International Speech & Evaluation Contest at St Paul’s Speakers!

Wednesday’s meet was a big day – a Speech & Evaluation Contest – deciding who would represent St Paul’s Speakers in the area round. Joy was the evening’s Chairperson, guiding everyone through the evening events.DSC_0095


The contest started with Christopher’s speech “Letters from the Past”, telling us of his experience discovering a cache of letters written home by a family member in WWII. Christopher engaged the audience with the story of these letters and what they contained in a warm and interesting speech.DSC_0099


Next up, David delivered his speech “Dead Cat Politics”, looking at the way in which many current British and American politicians undermine their political opponents by recourse to personal attacks or by sidestepping issues by use of populist appeals. It was a heartfelt speech that was robustly argued.

Next, James gave his speech “Classic Self Help” which began by looking at the “Marshmallow Experiments” of the 1970s and the art of resisting temptation, before moving, via Odysseus, to discussing Marcus Aurelius and his approach to personal fulfilment. It was a speech that combined scholarly content with humour and a touch of philosophy.DSC_0089


Thien delivered her speech “Cut it Out!”, starting with a theatrical entrance, parodying female beauty care adverts before delivering a withering critique of the way that advertising objectify women. The speech worked well in combining serious content with good use of rhetoric and body language in order to demonstrate and parody the target of the speech; it was an engaging speech.DSC_0104


Helen delivered her speech, focusing on her love of numbers growing up and how she has used numbers in the past as a way to help ordering her life – Helen impressed everyone in the audience with her ability to turn words into numbers by matching letters to numbers, and gave an interesting speech that was conversational in style.DSC_0106


After the break we had the mystery speaker, Annabel from London Victorians club, who delivered a speech giving insight into her life as the daughter of a tiger-mum, sharing with us the long list of extra-curricular activities and expectations placed on her, and how she lived up to them. This was the speech on which the evaluation contest was based.

The evaluators were Trisha, Isabele, Sarah and David, all wow-ing the audience with confident and interesting evaluations made only very shortly after having heard the speech.

Before the results came in there were some table topics, including one from Florian on “what’s the better gender: men or women”. Florian did not tiptoe around the answer.
Speaker First Place: Thien Trang Nguyen Phan

Speaker Second Place: James Webb

Speaker Third Place: David Saer

Evaluator First Place: Sarah Beckwith

Our Last Meeting – 24th February – Icebreakers and more

In our last meeting, Sarah took on the role of Toastmaster of the evening, with Gavin as the Timekeeper doing his first Toastmasters role. Anne, as Grammarian of the evening, introduced the word of the day Stupendous – for speakers to try to fit in their speeches.

There were three excellent prepared speeches, starting off with Joy who delivered her Icebreaker speech, entertaining everyone with a speech about her procrastinating ways. Joy’s confident speech featured dry humour and a conversational style – we look forward to hearing her next speech.

Thien’s speech “Cut it Out!” was her fifth, the objective of the fifth speech being to use body language in order to achieve the speech’s purpose. Thien gave a sensational entrance, parodying the female beauty adverts before delivering a withering critique of the way that advertising objectify women. Heavy stuff but well-argued and extremely engaging; Thien won best speaker of the evening.

David gave an interpretive reading from the advanced manuals telling us the story of “The Devil with the Three Hairs” from Brothers Grimm. It was an excellent choice of story, with an engaging plot, and with the opportunity to harness great vocal variety and the use of different voices.

Before the break Dani introduced the guests, inviting the guests to stand up and introduce themselves.

After the break Isabelle gave the first evaluation, congratulating Joy on her first speech, and providing some pointers for improvement. James’ evaluation reminded everyone about how important body language (the speech’s objective) is to a speech before congratulating Thien on how well she had done in meeting the objectives, having begun her speech with a memorable start that did not lose tempo as she moved into the serious aspects that she wanted to address. Andrew gave his first ever toastmasters evaluation with confidence, providing commentary on the aspects of David’s reading that worked really well and offering insightful feedback.

Florian was table topics master. In the engaging session he presented a bag of objects for audience members to pick an object at random and use that as the basis of a short speech. The table topics started with Mikhail picking out a sock, and ended with Joe picking out an egg shaped business card holder! There were some unusual objects and some great answers to the session.

Afterwards, Trisha gave a table topics evaluation with commendations and recommendations.

Before the evening was over, Anne delivered the Grammarian report, commenting on interesting word usage, and Prateek delivered an insightful General Evaluator report, offering some really good feedback to the club as a whole and the members taking part in the evening’s agenda.

The Toastmaster and the speakers – 10th February

Being Toastmaster of the meeting is all about conducting an orchestra of sorts. This is how Hamad our Toastmaster of the last meeting opened the evening. Assisted by timekeeper of the meeting Christopher and grammarian David with ‘extravaganza’ as word of the day.

Toastmaster of the meeting Hamad
Toastmaster of the meeting Hamad

Quickly our Toastmaster introduced the speakers one by one. Opening was Alessia doing her second speech “It’s never too early” covering ways for youngsters to improve their skills and employments prospects. Many ways exists from doing a summer job to joining Toastmasters to doing charity work. Isabelle followed on with “Homophobia in Africa” a very informative speech covering the subject in detail and ways to tackle the issue. Did you know that Uganda is one of the least gay friendly nation on Earth? Concluding the speeches was Trisha Williams “The Global Research Settlement – 12 years later”. Trisha gave a lot of background info on the Global Research Settlement and how some time ago banks in effect reviewed the stocks that had themselves invested in!

Second speaker of the evening Alessia
Second speaker of the evening Alessia

The evaluators were Sumit for Alessia, Caroline for Isabelle and Florian for Trisha. Recommendations included the importance of clarity when using visual aids, why hand clasping can be an obstacle with one’s audience and structuring a speech to fit with the allotted time.

Speech evaluator Sumit
Speech evaluator Sumit

Our table topics this evening was Joy who picked Valentine Day for her table topics questions. The questions were very varied and included “What’s the best Valentine Day present you’ve recieved?” or “Do we need Valentine Day?” The table topics session was evaluated by Sarah who provied extensive feedback and pointers to all the speakers.

Table topics master Joy who picked "Valentine Day" as her theme
Table topics master Joy who picked “Valentine Day” as her theme

Finally, David came back for his grammarian report followed by Arthur from London Public Speakers as general evaluator.

New Venue, New Speeches! Our last meeting – 27th January

Our first meeting in our new venue Ye Olde Watling was a lively affair with three prepared speeches.


David was Toastmaster of the evening, introducing everyone to the stage with their favourite piece of regional slang – from “gurt lush” to “tha’s using yer noggin”.



Andrew was the evening’s timekeeper and Isabelle the grammarian, introducing the word of the day “phenomenal” (a word which speakers then try to fit into their speeches).


Sumit gave the first speech of the evening “Eating Alone” with an interesting and conversational speech looking at choices people make to do things on their own.


Florian gave a speech from the advanced manuals telling an original story. Florian told us an engaging story of how he left home in France for university in the UK.


Mikhail gave a speech from the advanced manuals, a technical briefing titled “HTTP and TCP/IP”, a technical speech that was presented to be understood by non-techies.


After the break came the evaluations, starting with Anne evaluating Sumit’s speech, James evaluating Florian’s, and Dani evaluation Mikhail’s They were all insightful evaluations that looked at the positive aspects of the speeches, as well as areas of improvement.


Charles was the table topics master of the evening, asking a fun and interesting array of accessible questions, starting with “what’s something that you would really like to do in your life but haven’t yet done?! There were some really humorous answers and many of the guests took part.


Then came the final evaluations, with Christopher delivering the table topics evaluations, Isabelle delivering the grammarian report, commenting on interesting word usage, and Peter (from a fellow toastmasters club) gave a very warm and useful general evaluators report on the club as a whole, as well as evaluating everyone who had been on stage who hadn’t been evaluated.


First Speeches of the Year! Our last meeting – 13th January

For the first meeting of 2016 Andrew took on the role of Toastmaster of the evening, assisted by Charles as timekeeper, and Hamad as Grammarian, introducing word of the day “adroit”.


Giving her first toastmasters speech (the ice breaker) Alessia delivered her speech “Shiny Juliet” inspired by her trip to Italy. It was an excellent beginning to Alessia’s Toastmasters journey, presenting her speech calmly and warmly.


The next speaker was Anne who gave her second speech “Organise Your Speech”, titled “Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa and The Minions”. Anne discussed her experience of the Myers Briggs test in a confident and well presented speech.

James delivered his ninth speech “Persuade with Power”. The speech focused on moving away from goal setting in personal life to instead having a renewed examination of ourselves and our choices in an interesting and original speech.

Christopher, as sergeant at arms for the evening, introduced all the guests asking them to tell the group why they chose to come to St Paul’s Speakers.



After the break came the evaluations, with Caroline, Michael, and David congratulating Alessia, Anne, and James on their respective speeches, and also offering a few pointers.

Then came the table topics! Mikhail took on the role at the last minute and did well in putting together all sorts of questions to do with flying such as “what’s your best flight experience”. Many of the guests took part it some varied and fun answers.


Hamad then delivered the grammarian report, with Florian evaluating the table topics. General evaluator Sarah gave an insightful overall evaluation praising the club for its warmth.

Then the prizes – Anne won best speech, David best evaluator.

Before everything close Florian announced that this was the last ever Toastmasters in The Loose Cannon, as we now have a permanent home in Ye Olde Watling!

Christmas is coming! Our last meeting – 9th December

winter-163533_960_720In our recent Christmas-themed meeting David was Toastmaster of the evening, introducing speakers to the stage by asking them their favourite food at Christmas (from mince pies to yams, to brussel sprouts). Caroline was the timekeeper and James the grammarian, with the word of the day “Jubilant”

Fahad kicked off the prepared speeches with a speech from the Leadership Excellence Series, looking at what helps build a good team, and the qualities of effective leadership. Fahad effectively used a Powerpoint presentation to deliver a well-structured speech.

Isabelle gave her second toastmasters speech (objective: organisation) titled “Journalism: the good, the bad and the ugly”, giving a well organised speech that was at the same time conversational in manner. Isabelle gave an insight into her experiences as a journalist as well as a wider look at the industry.

Dani’s speech was his third toastmasters speech “Put the phones down”. The aim of the 3rd speech is to structure the speech so as to be clear on what its purpose is. Dani achieved this well, using short and precise sentences and the power of three to convince people to spend less time looking at their phones.

Sumit then introduced the guests, asking them what their favourite part of the year was for them.

In the evaluations, Florian evaluated Isabelle’s speech, and Alan evaluated Dani’s speech.

Andrew was the Table Topics Master with many interesting and fun questions on a Christmas theme, which Michael then evaluated.

Before the evening finished, James delivered the Grammarian’s report, commending members and guests alike for using the word of the day, and Chris gave a very insightful general evaluator’s report.

Next Meeting on 9th December – Venue is St Botolph Church Aldgate

Our next meeting on December 9th will take place in St Botolph without Aldgate Church as our usual venue of the Loose Cannon pub will be unavalaible on that night.

The Chuch is located on Aldgate High Street, EC3N 1AB, very close to Aldgate (Circle and Metropolitian Lines) and Aldgate East tube stations (District and Hammersmith & City Lines). Here is a link to a map to guide you there!


A not so demure meeting – 25th November

Club Vice-President Membership Caroline was in charge of our last meeting as Toastmaster of the meeting. Ably assisted by Dani as timekeeper to keep meeting segments on time and Andrew as grammarian with “demure” as word of the day.

Toastmaster of the meeting Caroline
Toastmaster of the meeting Caroline

The first speaker of this meeting was Eliza with her speech “Just do It!” Her speech weaved together the power of doing to do lists, the book of the same name by author Michael Gayle and her desire to practice spoken English more to help her in her career. Our second speaker was club President Florian Bay with a reading of “Henry V – Act IV” by Shakespeare. Florian used vocal techniques to bring each characters to life and the the play into the meeting over a quarter of an hour. Our final speaker was Toastmasters Reinvigorated Education Programme Area 33 ambassador for a talk on the various facets of this big upcoming change of the Toastmasters Educational programme.

Our meeting’s speech evaluators were David and Stephen who provided recommendations and feedback on our various speakers. Including suggestions on how their could further improve their speeches.

Speech evaluator David in action
Speech evaluator David in action

The table topics session was facilitated by Anne who livened up the meeting with a series of questions alongside the theme of positions on various policy questions. Questions included “how would you combat obesity” “what would you do against terrorism” “how to mitigate antibiotics resistance”. The session was evaluated by Hamad who gave feedback on all the table topics speakers.

Andrew then finished off the meeting with his grammarian report.

See you all in St Botolph again on December 9th.

Next Meeting on 25th November – Venue is St Botolph Church Aldgate

Our next meeting on November 25th will take place in St Botolph without Aldgate Church as our usual venue of the Loose Cannon pub will be unavalaible on that night.

The Chuch is located on Aldgate High Street, EC3N 1AB, very close to Aldgate (Circle and Metropolitian Lines) and Aldgate East tube stations (District and Hammersmith & City Lines). Here is a link to a map to guide you there!