7 Speech Marathon and a Final Farewell 

Last week’s meeting – Sept 27, 2017

At our last meeting we had a speech marathon in which seven members presented speeches from various parts of the Competent Communicator’s manual. This was then followed by a fond farewell to one of our longest standing members – David Saer!
Christopher Walker kicked things off by doing the President’s Introduction, followed by the introduction of Michael Holmes as Toastmaster. Michael expertly explained the schedule for the evening and outlined next steps. Ashvin Heeramun explained his role as the timekeeper, followed by Daniel Morris describing the role of Grammarian.

Speech marathon schedule

  • First, Anthony Grice presented his Ice Breaker and spoke eloquently about some of the defining moments (and mistakes) in his life.
  • Second, John Wooller presented an engaging Ice Breaker, providing a host of humorous tips for how to live in the UK after moving from Australia.
  • Third, Alan Leroux provided us with a thought provoking speech titled “Views from the Ocean” which had us all thinking how we feel about sharks…
  • Fourth, Alexander Dziri spoke about meeting his heroes in a speech titled “The world or nothing”.
  • Fifth, Lewis Kyriacou spoke about his deep connection with American country music in a speech titled “This is Country Music”.
  • Sixth, Shalini Leelananda presented her Vocal Variety speech (#6 in the Competent Communicator’s manual) in an engaging piece titled “Rollercoasters”.
  • Finally, David Saer ended his Toastmaster career with a speech from the Humorous Speaking manual titled “The Show Must Go On”.


Bringing everything together

Speech marathons are hard, but so are evaluations. After a marathon round from across the Competent Communicator manual, we also saw great leadership from members in the form of extremely well-thought out and constructive comments from the following evaluators: Solmaz Jarchlou, James Webb, Nisha Kagdadia, Sarah Beckwith, Stephen Bradely, Christopher Walker, and Caroline Morgan. A special shout-out goes to our Sergeant at Arms Catherine Able-Thomas, who greeted every new guest at the door and introduced each of them to the broader St. Paul’s Speakers group during the meeting.

Photo finish…

Thanks again, and looking forward to the next one!
We’ll leave you with this quote from Richard Branson:

“Picture yourself in a living room having a chat with your friends. You would be relaxed and comfortable talking to them, the same applies when public speaking.”

– Richard Branson

We hope you think of St. Paul’s Speakers as a living room full of friends… because we are. 🙂

Table Topics & Humorous Speech Contest

Florian opened with a thorough explanation of Toastmasters UK and `international and for those guests present a guide through the contests.

He handed to the contest chair for the Humorous Contest, which was James who explicitly explained the rules and compered the 3 entrants.
Lewis and Jamie and Sarah.

The audience attentive and respectful of the judges most valued guests from other clubs who had to score relevant criteria and also allow time after each speech to add up their scores.

Some valued helpers in the form of time keepers Catherine and Roxanna and Ballot Counters Katie and Nisha  (her first meeting as member) to assist the chief judge Dave Longley who is our Area 33 Director.

Table topics contestants

Whilst the Judges and Ballot Counters were doing their bit Contest Chair James interviewed the contestants in the form of a show asking them questions about their speeches and how they arrived at the ideas. This was a pleasure to listen to as it is helpful for our many new members at St Paul’s Speakers to learn about what they indeed might do in their Toastmaster journey in this innovative way.

There was indeed a table topic session given by one of the most valued and advanced speakers we have at St Paul’s Speakers, David who told us a scary story about scary places.

After the break then The Contest Chair Role was handed over to Michael another well-established experienced speaker of our club.

He guided through 6 contestants who had entered the Table Topics Contest: –
And Ella

Each person needed to answer the question “Reality TV…. Is it good or bad??”
Amazing how popular ‘Love island is’ as was mentioned by a number of the entrants.

Again to fill in for the judges and ballot counters to count and verify the votes another round of table topics ensued with various challenging and thought provoking subjects.

Once all the complete the result were in ………
In anticipation we discovered
Sarah won the Humorous Contest – Well Done Sarah….

Table Topics contest Winners
3rd place – Ella
2nd place – Lewis
1st place – Jamie

Well done all……

Winners Sarah & Jamie

The winners will go onto to the Area 33 Contest, which will be in early October
with the Divisional Contest being help on Saturday 14th October.

Anyone can go along to support Sarah and Jamie in representing St Paul’s Speakers in the area competition. So watch out for a notice of the actual date. The speakers and the club will really appreciate your support.

A contest doesn’t organise itself. It needs organisation in the background to network with other clubs in order to invite judges and also to members can reciprocate to other clubs to be judges which all helps towards gaining points for the leadership award. This is a focus this year of our club.

Ice Breaker Speeches and Getting to the Point

What an amazing meeting we had last week: Four speeches, and twelve Table Topics!!!

Three of the speakers were beginning their toastmasters journey delivering their icebreaker speech. We particularly enjoy icebreaker speeches. They represent the start of a great journey for the speaker, but they provide an excellent opportunity for the rest of the club to get to know new members. We’re particularly APPRECIATIVE of our Table Topics Master Catherine. With an amazing twelve Table Topics, all the members that wanted to speak at the meeting were able to do so.

Looking forward to the next few meetings with Ricardo Cabete, District 59 winner speaking next time. After that there’s a Table Topics workshop and then the competition. All in all an exciting couple of months.

July 26th Meeting

Our second meeting in July was packed full of amazing public speaking. We heard four wonderful speeches during our meeting. Three fantastic examples of Speech #1 (the Icebreaker) and one great example of Speech #3 (Get to the Point) from the Competent Communication Manual. The first speech came from Alan Leroux, who spoke about how he came to Toastmasters from the world of science and law. The next speech came from Bashir Ali, who spoke with conviction about the journey he went on to find his long lost love for basketball. Then we heard from Alexander Drizi, who gave us a powerful speech about the Anti-Hero’s Journey and his adventures as a breakdancer.

Finally, we heard from Lydia Leung who taught us about the concept of Obliquity. It was a perfect meeting to showcase the benefits of Toastmasters.

Our Sergeant at Arms of the evening was Rakesh, who introduced guests and managed this crucial role with great confidence. Table Topic Master Catherine kept the audience and potential speakers on their toes. This week the topic was dictators. She challenged us to tap into our inner tyrants. It was easily one of the most challenging Table Topics sessions of the year! Speakers, both members and guests, all got the audience engaged.

What comes next? Getting the most out of St. Paul’s Speakers in the New Year

What comes next?

Hi everyone! Here we are in July and we’ve already gotten off to a fantastic start of the new Toastmasters Year. At the end of June, I was given the opportunity to help lead the club as our new president. We’ve got a great team, and am excited to have the been given the opportunity to serve the club over the course of the next year. We can’t wait to work with many more of of my fellow St. Paul’s Speakers!



Last Meeting!

The first meeting of July EPITOMIZED the type of high-quality gathering we hope to emulate going forward throughout the year. Epitomize was the wonderful word of the day offered by our Grammarian Kashrul, who did a great job tracking language usage throughout. Our meeting was lead by our capable and talented Toastmaster for the evening, Florian Bay, who managed to get everyone energized by leading the group in a vocal warm-up at the beginning of the meeting. One of our newest members, Anthony, did a fantastic job as Timekeeper throughout the meeting, make sure to keep everyone on task and on time.

We witnessed two wonderful speeches during our last meeting, giving us great examples of Speech #2 from the Competent Communication Manual – Organise Your Speech. The first speech came from Roxanna Zea, who spoke about the importance of learning a new instrument with a beautiful speech about her journey towards learning the violin. The next speech came from Ling Luo with a powerful speech about how sometimes communication is about much more than the words that you choose to use. It was a perfect meeting to showcase the benefits of Toastmasters and its impact on people, both as speakers and human beings.

Our Sergeant at Arms of the evening was Bashir, who introduced guests and managed this crucial role with great confidence. Our Table Topic Master Sarah kept the audience and potential speakers on their toes with a range of topics related to old sayings – challenging us to decide whether they were antiquated notions or important life lessons! Our speakers, both members and guests, all got the audience engaged.

Important Dates

Impromptu Speaking Workshop! (August 30)

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!

Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest (September 13)

Think about entering the contest or helping out as functionaries. Watch this space for more details from Chris. The event is on Wednesday, 13th September 2017.

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

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