Our latest meeting – speaking about the Dalai Lama and the Queen

Our last meeting:

Our last meeting was led by Shaun Curry as our Toastmaster for the evening with a theme of books and reading. How fascinating to learn what our fellow members are reading right now. Lauren stepped in as Time Keeper….. Thank you Lauren! Caroline  our Grammarian introduced the word ‘ephemeral’ and so many speakers used this word in their speeches it was a pleasure to see. Krish acted in his permanent role of  Sergeant at Arms.

We also had three amazing speeches:

  • McVal kicked off with his 1s speech/ Icebreaker entitled ‘Why am I here?’ and was evaluated by Muthukrishnan (Krish)
  • Elzbieta on her second speech  kept the audience at the edge of their seats telling us about Conspiracy Theories, which was evaluated by Rakesh.
  • For our third speech entitled ‘I belong here’ delivered by the actual divisional winner in the International Speech Competition on the road to the finals in Vancouver! Ola Aralepo demonstrated how impactful public speaking really could be.

Table Topics:

Our Table Tops master this evening was none other than Mr Table Topic himself David.
He steered about 7 speakers to create one story and a crazy story at that….. The location Tibet with the Dalai Lama meeting the Queen for drinks in a bar……

Fascinating, purely fascinating ……….

Thien Trang gave commendations and recommendations to all the table topic speakers and within time…

Spring has sprung!

Co-President’s Message

Following the tragic events in Westminster on Wednesday 22nd March 2017….. we wondered how our meeting was going to go and whether our speakers and functionaries were even going to get there.

We were pleasantly surprised when we not only had most functionaries come…. St Paul’s Speakers welcomed some new guests too. What a resilient bunch of people we all are!

Our thoughts and condolences go to the families of those who died….

Wednesday 22nd March Meeting

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

– Steve Jobs

Word of the day: Innovate

Our Wednesday 22nd March meeting was lead by Muthkrishnan (Krish) as our Toastmaster for the evening with the help of Rakesh as Time Keeper. James was our Grammarian. Krish also acted in his permanent role of  Sergeant at Arms.

  • Shalini delivered her 5th speech and was evaluated by Thien Trang
  • David gave us a rendition for one of his advanced interpretive speeches, which was evaluated by Christopher.
  • Another advanced speech as The Entertaining Speaker Florian performed a humorous and fun speech and was evaluated by Oleksandra ( Alex).
  • Caroline stepped in to be Table Topics Master and devised some ‘innovative’ questions to members and guests alike.
  • Michael gave commendations and recommendations to all the table topic speakers.

Our Latest Meeting

Improv Time!

The 5th Wednesday Meeting of March certainly raised the tradition of being Mad March!

From acting out Elephants and James Bond to telling a story of David Cameron visiting China together with Batman – Two Robins – Superman and Dare Devil to name but a few helped the evening flow hilariously by our willing and fun members and guests! There were more skills learnt to work on to not only enhance our development as a team player and leader but also to bring in the skills in Toastmasters and of course everyone’s social life as well.

It was a light-hearted and fun experience and for those not there… Shame you missed it!

A number of people asked where they could do more Improvisation and so here is a couple of websites you could check out. www.sproutideas.co.uk or www.hooplaimpro.com there are many more too.

Speech Contest Season!

Co-President’s Message

As the contest season is in full swing at Toastmasters clubs around the world, we would like to thank all our members who participated in St. Paul’s Speakers International Speech and Evaluation Contest on Wednesday 8th March 2017 – which also happened to be International Women’s Day! We had a wonderful evening, and 2 extremely deserving winners.

Last Meeting

Our meeting on Wednesday 8th March 2017 was indeed a wonderful evening of competition. The Speech contest had 2 brilliant speeches given by Christine and David. While Christine told us a deeply personal story of her journey of self-exploration in order to “unmask” the real her, David made an impassioned call for action, exhorting us all to take 3 important steps to save the planet.

For our Evaluation Contest, we were privileged to welcome a mystery speaker, who delivered a fantastic speech on the reasons why we should consume more art. Her speech evidently inspired all of our 5 evaluation contestants – Caroline, Gavin, James, Shaun and David. Each evaluation, unique in style and substance, was delivered with aplomb and equal enthusiasm.

The winners from the 2 contests are:

  • Christine Alaby for the International Speech Contest
  • David Saer for the Evaluation Contest – repeating his performance from last year!

A huge thanks to all the functionaries who helped run the evening, and of course to all our judges – who shall remain nameless – for their sagacious adjudicating!

Both Christine and David will now represent St. Paul’s Speakers at the Area 33 Contest on Monday 20th March 2017 at CASS Speakers. PLEASE COME ALONG TO SUPPORT THEM!

Also of note is the fact that Christopher Walker, one of our dear members, did exceedingly well at the Area 52 Evaluation contest and is now going through to the Division B contest on Saturday 22nd April 2017. Congratulations to Chris and if you are able to, please go along to support Chris and experience the competition at a high level! You can book and see the agenda here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/london-speaking-forum-2017-tickets-32800235387

Make a speech on the spot!

We had an EBULLIENT meeting on Wednesday 25th January 2017 under the efficient leadership of Toastmaster David.

We enjoyed 3 great speeches, all very different one from another. Krish delivered his 4th speech from the Competent Communication manual on what an ebullient year 2016 had been for him. Michael used effective visual aid to show us how television helped bring the brutal images of the Vietnam War into the American living-room, thus irretrievably changing public opinion on the war. Florian delivered an impromptu speech from his Advanced Manual, the topic of which was entirely decided by another member ON THE SPOT! Thus, he was asked by Sarah whether celebrities should get involved in politics, and what a cracking job he did!

Solmaz, Sarah and Christopher had the tough job of evaluating our excellent speakers. They managed to give really constructive feedback all within time. A special mention to Solmaz who stepped into the role at the very last minute!

Daniel, one of our newest members, for his first ever role, had the challenge of being Table Topic Master. He came up with a range of humorous, smart and thought-provoking subjects in the form of news headlines, and we had some extremely funny answers in return! Well done Daniel! All our Table Topics speakers were expertly evaluated by Oleksandra.

We would like to express special thanks to McVale for stepping in as Timekeeper at the last minute, after having just joined the club the day before, and Shalini as Sergeant at Arms welcoming our most valued guests.

Christophe from London Victorians gave us a most positive, yet constructive evaluation in his capacity as General Evaluator. We are glad he enjoyed the meeting, and appreciate his feedback.

A Festive end to 2016

As mentioned above, we ventured up High Holborn to the City Temple Conference Centre for our FESTIVE meeting on 14th December 2016. We had the use of the vast Sanctuary Room, where there was even a microphone at our disposal!

Our Reindeer Toastmaster for the evening was Christine, without the red nose, who steered us through the agenda with the help of her other reindeers. Christine introduced us to the TOA – T is for tap tap tap of your feet…..O is Ohhhhhhh and A for Applause! This was novel way of encouraging audience participation. Judging by the enthusiastic response of all present, the TOA could really catch on at our club!

 Two of our members, Alex and Shalini, delivered their 4th speech – How to say it. They both used such vivid, colourful and evocative language and beautiful phrases, exactly what the main objective was all about! Stephen completed his Competent Communication manual with a touching, inspiring yet humorous speech about becoming a father for the first time. Congratulations Stephen on reaching an important milestone in your Toastmasters journey and good luck with your Advanced Speeches! Thien Trang, Sarah and Florian had the tough job of evaluating our excellent speakers, all within time and with great feedback, which will help and assist everyone.

Our best speaker of the evening Stephen
Our best speaker of the evening Stephen

Jacek as Table Topic Master came up with a subject that included not only the table topic speaker but also the whole audience. It was about different countries and what they are best at! It was a most entertaining and informative set of table topics.

David as Grammarian gave us as word of the day the appropriate FESTIVE, which was used by many speakers.  We would like to express special thanks to Ella for stepping in as Timekeeper and James as Sergeant at Arms welcoming our guests.

Isabelle from London Victorians and an ex-member of St. Paul’s Speakers returned as General Evaluator and gave us a most positive, yet constructive evaluation. Thank you Isabelle! Your observations and feedback is duly noted.

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.