Debate Night – 30th November

Our last meeting on 30th November 2016, a 5th Wednesday of the month, followed a rather different format. Our Vice President of Membership Michael Holmes gave members and guests a special treat by organising a debating workshop. Members and courageous guests were divided into 2 opposing teams of 2, battling it out against each other on a variety of topics of Michael’s choosing, from whether the smoking of tobacco should be banned, or whether all parents should be made to attend parenting classes. Each team member had but 2 minutes to present their arguments! Once the teams had finished their debate, the audience by show of hands voted for the team they thought had won the argument. It was most educational and entertaining! Huge thanks to Michael for stepping up with the organisation of this workshop, thereby demonstrating what leadership is all about. Did you also know that helping organise a special educational event like this helps towards your Competent Leadership manual?

While the teams prepared their arguments in two separate corners of the room, our Table Topics Master Margarita Echeverria challenged the audience to a series of table topics she called “Random debate topics”, in keeping of the theme of the evening. They were of remarkable variety and depth, and Margarita did a wonderful job motivating participants, making them feel at ease, and explaining the importance of impromptu speaking.

We have already received requests for another debate night! So watch this space…

Become a speaker – 23rd November

The Williamson Tavern welcomed us into their downstairs venue. They kindly put up posters directing members and guests down the narrow alley just off Bow Lane.

Occupied by Lord Mayors of London until around 1740 when it was sold to Robert Williamson who turned it into a hotel.


Our Toastmaster for the evening Alexa demonstrated how important it is to prepare for the role.

She used a theme of quotes from George Bernard Shaw to suit each speaker and evaluator, which generated a real connectivity with the audience.

She guided us through proceedings with ease despite us all having to rearrange the lay out of the room which, wasn’t done for us.


Best voted speaker for the evening was Christine Alaby who talked us through becoming our own best friend… on her 5th speech. Thought provoking!

Hearing the speeches of Ziou (Kelly), Margarita who were delivering their first speeches set the pace for the rest of the evening. A brilliant performance to both of you.

Dani delivered his 4th speech entitled ‘The longest day in my life” and so it was encapsulating the audience attention throughout.

Best speaker of the night Chrissie
Best speaker of the night Chrissie


Evaluators were Gavin, Joe, Caroline and Shalini giving commendations and recommendations for not only the speakers but for everyone in the audience too.

Table Topics

Muthukrishnan (Kris) devised some great table topic suggestions based on fantasy and eliciting the opinions of the speakers.

Michael not only won the table topics best speaker he evaluated all the other speakers too.

Best table topic speaker Michael
Best table topic speaker Michael


Grammarian – was Neil who listened carefully for all the great uses of English and counted that 8 people used the Word of the Day – ELICIT!

Timekeeper – Lauren a new member stepped in last minute to cover the timekeeper role, as the member allocated couldn’t come last minute. Special thanks to Lauren!

General Evaluator

Thanks to Tariq Pasha from Kings Cross Speakers for his feedback on our club from a visitor point of view. We will definitely take a note of the key points that you said in his well-structured speech. Thank you to Tariq

Deliver your Icebreaker – 26th October

Our meeting on Wednesday 26th October 2016 was full of INTROSPECTION. We had 4 wonderfully thought-provoking speeches with 2 members delivering  their their icebreaker speech and some outstanding brainteasers from our Table Topics Master, plenty of opportunities for us all to reflect!

Under the efficient leadership of our Toastmaster Shalini, the meeting started with 4 prepared speeches of remarkable variety and depth. In her Icebreaker, Amelia talked about her “Road to London” all the way from Brisbane, Australia, and delighted us with a very special rendition of the British accent. Her first ever Toastmasters speech won Amelia the Best Speaker Award, well done! Neil used his Icebreaker to tell us the story of his family’s battle with Batten Disease and their trials and tribulations in seeking treatment for their daughter. Did you know that Neil had joined Toastmasters to improve his public speaking skills in order to raise awareness on this little-known disease? Jacek’s speech was wonderfully entitled “Are you smarter than your grandparents?”, where he demonstrated that our IQ is indeed higher than our grandparents’ due to a number of factors. But are we smarter? Not so sure! Florian gave us a superb sales pitch in a project from his Advanced manual, where he convinced us to all get “Networked” through a Network Railcard. All four speakers were given constructive feedback by evaluators Christopher, David, Kris and Christine. Christine won the Best Evaluation Award.

Icebreaker speaker Amelia
Icebreaker speaker Amelia

Solmaz our Table Topics Master challenged guests and members to a series of really tricky yet original “job interview” questions. David, our own Division C Table Topics Champion, won the best Table Topic Award. We all wish him luck at the District Conference on 5th November 2016! Michael evaluated all the Table Topics with remarkable speed and insight.

Best table topic speaker David
Best table topic speaker David

A special shout-out to Stephen who stepped into the role of Timekeeper at the last minute, Kash who was Grammarian for the first time and gave us the wonderful word of the day INTROSPECT, and Kelly and Lauren who attended the meeting and spoke for the first time as brand new members. Welcome and let your Toastmasters journey begin!

Amelia and Neil getting their icebreaker ribbon
Amelia and Neil getting their icebreaker ribbon

Our meeting ended with a very constructive general evaluation by a Distinguished Toastmaster, David Marks. It was a privilege to be evaluated by such an experienced speaker.

Ineffable Meeting – 12th October 2016

Our meeting on Wednesday 12th October was quite INEFFABLE. We had a bumper number of wonderful guests, and our speakers for the evening certainly demonstrated what coming to St. Paul’s Speakers is all about!

Grammarian of the meeting Amelia in action
Grammarian of the meeting Amelia in action

Michael in his charming manner steered the events of the evening. Our three speakers delivered 3 exquisite speeches: Solmaz spoke about a Danish concept called hygge (pronounced hoo-ga), meaning living cozily, perfect for this time of year. Christine delivered a wonderful heartfelt speech, where she persuaded us to turn our “should” into a “must”. She also won the well-deserved best speaker award. Finally, David from the advanced manuals interpreted MP Robin Cooks’ 2003 resignation speech.

David doing the final project of the Interpretive Reading manual.
David doing the final project of the Interpretive Reading manual.

Florian as Table Topics Master challenged members and guests to deliver impromptu speeches on numbers he randomly assigned! From 47 to 800,000, stories were created by our eight speakers. David won the best table topic award.

Evaluators Kris, Sushma, Ania and Stephen gave structured feedback for everyone in a solid and encouraging way.

Our meeting ended with a very constructive general evaluation by Hien Vo from MLP London Bridge Speakers.

Contest Night – 28th September

What an amazing evening we had on Wednesday 28th September 2016! The club held its first competitive event of the Toastmasters Year, the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests.

Thien Trang opening up the meeting
Thien Trang opening the meeting

Under the leadership of Contest Chair Caroline Morgan, Christopher Walker, Michael Holmes and David Saer delivered their delightful speeches in the Humorous Speech Contest, ranging from travel mishaps to Donald Trump via the joys of being grumpy. The contestants were anything but grumpy, and filled the room with laughter.

Michael taking part in the humorous speech contest
Michael taking part in the humorous speech contest

Five contestants competed to deliver the wittiest Table Topic in response to Contest Chair Sarah Beckwith’s tricky question: “What advice would you give to your 10-year-old self?” Without any prior preparation, our valiant contestants came up with the most wonderful thoughts, from childhood Christmas memories to musings about the lasting power of friendship via some important life lessons.

All the contestants were judged by some prominent fellow Toastmasters from other London clubs, some of whom were first-time visitors to St. Paul’s Speakers. We feel genuinely privileged to have such an array of distinguished members assisting our club contest!

The brilliant David Saer won BOTH contests, and will be representing St. Paul’s Speakers at the Area 33 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests on Tuesday 4th October 2016!

David winners of both contests!
David winners of both contests!

Congratulations to all of the contestants for their participation. Without them, there would have been no contest, and they all helped make the evening an uproarious one! A HUGE thank-you to our Contest Chairs, Time Keepers, Ballot Counters and Sergeant At Arms who demonstrated admirable leadership and organisational skills, as well as their commitment to the club by stepping up and lending the club a helping hand. And A HUGE thank-you of course to all members and guests who came to the meeting, for the fun and the inspiration.

St Paul’s Speakers are winners – 14th September

In true St Paul’s Speakers style, we had another successful meeting on Wednesday 14th September 2016. Despite it being one of the hottest days of the year in London and half the city drinking just outside the windows of our meeting room, our Toastmaster David brought us back to reality with a theme of Autumn!

Helping David in the functionary roles were Timekeeper Amelia in her first role as a fairly new member and Gavin, who gallantly stepped in as Grammarian after Thien Trang kiboshed this role by being unwell. Hope you are better now Thien Trang! And yes, the word of the day was kibosh!

Muthukrishnan (Kris) welcomed a number of guests who ventured through the heat and the crowds downstairs to sample the hospitality of Ye Old Watling and to listen to some great speeches.

Majdouline started the events with her second speech, a fascinating explanation of her Heritage. Christine evaluated this speech and gave a clear and succinct appraisal, which benefited not only Majdouline but the whole audience as well.

Our second speaker was our Vice President of Membership Michael, with his seventh speech from the manual. He certainly demonstrated his objectives with specific facts and illustrations gathered through his research on Italian history. Shalini took us through her observations and commendations of this speech with some recommendations for us all to benefit from.

Michael doing his speech
Michael doing his speech

Finally, St Paul’s Speakers past president Florian delivered an advanced speech entitled ‘United Once Again’. Not about football! It was about the United Kindgom and how it should be united once again. This was an advanced speech and so 10 mins long. Very thought provoking it was. James had the task of evaluating Florian’s speech, on which he carefully gave some clear and appropriate feedback.

Table Topic Master Mikhail asked the speakers to talk about their childhood experiences, a simple and interesting theme to hear from our seven speakers. Subjects ranged from their favourite childhood game to favourite subject in school, the zoo or circus and first experience of going in the sea. We all witnessed a fascinating collection of speaker’s experiences.

Another great night in St Paul's Speakers
Another great night in St Paul’s Speakers

The Table Topic Evaluator was Caroline who stood in for Christopher and gave commendations and recommendations inclusively to everyone.

Our thanks go to guest Toastmaster Annabel Lamb from London Victorians who gave the whole evening a General Evaluation, not only to those functionaries who had not been evaluated, but also to the club as a whole. Thank you Annabel.

We were also privileged to have the Assistant Division Director Robert Wyatt from Purley Speakers come join us for the second half. His role is to visit all the clubs in the division to ensure standards are met and also to give us feedback.

We are all winners at St Paul’s Speakers as you know, although some are more winners than others, and so Michael won best speaker, James won best evaluator and David best table topic with his rendition of how to build a snowman in a West Country accent or was it a German one?

Best evaluator James
Best evaluator James

Next St Paul’s Speakers meeting Wednesday 28th September 2016 6.30 pm at Ye Olde Watling Pub – Watling Lane, EC4M 9BR

An exquisite meeting – 31st August

What an exquisite meeting we had on Wednesday 31st August 2016 at St. Paul’s Speakers. Co-President Thien Trang was finally back from Washington DC following her participation in the 2016 Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking. She told members and guests how her incredible journey had been made possible by a fellow club member’s encouragement to enter a club contest in the first place! It was indeed a meeting of “reunions”, as our Toastmaster of the evening James had also come back from his work assignment in New York City, and he was full of energy and enthusiasm as he guided us through our exciting agenda.

Thien Trang back from Washginton!
Thien Trang back from Washginton!

We had 2 speeches of very different natures: an educational speech on vocal projection and variety delivered by David, one of our most experienced members, and an Icebreaker speech delivered by Khash, one of our newest members! David gave us an interactive masterclass on one of the most crucial aspects of public speaking and provided 5 top tips to help us improve our vocal presence. Khash valiantly conquered his nerves and delivered a faultless first speech that told us so much about him and his life through his attitude to…the gym! Congratulations are in order as Khash got married only 4 months ago.

David's workshop
David’s workshop

Our Sergeant at Arms Michael greeted all the guests. We were extremely pleased to see many returning guests – proof that St. Paul’s Speakers is such a friendly club alongside first-time visitors, including an illustrious Toastmaster from the United States who is looking to complete her advanced manuals while she is on a work assignment in London. We hope she chooses us as her temporary Toastmasters home.

Majdouline as table topics master
Majdouline as table topics master

Members and guests enjoyed a hugely entertaining set of table topics, exquisitely crafted by Madjouline our Table Topics Master. She wanted to “explore the darkness within humankind” through her questions on sins and virtues, and our speakers all spontaneously thought of a certain American politician in their impromptu reflections on the deadly sins. How interesting… Michael won the Best Table Topic award. Mikhail ably evaluated all the Table Topics Speakers and managed to give each speaker a commendation and recommendation, no mean feat indeed given the number of speakers we had!

Shalini, our Grammarian who had also – you have guessed! given us EXQUISITE as the word of the day, showed she had listened very carefully to each speaker. She was pleased, and rightly so, to have heard the word of the day used on many occasions.

Our very own Christopher Walker delivered an expert general evaluation. He gave very pertinent commendations and recommendations to everyone and did so with such enthusiasm and positivity that we felt thoroughly inspired by the end of the meeting!

Christopher as general evaluator
Christopher as general evaluator

A very successful 5th Wednesday meeting. Thanks to everyone for making it happen! Everyone, come to our next meeting on the 14th of September and be part of all the fun.

Speakers in the City – 24th August

Co- president Caroline opened the meeting announcing to the club and guests how her partner Thien Trang faired in the recent World Championship of Public Speaking in Washington DC. She made it through to the final…… What an amazing achievement not only for herself but for the club too! Well Done Thien Trang!

Caroline then handed over to Joy who took the evening through smoothly transition by transition by using her Toastmaster Skills.

Timekeeper Kash
Timekeeper Kash

There were no ‘desultory‘ speeches delivered this evening. On the contrary all speakers were focussed and sharp in their delivery.

Grammarian Florian’s word of the day was a tricky one with only two people using it in their speeches.

We had two speakers delivering their 3rd speech Shalini telling us that the World is Her Oyster and Yours by recently visiting two amazing places Copenhagen and Rome.

Gavin on the other hand quite explicitly taught us that saving money for our pension is better than buying 2/3 coffees each week with marshmallows as well as a lesson on compound interest! Which certainly caught the audience attention because he won best speaker for the night.

The third speech was Christopher who entertained us with a speech about Travel Torments! This was taken from the advance humorous manual.

Third speaker Christopher
Third speaker Christopher

We could all relate to his antics judging by the laughs. Hey Christopher!!! We have a Humorous Speech Contest coming up in September. We hope you are thinking about entering!!!!

The evaluators this evening came from three experienced speakers Sarah for Shalini, Mikhail for Gavin and David for Christopher’s. All three had so much to say that they spoke for more than the allotted time.

Talking of time, at the last minute one of our newest members Kash took up the role with about 5 minute of training and a fine job he did too. My thanks go out to him for stepping in to help. Thanks Kash J

The Table Topics Master Solmaz gave 9 members and guests topics such as ‘The World is a small Place’ and Colour Affects the way we feel.

This was won by Amy talking about ‘Intelligence is not Enough’. Amy, a guest who is a Toastmaster from Sheffield has come to London on an internship for a few weeks. St Pauls Speakers gave her a great welcome and she is taking that certificate and memory back to Sheffield with her.

The huge task of evaluating all the table topics was Isabelle demonstrating her listening skills and giving commendations and recommendations to every speaker.

Last but not least our General Evaluator Brian gave the club some encouraging feedback fro which we can all learn. Thank you Brian

Best speaker of the evening Gavin
Best speaker of the evening Gavin

Next meeting Wednesday 31st August 2016 – yes the 5th Wednesday !!

See you there.

Dancing is worth a Speech – 10th August

On Wednesday 10th August 2016 we had a meeting full of vociferous speakers!

VOCIFEROUS was also the word of the day, meaning “being vocal   and outspoken ” and we certainly were !

It was an action packed and varied evening with 4 speakers, a range of table topics, a table topic evaluator and a general evaluator who evaluates us as a whole club, not forgetting a fantastic number of guests trying out St Paul’s Speakers, some for the very first time.

Co-President Caroline opened the evening by welcoming everyone and telling the audience the adventure that our other co president Thien Trang will be undertaking next week Thursday 18th August 2016.

Co-President Caroline on stage
Co-President Caroline on stage

She also spoke of a top tip in public speaking: ‘A phrase that pays!’ makes speeches memorable.

Michael our Toastmaster for the evening guided the packed agenda smoothly, succinctly and timely from beginning to end.

Jacek as Grammarian introduced the word VOCIFEROUS and promised to count our ummms and ahhhhs and to highlight unusual use of language. In fact 5 people used the word of the day throughout the evening.

Our allocated time keeper couldn’t make it last minute and so gallantly our new member Neil stepped in and covered the role with about 5 minutes training! Well Done Neil and thank you !

Muthukrishnan and Oleksandra both delivered their second speech from the Competent Communicator Manual.

They had to demonstrate organizing their speech with a strong opening and conclusion with a clear message.

Muthukrishnan guided us all into “Looking in the mirror” at ourselves in a fascinating and enlightening way, while
Oleksandra educated us with the benefits of buying insurance.

Gavin, who also stepped into the breach last minute, and Solmaz evaluated these speeches giving encouragement and recommendations to benefit everyone, not just the speakers.

Our 3rd speaker Christine really involved the audience. She also included music, which Florian who evaluated her speech said was most unusual and of the quality of an advanced speaker.

It was also fun to see Florian do a little dance in his evaluation of Christine’s speech!

Finally David became the Artilleryman with jacket and all in his interpretation of “The War of the Worlds” This is project 3 from the Interpretive reading – Advanced Manual – The Monodrama. He got carried away in character by speaking in a country accent totally immersed.

Joy, in her evaluation of the speech, proved that she had listened carefully and gave David some really solid feedback.

Our Sergeant at Arms was Majdouline and what a task she had! So many guests coming and she managed to speak and connect with them all! Brilliant !

The Table Topics Master, Dani, came up with an unusual way of structuring the topics. All the speakers continued with one story and he transitioned them between! We learned about an athlete at the Olympics who didn’t want to complete, so he thought of breaking his leg and then taking drugs, by putting them in camel and ostrich burgers and selling them he made loads of money with the help of the Russian and Columbian Teams. The athlete was arrested and escaped so all was well!

Table Topics Master Dani
Table Topics Master Dani

Thien Trang managed to give a commendation and a recommendation to all speakers demonstrating her fine listening skills.

The evening was rounded off by the General Evaluator Tomas,  who has come from Angel’s Speakers. He gave some positive feedback and also some improvers for us at St Paul’s. Some of our ideas he will take back to his club. So we are all happy!

Thien Trang closed by announcing the Winning Speech by Christine, the winning evaluation shared by Gavin and Florian and the winning Table Topic by a most valued guest Margarita – Fantastic!

Next meeting is Wednesday 24thAugust 2016 at 6.30 pm

Be there for the fun and inspiration!

A Splendid Meeting – 27th July

What a splendid meeting we had on Wednesday 27th July 2016. It was well-attended by both members and guests who showcased a range of impressive speaking skills. The meeting was ably hosted by the Toastmaster of the evening, Florian, who guided the audience through the agenda and provided clear guidance on the different elements of the Toastmasters meeting. Christine valiantly stepped into the role of Timekeeper at the last minute and fulfilled her responsibilities with aplomb, whilst Grammarian Kris introduced us to the word “splendid” and encouraged everyone to incorporate it in their speeches. The audience responded well to his challenge!

Our Toastmaster of the meeting Florian
Our Toastmaster of the meeting Florian

Solmaz and Joy both delivered a speech from Project 2 in the Competent Communication manual, which was all about structure and organisation. This is a key performance area for any speaker, and they both achieved their objectives while entertaining the audience on two completely different topics: personality traits and user experience. And this is one of the best things about Toastmasters: you never cease to learn new things! Two of the more advanced speakers of our club, David and James, expertly evaluated Solmaz and Joy, giving them a lot to think about, but also to be proud of.

Second speaker Joy
Second speaker Joy

Jacek showed us what a fantastic Table Topic Master looks like when he challenged the audience to a set of quirky and thought-provoking questions inspired by his “shower thoughts”, from why pizzas are round, to why dogs unlike cats eat everything. The audience rose to the challenge, in particular our brave guests, some of whom had never before practiced impromptu speaking in a similar fashion. David and Christine, both St. Paul’s Speakers members, shared the prize of best Table Topic Speaker. Caroline, St. Paul’s Speakers Co-President, delivered a monster evaluation of all 12 table topics. Despite her time constraints, she managed to provide practical and encouraging feedback to all of the speakers. Quite an achievement indeed!

David tackling a table topic
David tackling a table topic

We were lucky to be visited and evaluated by Gos (full name please), President of King’s Cross Speakers. He gave the club and all the functionaries of the evening thorough feedback, with useful tips on how to make our great club run even more smoothly and efficiently. We would definitely love to see him back at our club again!

Joint best tale topics winners Chrissie and David
Joint best tale topics winners Chrissie and David