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!


Our Last Meeting Speeches – 11 November

Our last meeting was held at St Botolph without Aldgate where Christopher was Toastmaster of the evening.

The evening’s functionaries featured Joe as Grammarian, introducing “modicum” as the word of the day, and Anne was the evening’s timekeeper.

Timing tonight’s speeches Anne

The speeches kicked off with Andrew giving his first ever toastmasters speech (the icebreaker), introducing himself. Andrew delivered his speech with a clear and confident voice, telling us about growing up in Tunbridge Wells, his love of sport, and his hair!

Mikhail gave the next speech “London to Paris: how do I get there”, from the advanced manuals (“speaking to inform”). Mikhail delivered his well structured speech very clearly and calmly, running over the options to get to La Ville Lumière.

Second of two speeches by Mikhail

Florian evaluated Andrew’s speech, noting how well it was delivered, and making recommendations about adding vocal variety.

Hamad evaluated Mikhail’s speech, remarking on Mikhail’s calm presence, and recommending Mikhail to have a more assertive opening.

Speech evaluator Hamad

David was the evening’s table topic master, lulling us into a false sense of security with talk of Christmas, before moving into table topics themed around the apocalypse – such questions as “who would you eat first when all the food runs out?” It was a fun table topics session, with lots of laughs, which Michael evaluated, congratulating the speakers on speaking for at least a minute.

Table topics master David

Joe as grammarian congratulated speakers on interesting word choices and use “modicum”, and reporting on their “um” and “er” scores.

Before the evening wrapped up, Laurent (also winner of best table topic!) did a thorough general evaluator’s report.

Best table topics speaker and general evaluator Laurent

A speech is fun! – 28th October

Last Wednesday’s meeting was at the Hoop & Grapes, and we were delighted to have many guests attending. Florian kicked off the evening with the President’s introduction before handing over to the Toastmaster of the evening, Sarah, to guide us through the evening.

Toastmaster Sarah

Sarah introduced the functionaries, starting with Andrew as Timekeeper, showing how the stats role can be made fun and lively. Next came Sumit as the grammarian, introducing the word of the day “Newfangled”, encouraging speakers to use it as much as possible.

Then came the speeches. Caroline gave her third Toastmasters speech “Mind full or Mindful” talking about the benefits of Mindfulness, as a way to rescue our besieged minds from content overload.

Caroline doing her speech

Michael’s gave the next speech – titled “Ghost Stories” and he regaled us with suitably spooky (Halloween!) ghoulish stories from his old school.

Michael’s speech

Our final speaker Elena gave a speech that she is practicing as part of a Toastmasters competition, titled “Wanted: 1 husband” in which Elena humorously told us about her tireless efforts to find a husband, helped/hindered by her family.

Helena rehearsing her contest speech with us

After the break came the evaluations, starting with Thien who congratulated Caroline on her speech, and reminding the audience on how well Caroline did in making things very visual. Mikhail gave a thorough evaluation of Michael’s speech, reviewing the structure of the speech. David congratulated Elena’s speech, making good points on body movements.

Mikhail evaluating Michael’s speech

Then came the table topics – with a Halloween theme. Many of the guests took part in the impromptu speaking and did extremely well.

Andrew congratulated the table topic speakers on their times, with everyone speaking over (or just before) a minute was up, with Florian then giving a thorough evaluation of the table topics

Sumit noted the many interesting word choices in his grammarian report, and just wished we used the word of the day more!

We were fortunate to have a General Evaluator, Swarajit, who evaluated the evening as a whole.

GE Swarajit

October 28th Meeting in Hoop & Grapes Pub – Farringdon Road

Our next meeting on October 28th will take place in the Hoop & Grapes pub on the 2nd floor function room. This is because our venue of the Loose Cannon will be unavailable that night.

The lovely Hoop & Grapes pub is located on 80 Farringdon St, London EC4A 4BL not far away from Ludgate Circus and City Thameslink station. Here is a link to a map to guide you there.

Our venue on October 28th
Our venue on October 28th



Every speech is an adventure – 14th October

In our meeting last Wednesday our Toastmaster of the evening was Mikhail who guided us all through the evening’s events.

Mikhail first introduced the functionaries, starting with timekeeper Hamad, who explained his role of keeping time on the evening’s events. Next was Caroline, as the grammarian. Caroline introduced the word of the day “hyperbole” (meaning “obvious exaggeration”), encouraging speakers to use the word and to also use examples of hyperbole in their speeches.

The prepared speeches began with Anne, who presented her first ever Toastmasters speech (well done!), the “icebreaker speech”. We learned about Anne’s life, moving from arty girl, to a financial analyst with a love for travel and family. Our second speech was given by David, who came on stage to deliver his speech “lads on tour” equipped with an appropriate stage prop – a glass of beer. The speech was from the advanced manual “humourously speaking”, and David regaled us with tales of their night in Le Mans as part of a road trip in France. David took us through his evening in fun (and graphic) detail. Our last prepared speech of the evening was given by Christopher. His was a technical presentation from the advanced manuals, and titled “Transferring big data over the Internet”. Christopher delivered a technical presentation, in a very clear and understandable way.

"Lads on Tour" a speech by David!
“Lads on Tour” a speech by David!

After the break, the evaluations started with James evaluating Anne’s speech, congratulating Anne on her clear voice and composure. Michael gave a fittingly humourous evaluation of David’s speech, and Florian evaluated Christopher’s speech, picking up on some technical aspects of his speech.

Club President Florian evaluating Christopher's technical speech
Club President Florian evaluating Christopher’s technical speech

Then the Table Topics began, with Florian beginning his set of topics with some tricky open questions, such as “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” and “do you take it or leave it?” One of our new members, Andrew, won, with his quick and humourous answer.

Dani gave an insightful and thorough evaluations of the Table Topics, followed by Caroline who made some comments on interesting word usage by the speakers, and congratulated those who had used the word of the day.

We were fortunate to have an external general evaluator, Kate Osborne, who gave an evaluation for all those who hadn’t yet been evaluated, making interesting comments and ideas for improvement.

Congratulations to best speaker (Anne) and best evaluator (Michael)

Best speech of the night by Anne
Best speech of the night by Anne

An ideal place for a speaker! – 23rd September

Our last meeting in St Botolph without Aldgate church meant that we were a “little bit closer to god according” to Toastmaster of the evening Michael. Nevertheless, with fabulous acoustics a a grand décor, the church is in many ways an ideal environment for a speaker!

Keeping tabs on the time each speaker took to speak, was timekeeper Eliza. Looking after everyone’s language and those dreaded hums and err, was grammarian Christopher with ‘Audacious’ as word of the day.

Grammarian Christopher
Grammarian Christopher

Our first speaker of the night was Dani urging us to ‘Challenge Yourself’ through his speech highlighting his experience of training to run a marathon. Dani had a clear and well structured message that positively reinforced his message. Objectives met for his second speaking project! Following on was second speaker, club president Florian Bay with ‘A Collection of Poems’. His first poem was The Night Mail by W.H. Auden on the journey of the night mail trains from London to Glasgow. The second poem was famous poem Invictus by W.E. Henley. Florian used a series of vocal techniques to bring the poetry to life, as per the objectives of this interpretative reading project. Finally, our last speaker was Alan doing an improvised speech on the history of New York City.

Third speaker Alan 'The History of new New York'
Our third speaker Alan ‘The History of New York’

Evaluating the first speaker was Alan who praised Dani’s structure but recommended that more drama be added to the speech. Sarah then evaluated Florian and commended his rhythm and use of vocal variety. Finally, Caroline evaluated Alan’s speech and praised his descriptive language.

The table topics session chaired by Christopher had pictures from newspapers as overall theme. With participants having to invent the story or message behind these. Both members and guests had great fun in this session later evaluated by Caroline. Finally the meeting was wrapped up with guest general evaluator, Svetlana’s report on how the club did this evening!

One of our guests tackling a table topic!
One of our guests tackling a table topic!

Next Meeting on 23rd September – Venue is St Botolph Church Aldgate

Our next meeting on September 23rd 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!


Contest season at St Paul’s Speakers – 9th September

Twice a year every Toastmasters club holds a contest. The International Speech and Evaluation contests around March time and the Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests around September time. It was consequently contest time during our last meeting on September 9th!

Following the presidential Introduction by club President Florian Bay, the reins of the meeting were handed over to the contest chair for tonight Michael. The first part of the meeting saw off three contestants vying for the best Humorous Speaker crown. Christopher started off with ‘From Bridget Jones to the valley of death’ recounting his skiing adventures in France with blonde monitor Sandrine and how he got to master the art of skiing on the slopes. The second speaker was Helen Mtshali ‘30 Days to 30’ on how she try to ensure the the hopes she had for her 30 years old self were realised career wise, love wise and health wise. The speech featured a lot of humour about her adventures while dating and at the gym, a place where “should could meet guys”! Finally the third speaker was Hamad Ali ‘That Happens in every culture’ on his mother’s attempt to arrange a suitable bride for him and how she carried out her search. If you have a BMW or are a doctor watch out this means you husband material!

Hamad 'That happens in every culture'
Hamad ‘That happens in every culture’

After a short break while the results were tallied by the chief judge and ballot counters. We moved on to the Table Topics contest. The table topic question all contestants had to answer was “If Aliens existed would you be happy or afraid?”. Club members Christopher, Hamad, Helen, Andrew, Eliza, Caroline and David took to the stage to answer the questions all kinds of ways. From the movie V to technologically more advanced aliens to other randomness featuring Aliens. We had it all and that’s what it so fun!

Contest chair Michael
Contest chair Michael

The winners of Tonight’s contest were Helen Mtshali for the Humorous Speech contest and David Saer for the Table Topics contest, with Hamad second and Andrew third. Our winners will be representing St Paul’s Speakers at the Area 33 contest on thursday 24th September in St Botolph Church Aldgate.

Thanks to all the judges from other Toastmasters clubs whose help ensured that we carried out a textbook contest!

Audacious speakers! – 26th August

Another month, another 4th Wednesday during which St Paul’s Speakers brought the arches of the Loose Cannon pub to life! Following the President’s introduction by Florian, inviting us all to exceed our limits and set ourselves goals as speakers and leaders. Club’s Vice-President of Education Mikhail then took over as Toastmaster of the evening. Keeping track of time and help our speakers stay on time, was Eliza. Listening to our speakers use of the English languages was Christopher, with ‘audacious’ as word of the day.

Timekeeper Eliza
Looking after our speakers use of time, timekeeper Eliza!

The first of the night’s speakers was Katen for his very first speech, the Ice Breaker. In “Me Myself and I” Katen introduced himself to the club, telling us all about his family, his passion for cricket and work so far. Peppering his speech with humorous anecdotes and highlighting the important point that communicating well is power! Following on was Michael “Meetup” telling us how he met like minded fans of rock band The Clash and fellow bikers interested in doing tours all over the UK. Both speakers kept on time as highlighted by timekeeper Eliza. With Sergeant at Arms Caroline then taking the floor to introduce the fourteen guests presents that evening.

Michael's speech 'Meetup'
Michael’s speech ‘Meetup’

The evaluation of the two speakers were done by Florian and Hamad. Florian recommended that Katen incorporates more vocal variety in future speeches, alongside a sharper conclusion. Hamad suggested using the whole of the stage to express oneself as this was in line with Michael’s speech objectives of using body language effectively.

Hamad evaluating Michael
Hamad evaluating Michael

Chairing the table topics session of improvised speeches, was Dani. With “A day in the Life of” as theme. Various speakers described the life of a Vegas poker player, a circus acrobat, a samba dancer in Brazil, a sheep farmer in the Alps and James Bond among other occupations. Evaluating all the table topic speakers was Mikhail.

A day in the life of ...
A day in the life of …

The meeting concluded with Christopher’s grammarian report including a full count of hums, err and other verbal crutches. Followed on by Jeetesh’s general evaluation of the whole club.

See you all at our next meeting. The club’s Table Topics and Humorous Speech contest!