Education Past meetings

Speechathon – 28 March 2017

Once a month at London Victorians, we clear the decks for a speechathon. This affords members even more opportunities to give speeches and progress through the competent communicator programme.

It was fantastic to see the rapid progress being made by so many of our members in such a short space of time. And, as ever, the variety of topics was a treat for those attending.

Our people skills certainly benefited from the quality of speeches last night. Cleo taught us how to build rapport and Pascale talked us through the five languages of love. While Alexandro gave us an insight into courting in northern Spain.

Pascale winning best speaker

We also heard about the plight facing the world’s elephants, learned that mum’s have superhuman powers and were wowed by a powerful poetry recital. Judy had us on our feet at times as she shared her passion for dance with us.

Alex was also voted best speaker – we had two winners!

Thanks to all who attended and participated and don’t forget that next week we’re back to normal with the second half devoted to table topics and impromptu speaking.

Thomas gets another ribbon for best evaluator
Terry welcoming Charlotte as a new member
Contest Past meetings Toastmasters International

Homorous Speech and Table Topics Contest

The lights were dimmed, guests were in their seats, and the judges had been briefed; most were relaxed, looking forward to the evening’s entertaining speeches. The contestants and organisers were looking a bit more serious. 13th September 2016 was the London Victorians contests evening.

rsz_IMG_1082The first half of the meeting was the Humorous Speech Contest and, after a short introduction from the club President, Sophia to took the stage as Contest Chair.

Sophia bounded with energy and enthusiasm as she explained the important rules and order of events. Looking calm and relaxed on stage, it is great to see the amazing benefits of regular toastmasters practice coming together for such a demanding role. She made sure each and every contestant was welcomed to the stage with rapturous applause, London Victorians style.

Humorous Speaking Contest

We had four humorous speeches lined up. Christophe was first, with a speech titled “Worst Advice”, where he told us of all the wonderful advice he has received in his life, along with the consequences. With advice like “just be yourself and everything will be fine” and “if you ignore the bullies, they’ll get bored and leave you alone”, Christophe took life examples many people can relate to and emphasised the ridiculousness of the advice they are  often given. A sure fire way to ensure the audience would be roaring with laughter.

Next up was George who used a part of his life story to take us on his journey from being “caught” by his wife through the Plenty of Fish dating website to his experiences as a white man living in Uganda. In particular, the way he was perceived by the locals and his attempts to negotiate a fair price on anything he bought. George mixed his humour with a serious message, concluding with a plea to treat everyone fairly.

rsz_IMG_1105Then came AK who taught us the art of lying. He said that lying was a very bad thing…if you don’t have the skills. AK then proceeded to go through the ethics of lying with using very funny examples.

Last but by no means least was John who, apparently (see photo), is a life coach but is definitely aware of how prolific the industry has become with “self help gurus”. John explained that he specialised in helping those suffering a “quarter life crisis”. He dispelled some myths in his attempts to convince us the condition was real and was adamant that a quarter was not equal to half a midlife crisis, rather it was a full on medical condition in its own right!

Table Topic Contest

The second half of the meeting Tom took over as Contest Chair for the Table Topics Contest. The format here was slightly different so Tom asked the Sergeant at Arms, Stephen and Ed, to escort the contestants outside the room. They then returned one at a time where they each answered the same table topic question:

“What little white lies do you tell?”

As you would expect, each contestant put their own spin on their responses but, let’s just say, it turns out a lot of London Victorians lie about their age!

Tom kept everyone entertained with an informal table topic session while the judges formalised the results. He then handed the stage to Florian who, as Chief Judge, announced the results of both contests.

John and Christophe took first and second place respectively in the Humorous Speech contest. Christophe, Lawrence and Gary came first, second and third in the Table Topics.


Past meetings Toastmasters International

Toastmasters Meeting – 6th September

On Tuesday 6th September guests and members were treated to a meeting full of fun, energy and enthusiasm as former President Florian Bay took to the stage as Toastmaster of the Meeting.

Eleanor G was grammarian with the word of the day being “quaint”, which with this being London Victorians, this meeting was never going to be! Gary stood in at the last minute as timekeeper, telling us that if you want to be a valuer of life then you should be a valuer of time. Eleanor H completed the functionaries as harkmaster, ensuring everyone listened intently, with the promise of chocolate rewards if we did.

Competent Communicator Speeches

Bruna doing Competent Communicator Speech 2 - Organise Your SpeechMajdouline El Aasemi gave the first speech with her icebreaker titled “Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum” which translates to “I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”. Majdouline’s speech gave us insight into how she views the world by sharing some short stories of her life. An impassioned speech, definitely achieving the objectives and displaying a vast array of speaking skills far in advance of an icebreaker.

The second speaker was Bruna who was doing her second speech from the competent communicators manual. Immediately grabbing the audience’s attention with a theatrical opening, Bruna used rhetorical questions throughout to encourage us to think about how we make decisions in life. The speech was titled “Oh, noooo, it’s going to be a disaster” but Bruna’s confidence and engaging style made sure it was never going to be.

The third speaker of the meeting was Fahad who was doing an advanced speech from the Speaking to Inform manual. Fahad had the whole audience involved, he had us all on our feet, eyes closed, breathing purposefully, demonstrating how we can find calm in stressful situations. He called this finding your “Ha-Ra”, which was also the title of his speech. With everyone feeling so calm and refreshed after his interactive demonstration, it’s not surprising Fahad won the best speaker award for the meeting.

Table Topics

Terry doing Table Topics

The second half of the meeting Sophia took to the stage as Table Topic Master. Instead of asking a question of the speakers, Sophia asked them each to pick a surprise item from a bag and to sell it to the audience. This led to some hilarious instances including Pranav almost convincing us that a paint brush was in fact a magical brush that makes you love life and Terry doing an amazing improvised sketch of a mum and daughter extolling the virtues of the platinum range of Fairy Liquid.

The competition was tough as the standards were high but it was Florian who won the best table topic speaker award with his promotion of a can of hairspray that would, apparently, prevent your hair from making you look like a shrew!

Join us at our next meeting on 13th September when London Victorians will be hosting their annual Humorous Speaking and Table Topics contests.

View all the meeting photos in our gallery or see us on Facebook.

Past meetings Toastmasters International

Speaking in the Summer – 30th August

On Tuesday 30th August, St James the Less Church buzzed with anticipation as toastmasters and guests took their seats. Eleanor Gelston filled in for Terry as President and kicked off the meeting by reminiscing about her own Toastmasters journey and how she had faced her fear of speaking in public. She ended on a powerful notes “all you have to do is do it” before handing over to the Toastmasters of the evening, Prateek.

Toastmasters give rapturous applause
Enthusiastic club members

Prateek immediately filled the room with energy and enthusiasm. He encouraged both sides of the room to cheer and clap as loudly as possible as he first introduced the functionaries and then the speakers.

Christophe gave the first speech of the night. Speaking about the US Presidential Elections and why his support goes to Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. He used powerful language to describe why Clinton would drive the USA to the ground as opposed to Trump who will make the country great again. He analysed the candidates’ solutions to three current issues: international trade, Russia and the terrorist organisation ISIS. He concluded that Trump has brought these issues to the forefront and is committed to solving them, while Clinton has no real solutions.

The second speaker was Eleanor Bucher who took us on a journey through Iceland. She guided the audience through the country by their senses, describing the sensation of standing on tectonic plates, the sound of horses’ hooves, the smell of “lip-curling” sulphur, the taste of salty fish and finally the magnificent sight of the honeycomb harbour building in Reykjavik.

Eleanor Handslip spoke next about “another Eleanor” (Eleanors took centre stage at this meeting!) and told us about the difficult life of Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the USA. She described Eleanor Roosevelt’s sad childhood as an orphan and her marriage to Franklin D.Roosevelt which was complicated by his interfering mother and his affair with his secretary. She then related how Eleanor Roosevelt overcame these challenges and became a role model for ambitious women as well as an advocate for human rights.

The final speech was by Thomas who shared a powerful and persuasive message: everyone must share in globalisation and wealth. He told us that he put money behind Brexit and described the vote to leave the EU as a “vote against globalisation”. He then outlined the history behind globalisation and international trade, taking us back to the Industrial Revolution. He highlighted the link between globalisation and xenophobia and the rise of nationalism.

Tom doing his competant communicator speech 9 - persuade with power
Toastmaster of the meeting Thomas

In the second half of the meeting we listened to some entertaining and insightful table topics. Isabelle who chose “looking back and moving forward” as the theme asked speakers to talk about memories and future plans. Questions ranged from “would you take part in a mission to Mars” to “if you could invite a historical figure to dinner, who would you choose?”

It was a great meeting which showcased the talent of London Victorians – come along to the next meeting on Tuesday 6th September at 6.45pm!

Past meetings Toastmasters International

Best Scientific Advances and Improvised Speeches – 12th July 

Florian was the Toastmaster of the evening and chose a very “Florianesque” theme of the evening: What are the best scientific advances?  Personally, I would have picked toilet paper, but thankfully the speakers and functionary had more meaningful answers such as antibiotics, the wheel, and the Internet.  Fahad as the Grammarian picked the word phenomenal and asked the audience to yell “EUREKA” whenever it was used in the meeting.  This ensured plentiful usage.  Cleo was timekeeper and Judy was Harkmaster.

We had four speeches from various levels of the CC.  The first speaker, Christophe, started us off by explaining why veganism is trending.  It was quite a deep speech with questions such as why do we call it beef rather than cow or pork rather than pig. Was it to distance ourselves from the animal?  I had to think about it that night when I chowed down on my beef tartar.

The second speaker was Eleanor who successfully convinced us that Beethoven’s music is so good that NASA decided to put his music on the Voyager spacecraft that is now 15 billion kilometers away from Earth.  And the craziest fact about Beethoven is that he continued to compose against all odds even as he became completely deaf.

Eleanor delivering her speech

George is an EBay guru.  In his speech, he told the story of how a 3-hour PowerPoint presentation in the British Library turned into him publishing a book that is available on Amazon.  And he did not stop there!  He wrote three more books after that.

George delivering his speech

The last speaker of the evening was Tatiana, with a speech about her Pie Challenge.  She made a bet with a friend to bake a pie in as many countries as possible.  It turns out this is quite an undertaking.  Think about it.  You need a kitchen, ingredients, and time in order to make this happen.  And she has done it 8 times now!  I have never even baked a pie in my life!

Tatiana delivering her speech

Lastly on agenda were table topics with our excellent Table Topics Master Nuala.  She provided pictures for the speakers to improvise on.  We had several great stories including Pranav, who would build a nuclear reactor using a paper clip and bandaid and John who told the story of an old lady that kidnapped his cat Curtis.

Overall, the meeting was phenomenal!  EUREKA!