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.

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.

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

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

Top Tips for Table Topics – 30th March

Former UK & Ireland table topics champion Paul Carroll was our privileged guest in our last meeting. He run a very interesting and interactive table topics workshop. Opening up with advice on how to tackle them, sharing techniques and basic skills. Followed by two rounds of table topics led by Dani and David.

Table topics expert Paul Carroll
Table topics expert Paul Carroll

Paul’s top tips for tackling table topics included:

Don’t be afraid of pausing – Pausing before you start your table topics gives you time to focus, consider your reply and structure your answer.

Active listening – Carefully listening to the session allows you to grasp its theme. Carefully listening to the table topic question will make answering it easier.

Go with your 1st idea – Your intuition is very powerful, if something popped in your mind it means you are onto something. So use it!

Take your time – Every table topics speaker usually start from the same spot in the room. Every second you use to get to the stage can be used for thinking things through!

Practice, practice, practice: Table topics get easier with more practice. You can practice them while watching TV or even treat any question you’re asked as a table topic.


Structure is always key in any form of public speaking and this includes table topics. Paul helpfully put forward the PREP method which can be used to structure them.

Point – State your point of view about the question.

Reason – Explain your point of view in more details

Example – Give one or two examples as evidence to support your view

Point – Restate your point of view

Lastly, remember that it is always fair to attack the question or its underlying assumptions. Just don’t make too many things up. Though fantastical table topics can be quite entertaining too!