Talking about the BFI London Film Festival 2018

Report By: Mohammed Salih
Contributors: Mark B, Florian, Dana, Pascale, Joseph, Annabel, Kam

Paulina, the standing president told of a cycling adventure for charity in France, off course anybody would be proud of achieving such a ride so she suggested when you want something to “Just do it” and added that it would help to remember “Don’t waste time thinking whether you should or shouldn’t”.

Annabel spoke of how it feels when one has not taken the role of a Toastmaster for a year, but reminded us about the importance of managing our progress on the newly launched system of Pathways where all mentoring, coaching and speaking are taken care of. She challenged the audience to “Avoid social media during the meeting” and declared that the chosen theme was swinging between October, pumpkins, Christmas, and finally settling with the British Film Festival BFI.

She asked members what is your favourite film and why? She pointed out that perhaps our favourite films tell us a lot about our personality. She started with “My favourite film is Moulin Rouge, I love the fact it combines cabernet, amazing costume design, set in Paris and of course heartbreak”.

She asked “Which country produces the most films? From 2015” it looks like India with(1,986), then Nigeria (997), then the USA(791).

Dana was the time keeper who introduced the role with a poem with appreciation from the audience. Dana used different styles each time he came up to deliver the time report. It looks like in his words that “Any role, even as boring as timekeeper, can be enjoyable if done with passion”. To be strict with time, we at London Victorians pride ourselves on respecting the time of everyone, hence Dana declared that “What kicks off my timekeeping a word or a gesture” and indeed he was talking to speakers in colours, those red, amber, green lights. If one was to go over the 30 seconds limited after the dedicated time his threat was “You will be dead, think of me as Jack the Ripper of timekeeping”.

The grammarian was Kam who took stage to declare the Italian word of the day “Crescendo” pronounced “cresh-endo” which means “Increasing in loudness”. She spoke of her interest in adopting words from other cultures and where literal meaning can be used in abstract ways.

She pointed out that crescendo is a very useful word despite that it may be misused at times to mean “climax” or “high-point”. We are told of the musical nature of the word as crescendo is most popular and that “It should be applied to anything which is growing in volume, seriousness or excitement but hadn’t reached a climax”.

David S. took stage as the Harkmaster and confessed that attending London Victorians is one of the few places where he practices his public speaking skills, however he reminded us of the importance in being good listers too because such skill gets you sweets at our club. He put is beautifully as he said “I will be asking questions, if you get it right I will give a chocolate, if you get many questions right, you get diabetes”

I am the meeting reporter, or rather the blogger, walked up to the stage to share my recent experience of completing my Master NLP Practioner course of 9 intensive days, I realized that in life “Every change is worth it”, I spoke that tonight I will be changing the role of reporting the meeting from it being written by one person to collaborative effort where more members chip in the writing each a paragraph. Now I am glad that his is the first report where it has at the top the word “Contributors”. I think blogging this meeting is designed to bring change to your life if you found your way to it, the next change is to visit us on our weekly meeting, we can’t wait to welcome you here.

Mutiat doing her Ice Breaker Speech

Speech 1: Mutiat spoke of using her ice breaker speech to tell us a little about herself. One morning she just decided to jet off to Paris to learn French, and why not? But she faced 3 challenges.
As she found herself in the Sorbonne and having to find a room, depending on her mobile as a navigator, it stopped working so she had to use a map instead. Next it was her survival was at stake as she “Couldn’t cook”, ever since she had her food cooked at home and shuttled between Manchester and London, now being an amateur cook was weaning her off meat. This is because there was no “No Halal butcher so I turned vegetarian”. The last challenge was interactions with people, she admits of being “a daydreamer a lot like”. But one day she had to share a book with a girl, this kicked off her comfort with people to the point of Mutiat started to talk to random people.

Speech 2: Hue started with a confession of “This is a truncated version of a best man speech due to time constraints and me having to comply with current social settings”. This certainly was an entertaining speech as he spoke of his mate Paul when he took us back years ago to introduce us to the beginning “At the tender age of 6, Paul met me”. Addressing the bride and the groom with a smile he complemented saying “Great to see how beautiful Liz looks, and how great Paul looks, now I am lying”. The rapport Hugh began to create turning to Liz and understanding that you may be feeling now “A bit apprehensive, I don’t blame you as you are marrying Paul”. Public speaking is not Hugh’s daily work, as he remembers that the last time he was doing public speaking, he was found guilty and was fined £200.

Speech 3: Boyko spoke about the car of the future, he made us wonder what that car would be and when do we expect to to appear in mass productions on our roads. The market seems to be in favour of electric cars, in fact “Tesla is struggling to produce enough to satisfy market demands”. Not any electric cars, but autonomous electric cars and manufacturers like Volkswagen and Ford will mass produce by 2021. So why are we leaning more and more towards such vehicles? Well the answer seems to be buried in these four reasons according to Boyko. Electric autonomous cars are:

1-Good for the environment, this is where 50% less polluting is generated to current models.
2-Price: now expensive but by 2019 they become becomes cheaper approaching mass productions.
3-Convenience: Just imagine Robo Taxi waiting for you, for your spouse and kids each going in different directions.
4-Safety: Statics show that there are 1.3 million deaths a year involved in car accidents
There you go, time to start ditching you petrol based car for an electric one and perhaps an autonomous one, so buckle up.

Speech 4: Sussane drew our attention to an important sector of management Technology Governance. She shared many facts and figures to prove that many organisations are missing the point of IT Governance when it comes to board members. Sussane had identified a number of possible reasons:
1-Boards don’t fully understand technology challenges
2-The term for a board member is 3 years assignment so not enough to build a technology appreciation.
2-Technology Governance is not high on the agenda of the board compared to revenue and marketing.
3-It is a team making decisions on the board, geeks are not good communicators so they get side lined.

Evaluation 1: Priyen began by summarising the speech, he loved using gestures as the speaker delivered the speech, he felt this added to the message being delivered. Priyen commended the high energy displayed by the speaker and stated “This is not usual of an ice breaker”. Not using notes was also a great thing the speaker did. Priyen commended the structure of using 3 points to build up the speech with a recommendation to “Make the conclusion sharper”. He suggested looking at the pace of speech and perhaps slowing down to let audience absorb the information.

Terry winning the Best Evaluaor

Evaluation 2: Terry started his evaluation with a high impact energy as he look to the audience, offer a big smile and begins “What a great best man speech” and we are told of a good formula to use when doing a best man speech to include acknowledging the bride, the bride groom and the groom’s mother-in-law that Hugh did. Terry offered “Tips for the future” that to consider delivering a joke every 45 seconds of such a speech, this is because in contests, speakers are expected to do so every 30 seconds of humour. Hugh had more time of 7 minutes that could have injected more humour. A recommendation to think of setting up the audience for the joke and after delivery, perhaps to pause to let the joke be enjoyed before moving into the next one. Terry concluded by saying “You can use notes, however, look up to the audience and speak to them”

Evaluation 3: Joseph first reminded us of the objectives of the speech which was to do speech a second time taking into consideration the feedback given in the previous speech. Joseph was asked by Boyko, the speaker to look for vocal variety, eye contact and moving on stage on purpose. Joseph recommended using moving as one spoke is to give point then move to a new position not move while they are delivering a point

Evaluation 4: Pascale I was evaluating Suzannes speech from the Speaking to Inform manual on technology in the boardroom. She commended Suzanne on how she engaged the audience to relate the topic to an area they were familiar with, her structure and her use of facts. Pascale suggested that the speaker could increase the impact of her facts by using pauses, repetition and different vocal tones. Overall Pascale thought the topic was a great choice and learnt a lot. Why a good conclusion is better than an abrupt one is that the audience will be able to take away final thoughts easily. If using facts and figures, Pascal recommend to pause a bit, let the numbers sink in the minds of listers and perhaps repeat those numbers.

Michelle a new member

Michelle who joined London Victorians was our Sergeant At Arms welcoming guests at the door and inviting them to find a seat. She took stage to introduce all the guests and tell them about our registration process. To encourage speaking, Michelle wanted to celebrate our achievements be telling us about it, she added “For example my recent achievement at work was that I took extra projects, the result delivered and I got promotion, tell us about yours”. Off course when we look for achievements in our lives, we find many to talk about, here is a list from the meeting guests:
● Started a new job
● Organising brother’s wedding
● Waiting to join Toastmasters
● Get a proper job
● Getting up early to go to the gym
● Complete a triathlon
● Changing jobs after 8 years to a new skill area
● Become more disciplined and organised
● Being here in this meeting after putting it off for a year
● Spoke at dad’s 60th birthday

Florian spoke of how table topics and impromptu speaking helps us in three ways.
1. Building confidence: every second of stage time builds up the ability to communicate with an audience.
2. Develop sharpness: of the mind for meetings daily conversations.
3. New ways: helps in finding new ways to deliver a speech on the fly if you forget something.

This is where all the creative skills, humour and determination begin to show up clearly through the participants short 1 to 2 minutes speech slots. The audience had fun in listening to a multitude of reflections on movies they selected at random prepared by Florian. The result? Here are the highlights.

Steph a new member

In the forest, in the dark night, when the moon is the only source of light, a wolf lies among the trees. The Golden Eye, or was it the fish with the golden eye, it doesn’t matter, that fish gave the man 3 wishes to fulfil. What was that movie all about? The Ready Player 1? Did I find myself in Las Vegas wanting to gamble? I wanted only to play Blackjack putting down $2, but the minimum was $5, so I put the money on the table for the roulette wheel.

The movie Red Sparrow came up, and we wondered was it a real movie or a chance to drift into imagination, the speech drew us into the Japanese Studios of animated movies which is Japan’s version of Disney. But Star Wars 1 was present reminding us of Skywalker, Darth Vader, some of us prefer Yoda as a puppet compared to the animated character present in later versions of the movie. But what do you talk about when you have 4 Weddings and a Funeral? Well we will need 4 actors for the weddings and perhaps a butcher for the funeral. This is because movie worlds like Hollywood and Bollywood are there to visit, consider going to visit Universal Studios and discover the world of casting in movies.

Mark a new member

Mark evaluated our table topic speakers. For each one, he drew out a point that they did well, and an action they could take to improve their speaking further. One suggestion was to use of structure – demarcating different sections of the speech with a clear header “in conclusion” or rhetorical question “so what does this all mean?”, followed by a pause to allow the audience to hear that the speech has moved to the next stage. A useful tip for the whole club!

Ariel winning the Best Tabletopics

Mark also touched on more specific issues like how good it is to project vocal variety, audience engagement by asking the audience questions, using descriptive language when in a new environment like the casino, using good, hand gesture, take the speech into your chosen area of comfort, ending with a clear call to action and starting with a fantastic introduction. We can also improve on other aspects of speech like, move on stage on purpose avoiding pacing side to side, working on your structure of speech, walk on stage to avoid being static, own the stage and sticking to one message.

As a Toastmaster of the evening, Annabel asked many what were their favourite movies, here is the list that we enjoyed:
Dana: Godfather – shows the many different aspects of man.
Kam: Goodfellas; I love New York, Crime Thrillers, Robert De Niro and life transformation.
David S.:Alien – reason being great characters, set design and scare factor.
Mutiat: City of God because it gives a real insight into real peoples’ struggles.
Hugh: The Departed, all his favourite actors under one roof.
Boyko: The Shawshank Redemption, the film has a very inspiring message; a person should never give up.
Susanne: Invictus – about the life of Nelson Mandela.
Terry: Quentin Tarantino ‘From Dusk till Dawn’ because it goes crazy and turns from a crime film into a crazy zombie murder fest.
Joseph: Vantage Point. Whist not a British film, I like it because it was a wonderfully told story of a short event seen from various perspective and how the truth can be difficult to determine without knowing and seeing the big picture from all sides.
Pascale: Lord of the Rings trilogy brought to world I love to live with the most incredible detail….made a fantasy seem like history.
Michelle : True Romance, because I am a true romantic at heart and love a bit of drama.
Florian: Star Wars episode 6 / because good triumph over evil.
Tom T. :Think and Grow Rich, because it shows that you can achieve what you believe.
Paulina: Tim Burton film its quirky but fun. She getting her film playlists ready for long autumn evenings

Our General Evaluator Tom T, spent around 8 minutes telling us what great things we did as a club and members and what things to improve. He noticed we are organised, professional, project high energy and friendly environment.

We at London Victorians love to see guests, if you visit us you would get 3 things for free:

  1. Enjoy a high energy meeting
  2. Learn how we speak publically
  3. Start your speaking career

Now !Put in your calendar when are you going to visit 🙂