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

London Victorians Tuesday 29th August

Alex did a great job standing in for our President, ensuring everyone felt welcome. He explained that Toastmasters is not just about learning to speak to an audience but also about being able to articulate your thoughts.

Our Toastmaster for the evening was Andy, with a theme of, “What made you laugh hysterically recently?”

Mohammad our Timekeeper gave us a quote from William Penn, “Time is what we want most but what we use worst2 and asked, ‘If time is money, are ATM’s time machines?’ He kept us all to time.

Matthew, our Grammarian promised to listen zealously to everything said and returned later with his impressive report.

Yumi, started the evening’s speeches with her Ice Breaker, the very first speech in the Toastmasters Manual. She told us about growing up in in Japan and learning English to help her communicate with more people around the world.

Jasmine is working her way through the manual for a second time which is a great way of developing speaking skills. She told us about her experiences of travelling the world by couch surfing, a great way of making friends.

Our third speaker, Fahad is an advanced speaker and started the Communicating on Video manual this evening. This is a different type of speech, delivered to camera instead of an audience. It is quite challenging with an audience still in the room but Fahad did an excellent job of presenting an episode of ‘Moment of Truth’ with Cleo as camera woman.

We had three evaluators, Andrew, Ed and Diane who provided some useful commendations and recommendation on the speeches. Commendations included great use of humour, pauses and audience participation by using questions. Recommendations included suggesting a more relaxed stance, expanding a topic to enable the use of more descriptive language and using vocal variety.

This evening we had 13 guests who were all invited to introduce themselves and we look forward to seeing them again. Guests are always welcome to visit our meetings to find out more about Toastmasters.

Next was our table topics section, led by our Table Topics Master, Thomas. He asked us to tell a story, which developed in to Donald Trump in a thong, buried treasure and the Queen being upset about the damage to her lawn.

Helena our Harkmaster, challenged us with some questions to see how well we had been listening. As ever Fahad, had been listening well and won a few chocolates!

Everyone who speaks gets evaluated to help them improve. Our General Evaluator for the evening Lynne gave us all some useful recommendations, including scanning the audience with your eyes in an X or Y motion ensure everyone feels included when speaking. Our Toastmaster Andy led us expertly through the evening and was complimented on his voice. We concluded our meeting and popped next door for a social drink.



Past meetings

23rd August Meeting – Simplifying Summer

A Whatsapp frenzy, summer rain showers and flasks of hot water…it can only mean one thing – this weeks London Victorians Club meeting has started! This meeting marking almost the end of the summer …

Our stand in president Eleanor got us of to an inspiring start revealing a personal story on how Toastmasters has helped her with her career and smash that very important interview (Ministry of defense – in case your curious!). Before introducing our toastmaster of the evening Stephen Nice.

Toastmaster for the evening – Stephen

The toastmaster Stephen began with a general recap on the club and agenda the evening, before introducing his unique theme for the evening – Keep It Simple! Otherwise know as no theme, giving himself an extra challenge in coming up with content and letting the roles speak for themselves.


Next we had our functionaries for the evening: Cleo as timekeeper, Alexandria the grammarian, Charlotte the hark-master and lastly Ed our sergeant in arms.  Two of our 4 functionaries used quotes in their speeches (Charlotte + Cleo), this helped reinforce the key messaging of their speeches.


Jo delivered his first speech (the icebreaker) to the group, a natural on stage and seemingly no nerves he delivered a speech names ‘Not all those that wonder are lost’. A speech based on his travels, which I think inspired, the audience to pack up their bags too!

Next onto the stage we had Jasmine all the way from the USA! (international bunch we are). A guest-speaker she was an experience member but had decide to go back and revisited the icebreaker speech. Her speech was inspiring and asked us all the question – what would you do if you were not afraid?

Last prepared speech of the day was from a new member Mohammad. A recorder breaker for London Victorians he had done his first speech 1 week earlier! Now a mear 7 days later he was back and with a speech on education he called for us all to be part of an education revolution!


Now we moved onto one of the most valuable parts of the toastmaster experience, evaluations. Einstein once famously said ‘insanity; doing something the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. Evaluations provide value feedback to speakers on what they did well and recommendations to help improve speeches for next time.

We had Claudia, Fahad and Karen providing feedback from there respective speeches. Claudia provided the classic evaluation structure CRC (commendation recommendation commendation), whilst Fahad did not have a note in sight and Karen who commendation the mention of Tony Robbins in Mohammad’s speech

Past meetings

Introductions, Poems & Fairy Tales! Public Speaking full of Learning and Inspiration!

Our last week Toastmasters meeting was a great opportunity to learn a lot from, and about each other.

The former President of London Victorians club – Terry – has shared his thoughts on his experience in the past two years since he founded the club with Florian and Fahad in 2015. Terry, gained a lot of invaluable skills and experience and also really enjoyed the journey, especially by seeing how the others have developed as speakers and the growth of the club.

A Toastmaster of the meeting – Pascale, is a great example of how the activity of the club inspire great progress. Within six months from joining the club she not only can lead meetings with confidence but she’s also taking care of the new members as a VP of membership.

We can already see the results with our recent joiners – Alexandra and Claudia, who demonstrate great motivation and commitment from the very start.

Alexandra, as a Sargent at Arms has warmly welcomed all guests but only until two weeks ago she was a guest herself. Claudia, instead has delivered her Ice Breaker speech only a week after joining the club. She has shared an inspirational story on her path to confidence.

The meeting was studded with more learning and inspiration.

Fahad, encouraged by the success of London Victorians has tried to set up another club in West London. Although the idea did not took off yet at the first attempt he had some valuable leadership lessons to share. He emphasized the necessity of commitment, time and effort as key ingredients of any project, and the importance of face to face interaction.

Then, Alex and Eleanor enchanted us with great story telling.

Alex, has proved he’s comfortable with visual aids by using beautiful slides with no text but the title of the poem he recited “Highwayman” by Alfred Nayes. This powerful technique was further enhanced by vivid language, expressive body language and great vocal variety. No surprise he won The Best Speaker ribbon.

Eleanor, with Grimm’s fairy tale – Twelve Brothers – has transported us back to our childhood. In the feedback on her speech– Vahagn – summarized this as follows: “The content of the speech is a king, but the delivery is a queen, and she runs a household. “

Another useful advice was shared by Matthew – our Grammarian. The word of the day ‘simplicity”, reminds us about the top quality of a competent communicator – being easily understood.

The feedback extracted from our seasoned evaluators – Terry and Florian – is the power of vulnerability and opening up. It helps to build trust, connection and increase empathy of the audience. This is also discussed in Brene Brown’s  Ted talk, which I highly recommend to watch:

The second part of the meeting continued with high energy level. Andy – Table topics master – has asked seven randomly picked speakers to answer his creative questions. Big congratulations to our guests who bravely rose to a challenge! The winner – Paul – entertained us with a hilarious Aussie adventure in the desert which gave him a proud nickname MadMax.

Traditionally, the meeting has ended with a Harkmaster’s quiz held by Anabel. She not only has a good ear after years of musical education but also great listening skills. She tested us on this skill and rewarded correct answers with some Scottish sweets.

We’re already looking forward to our next session. Next week meeting has a theatrical theme – we welcome all members to conquer the stage and become a star of the meeting. Costumes are not required, please just bring a smile and positive energy

This report was written as part of our new club role of ‘Meeting Reporter’ the the fantastic Paulina! Not only do we learn to present in front of an audience, now at London Victorians we are learning to present to the world, via the Internet! (and look how much she enjoyed it :))


Past meetings

Education, Elections and Entertainment – meeting report 27th of June

Another interesting and exciting Toastmasters meeting at our great club near London Victoria was held on Tuesday 27th of June 2017.

Our president Terry kicked off, reminding everyone that this was the last meeting of the Toastmasters year and therefore his last meeting as president. From next week our incoming president Nuala will take the reins.

He also reminded everyone how the fear of public speaking is linked to the fear of rejection and by practicing the former, he has helped reduce the later which helps with his job as a sales person.

This evenings Toastmasters was Christophe, who has been caught up with other commitments for the last few months and reminded everyone that because of the nerves he felt carrying out the role this week, it’s important to stay well practiced at the skill of public speaking to help keep these nerves at bay.

Christophe – Toastmaster of the Meeting

Our first speech was from Nuala and it was an educational about the importance of the evaluations that take place for everyone who takes part in club meetings.

Her educational was really well structured and offered a mass of great information on how to enhance these evaluations to give positive, motivational and educational feedback to speakers within the 3 minutes we have to do so.

Our second speech was about the people power involved in political elections. For a subject that could be a little deep, our speaker Karen gave a text book example of how to present a technical subject in an amenable way for any audience.

This speech was littered with audience engagement, humour, great visual aids and the speakers own passion. Combined with hitting the objectives of this Project 8 Speech from the Competent Communicator manual, which is to have fully researched your topic and provide evidence of such in the way of relaying facts, Karen’s speech gave the audience real food for thought about the power of their vote.

The evening’s third speech was the eventual winner of the nights Best Speaker ribbon. Annabel gave us a speech from an advanced manual called The Entertaining Speaker.

Entertaining it was indeed, the topic of online dating made for a humorous speech which engaged the audience and caused many a chuckle from them.

Online dating wins a Toastmasters Ribbon (again)

As always, each of the 3 speeches received a personalised Evaluation. Our evaluators were Terry, Negin & Dan who all made an incredible job of giving motivating and detailed analysis of each speech.

After a break for tea, coffee and chatting we had our impromptu speech practice session called Table Topics. One of the clubs VPE’s, Alex, led the session with topics that challenged the speakers to persuade famous cartoon characters to take abstract courses of action.

Table Topics Winner Dan

As abstract as they were, members and guests alike took the topics in true Toastmasters fashion and delivered their 1-2 minute unprepared speeches with style.

Each table topic speaker was evaluated in style by Fahad, who had at least 1 commendation and recommendation for improvement for each of the speakers to learn for the next topic.

Fahad – Table Topic Evaluator

Toastmasters meetings can’t run effectively without functionaries. Our timekeeper, Florian, kept efficient track of the meetings time and livened up the role with a theme of time travel.

Our grammarian Nick did an amazing job of listening and recalling some great uses of the English language, as well as pointing out the number of filler words used in the meeting and how these um’s and ah’s can detract from our credibility as speakers.

Then our Harkmaster Matt tested our listening skills with some questions about what had been said throughout the whole meeting.

We are grateful to our general evaluator Kim, she tidied up the meeting by evaluating all those not evaluated till then. She also gave some great comments on how good the club and the meetings was, with a few pointers for the future.

Whether you are a meeting participant, audience member or guest, you will have left this meeting having learnt something and with a smile on your face….. If you weren’t there, make sure you come next week so not to miss out.

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