Contest Past meetings

Toastmasters Speech Contests A Great Success

It’s contest season in the Toastmasters’ calendar and last week London Victorians held their Humorous Speech and Table Table contests. As always, club contests are a great way to show off some of a club’s more proficient speakers while giving others their first taste of competitive speaking.

The contests kicked off with the Humorous Speech contest with Contest Chair, Andrew, confirming with the Chief Judge that all judges had been briefed. He then introduced the first speaker. Charlotte began by playing on the common social insecurity of how her job title never seemed to be as impressive as her friend’s. She told of the time, as a wedding witness, she was called up among a surgeon and consultant as “admin” and from there on decided it was better to lie about her job. With great storytelling skills, she recalled convincing her nephew she was actually a spy and the consequences that come with telling white lies, especially with children involved.

Next up was Alex who vexed over how the popular dating app Tinder had taken the challenge out of dating. He reminisced about the days when meeting a girl meant calling the family’s home phone and convincing a protective father that they should be allowed to speak! He then described the hilarious responses he received when setting up parody accounts for famous people including Kim Jong Un who, apparently, was looking for a new girlfriend after the strange disappearance of his wife.

Jasmine teaching us how to pretend to work

Nick followed with what was to be a dress rehearsal for his upcoming best man’s speech. I’m sure there are a few toastmasters who appreciated this speech as the fear of a pending best man’s speech is an often cited reason for members first joining Toastmasters. If you’re going to entertain both the bride and grooms family and friends then you’ll want to make it funny. Nick did not disappoint with just the right balance of embarrassing anecdotes and supporting words.

Thomas’ speech reminded us about young love and the joys of dating. In his words, he was “young, handsome and looking for love”. Playing on the insecurities we all know about at that stage of life, he told the story of his dream date that turned to disaster and put him firmly in the “friend zone”.

If you want to be sure of a few laughs then comparing human behaviour to animals is never going to disappoint. Mohammed talked about his observation of animals and thought what we could learn from them. Giving himself many opportunities for facial expressions and full use of the stage, Mohammed suggested we replace property laws and allow people to mark their territory like cats and described how much less inconvenienced we would be if we learned to poo while walking, just like horses. I think you get the gist!

The final speaker in the London Victorians Humorous Speech Contest was Jasmine who shared what I’m sure is a familiar journey of youth and optimism when starting your first proper job to the harsh realities of the modern workplace. Jasmine shared her secret to being effective at work – “pretend to work” – and gave some humorous examples of techniques she had witnessed including one colleague who used a picture of a spreadsheet as her desktop wallpaper. Genius.

The second half of this Toastmasters meeting was the Table Topic Contest. Negin took over as Contest Chair and posed the same question to each contestant as they entered the room one at a time:

“If you could live in any time in history when would it be and why?”

Answers ranged from going back to Babylon, giving way to discussion about the everlasting rules to how we manage our money; the free love hippy movement of the sixties; the present day, after all, with the technology revolution, what could be a more exciting time to live?

Paul giving his winning table topic

A couple of speakers took us into the future, with one suggesting our minds could be downloaded allowing us to live forever. While, more pessimistically, Paul wondered if we would have reinvented new ways to have conflicts – or a better dating app than Tinder!

Vahagn was more modest in his time travelling ambitions, wanting to return to when he was just eight years old and learning to swim, but he suggested doing it in water this time might be more effective!

All together, both contests were a great success. We know, at Toastmasters it’s all about learning through practice so it really is the taking part that counts. However, with both first and second place going through to the next round, we all waited for the results with some impromptu but less competitive table topics.

Thomas and Paul took first place in Humorous Speech and Table Tables respectively, while Charlotte and Alex took, presumably, a close second.

Humorous Speech Contest winner Thomas collecting his ribbon
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

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!


Contest Past meetings

Competition themed meeting

This week’s meeting was extra special competition theme. Not only did we have two speeches from both ends of the Toastmasters spectrum, two division finalists delivered their winning speeches! They are just 2 steps away from the international speech contest finals in August in Vancouver.

All speakers stated which competition they would most like to win (excluding a public speaking competition). Answers ranged from bake off to directing to golf and gave some interesting insights into our members’ hobbies.

Isabelle as Toastmaster
Isabelle as Toastmaster for the competition theme meeting

Isabelle was the Toastmaster for the night and guided us through the meeting with great poise. She was supported by Mickaela as Timekeeper and Andrew as Harkmaster. Negin, our newest member, was Sergeant at Arms and welcomed the numerous guests who joined our meeting.

Welcome to London Victorians Negin!


The initial part of the meeting was for prepared speeches. First up was Charlotte who gave a very inspiring icebreaker speech about her leap into the unknown to becoming a freelancer. Well done Charlotte for making the first step on the Toastmasters journey!

Well done Charlotte for successfully delivering the icebreaker speech

Next was Florian gave a Special Occasion Speech, titled “Roasting Terry”. He used humour and vocal variety to brilliant effect to challenge our President, Terry’s, reasons for becoming a vegetarian.

Prateek was the first of the contest finalists. He captivated the audience with dramatic displays of movement and a rousing call to action to challenge yourself and follow through.

Finally Edwin, the second contest finalist, delivered a powerful speech called “Me and my dad”. His story, with a clever twist in the middle, inspired the audience to let go and move on.

Edwin, contest finalist
Congratulations Edwin, this weeks speech winner!

Good luck to Edwin and Prateek in the division contests. Don’t forget to book your tickets to the Division B contest on 22nd April and show your support.


After the speeches, Pascale, PY, Stephen and Nuala performed evaluations. Audience members also completed feedback slips or an official speech judging form for the contest finalists.

Competition judging slip
Terry displaying the official judging slip

Speech feedback tip (provided by Nuala): The audience are more likely to engage with your message when they feel happy and laugh. Therefore it is important to include humour in your speech. Every Toastmasters international speech contest winner has had at least 8 instances of humour in their speech (roughly 1 laugh/minute).

Congratulations Nuala for winning the best evaluation!

Table topics

The second part of the meeting was for Table Topics. Terry was Table Topics Master and presented a unique theme. Members and guests talked about the same situation involving Waitrose, a man and a dog, while expressing a different emotion such as joy, surprise, or anger. Afterwards, Fahad evaluated all table topics succinctly with helpful tips. Well done to Christophe, Negin, Hannah, Vahagn, Naryan and Andrew for taking part!

Well done Hannah for winning the best table topic!

Congratulations to Edwin, Nuala and Hannah, who were tonight’s respective speech, evaluator and table topics winners and to all who helped make this a marvellous meeting as always. We look forward to seeing members and guests at our meeting next week!



Past meetings Table Topics Toastmasters International

Table Topics Extravaganza! – 14th March 2017

Today’s toastmasters action-packed meeting was a London Victorians first – a meeting entirely devoted to table topics! Table topics are about developing a sharp mind and are useful for job interviews, meetings or even in day to day conversation. They are also a great way to practice speech techniques like body language or vocal variety on a weekly basis.

Terry giving us an educational speech

Terry began the meeting with an educational speech with some fantastic impromptu speaking tips. He highlighted how thinking about speech structure (introduction, main body, conclusion) before your table topic was a good way to prepare – unfortunately this went out the window for many of us when the nerves kicked in!

The meeting was then divided into three sessions, each with a different table topics master, evaluator and timekeeper.

Narrating Stories

Prateek introducing his table topic story theme

Prateek was the table topics master of the first session and presented a very original theme. He asked members to narrate a continuous story, while trying to incorporate selected words. Prateek provided the first sentence, then members followed on from each other.

The resulting story was filled with excitement and suspense, not to mention Toastmasters domination, tornados and time machines. Overall it was an exceptionally humorous table topics session. Alexandro was timekeeper and Diane managed the difficult task of evaluating over 10 speeches with ease, providing some thoughtful feedback.

Stories in Three Words

Cleo led the next session and she asked members to incorporate three words chosen at random into a story.

The audience was captivated by Millar’s holiday in Cape Cod, Alexandro’s speed dating train business venture and Karen’s dislike of buses. We even were treated to a live singing performance by Charlotte. Gabriele injected humour into his evaluation and Pascale was timekeeper.


Smelly Memories

What’s that smell?

Miller was the table topics master for the final session, with a brilliant theme that involved using our sense of smell. Miller asked members and guests to identify a smell from one of her mystery bottles and then describe the memory the smell transported them to.

There were some great stories and experiences involving lavender, lemon sherbet, and peppermint English to name a few. Charlotte was timekeeper and Nuala provided a clear and perceptive evaluation that gave each speaker something positive and something useful to take forward.

Congratulations to Judy, Charlotte and John, who were tonight’s table topics winners and to all who helped make this an extremely entertaining event. We look forward to seeing you on 21 March for our next meeting!

Well done Judy, Charlotte and John!