 49 AM in my classification, 2016 sealed the deal.

Over the last 3 years I’ve learnt more about public speaking and leadership that I hoped for and the amazing thing is that my Toastmasters journey is still far from over. Indeed, the more I learnt about both subjects, the more I realise that I know little and still have a lot more to learn and experience. It goes without saying that I’m already working through my second DTM in order to focus on anything I may have missed when doing the first one!

Can anyone do the same? The answer is yes you can and here’s how.

1. Plan Your Speaking Schedule

As soon as I learnt the “2 roles in between speeches” rule in my clubs, I immediately requested speeches and roles far in advance to progress as fast as I could. I subsequently started keeping a record of all the meetings I attended and tabulated all the meeting dates of my clubs 6 months in advance. This way you can calculate how many speeches you’ll be doing over the course of a few months. Number your speech and here you go, you’ll have a very good idea of when you’ll deliver your 9th or even your 24th speech!

Use easy-Speak ( to track your progress and plan ahead!
Use easy-Speak ( to track your progress and plan ahead!

2. Join a Second Club

Not being a member a single club meant that I was exposed to some of the wider elements of the Toastmasters community very early on. You’ll meet more people faster, be known to visiting GEs and functionaries faster. But more importantly you’ll have more opportunities to speak and do meeting roles. Don’t neglect meeting roles as they’re just as important as speeches to sharpen your arsenal of skills.

3. Network Proactively

Had I not attended the Division B contests of October 2013, I most definitely wouldn’t have been as involved as quickly since these words of wisdom from the amazing Hillary Briggs, “you’re enthusiastic; you should get more involved!” Made me think a lot back then. In the same vein, offering my services as general evaluator, mystery speaker or judge, both pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to meet more people in other clubs. Without these relationships, London Victorians would have never happened, I would never have considered doing a Youth Leadership Project and becoming an area director would have been much harder.

4. Get to know the Educational Program

The Toastmasters Educational Program is rather simple, but the devil lies in its detail. For example in the requirement to do two speeches from the Successful Speaker Series to achieve ACS, the imperative of being a club mentor, sponsor or coach and a few more. Know what these bottlenecks will be far advance and plan accordingly!

5. Remember to Push Yourself!

You’ll need to do 46 speeches to become a DTM. That’s right a whopping 46 speeches! The effort will be worthless though if you don’t push yourself and excel in whatever you do. Always ensure that your speeches meet their project objectives. NEVER hesitate to repeat or redo a speech of you’re not happy about how it went. As club officer or district officer, don’t forget that you’re a leader and that you have a duty to lead by example. If you decide to launch a club in your own journey, make it the best you can, do better than what others do and serve your members first and foremost!

Just like me you’ll learn more on this journey than you hoped for. So onwards and forwards, go on and add these three letters ‘DTM’ to your last name by December 2019!

Past meetings Toastmasters International

Advanced Communication Gold – 24th May

Terry was Toastmaster of the evening choosing the uplifting theme of birthdays for the meeting. Proceedings included birthday poppers, hats and a rendition of happy birthday to amplify the theme.

A team helped assist Terry in the running of the meeting; Joyce was timekeeper, Cleo was Harkmaster, Eleanor G was Sergeant at Arms, and Nuala was Grammarian selecting the word of “Merriment” to coincide with Terry’s theme.

Toastmaster Terry with a party popper

The first speaker to take the stage was Eleanor B. Her speech summarized four art pieces signifying specific movements that she felt contributed to the evolution of Western art, including visual examples from cave men, Degas, Turner, and Da Vinci.

Stephen was the second speaker and his humorous speech describing the struggles he overcame in purchasing a bike and his ambitious plan to cycle from London to Brighton.

Stephen describing his bike adventures
Stephen describing his bike adventures

Annabel was third, a speech describing her three favourite alcoholic beverages, intertwining both Chinese and Scottish cultures surrounding social drinking, ending her speech with a quote from Churchill “I’ve taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me”.

Founding club President Florian completed his Advanced Communication Gold on Tuesday. His educational speech involved visual aids and background research demonstrating an in-depth knowledge regarding potential reasons why Britain’s economy is weaker than it should be.

Florian's final speech before being awarded Advanced Communication Gold
Florian’s final speech before being awarded Advanced Communication Gold

Join us next week for more speeches and evaluations. We will also be having our Annual General Meeting during the second half where we will be electing our committee, reviewing our successes and planning the future of the club. Everyone welcome!

Past meetings Toastmasters International Workshop

World Champion of Public Speaking – Tuesday 10th May

On Tuesday we had the pleasure of hosting Mohammed Qahtani the 2015 World champion of public speaking. The workshop was split into two parts, the first part entitled “Conquer adversity and live up to your dreams”, The second section of the workshop was entitled “Inject more humour into your speeches”. Mohammed delivered a very dynamic, humorous and energetic workshop with Q&A sessions after each section.

Our guest of honour Mohammed Qahtani
Our guest of honour Mohammed Qahtani

Mohammed began the first section of the workshop by stating that in order to achieve your dreams the word “impossible” should not exist in your vocabulary. To effectively achieve your dreams successfully, he broke down the challenge of achieving your dream into a number of steps and listed adversities that you may encounter. For each item, he also included a fact or anecdote as an example.

Mohammed explained to the audience the need to have specific goals, and included the advice that goals should not be superficial; ideally they should have a higher or noble cause. Once you have identified your dreams, Mohammed provided advice in facing limiting fears by using facts to dispel worry. He cited that often what we fear is irrational. Using the common fear of snakes as an example, Mohammed stated that “16% of snakes are poisonous, 40% have fangs than can bite, 2% have poison that can kill humans and often snakes only bite when they are being attacked.” Therefore like many fears, the fear of snakes is, in some ways irrational.

Mohammed addressing our packed venue
Mohammed addressing our packed venue

Mohammed’s workshop offered practical advice that he finds effective in controlling fear. He demonstrated this in an exercise with the audience, asking participants to breathe deep into the belly to get the benefits inhaling and exhaling slowly, to calm nerves.

Mohammed added a humorous element by demonstrating to the audience how to become more self aware. He did this by utilising Nadia a member of the audience, to throw rolled up paper balls at him if he said anything negative during the proceedings. This added comedy value throughout his workshop and highlighted to the audience that we should have more self awareness and approach life in a more positive manner.

In summary of the workshop in dealing with adversity and living up to your dreams, Mohammed urged the audience not to live an ordinary life. He went on to end the section with the statement “Don’t just exist, live” explaining that he has a bucket list and every year he adds 5 things to this list to complete before he dies. Mohammed told the audience that he reminds himself of this bucket list daily, continually adding and stroking off goals once completed.

Packed room for this special event!
Packed room for this special event!

The second section of the workshop began with Mohammed explaining the reasons why humour is important in order to catch the audience’s attention, maintain audience engagement, and how humour can often help in delivering an important message. He spoke about his basic rules of comedy, different types of humour, and the benefits and pitfalls of each. He then demonstrated his skills with a very humourous prepared speech in which he recounted an aeroplane journey where he changed his seat multiple times and encountered new issues each time, intertwining a message at the end; that we should take control of our lives and actively change our circumstances if we are unhappy.

Thanking our guest and the audience for an amazing event!
Thanking our guest and the audience for an amazing event!

Overall Mohamed’s two workshops were very inspiring and included excellent practical advice on humorous speech making, goal setting, positive thinking and how to lead extraordinary lives.

Refreshments for the break kindly provided by Savse Smoothies.
Amazing refreshments for the break were kindly provided by Savse Smoothies.

We would like to thanks to Savse for the smoothies and Warren Sheng for the photographs!

Past meetings Toastmasters International

A Meeting Full of Proverbs – April 19th

Stephen was toastmaster for the evening, with the theme of proverbs for the meeting and he had a team to assist him to ensure the smooth running of the meeting. Terry fulfilled the duty of timekeeper and Sergeant At Arms. Andy was grammarian and Eleanor H was harkmaster imparting the quote to summarise the purpose of her role “if speaking is silver then listening is gold”.

Stephen as Toastmaster, with the theme of proverbs
Stephen as Toastmaster, with the theme of proverbs

There were four prepared speeches during the first half and impromtu speaking during the second half of the meeting. Fahad fulfilled the role of Table Topics Master, and keeping with the theme of proverbs he provided each volunteer with a proverb from different parts of the World for each speaker to focus on.

Fahad using the theme of proverbs from around the World as Table Topic subjects
Fahad using the theme of proverbs from around the World as Table Topic subjects

First speaker was Eleanor H delivering her icebreaker. She explained how she has added spontaneity to her life by travelling and setting aside one day a month to do something unplanned. Eleanor H cited the advantages of putting yourself in situations that don’t feel comfortable in order to learn about oneself, resisting our human desire for stability and structure.

Nuala delivered her speech five from the Toastmaster’s competent communicator manual. Speech five focuses on eye contact, posture and body language. During her speech she told the story of the first time she made a poached egg for a family friend when they came to visit.

Eleanor G delivering her speech about tears

Eleanor G delivered a well researched speech on the topic of tears, and crying. She explained how crying is often a reflection of society and one’s environment. The research touched on many aspects of the act of crying; interestingly studies show that people cry more frequently in warmer climates and affluent countries such as America and Australia.  

Prateek began his speech lying on the floor describing a time when he felt the fight or flight response. His speech outlined the survival instinct of humans explaining the effects of stress hormones. He made the point that the brain can’t always differentiate from a real threat or a perceived threat. Often the stress hormone in our body reacts similarly to a stressful situation, for example, giving a speech as our body would react to a life threatening event.

Join us on Tuesday 26th of April for our next meeting