Learning to speak with fractured narratives

Epsom Speakers Club meeting Monday 23rd April 2018

Another great evening was had by all, and the sun certainly didn’t zap anybodies energies away. We had inspirational speeches, educational slots and an area election. This together with the usual round of evaluations and topics session, again there was much laughter coming from the audience. I certainly had fun. I hope all the attendees did too.

We started with the Area Directors election, which Charlie kindly chaired. Lloyd went onto win the election, which is an enormous burden taken off me, so I am very pleased with the result. I feel that I can’t give the club the due care and attention that I ought to as President, as I am always so busy. I am sure the Area will go from strength to strength. We were also graced with the presence of our Division Director Arnaud Sartre. I spoke with him at length at the end of the meeting and he is very pleased at the growth of our area. He was also impressed at what a great and established club Epsom Speakers is. Well it is because of you. So well done.

Chris Terry started the club night with his warm up. Stepping in at the last minute, Chris gave us a lovely topic to warm up our voices about the spring and what we did in the sun. Everyone seemed to be able to speak and some of the answers were very amusing. The Toastmaster was Phoebus and his team were Rohan as the timekeeper, Sheena as the Ballot counter and Norman as the videographer.

Phoebus took to the stage like a duck to water with his role as Toastmaster. Phoebus has grown so much over the short time he has been at the club. He had a strong presence, which was welcoming and very encouraging. We had a slightly rushed agenda because of the Area Director elections, so Phoebus did well to keep us to time.

First speaker up was Fatai  with his ice breaker. What a treat that was. The main theme of the speech was about Fatai vanquishing his negative voice inside of him, and becoming the speaker he knows he can be. I loved the expression fractured narrative also. He warned us that his speech was going to be a fractured narrative, and he delivered on that promise. Next speaker was Amanda explaining the many different ways we do not fulfil our dreams. Amanda explained how we can start to do this even on a small scale. It was a very inspirational speech, and made me look back at my life and chances I took, which paid off immeasurably because I took the time to get myself ready, and then jumped in feet first, not looking back at the consequences. The third speech was an educational by Costa, or should I say ‘Constantine the Great.’ Costa spoke about the activities you can do outside the club as a Toastmaster, and this is something that I personally will be looking at the end of my Presidency at Epsom. Costa gave us a great insight into what you can do, even though his paraphrasing of the President was atrocious. So thank you Costa for sharing your experience and insight.

Next up was the evaluators. Charlie evaluated Fatai. Charlie does his evaluations without notes. He always delivers a great evaluation and seems to have the memory of an elephant, or should I say Buddhist. He never forgets. Charlie is an inspiration to all of us with this skill that he has. Patrick Ebbs went onto to evaluate Amanda. These are long standing club mates, and it showed with the banter that they have for each other. The evaluation was insightful and accurate. Patrick is a very experienced Toastmaster and I am pleased to have him as my mentor. Last up was Peter evaluating Costa. Nothing to say here then. All the evaluations were insightful and helpful to the audience to see where the speakers were good and where they could improve. Charlie went onto to win the evaluation award.

I was please to see so many guests again, and it looks like we are going to get more new members to the club very soon, which is amazing. Paul introduced them well, and I am sure they will be back.

The topics session was run by Elizabeth, and was all about quotes and sayings. How amazing that Elizabeth kept all those quotes in her head. She was saying in the car on the way home that the students no longer have to learn quotes as they can take the taxt books in. What a shame. Elizabeth ran a great session, where everyone managed to speak on their given topic. The topics line up was Anjana, Mark, Arnaud, David Jackman, Matthijs and Zane. We had a classic topic from a guest, who was David, by changing the topic slightly to something he could talk about easily. David Jackman went on to win the topics session with Anjana. It was a lively and fun session. Well done Elizabeth.

Next up, our VPE, Gillian, gave us a topics evaluation. Gillian gave us a clear and constructive evaluation of the session, with commendations and recommendations. And last up was Doris with her general evaluation of the evening, which was accurate and helpful. So a big thank you to Gillian and Doris for their contributions to the evening.

So thank you all for turning up last night. It was great fun and a lot of laughter was had by all. I certainly enjoyed myself. The next meeting will be on 14th May where Dave Goodman will be our Toastmaster. The week after that we will have our Annual General Meeting where we will be forming the next committee. Please put your applications in to myself or Gillian if you want to be on the committee. I am sure it is going to be another great year at Epsom Speakers.

Keep shining. I am immensely proud to be presiding over such a talented group of people.

Kind regards,

Peter. 🙂

El Presidente.


Learn speaking in public from a strong foundation

Epsom Speakers Club Meeting 9th April


What another great night at Epsom Speakers Club. I am so pleased to preside over such a great club. You all make the job enjoyable and educational. Amongst all the laughter and entertainment, some great lessons were learnt by all. We learnt about learning from Doris. How to build a strong foundation for yourself by expanding your knowledge from Phoebus and how to sell an expensive item on a cold call from Peter. That and the array of talent that frequented the stage, it was truly a stupendous evening.


Daniel Magill, our speaking contest winner, was Toastmaster for the evening. Daniel was very smooth and confident and made us all laugh from time to time with his timely humour. Daniel explained the whole process of how the evening was going to run in and eloquent and coherent manner. We did start a little late due to late arrivals, but we were soon into full swing, and the atmosphere started to buzz after the team was introduce. Paul was S@A and videographer. Rick Hazelden was on timing duties, and he did explain his role very well. I especially liked hearing a loud booming ‘Time’ when the minute had passed for us to fill in our evaluation sheets. Very professional. Elizabeth was ballot counter. Norman was our Grammarian, pulling us up on our um’s and errs, and giving us the word stupendous to use. And finally Dave Lane ran the warm up, where we had to recount memories of our childhood. Everyone managed to speak about this, although some of the responses seemed a little short. The warm up is a good opportunity to get you used to speaking to a whole room, so use those 20 seconds allotted for you. The more you speak in public, the easier it becomes to speak in public. It really is as simple as that.


Next came the prepared speeches. Doris was up first. She is one of our more experienced Toastmasters and is revisiting her CC manual. That is why we saw her so early on with regards to the agenda. Doris gave us a great speech giving us valuable tips on how to improve, and related the speech to her own personal journey with golf. I know golf to be a particularly frustrating game and managed to get my handicap below 20 before retiring. It has so many variations that can go wrong, so it is good to compare it to life. Next up was Phoebus, who showed us some moves with his body language speech. Phoebus is really growing as a speaker and he showed composure and presence in his speech. Also Phoebus gave us a very clear and strong message about building strong and solid foundations to build from. We as a society spend so much time in our heads, thinking, monitoring emotions and generally trying to get through our lives, we quite often forget about our bodies, which are our foundations. I am experiencing this through my practices of Ki Gong and Yoga that building a strong and solid foundation, it makes you cope with life in general much more confidently. Phoebus is so right when talking about a strong foundation in dancing, made him more confident in other ways. There are many ways to reach your destination, and not all of them are the obvious ones. Then came Peter with his attempt at selling an expensive product during a cold call in about 4 minutes. Impossible, but he gave it a go. A big thank you to Rick for being the gym owner in the role play part of this speech, then ran over time because of the in depth nature of the sales process, but it did not deter from the message ‘People buy people first and then they buy the product.’ Phoebus went on to win the best speaker award. Well done.


Next came the evaluations. Richard Balfour was a guest evaluator. He evaluated Doris and shared with us what he liked about the speech and delivered some very clear recommendations. Costa evaluated Phoebus and gave us some Greek wisdom to think about also. Again Costa did a solid evaluation of the speech giving us commendations and recommendations. And finally Penny evaluated Peter’s speech. It was quite a hard speech to evaluate as it was not really the normal speech that we see at Toastmasters but Penny did a great job. Penny managed to get two recommendations in also. All the evaluations were of a high standard. This was rightly commented on by the guests also, so well done everybody. Richard and Penny both won the best evaluation award.


After the break we had the topics session ran by Chris Terry. I am glad that Chris and Rick managed to work with each other smoothly being Tottenham and Arsenal fans respectively. We can forge peace in North London. Chris ran a great topics session. This was his first time as Topics master and I will reiterate what Amanda said. Say the topic first and then call the name out. This means that you have more people thinking about how they would respond to the topic in the room. Otherwise we all turn off and feel that we have been let off the hook. The speakers during the topics session were Patrick, Trish, Mark, Anjana, Kim, Zana, Elizabeth and Richard. The theme of the topics was advice and we certainly received plenty of that during the session. Anjana did a classic of actually questioning the topic. She was very funny and went on to win the topics award for the evening.


Amanda Zwarts evaluated the topics session. Amanda is one of our most experienced Toastmasters and managed to give us all something to think about when evaluating the participants. Good commendations and recommendations were given in Amanda’s friendly style. The Gillian came on to give us a general evaluation. Gillian managed to sum up the evening well and has really improved with her speaking in public. It was a great general evaluation, summing up a great evening.


Next meeting is April 23rd where David Goodman will be our Toastmaster for the evening. I am sure this will be another fun packed learning experience. I look forward to seeing you all thereon 23rd April. Keep interacting and speaking to the guests. All you effort and hard work in this area has really helped with keeping the membership numbers up. This in turn makes for better meetings. As I said last night, if it wasn’t for your attendance, there would be no club. So please keep up the great effort you all put in to make these evenings both fun and a learning experience. And always make the guests feel welcome. They are the potential backbone for the future of the club.


Keep shining.



El Presidente.