How to have fun on a Blue Monday

ESC Meeting 21st January 2019 

‘Blue Monday’ – but the atmosphere was fun-filled for our second meeting of the year. Costa, our temporary Sergeant at Arms, introduced the meeting and also presented the ‘Warm-up’, encouraging us to tell the meeting ‘What are you proud of?’. A really positive start!

Dave Goodman was our Toastmaster, full of wit, in charge of the evening and keeping us all entertained. Gary Argent was Timekeeper, Kim Pleatman, the videographer and guest Leon Gadson, helped out as the ballot counter.

Elizabeth Bennett was Wordmaster, this time encouraging us to think about learning another language – Latin! Far from being a dead language, Latin is making a come-back in schools and is still used in professions such as the law.

Speakers were John Drinkwater: ‘Do I need a website?’ (consider the needs of your customers, to decide), Mark Peacock  ‘Do your homework’ (an interesting discussion of communication styles: for more information, check out the Toastmasters international website), and finally, Doris Sewhoy,  exhorting all Toastmasters to ‘Keep the Commitment’. A most useful reminder of the Toastmasters Promise, which we all make when we join a Toastmasters club.

Speech evaluations were given by seasoned evaluators, Phoebus Apostolidis (John), Paul Dowdeswell (Mark), and second-timer, Matt Tuff (Doris). Congratulations to all for careful and thoughtful advice and encouragement to the speakers, and in particular to Matt, speaking like a professional. Evaluations are never easy to perform, with limited time to prepare.

After the break, I was Topics Master, clutching a bag of coins from which each lucky speaker chose one and then told a story from the year of the coin. We heard some amazing stories and learned a lot about our members and guests.

Charlie Warshawski was Topics Evaluator, as usual demonstrating his formidable powers of memory and managing to produce useful commendations and comments for all participants.

Penny Williams as General Evaluator, with her sense of quiet humour, rounded up the enjoyment and gave expert guidance to help us improve. 

We welcomed new member Kim Pleatman to the club – good to see her taking the stage to give us a ‘Table Topic’ despite nerves!

  • Best Speaker was Mark Peacock
  • Best Evaluator was Matt Tuff (congratulations, again, Matt)
  • Best Topic was from Gary Argent

And many congratulations to all, and to everyone who participated in the evening.

Our next meeting will be on Monday 4th February, when Mark Peacock is our Toastmaster. Come along, experience the warm atmosphere and forget the winter chills!

Photo by Tyler Callahan on Unsplash

Learn to share your ideas at Epsom Speakers

ESC Club meeting 18th February 2019 

It was a full house on Monday, we were pleased to welcome many guests and it was great to have them participating so fully in the meeting. Penny Williams was our able and experienced Toastmaster for the evening, leading a team of: 

John Drinkwater as our lively new Sergeant at Arms (multitasking as Timekeeper), Elizabeth Bennett as ballot counter, and Kim Pleatman as videographer. 

Willorna Brock gave us a great ‘Warm-up’, all present invited to describe their ‘bucket list’ holiday destination. Thoughts of warm and exotic places alongside attractive home locations to drive away thoughts of winter.

We had a packed program of speakers: Ian Upton, experienced speaker now starting on the ‘Pathways’ education program gave us his Icebreaker: ‘Essence by Ian’, entertaining us with hints of domestic life. Gary Argent followed with ‘Eat to live, or live to eat?’ exhorting us to cook and enjoy our own good food. Matthijs Houweling gave a thoughtful speech ‘Is having a mentor really worth it?’, emphasising the two-way relationship involved, with hints to make the most of this. Dave Goodman, finally, spoke on ‘Stylin’ it’ – great stories illustrating the places where differences in communication style can really cause problems!

Matt Tuff evaluated Ian’s speech, Phoebus Apostolidis, Gary’s speech, Paul Dowdeswell evaluated Matthijs and I evaluated Dave’s speech, all in good Toastmasters tradition, picking out what was best and giving one or two hints for improvement.

After the interval, our Topics Master was Paul van der Hagen, with a general theme of ‘groups of two or three’, asking volunteers to choose their favourites. All managed to face the challenge of impromptu speaking – congratulations especially to our guests! Always a fun session.

Mark Peacock was Topics Evaluator – his first time. It is a challenging role, to find a commendation and recommendation for each speaker, but Mark did a thoroughly professional job.

Finally, Doris Sew Hoy was General Evaluator, with many useful hints and tips to improve our meetings – I’m very grateful to her!

Winners are:

  • Best Speech: (draw between) Ian Upton and Gary Argent
  • Best Evaluation: Phoebus Apostolidis
  • Best Topic: (draw between) Bev (guest) and Charlie Warshawski

Congratulations to our winners, to everyone who helped out, and to everyone who took part!

Our next meeting will be on Monday 4th March, when the Toastmaster will be Dan Magill

At the following meeting on 18th March, we have our Club International Speech and Evaluation Contests. 

Please contact me if you would like to take part. We still have one or two spaces for speakers, and it is always interesting to take a meeting role, if you aren’t speaking.

I look forward to seeing you all next time!

Gillian Prior

Photo by Tyler Callahan on Unsplash

Become confident at public speaking

ESC Meeting Monday 4th February 2018

We had another lively meeting on Monday 4th. Mark Peacock was our Toastmaster for the evening and did a brilliant job, in charge of the proceedings. First of all we had a piece of club business – the election of our new job-sharing Sergeant at Arms, John Drinkwater. John has stepped up to help the club, and was elected unopposed. (Proposed by Costa Nicolaou, Seconded by Dave Goodman). It is wonderful to welcome John onto the committee and he gave an impressive performance tonight in his very first outing, making us all feel very much at home.

Matt Tuff was our timekeeper for the evening, Costa our ballot counter and John doubled roles as videographer.

Elizabeth Bennett was our warm-up artist, with the theme ‘Shocks and Surprises’, which led to some dramatic  and heart-warming disclosures from attendees.

Zane Vaisla gave us her speech ‘Nearly Dead’ – an interesting account of the rise, and fall, but then the rise again (in a slightly different form) of electronics giant Nokia. This was definitely food for thought. Paul van der Hagen followed with a well-researched story following the French ‘Yellow Vest’ (Maillot Jaune) protest movement. I had often wondered how and why the movement arose – here was the answer!

Phoebus Apostolidis followed with his C10 speech, extolling the need to gain confidence – a magnificent conclusion to his Competent Communicator Award, and a very clear demonstration of how far Phoebus has come since his early days in the club. It is great to see how much confidence Phoebus himself has gained in his time at Epsom Speakers!

Dave Goodman evaluated Zane’s speech, I evaluated Paul’s and Penny Williams evaluated Phoebus’ C10 – all aiming to show the club exactly what was great about the speeches, and also one or two ways that each could be improved.

After the break, Matthijs Houweling was our Topics Master, leading members and guests in impromptu speaking – as usual a challenge for each speaker but a hugely enjoyable session.

Julia Belling was Topics Evaluator, rising gamely to the challenge of finding a commendation and recommendation for each speaker, as well as the Topics Master himself.

Finally, Charlie Warshawski shared with us his valuable experience as the General Evaluator for the evening, looking at everything that had not yet been evaluated, giving us all hints and tips to improve future meetings.

Winners were:
Best speaker: Phoebus Apostolidis
Best Evaluator: Penny Williams
Best Topic: joint winners  (new member) Philip Smale and (guest) Joe.

Our Annual Club International Speech and Evaluation Contests will be held on Monday 18th March. All members are eligible to enter the Evaluation Contest, all who have achieved C6 or Level 2 in Pathways can enter the International Speech Contest. Please contact me, to enter!

The next club meeting will be on Monday 18th February, when Penny Williams will be our Toastmaster – I look forward to seeing you all there!

Gillian Prior,

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash