End of the Toastmasters Year!

All good things must come to an end…

That is it! Another Toastmasters Year has reached its end. It is with emotion and great expectations that Caroline and I, Co-Presidents of St. Paul’s Speakers, hand over the leadership of the club to our new President, Christopher Walker. We have had the privilege and pleasure to serve the club over the last year, and could not have done so without the tremendous support of our Committee or the continued enthusiasm of fellow St. Paul’s Speakers! We wish the new President and Committee all the very best, and are confident that St. Paul’s Speakers will continue its success in 2017-2018!

Last week’s meeting

A WHIMSICAL night indeed – whimsical being the wonderful word of the day offered by our Grammarian Solmaz – to end the Toastmasters year, with an Icebreaker by one of our newest members Lydia who marked the start of her public speaking journey with a beautiful speech about her relationship with London, followed by Thien Trang who completed her Competent Communication manual with a speech about how she had been inspired by fellow member Christine Alaby to make a considerable life-changing decision. It was a perfect meeting to showcase the benefits of Toastmasters and its impact on people, both as speakers and human beings.

Our Toastmaster of the evening was Kris who stepped in at the very last minute yet managed this crucial role with great aplomb. Our Table Topic Master Elzbieta kept the audience and potential speakers on their toes with a range of entertaining topics relative to summer holidays – what a whimsical notion considering how chilly and overcast the day was! Our speakers, both members and guests, all got the audience laughing. We know, for instance, that Ling would rather die than spend 2 weeks on holiday without any internet connection! And that Florian of course would like to recruit a team for his mission to colonise Mars. Any volunteers? The best Table Topic Speaker award, however, went to McVal who told us about how even the best vacation can last too long!

Important dates

Get your diaries out! 30th August 2017 will be our next 5th Wednesday meeting of the month and new President Christopher Walker has already lined up a great workshop on Table Topics by expert Paul Caroll who will show us all that there is a real art to impromptu speaking. This workshop will be all the more befitting ahead of the club Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest in early September!

Think about entering the contest or helping out as functionaries. Watch this space for more details from the new President!

Of course, please do use Easy Speak to sign up for speeches and roles. St. Paul’s Speakers needs you!

5th Wednesday of the month… Debate Night at St. Paul’s Speakers!

Debate Night!

Our meeting on 31st May 2017 will be a special one once again as a bonus meeting being 5th Wednesday in the month. Back by popular demand it is a Debate Night!!!

Come along and try your hands at practicing another skill of debating for or against a subject that you might not even have thought about before! So really this is one for your diaries………. Wednesday 14th June 2017 will also be a special evening in as much as a part of it will take up the AGM. That is when St Paul’s Speakers will be voting in a new president/s, and other vital functionaries for the committee to ensure the success of this club continues.

Last Meeting

Our last meeting on 10th May felt like a marathon and Oleksandra as toastmaster guided us all through 5 speeches with evaluators and a wonderful set of table topics.

Gavin entertained us all with his speech number 5 about technology… friend or foe?

Thien Trang gave us her persuasive ideas for us to adopt her viewpoint on recycling, up cycling and reading labels as to checking on the source of the clothes we are buying.

Finally by David delivering his humourous speech from the advance manual advising us of the perils of alcohol!!

This range of speeches covering various levels of the speech projects confirmed to everyone that St Paul’s Speakers is a superlative club.

Oleksandra had a grand team to support her in this extravaganza:

  • Rakesh – Grammarian – His first appearance as grammarian had so much language to comment on with ‘superlative’ as the word of the day.
  • Solmaz – Time Keeper – Thanks to Solmaz for stepping in at the last minure.
  • Sifat one of our new members dived straight into the tough role of Table Tapics master and unusually invited members to come up and sell the most unusual items! (i.e. a bicycle for the whole family or a dimple maker.)

Evaluators included:

  • Florian
  • Christopher
  • David thanks for stepping in last minute
  • Caroline – for table topic evaluation

We would like to give a special mention to welcome back for the evening, an old friend of St Paul’s Speakers, Marcel. Marcel often used to visit our club when he is in London. He now is based in Europe and it was delightful to welcome him back.

Speeches heat up on an unseasonably chilly late April evening

April showers bring may flowers, but what do great speeches bring?

Word of the Day

Lauren, our Grammarian, gave us EQUANIMITY as a magnificent word of the day. And “calmness and composure under pressure” was indeed what had been required, as Mikhail our Vice President of Education valiantly stepped into the breach with a last-minute speech following a string of cancellations. Digging into the Competent Communication Manual for a second time, Mikhail told us about the lack of European unity when it comes to traffic regulations, in a speech that was both informative and humorous, as well as very well-organised of course! Thank you Mikhail for stepping in. That’s what leadership is all about! Mikhail’s speech was competently and constructively evaluated by Christopher.


David, with perfect equanimity, delivered an emotional Educational Speech where he announced his decision to leave Toastmasters International in September, not before leaving us with some invaluable tips and advice on how as Toastmasters, we could all help make our journey into public speaking much more exhilarating and worthwhile by taking part, helping out and stepping up. Having served on the club committee on several occasions, including as Club President, and having represented St. Paul’s Speakers at numerous contests at Area, Division and even District levels, David truly embodies the values of a Toastmaster and has demonstrated to us all how much personal and professional growth being a Toastmaster could bring us all. We shall miss you David!

Table Topics

Rakesh, first time Table Topic Master, did a fantastic job with his 10 excellent questions on the quirkiest pieces of legislation we should consider – from banning any talk of the weather to forcing people who listen to their music too loud on their headphones in public transport to dance or sing along to their music. And did you know that the Salmon Act 1986 prohibits you from handling a salmon in suspicious circumstances? Our 10 brave table topic speakers were far from being intimidated and went all for it! Gavin had the Herculean task of evaluating 10 speakers in a limited amount of time, which he did with equanimity and verve and within time! Agata deservedly won the Best Table Topic Award.

Special Thanks!

Huge thanks to Lydia who stepped into the role of Sergeant at Arms for the first time, having just recently joined our club, to Krish who stepped into the role of General Evaluator for the first time and gave us oodles of constructive feedback to help us improve as a club, and to Bashir who stepped into the role of Timekeeper for the first time too!

And of course thanks to Lauren our Grammarian for a most wonderful word of the day!

Check out a few of our new members below 🙂

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