Past meetings Table Topics Toastmasters International

Whisky is worth a speech!

The meeting started with the President; Nuala McHugh, sharing her insightful experience when visiting Excalibur Toastmaster club, the only London based club where members exclusively focus on the advance manual.
She also introduced a new member; Dienaba and handed her the member guide and welcomed her.

Then, the President handed over to the toastmaster for the evening; Mohammed who introduced the theme for the evening: DREAM ON!

Toastmaster of the evening Mohammed.

He commenced the session by introducing the different functionary roles responsible to ensuring the meeting went smoothly and on schedule:
• Ed was the timekeeper, whose role was to make sure the meeting was on schedule;
• Yumi was the grammarian and was responsible for identifying wonderful use of language throughout the evening as well as the word of the evening (MARVELOUS) keeping track of the necessary words (“umm” “Uhhs” etc.)
• Noorie was the harkmaster , responsible for testing our listen skills and reward us with treats at the end of meeting if her questions were accurately answered.
The toastmaster introduced the first speaker of the evening; Anna presented the project #2 from the Competent communication Manual; Organise your speech. Her speech was entitled “Sport is not just physical”. Anna demonstrated a great body language, a friendly demeanour and presented a very insightful topic.

The second speaker; Charlotte presented the sixth project of the Competent Communication Manual; Vocal variety. Her speech was entitled “Why dreams can be a nightmare”. She showcased a great energy, a connection with the audience and vocal variety with intonations in line with the emotions in her speech.

The third speaker; Eva presented the first project of the Technical Presentations manual. Her speech was entitled “What is 5G?”. Despite all the technical complexity of her topic, Eva kept the audience interested by often interacting with it, using humour and simplification.

Eva delivering a technical speech on 5G.

The fourth and final speech of the evening was delivered by Annabel, who delivered a dramatic talk. Her speech was entitled “Whiskey and an honest friend”. Annabel shows a great ease on stage and body language and transported the audience on a virtual whiskey journey.

Whisky is a good speech subject!

After all the speeches were delivered, the timekeeper came on stage to provide the time each speech had lasted.

Then, the evaluations began with the first evaluator; Vibessan, who provided a feedback on the first speech presented by Anna. Andrew evaluated the second speech presented by Charlotte, Eleanor evaluated Eva and finally Andy provided a feedback on Annabel’s speech. All evaluations were constructive and followed the following model: commendations – recommendations- commendations.

The timekeeper came on the stage to indicate the time used for each evaluation.

Before the break, the sergeant at Arms, Joe introduced the 6 guests for the evening. Guests are important part of toastmaster meetings.

After returning from the break, the toastmaster announced the Table Topics session, presented by the Table Topic (TT) Master ; Ha Le who came on to the stage to explain the objectives of TT. The theme of the TT was “Friendship”. The TT master came up on stage and asked 6 questions related to the theme and each time designated a lucky member within the audience, including the guests. This is particularly a good exercise for guests so they can test the waters and have fun!

A sample of the TT questions:
• You and your friend are playing PlayStation, you won and your friend got angry so that he blocked you on Facebook. What do you do?
• You and your friend are in a bar and from afar you see Scarlett Johansson. Your friend wants to talk to her but he is nervous. How do you help him?
• Is it possible to break up with a friend the same way as with a boy/girlfriend?
• …

At the end of the TT session, the TT evaluator: Fahad came on stage to deliver his feedback. He congratulated the participants and welcomed their engagement with the audience and friendliness on stage. He also recommended the participants to maintain eye contact, even when thinking about what to say. In that context, instead of looking down while searching for words or ideas, he suggested to get closer to the audience and look at one person in particular while thinking.

TT Evaluator Fahad giving feedback to the Table Topics speakers.

The General Evaluator; Pascale came on stage to provide the overall evaluation of the evening and her main comments were:
– Saluted the fantastic work of the toastmaster ; Mohammed and encouraged him to take on that challenging role more often
– Increase the thermostat in the room as it was getting colder
– Encourage toastmaster members to engage with the guests

She also provided constructive feedback to the functionary roles.

The Toastmaster thanked the audience or the marvellous evening, all the functionaries as well as the guests and handed over to the President

The distribution of the prizes marked the end of the Toastmaster session and was the result of the votes which took place throughout the evening. Drum roll….. and the winners are :
• Best Table Topic participant: Andy
• Best speech evaluators : Andy and Eleanor
• Best Speech : Charlotte

The President distributed the prizes to the winners, thanked everyone and before ending the session, reminded the audience of the “improve” workshops to take place at the next meeting.

Club President Nuala.
Past meetings

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.




Past meetings

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.


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


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!

Past meetings

London Victorians 100th Meeting!

London Victorians celebrated its 100th meeting this week! To mark this momentous occasion, we had an extra special meeting. Not only were there balloons, banners and cake, we had 6 amazing speakers and a centenary theme!

100th meeting celebrations
100th meeting celebrations!

Terry, our president got the audience pumped, with extreme cheering exercises! He set the scene of how the club has blossomed from just 3 members to over 50, now meeting weekly.

Terry handed over to Nuala, our fantastic Toastmaster of the evening. Nuala kept the energy going through the meeting while injecting humour and useful information. She welcomed each speaker to the stage with their answer to the question “If you had to do something at least 100 times, what would it be?” Answers included birthdays, detox, escape rooms, roller coaster rides, massages, speeches and holidays to name a few.

Nuala was supported by Pascale as Timekeeper, Paulina as Grammarian and Mickaela as Harkmaster. Cleo was Sergeant at Arms and warmly greeted the 10 guests.

Paulina our Grammarian
Mickaela introducing the Harkmaster role

Speeches – part 1

As this was a special occasion, the whole meeting was dedicated to speeches! There were 6 speeches in total, 3 for each half of the meeting.

First up was Charlotte, performing a number 2 speech, on how journaling can make you thrive. Charlotte gave a moving, well-structured account of how writing feelings down can really improve your mental health.

Charlotte delivering the 1st speech of the night

Next was Vahagn, with speech number 4. He used storytelling to great effect, encouraging us all to learn from other’s experiences. He talked about a positive, enthusiastic Chinese lady he met to clearly convey his message that personality makes the greatest difference in life.

Vahagn telling an inspiring story

The final speaker for the first part of the meeting was Diane, who performed speech 6. Diane was a natural at using vocal variety to induce interest, humour and suspense to her message.  She also used visual aids (chocolates) and a great structure to drive her point that distrust isn’t the best strategy!

Diane on how trust is the best policy

Evaluations – part 1

After the speeches, Isabelle, Lorenzo and Alexandro performed evaluations for Charlotte, Vahagn, and Diane respectively. Audience members also completed feedback slips.

Speech feedback tip of the week (from Lorenzo): Exaggerate the objectives relating to the competent communicator manual speech you are completing. Don’t forget about the objectives from previous speeches though.

Speeches – part 2

The second part of the meeting was for another 3 speeches.

First up was Robert, a guest from Early Bird Speakers. Robert performed speech number 6 speech on poetry, titled “Thank you Mrs Tonks”.  He started with a smooth mellifluous explanation about what poetry is and why he didn’t always identify with it. He finished with a poem, during which he embodied a drag queen to give his strong message!

Robert, our guest speaker

Next was Andrew, also with speech number 6. He cleverly linked 3 Olympic years, to his love of Salsa dancing and how he met his wife. Andrew had a great speech structure and injected vocal variety through a couple of humorous accents.

Andrew speaking about his 3 memorable Olympic years

The final speaker was George, with speech 9. His aim was to persuade the audience to use Ebay to make money. He gave step by step instructions using visual aids, while cleverly connecting each step to his love of aircraft.

George persuading us to sell on Ebay

Evaluations – part 2

After the speeches, Annabel, Fahad and Dan gave evaluations for Robert, Andrew, and George respectively. Audience members also completed feedback slips.

Speech feedback tip of the week (from Annabel/Fahad): A good way to show vocal variety is to embody someone else. Use dialogue to develop your speech in a 2-3 line exchange.


Congratulations to Diane and Robert, who won the best speech ribbons, and to Lorenzo and Fahad, who won the best evaluator ribbons. Thanks to all who helped make this historic meeting extra special. We look forward to everyone at next Tuesday!

Congratulations Diane!
Great job Robert!
Well done Lorenzo!
Fahad – the evaluation expert!


Past meetings

Spontaneous themed meeting

This week’s meeting celebrated being spontaneous. Andrew, our Toastmaster for the evening, signed up to the role the previous night in true spontaneous style. In his introduction, he emphasised that while it is good to plan, it’s also great to be spontaneous. Andrew then guided us through the meeting with a smile, welcoming each speaker to the stage with a spontaneous story. Examples ranged from attending an Italian Toastmasters meeting without knowing the language, to skydiving on the spur of the moment to romantic rendezvous.

Andrew: our spontaneous Toastmaster
Andrew spontaneously takes up the Toastmaster role!

Negin (Timekeeper), Florian (Grammarian) and Pascale (Harkmaster) supported Andrew in functionary roles. Andy was Sergeant at Arms and greeted the guests with gusto.

Florian introducing word of the day: versatile


The initial section of the meeting was for prepared speeches. First up was Isabelle who delivered an extremely moving speech no. 7 about the controversial subject of Euthanasia. As a journalist, Isabelle used first hand research to support her views. Consequently, she captivated the audience with her personal stories.

Next was George, who performed speech number 8. He used visual aids seamlessly to educate us all about high level and low level aircraft. George wowed us all with video clips of these planes alongside his informative description.

Terry gave the final speech of the night from the advanced public relations manual. He passionately discussed his campaign to stop the government from using people migration as a negotiation tool. He physically moved people to show who would be affected by Brexit, and also used humour to great effect. At the end of the speech, Terry persuaded us to take action and visit his “Do not Brex them” website.  If you also feel strongly about this subject – click here.

Well done Terry for winning the best speech ribbon!


After the speeches, Fahad, Nuala and John performed evaluations for Isabelle, George and Terry respectively. Audience members also completed feedback slips.

Speech feedback tip for using visual aids (from Nuala): If you are using a pointer to demonstrate visual aids, use open body language to increase viewers’ engagement. Think about what hand you are pointing with, to avoid blocking off the audience with your arm.

Speech feedback tip for persuading people (from John): A good persuasive technique is to use lots of facts to back up your points.

Great job John on winning the best evaluation ribbon!

Table topics

Table Topics took up the second section of the meeting. As Table Topics Master, Eleanor H presented the original theme: what story is behind the headline? She read out real, yet unusual news headlines, then the name of the unsuspecting member or guest.

Well done Paul for a winning table topic about a 1-eyed ferret in Liverpool (street station)

Afterwards, Alex evaluated all table topics succinctly and energetically. He advised all future table topic speakers to compose themselves by taking a deep breath. Well done to Christophe, Narayn, Paul H, Paul M, Bruna and guests Manik, Joe and Ajanta for taking part!

Florian headed the final part of the meeting, with a grammarian tip to avoid using “and” and “so” as verbal crutches. Pascale then faced the rather raucous/hungry audience, as harkmaster, to reward those who had been listening with home-baked brownies and flapjacks.

Brownies and flapjacks for those answering Pascale’s harkmaster questions correctly!

Congratulations to Terry, John and Paul M, who were tonight’s respective speech, evaluator and table topics winners! Thank you also to those who helped make this a fantastic versatile meeting. We look forward to seeing members and guests at our meeting next Tuesday!