Everyone is a winner – January 23rd

Membership at ESC has steadily grown throughout this Toastmaster’s year, with a total of 9 new members joining since July last year. At Monday night’s meeting, we welcomed our latest recruit, Paul van der Hagan, bringing our current membership to 35. It was good to welcome back Stephen Taylor who’s been on “parental leave” since the birth of his son, Flynn, in December.

Dave Lane aptly led the proceedings as TM for the evening, demonstrating flexibility in negotiating a few amendments to the Agenda after a few last minute changes as one speaker was unable to make it due to illness. Charlie stood in for the appointed Time-Keeper Rowan who was running late due to work commitments, Sheena took control of the Video-camera, and our VP Education, Peter Parker, got to use his maths skills as Ballot Counter.

Dave reminded us that Toastmasters is more than just about developing confidence and competence in public speaking. Holding up the CL (Competent Leadership) manual, he highlighted the many lessons and guidance in that manual which all can benefit from. So, remember to bring both manuals to all meetings as they contain valuable reference information for giving feedback, etc.

Elizabeth got our vocal chords warmed up with her question: what type of weather do you like the most? A typically British topic which everyone was able to speak about – and rather surprisingly, many members love the cold, freezing and frosty days we’ve been having lately. Elizabeth, well-prepared as ever, concluded her Warm Up session with this advice: “Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot, whatever the weather, you must weather the weather whether you like it or not.” Here, here, Elizabeth – wise words from a wise woman.

Sonia was our first speaker with her C4 entitled “Not your Average Day at the Office”. She mesmerised us with tales from her time in Sierra Leone delivering workshops on child protection to aid workers. Her evaluator, Bohwon, noted how much progress Sonia’s made as a speaker, and suggested some recommendations for future improvement. One was to provide more context as to what her “average day in the office was”, so that the audience could appreciate just how “not average” this tale was. Remembering to provide the “context” for your speech is a recommendation we can all take on board, so that the audience can better connect with and understand what you’re talking about.

In his C5 speech, “The Flying Spittle”, the name of his first car which he bought in 1973 in Bath, Paul Dowdeswell demonstrated his romantic side. He spoke with great fondness about his love affair with Nellie, his Flying Spittle. Unfortunately, it was a rather one-sided love affair, with Nellie trying to kill him on several occasions. As Paul’s evaluator, Costa commended Paul on achieving the C5 objectives of using body language to help express his message and speech purpose. One recommendation which Paul will no doubt continue to work on is to simply pause more, instead of using filler words like “um” and “ah”. Gillian, our Ah-Counter for the evening, awarded Paul with the speaker with most “um’s” and “ah’s”.

With the last minute withdrawal of our third speaker, Kevin Perkins, due to a bout of food poisoning just before the start of the meeting, Justin Pybus, who had been assigned as Kevin’s evaluator, took up my request to do an “impromptu” 5-7 minute speech instead. Justin loves challenges, and delivered a C3 speech entitled “Be Honest With Yourself”. He started his speech by giving us context, explaining how he’d come to develop this speech – last minute – and how it was based on something he’d heard on the radio that morning.

Well done, Justin, for stepping up and out of your comfort zone. He was rewarded with a very comprehensive evaluation, spear-headed by Charlie Warshawski who facilitated commendations and recommendations from all of us in the audience, in addition to his own observations. Charlie’s orchestration won him Best Evaluator, with the help of everyone, thus explaining why everyone was included in the final “photo” of winners for the evening.

Our resident anaesthetist and Table Topics master for the evening, Dr Aishi Lim, exposed his vulnerable side as he asked Topics speakers to give him advice on a number of personal issues – e.g. “how to stop his addiction to Facebook” and “what to say when you break wind”… Eight speakers spoke, including our two guests, Inder and Carla. There was stiff competition for Best Topics speaker, with our first time guest, Carla, clinching the ribbon with her eloquent story of following her 9 year old’s advice on “how to prepare to speak in public” – just think of yourself as a lion full of courage.

Lloyd and I decided to do the Topics Evaluator role together, with each giving a commendation and recommendation for alternate Topics’ speaker. This was Lloyd’s first time as TE, and it’s be a while since I did this role, so tackling this role jointly meant we gave ourselves less pressure, and hopefully, gave each Topics speaker more quality feedback.

Amanda, as General Evaluator, rounded the evening with her observations of another stimulating evening full of learning, highlighted by the level of energy and buzz during the break as everyone chatting and connecting.

Finding opportunities to do things differently is easy when there’s a supportive, friendly, no blame culture – which is what ESC is about. So let’s continue to experiment and innovate, and push beyond our comfort zones.

Best wishes for the upcoming Year of the Rooster, starting on Saturday,
ESC President

HOW TO! – Fulfil the role of Toastmaster

Review the grid and contact those on this by email immediately following the previous meeting to ascertain they are still able to undertake their role and if anyone on the programme drops out, work with the VPE to obtain a replacement. Check by telephone over the weekend immediately prior to your evening and get the speech titles and relevant information to assist with your introductions. Print sufficient programmes and also the evaluation/voting paper ready for the meeting. Prepare a script so that you include all necessary areas, i.e. asking the timekeeper to explain the lights, when to call for timekeepers report, calling for voting etc.

Run the various sections to time working with the timekeeper. Illness of any participant on the night is unavoidable; this is your time to shine and to keep things moving to time, perhaps by including a role not on the programme.

For speakers, ask the Evaluators to give the objectives and the timing for the relevant speech.

Give your introduction and finish saying, “With a Speech Entitled (title) Please Welcome …..(name)” Remember always state the name LAST.

Always remember to shake hands as participants arrive at the stage and as they finish and leave.

Prior to speeches and evaluations, split the room and request each group to complete a Speech Feedback sheet for a particular speaker/evaluator. Allow one minute for this. If time is tight, allow one minute after all speeches have been concluded and the same for evaluators.

Following speeches and evaluations call for timings and ask members to cast their vote for Best Speech that met their objectives and then for Best Evaluator. Evaluators are also speeches therefore give them an introduction and welcome then by name, remembering to state the name LAST.

At the break say what the restart time will be and ask the Sergeant at Arms to call members back at that time.
After the break introduce the Topics Master and shake hands. You do not give any indication of their theme as this is their session. When they conclude, shake hands again.

Prior to introducing the General Evaluator say that ‘this is your final duty of the evening’ and ask the General Evaluator to hand back to the President.

Plan well and the evening will go smoothly. Remember, don’t just rely on email contact, telephone and speak to each person to ensure all those on the programme are completely aware of their particular involvement during your evening.

From Speakeasy 193 – April 2015

An impassioned, entertaining and motivating meeting – January 9th

Kia Ora (Maori for hello) fellow Toastmasters, and a belated Happy New Year!

What a wonderful way to start 2017 – a truly inspirational meeting last night led by TM for the evening, Patrick Ebbs. Despite the 24 hour tube strike, the Rose Room was filled to capacity with 30 attending, including many guests and our newest member to join ESC, Phoebus Apostolidis.

Tom Beattie’s Warm Up was a super topic, helping to ignite positive energy, enabling everyone to speak and discover insights about each other: who inspired you the most in 2016 and why?

Dave Lane, who joined ESC last month and who is also a member of PMI Toastmasters in London, re-delivered his curiously entitled C1: How to Start Worrying and Stop Living. We learned a lot about Dave, as he shared with us his story of how he finally broke free from his “prison” … to become free … at last!

Our second speaker was Charlie, with a 20 minute Advance Speech from The Professional Speaker’s manual entitled “Potentially Speaking”. In usual Warshawski style (which won him Best Speaker), Charlie’s impassioned, entertaining and motivating performance on how to develop our full potential was eagerly received. I’m going to follow his advice: start doing (more) outrageous things, and develop that critical skill of bounce-back by learning to love failing – yes, really.

Well done to Rohan Nallanickan, our third speaker, for making it in time to deliver his C2 despite being stranded in London by the strike for several hours.

Our evaluators Lloyd Griffiths, Dave Goodman and Adam Jones gave their considered and constructive feedback. This was Lloyd’s first time as an evaluator, and he give a sterling performance, within the three minute time limit, securing him the Best Evaluator ribbon for the evening.

After a short break, Ian led the Table Topics session on the theme of … New Year resolutions … asking each speaker to choose between two alternatives e.g. go to the gym or eat less; holiday of a lifetime or stay-cation. Congratulations to Kat, a first time guest, who managed her nerves superbly, speaking fluently about her many failed attempts to learn both music and languages, and choosing instead to focus on public speaking – winning her the Best Topics ribbon.

Penny, as Topics Evaluator, and Aishi as General Evaluator, rounded off the meeting with their impromptu speeches, giving us their well observed commendations and recommendations.

Our next meeting is on Monday 23 January, with Dave Lane as TM. Dave will be emailing all to confirm roles.

ESC President