Four Speeches and WOULD YOU RATHER?

Last week’s meeting – October 25, 2017

At our last meeting we had four amazing speeches from various parts of the Competent Communicator’s manual.
Christopher Walker kicked things off by doing the President’s Introduction, followed by the introduction of Florian Bay as Toastmaster. Florian expertly explained the schedule for the evening and outlined next steps. Chris then came back on stage to explain his role as the timekeeper.  Lewis Kyriacou then discussed his role as Grammarian.


  1. To start, Katie Aird kicked things off with a heartfelt and emotionally charged speech titled “My Journey to Toastmasters”. This speech was her first since joining the club (#1 Ice Breaker). She did a fantastic job meeting the objectives, introducing herself to the group and connecting with the audience while avoiding the use of notes.
  2. Next up, John Wooller told us the story of his journey to seeking gainful employment in the UK since moving back from Australia. John’s speech was #2 from the Competent Communication Manual – Organise Your Speech. He created strong structure for us to engage with and communicated his ideas clearly, using movement to enhance his ideas.
  3. Third, McVal Osborne spoke to us about success and personal motivation with a speech titled “How a 30 minute habit can change your whole life”. McVal’s speech had a clear structure and provided a problem, strategy and solution to a project that all of us face: how to wake up early in the morning.
  4. Finally, the last speech came from Solmaz Jarchlou, giving us a fascinating look into brain function in a speech titled “Brain in Love”. The speech was #6 from the Competent Communication Manual – Vocal Variety. She did a fantastic job describing the topic and linking together examples to show how love is a universal experience for all of humanity.

Bringing everything together with ‘Would You Rather?’

After four amazing speeches, we had a great session of Table Topics led by Jamie Hamer. For those of you who need a quick reminder, Table Topics are impromptu speeches. The purpose of the Table Topics section is to help members think on their feet. Each person speaks on a given subject for between one and two minutes. It also allows speaking opportunities for those who are not programmed for other roles on the Agenda. This evening’s theme was “Would You Rather?” – in which Jamie provided all of those who took part with a question that they needed to respond to off the cuff.

AWESOME speeches and TONS of Table Topics

Last week’s meeting – Oct 11, 2017

At our last meeting we had two amazing speeches from various parts of the Competent Communicator’s manual and one speech coming from an advanced manual.

Christopher Walker kicked things off by doing the President’s Introduction, followed by the introduction of Catherine Able-Thomas as Toastmaster. Catherine expertly explained the schedule for the evening and outlined next steps. Nisha Kagdadia explained his role as the timekeeper, followed by Ravi Kaskana describing the role of Grammarian.


  • To start, Bashir Ali kicked things off with a fascinating speech titled “On Money & Magic”. This speech was #2 in the Competent Communication Manual – Organise Your Speech. He did a great job meeting the objectives, creating a strong opening and conclusion and following a clear outline.
  • Next up, Roxanna Zea followed Bashir and told us the fascinating story of her journey to the southernmost Royal Mail office, far from the prying eyes of civilization. Roxanna’s speak was #4 from the Competent Communication Manual – How to Say It. She created vivid images for us to engage with and communicated her ideas clearly, using rhetorical devices to enhance ideas.
  • Finally, the last speech came from Christopher Walker, giving us a lesson in Orienteering. The speech was from the advanced manual “Speaking to Inform #3 – The Demonstration Talk”. He did a fantastic job showing us the ropes of orienteering and describing a complex topic clearly.

Bringing everything together

After three wonderful speeches, we had a great session of Table Topics. For those of you who need a quick reminder, Table Topics are impromptu speeches. The purpose of the Table Topics section is to help members think on their feet and speak on a given subject for between one and two minutes. It also allows speaking opportunities for those who are not programmed for other roles on the Agenda. The Table Topics Master this evening was McVal Osborne, who doubled as our Sergeant at Arms and helped the new guests feel welcome by inviting them to take part in the impromptu speeches.


7 Speech Marathon and a Final Farewell 

Last week’s meeting – Sept 27, 2017

At our last meeting we had a speech marathon in which seven members presented speeches from various parts of the Competent Communicator’s manual. This was then followed by a fond farewell to one of our longest standing members – David Saer!
Christopher Walker kicked things off by doing the President’s Introduction, followed by the introduction of Michael Holmes as Toastmaster. Michael expertly explained the schedule for the evening and outlined next steps. Ashvin Heeramun explained his role as the timekeeper, followed by Daniel Morris describing the role of Grammarian.

Speech marathon schedule

  • First, Anthony Grice presented his Ice Breaker and spoke eloquently about some of the defining moments (and mistakes) in his life.
  • Second, John Wooller presented an engaging Ice Breaker, providing a host of humorous tips for how to live in the UK after moving from Australia.
  • Third, Alan Leroux provided us with a thought provoking speech titled “Views from the Ocean” which had us all thinking how we feel about sharks…
  • Fourth, Alexander Dziri spoke about meeting his heroes in a speech titled “The world or nothing”.
  • Fifth, Lewis Kyriacou spoke about his deep connection with American country music in a speech titled “This is Country Music”.
  • Sixth, Shalini Leelananda presented her Vocal Variety speech (#6 in the Competent Communicator’s manual) in an engaging piece titled “Rollercoasters”.
  • Finally, David Saer ended his Toastmaster career with a speech from the Humorous Speaking manual titled “The Show Must Go On”.


Bringing everything together

Speech marathons are hard, but so are evaluations. After a marathon round from across the Competent Communicator manual, we also saw great leadership from members in the form of extremely well-thought out and constructive comments from the following evaluators: Solmaz Jarchlou, James Webb, Nisha Kagdadia, Sarah Beckwith, Stephen Bradely, Christopher Walker, and Caroline Morgan. A special shout-out goes to our Sergeant at Arms Catherine Able-Thomas, who greeted every new guest at the door and introduced each of them to the broader St. Paul’s Speakers group during the meeting.

Photo finish…

Thanks again, and looking forward to the next one!
We’ll leave you with this quote from Richard Branson:

“Picture yourself in a living room having a chat with your friends. You would be relaxed and comfortable talking to them, the same applies when public speaking.”

– Richard Branson

We hope you think of St. Paul’s Speakers as a living room full of friends… because we are. 🙂

Table Topics & Humorous Speech Contest

Florian opened with a thorough explanation of Toastmasters UK and `international and for those guests present a guide through the contests.

He handed to the contest chair for the Humorous Contest, which was James who explicitly explained the rules and compered the 3 entrants.
Lewis and Jamie and Sarah.

The audience attentive and respectful of the judges most valued guests from other clubs who had to score relevant criteria and also allow time after each speech to add up their scores.

Some valued helpers in the form of time keepers Catherine and Roxanna and Ballot Counters Katie and Nisha  (her first meeting as member) to assist the chief judge Dave Longley who is our Area 33 Director.

Table topics contestants

Whilst the Judges and Ballot Counters were doing their bit Contest Chair James interviewed the contestants in the form of a show asking them questions about their speeches and how they arrived at the ideas. This was a pleasure to listen to as it is helpful for our many new members at St Paul’s Speakers to learn about what they indeed might do in their Toastmaster journey in this innovative way.

There was indeed a table topic session given by one of the most valued and advanced speakers we have at St Paul’s Speakers, David who told us a scary story about scary places.

After the break then The Contest Chair Role was handed over to Michael another well-established experienced speaker of our club.

He guided through 6 contestants who had entered the Table Topics Contest: –
And Ella

Each person needed to answer the question “Reality TV…. Is it good or bad??”
Amazing how popular ‘Love island is’ as was mentioned by a number of the entrants.

Again to fill in for the judges and ballot counters to count and verify the votes another round of table topics ensued with various challenging and thought provoking subjects.

Once all the complete the result were in ………
In anticipation we discovered
Sarah won the Humorous Contest – Well Done Sarah….

Table Topics contest Winners
3rd place – Ella
2nd place – Lewis
1st place – Jamie

Well done all……

Winners Sarah & Jamie

The winners will go onto to the Area 33 Contest, which will be in early October
with the Divisional Contest being help on Saturday 14th October.

Anyone can go along to support Sarah and Jamie in representing St Paul’s Speakers in the area competition. So watch out for a notice of the actual date. The speakers and the club will really appreciate your support.

A contest doesn’t organise itself. It needs organisation in the background to network with other clubs in order to invite judges and also to members can reciprocate to other clubs to be judges which all helps towards gaining points for the leadership award. This is a focus this year of our club.

Ice Breaker Speeches and Getting to the Point

What an amazing meeting we had last week: Four speeches, and twelve Table Topics!!!

Three of the speakers were beginning their toastmasters journey delivering their icebreaker speech. We particularly enjoy icebreaker speeches. They represent the start of a great journey for the speaker, but they provide an excellent opportunity for the rest of the club to get to know new members. We’re particularly APPRECIATIVE of our Table Topics Master Catherine. With an amazing twelve Table Topics, all the members that wanted to speak at the meeting were able to do so.

Looking forward to the next few meetings with Ricardo Cabete, District 59 winner speaking next time. After that there’s a Table Topics workshop and then the competition. All in all an exciting couple of months.

July 26th Meeting

Our second meeting in July was packed full of amazing public speaking. We heard four wonderful speeches during our meeting. Three fantastic examples of Speech #1 (the Icebreaker) and one great example of Speech #3 (Get to the Point) from the Competent Communication Manual. The first speech came from Alan Leroux, who spoke about how he came to Toastmasters from the world of science and law. The next speech came from Bashir Ali, who spoke with conviction about the journey he went on to find his long lost love for basketball. Then we heard from Alexander Drizi, who gave us a powerful speech about the Anti-Hero’s Journey and his adventures as a breakdancer.

Finally, we heard from Lydia Leung who taught us about the concept of Obliquity. It was a perfect meeting to showcase the benefits of Toastmasters.

Our Sergeant at Arms of the evening was Rakesh, who introduced guests and managed this crucial role with great confidence. Table Topic Master Catherine kept the audience and potential speakers on their toes. This week the topic was dictators. She challenged us to tap into our inner tyrants. It was easily one of the most challenging Table Topics sessions of the year! Speakers, both members and guests, all got the audience engaged.

End of the Toastmasters Year!

All good things must come to an end…

That is it! Another Toastmasters Year has reached its end. It is with emotion and great expectations that Caroline and I, Co-Presidents of St. Paul’s Speakers, hand over the leadership of the club to our new President, Christopher Walker. We have had the privilege and pleasure to serve the club over the last year, and could not have done so without the tremendous support of our Committee or the continued enthusiasm of fellow St. Paul’s Speakers! We wish the new President and Committee all the very best, and are confident that St. Paul’s Speakers will continue its success in 2017-2018!

Last week’s meeting

A WHIMSICAL night indeed – whimsical being the wonderful word of the day offered by our Grammarian Solmaz – to end the Toastmasters year, with an Icebreaker by one of our newest members Lydia who marked the start of her public speaking journey with a beautiful speech about her relationship with London, followed by Thien Trang who completed her Competent Communication manual with a speech about how she had been inspired by fellow member Christine Alaby to make a considerable life-changing decision. It was a perfect meeting to showcase the benefits of Toastmasters and its impact on people, both as speakers and human beings.

Our Toastmaster of the evening was Kris who stepped in at the very last minute yet managed this crucial role with great aplomb. Our Table Topic Master Elzbieta kept the audience and potential speakers on their toes with a range of entertaining topics relative to summer holidays – what a whimsical notion considering how chilly and overcast the day was! Our speakers, both members and guests, all got the audience laughing. We know, for instance, that Ling would rather die than spend 2 weeks on holiday without any internet connection! And that Florian of course would like to recruit a team for his mission to colonise Mars. Any volunteers? The best Table Topic Speaker award, however, went to McVal who told us about how even the best vacation can last too long!

Important dates

Get your diaries out! 30th August 2017 will be our next 5th Wednesday meeting of the month and new President Christopher Walker has already lined up a great workshop on Table Topics by expert Paul Caroll who will show us all that there is a real art to impromptu speaking. This workshop will be all the more befitting ahead of the club Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest in early September!

Think about entering the contest or helping out as functionaries. Watch this space for more details from the new President!

Of course, please do use Easy Speak to sign up for speeches and roles. St. Paul’s Speakers needs you!

Organise Your Speech – 29th June Meeting

Our last meeting took place in the cosy surroundings of the Golden Fleece pub, with Christopher taking on the role of Toastmaster of the evening, energetically leading the evening’s fun night of speeches.


Assisting Christopher, Mikhail was the timekeeper of the evening, with Caroline as Grammarian, introducing “aptitude” as the word of the day, encouraging others to use it in their speeches.


The two prepared speeches of the evening were both delivered by some of our newer members, Shalini and Gavin, with both presenting their second Toastmasters speeches. The objective of the Toastmasters second speech is “Organise Your Speech”, by using on a strong opening and conclusion, with a clear outline and message that can be easily understood.


Shalini presented her speech first, titled “Lessons from the Multicultural Handbook”, in which she discussed the value to be gained from friendships with people from different backgrounds. It was a warm and positive speech, delivered in a friendly conversational style, and demonstrated good organisation of material.

In Gavin’s speech, “Education”, he presented an outline of the education system in the UK. Gavin also did well in the organisation of the speech, presenting the content in an objective and articulate way, and harnessed many of the fundamentals of good speech-making such as strong voice and presence on stage.

After the break the evaluations of the speakers were delivered by Michael and James respectively, concentrating on areas of the speech that worked well and met the objective, and also touching on pointers for improvement.

Table Topics is all about developing skills in impromptu speaking. Kris was the Table Topics Master of the evening. In the spirit of the recent EU referendum Kris asked the speakers questions where they could agree one way or the other. Starting off with “do aliens exist or not?” there were lots of fun and interesting speeches.

Further evaluation was delivered by Caroline, in the grammarian report, and by George in the General Evaluator report.
The meeting was the last one of the committee year, and Florian handed over the role of President to Caroline and Thien-Trang who will be joint presidents of the club for the next year, together with a new committee!DSC_0286

More Than Competent Communicators – 25 May Meeting

In our last meeting we enjoyed three brilliant speeches from speakers nearing the end of the Competent Communicator manual. The Competent Communicator manual acts as a guide for the first 10 speeches of a member of Toastmasters, with each speech developing a particular public speaking skill.

Caroline took the reins as Toastmaster of the evening, charismatically introducing the speakers, and functionaries, with Kris the evening’s Timekeeper (making sure everything runs to time), and Joy the Grammarian of the evening, who looked-out for interesting word usage, and introduced the word of the day “Brevity” for speakers to try to fit in their speeches.


The first speech of the evening was Thien-Trang’s “It’s Priceless” which focused on the poor working conditions of the people in developing countries who make the clothes that we wear. Thien-Trang conveyed her heartfelt interest in the issue, and used props support her points. The objective of the speech was Research Your Topic (speech number 7) which Thien-Trang did well, with some memorable and hard-hitting facts



Sarah gave her 9th speech, the objective: Persuade with Power. In a speech titled “The Simple Things” Sarah focused on the issue of how technology can be a barrier to experiencing the world in a more direct way. The speech worked well in using accessible arguments and visual images to persuade the audience to put down their smartphone and open their eyes.


Christopher delivered his TENTH! speech, marking the end of the Comptenant Communicator manual, and his move into the advanced manuals. The objective of the speech was to Inspire Your Audience. In a speech titled “It’s Good to be Free” Christopher inspired his audience with the beauty and importance of of open-source software, without which a huge amount of computer-based technology would not be possible. The speech provided an excellent history of open source software and gave some great examples, in a speech that used props well and conveyed passion.


Evaluations are one of the most important aspects of Toastmasters, allowing speakers to gain an understanding of the things that went well and the things that can be improved upon. Providing the evaluations in the second part of the evening for three speakers were Florian, Mikhail, and James.


Oleksandra was the evening’s Table Topics Master. Table topics are all about impromptu speaking, and Oleksandra came up with a number of fun and interesting questions for people to try to use in order to hone their skills of thinking a speaking on the spot. We had a number of club members and guests take part and it was good fun.


Isabelle evaluated the table topics, giving feedback to participants on things that went well, as well as some helpful pointers.


Before the evening ended, Joy gave a well-delivered Grammarian report and Stella from Kings Cross Speakers gave the General Evaluator report!


Four Amazing Speeches – 11 May Meeting

Our last meeting featured four amazing speeches, including two icebreakers. Mikhail took on the role as Toastmaster, assisted by Oleksandra as timekeeper and Thien Trang as Grammarian, who introduced the word of the day “Ludicrous”, encouraging speakers to make full use of it in their speeches!

Shalini, one of our newer members, delivered the first prepared speech of the evening with her very first speech – her Icebreaker speech, “The Footpath of a Culturally Attuned Girl”, where we heard about her life starting in Sri Lanka, via university in the UK, to working in London. Shalini did well in presenting her warmly conversational speech with a good flow, and without notes.

Christine’s Icebreaker “The Steps which Led me to Toastmasters” was a fun and energetic speech that that was well structured, and also delivered without any notes. We learned about Christine’s love of dance and her stepping stones in life, all the way from coming from France at a young age, to joining Toastmasters. It used a great visual concept of steps to focus her speech deliver it in an engaging way.

David delivered from the advanced manuals, giving some interpretive poetry readings, and we enjoyed hearing a selection of poems from various poets – some familiar, and some not-so. David used vocal variety to bring the poems to life and capture the audience’s imagination.


Finally, Alan delivered a storytelling speech from the advanced manuals “When the Writing Stopped”. It took as its inspiration an imagined scene of Lewis Carroll suffering writers block. The speech brilliantly showcased Alan’s inventiveness in terms of story content and his master storytelling abilities in delivery.

We were fortunate to have many guests in the meeting – introduced by Kris, as Sergeant at Arms, before the break.

The evaluations were then delivered by Florian, Isabelle, Gavin, and James respectively. The evaluations are an important part of Toastmasters, and focus on areas that the speakers did well and pointers for improvement.

Next Ania hosted the table topics, where members of the audience were invited up to give an impromptu speech based on different quotes, such as “the limits of my language are the limits of my world”. It was a lot of fun, and many guests took part.

Christopher evaluated the table topics, giving feedback to the various speakers.

Followed by Thien-Trang’s incisive Grammarian report, looking at the language used by the evening’s speakers.

And because evaluations are such a big part of what we do here at Toastmasters we were fortunate to have a General Evaluator to provide feedback. Barry did an excellent job in setting out his experience of the meeting, and ideas for improvement, as well as giving feedback on everyone who hadn’t yet been evaluated.

Finally, to mark Alan Thomas’ departure from the club, Florian presented Alan with a plaque commemorating his services to the club as mentor and founding president. Alan has been a major presence in the history of St Paul’s Speakers and we look forward to some guest appearances in future.

A speaker is made – 27th April

It is always exciting when a new member becomes a speaker by doing their icebreaker speech. This is exactly what happene din our last meeting on April 27th! The meeting was aptly Toastmastered by James, ably helped by Kris as timekeeper and Gavin as grammarian.

Introducing each speaker, Toastmaster James.
Introducing each speaker, Toastmaster James.

The first speaker to be introduced was Solmaz who did her icebreaker speech “Sky is the Limit!”. Solmaz took us on a journey from her native Persia to her current life in London and in the United Kingdom. An amazing start to her Toastmasters journey as a speaker, well done! Club President Florian then took the stage with “Playing with fire” a speech from the Competent Communicator Manual involving visual aids. With struck matches, a piece of meat and an oyster card we were in for an interactive history of fire and how it changed mankind. Did you know that cooking changed our bodies over millenias? The final speaker this evening was Prateek from London Victorians with “Boxed in” a tale about how he came to face up some of his fears.

Prateek's doing his speech"Boxed in"
Prateek’s doing his speech”Boxed in”

In Toastmasters, each speaker is evaluated and tonight our evaluators were Isabelle, Shalini and Christopher. Each gave specific feedback to our speakers on the strengths they can leverage and their points for improvements.

Our table topics session was facilitated by Christine who came up with very creative questions for our impromptu speakers. Each of the table topics speakers were then evaluated by Caroline.

Our lovely, general evaluator Mindy
Our lovely, general evaluator Mindy

Gavin later came back for his grammarian report. Shortly followed by Mindy from Early Bird Speakers who evaluated the entire meeting as general evaluators. All in all it was a great session, see you all on May 11th for an extra special meeting!