Start your public speaking path this autumn

Old friends and new came together for our first autumn meeting – a lively session and we were delighted to welcome many guests. Contributions from everyone in the room added to the fun and excitement, the meeting ably run by experienced Toastmaster Patrick Ebbs.

Fatai was our job-sharing Sergeant at Arms tonight, keeping us all in order, organising the room and welcoming guests. Norman was our Timekeeper, Gary, the Videographer and Elizabeth our Ballot Counter.

Willorna gave us a topical theme for the ‘Warm-up’ – what is your favourite season? Mine is autumn – ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, as Elizabeth reminded us – but answers ranged right around the calendar, with our past-President, Ian Upton, declaring himself ‘a man for all seasons’!

Lloyd entertained us with ‘Strategies for pre-emptive Mid-air Collision Avoidance in Budgerigars’ – fascinating insights into how the natural world organises itself, and he even had the T-shirt to go with it.

Doris told a gripping story of her first evening at Toastmasters – I think everyone in the room could empathise with her feelings of nervousness and be inspired by how far she’s come since those far-off days (7 years ago).

Penny gave us some insights into how to make your relationship with your boss work really well for YOU! We were asked to consider what interests our manager, what is important and even, how do they prefer to communicate? There are lessons in there for everyone: ‘The art of communication is the language of leadership’

After three great speeches, our evaluators bravely faced the challenge of giving helpful comments. Amanda evaluated Lloyd’s speech, showing us the skill with which he had transformed a dry academic paper into a story for his audience.

Mark showed us the many excellent qualities of Doris, as a speaker, and Phoebus gave a considered analysis of Penny’s presentation, encouraging her to ‘keep your inner smile’ (we all appreciate Penny’s lovely, warm smile).

After the break, Dave Goodman ran an expert Table Topics session, with the intriguing theme of ‘little jobs’. Many members and guests took part, Anjana on the little jobs she looks forward to (Face book?), Ian on a job he had been putting off (‘flushed with success’ – he finally managed to replace the toilet seat). Dan Magill evaluated the session, giving helpful comments to all participants.

Finally, our hard-working VPE, Costa Nicolaou was General Evaluator for the whole evening.

Winners were:
Best speech, joint first:  Lloyd and Doris
Only two evaluators were within time, so no vote on this.
Best Topic: Ian Upton

Next Meeting   17th September:  Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests

And  finally, an Important Reminder:
On Saturday October 6th there is a Special Workshop on Story-Telling and Table Topics
At Surbiton Speakers from 1 – 5 pm

This will be a really special afternoon – I’ve booked my ticket, just £5. If you’re interested, book quickly, as the organisers will be opening ticket sales to the whole of London Toastmasters later this week.

See you soon,
Gillian Prior

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

Prioritise your Public Speaking Skills

Prioritise your Public Speaking Skills

What a great and energetic evening  hosted by our serial visitor, bubbly and ebullient  Anjana Roy as Toastmaster. We were again hosted in the air-conditioned room, so thanks again to Dave Goodman for arranging.

Amada Zwarts was our stand in Sergeant at Arms tonight. As Gillian was away, representing Epsom Speakers club at her son’s wedding in Poland, I was the stand in president for the evening. I welcomed the members, and the many guests in the room. I then gave a very brief overview and history of Toastmasters and its founder Ralph C. Smedley, and how the format of the program used at EPSOM Speakers club is used at clubs all over the work.

Vikram, a second time guest took on the task as videographer and explained to us the reason for videoing the speaking roles in the club. Zana was Timekeeper, and Rohan our ballot counter.

This TM year we have introduced a new Wordmaster role, where a word is presented, its meaning described and its origins explained. Elizabeth took on this role for the first time, and explained to us the origin and meaning of two words that are similar, Royal and Regal, and it’s correct usage.

Matt Tutt, a first timer in the role, led us in a great warm-up session, simply asking  ‘What makes you happy?’  Lots of interesting and varied things make our members happy. Great first time session Matt. Well Done.

Then onto the formal part of the program.

Willorna gave her ‘Icebreaker’ speech, telling us about herself and her life from UK to Sierra Leone and back again, and how she went from the corporate world to running her own HR Business.  Great speech and well done on completing your Icebreaker. Nice to see and meet your son also, who came along to support his mom. Hope we see him again.

Matthijs spoke about communication styles. An interesting and thought provoking subject, and I think we all learnt something new about communication styles.

Chris spoke about being effective. He explained how tasks can be either important/unimportant or urgent/not urgent, and how to prioritise each. What should be done right away, those that can wait and those that can be rejected. A good skill to have, especially these days when most of us are task heavy and time light.

Finally, Dan gave us an entertaining speech about naming a room at the school he attended and described how his contribution to naming the room displeased the Headmaster. He was hoping that the school would invoke the spirit of ‘I am Spartacus’ and that everyone has a bit of Spartacus in them,  and finished by telling us how much Epsom members supported him, and that he has a bit of Epsom members in him, except for a few! Who knew that Dan was such a ‘rebel’ in his youth.

Dave G evaluated Willorna, Paul Hickson evaluated Matthijs, Paul van der Hagen evaluated Chris and Charlie evaluated Dan.

All the evaluator’s gave good evaluations and gave each speaker excellent praise and provided good recommendations and feedback.

After the break we had a really fun Topics session led by Phoebus as Topics Master. All the speakers  had a choice between two items, and all speakers spoke well and there was a mixture of club members and guests taking part. Well done to all for giving us an entertaining session, and for Phoebus for making the session ‘easy’ for all the participants.

Amanda gave an evaluation of the Topics session with a commendation and recommendation for all the speakers, and the evening was rounded off by Doris as our General Evaluator.

Winners were:  Dan for Best Speech, Charlie for Best Evaluation and our guest Roy for Best Topic.

The next meeting will be Monday September 3rd, when Patrick Ebbs will be our Toastmaster, and Gillian will be back as President.

See you all then

Costa Nicolaou

Photo by Dariusz Sankowski on Unsplash

Build your public speaking confidence

ESC Club meeting 6th August 2018

We had an inspirational evening, hosted ably by our Area Director, Lloyd as Toastmaster. Thanks are due to Dave Goodman for arranging a nice, comfortable air-conditioned room.

Chris Terry was our Sergeant at Arms tonight, giving us a rousing start, and Fatai our very dedicated videographer, dealing with teething troubles of the new camera. Willorna was Timekeeper, and Gary our ballot counter – both bravely taking on new roles.

Zane led us in a thought-provoking warm-up ‘Where would you like to be?’ Imaginations roamed from ‘exactly where I am’ to outer space.

Matt then gave his ‘Icebreaker’ speech, telling us about himself and his reasons for joining Toastmasters. I never tire of hearing a first speech – there are always fascinating insights into the individual, and this was a very polished performance – well done, Matt! Putting Abe Lincoln in the shade is a high objective, very best of luck.

Dave Lane spoke about confidence – a very interesting subject and I would like to hear more on some of the themes he explored. His ideas ranged from active listening for better communication, through visualisation techniques used in mindfulness, to just the simple idea of not setting  limits on what you think you can achieve.

Finally, Amanda gave us an inspirational speech ‘Filling our buckets’ – don’t let life get you down, take courage and happiness from wherever you can find it. So good to hear Amanda give a prepared speech again, this time within the Pathways education system.

Penny evaluated Matt’s speech, telling us exactly what was great about it, with some helpful pointers for the future.

I evaluated Dave Lane’s speech, and Mark Peacock gave a very polished evaluation of Amanda’s speech – so hard to realise that this was his very first evaluation speech.

After the break we had a really fun Topics session led by Julia as Topics Master. The theme was Abba and their songs, and our guests and members revelled in ‘Money, Money, Money’, ‘Waterloo’ and even ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme a man (or woman?) after midnight’.

Doris gave an exemplary evaluation of the Topics session, and Dave Goodman was our General Evaluator, rounding off the evening.

Winners were:  Amanda Zwarts for Best Speech, Penny Williams for Best Evaluation and our guest John (hopefully, soon to be a member?) for Best Topic.

We meet next on Monday August 20th, when Amanda Zwarts will be our Toastmaster, and Costa Nicolaou, our hard-working VPE will represent me as President. (I will be away in Poland for our son’s wedding!)

See you soon

Gillian Prior

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Expand your horizons with Public Speaking

Epsom Speakers

ESC Club meeting 16th July 2018

Another fantastic, fun, lively summer meeting – Costa’s first as our new VP Education and definitely Julia’s first outing as Toastmaster of the evening. (Well done, Julia, for your determination, organisation and faultless presentation and leadership). Fatai was Sergeant at Arms this week, and took on board the advice to be gentler with the gavel! Well done Fatai, we appreciate your dedication, energy and good humour.

We were joined by a large number of guests, who took the plunge to join in and add to the entertainment. Timekeeper was Anjana (a last-minute recruit) and Fatai also took on the roles of Videographer and Ballot counter.

Dan Magill got us going with a great warm-up – everyone happily joining in.

We had four prepared speeches: Zane gave her Icebreaker speech, telling us about the challenges for ‘Millenials’ and the importance of soft skills such as communication. Costa told us about the ‘New Me’, using humour and honesty to persuade us to change our lives. Mark opened up a new world, the psychology of ‘pricing’, with fascinating illustrations of human irrationality. And finally, Paul Dowdeswell gave the club his C10 speech ‘Goals’, with a call to us to improve our public speaking, inspired by the famous Gettysburg Address.

Dave Goodman evaluated Zane’s speech, noting her ‘business class dress for a business class speech’. Doris evaluated Costa, with humour and sympathy. Amanda evaluated Mark , with skill and insight, and Chris, our other job-sharing Sergeant at Arms bravely gave an evaluation of Paul’s C10.

After the break, it was great to see Paul Hickson back on our stage, in charge of the Table Topics session. He encouraged us to speak ‘extemporaneously’, definitely word of the day for me.  Many of our guests took part, and Dan Magill took on a second role as Topics evaluator to help participants improve their skills.

Our Area Director, Lloyd Griffiths, was General Evaluator for the whole meeting, rounding off the evening.

Winners were:

Best speech – Paul Dowdeswell

Best Evaluation – Doris

Best Table Topic – Angela (one of our guests!)

The next meeting will be on August 6th, when Lloyd will be Toastmaster.

Kind regards

Gillian Prior

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

Learn to speak in public with courage and openness

Epsom Speakers Club Monday 21st May 2018

It was another great evening at Epsom Speakers Club. I thought the theme of the evening was really about courage and conquering your fears and preconceptions about public speaking. We do have a talented group of people at the club. That was on show this meeting with some thought provoking speeches, astute evaluations and interesting table topics answers. On the whole there was much laughter again. The whole room seemed alive with energy. I feel this makes Monday evening at Epsom Speakers Club something to look forward to.

We had a change of schedule for the meeting this week. Patrick Ebbs kindly agreed to chair the Annual General Meeting. Patrick is a very experienced Toastmaster and handled the proceedings very professionally. The session was thorough but was over on time, and everybody seemed happy with the result. I look forward to organising where the generous donation we received from George Hollis will go with the subcommittee. The subcommittee will then put the proposal forward as to where the money may go. I am pleased to see new members taking on committee roles also. It helped me with my leadership skills by taking on these roles. I was not going to do that when I joined Toastmasters as I was focused on learning to speak in public, but the roles have developed me not only as a speaker, but a leader also. The change in me is amazing. I hope it is as fruitful for all of you.

Costa was the Toastmaster and handled the role admirably. We had a good explanation of all the roles. Paul was the timekeeper, and Lloyd the videographer. Both stepped in at the last minute. A big thank you on behalf of the club, as these are very important roles. Elizabeth was the ballot counter for the evening. The whole team performed well and made for a smooth running of the meeting. I would reiterate Charlie’s general evaluation that when introducing the speakers, more emphasise is needed to lift the room for the arrival of the next speaker. Clapping of hands is not only encouraging for the next speaker up, but also stimulates the acupressure points on the hands when you clap. This helps to increase the energy in the body. It is truly a win win situation when we clap the next speaker onto stage.

Next up the speakers. We had Mark Peacock delivering his C1 on his first Pathways project. A great insightful speech about his journey through the corporate world and why he ended up at Toastmasters. I am sure Mark will re find his presentation skills as he performed admirably last night. Dave Goodman also delivered his C1 from his Pathways project. Dave gave us a little insight into his upbringing and how much fun he had with his imagination as a child. Yes I remember those days when imagination was used for play purposes. Unfortunately this is slowly diminishing with the use of more and more technology. With regards to the people I know with children, I can see the use of imagination coming back now, where children will once again explore their imagination to create a happy childhood. As Dave quite rightly pointed out, it is not about the money, it is about the attitude. And lastly, hamming it up in the best possible way, was Daniel Magill. Dan told us a story that was using the three little pigs tale as his theme. It was a very well thought out speech, with some toe curling humour in it. Dan is giving Dave Goodman a run for his money with the jokes in his speeches. It was a wonderful speech about courage. I have met so many people in my short life with so many different stories. We all seem to suffer from fear and lack of courage, and Dan addressed these issues in a very comprehensive way. The courage to keep going no matter what the circumstances is imbedded deep within all of us. It is part of our natural instincts for survival. Dan’s speech was inspirational as he encouraged us to use your courage to go where you want to go. Thank you Dan for your insight into the subject. Dan went onto win best speaker for the evening.

Next up was the evaluations. Phoebus evaluated Mark. Dave Lane evaluated Dave Goodman and Amanda evaluated Dan. All evaluations were very good. We could all learn from what each evaluator was saying, though some of them went into the first person, which is a little exclusive. Evaluations should be performed either using the speakers name or in the third person. This makes it open to the audience also. Toastmasters is all about evaluations and we had a real treat this meeting. Unfortunately there was not a vote on this part of the evening as one of the evaluators was so into his role, he went over time.

After the break came the Table Topics. Good to see Justin back at the club and taking on this  role. Justin explained the role well but omitted to let us know the timings. The subject was the weather and what an set of questions he gave us. The participants were Anjana, Peter, Amanda, Chris, Dave G, Mark and Charlie. We had some fun, some wisdom and some insights into people’s views on the weather. It was another lively session so well done to everyone who took part. David Goodman and Chris Terry went onto win the topics session.

The session was evaluated by Doris. Doris gave us one of her best evaluations to date and showed us how to evaluate the topics session. With a good commendation and recommendation to all the speakers, Doris made this tricky role look easy. Charlie went onto give us his general evaluation of the evening and what a cracker. No notes again, and a commendation and recommendation for everyone. Charlie has run a memory workshop for us in the past. I am sure if asked nicely he will run this workshop again for us so we can aspire to have such a great memory. We then had the Presidents closing remarks who couldn’t even remember what month we are in!!!!!!!!

I had great fun again. I hope you all did too. Laughter is so good for you, it is refreshing to find it in a learning environment, which can sometimes be a little stuffy and rigid. I am glad to say that we do not have that problem at Epsom Speakers Club.

Until next time. Keep shining.

Kind regards,


El Presidente.

Speaking in public with wise words

Epsom Speakers Club Monday 14th May 2018

We were blessed with so many wise words and quotes last night, I felt I was at an inspirational seminar. From Mark Twain to Yoda himself, we had an array of quotes during the topics session, and some inspirational speeches about change and realisations, as people across the world slowly wake up to the situation we find ourselves in as a species. It is that curiosity and questioning that I love in people and would encourage this kind of meeting every time. I left the meeting with such a grateful heart for such an experience. Long may it continue.

The evening started well with Paul D setting up the room and introducing the President. Then David Goodman stepped up to the plate as Toastmaster for the evening, and started with a joke about IKEA. We then went onto experience jokes about slamming sliding doors among many others flowing out of David. It really was a fun evening and Dave did a great job keeping the whole meeting running smoothly. David introduced his team asfollows. Fatai as timekeeper, who gave us a fabulous run down on why we use a timing system at Toastmasters. Mathijs was the videographer and Phoebus the Ballot counter. They all contributed to a great evening. And Sheena opened up the floor with her warm up about whether you would like to travel backward or forward in time to meet your past or future ancestors. It was a very interesting warm up and everybody managed to speech about the subject. Well done Sheena. What I would say is make sure you finish up your session with a definite ending.

Then came the speakers. First up was Rick Hazelden with his C2. The theme was really the theme of the evening, which was change. Rick performed a great C2 and really is growing steadily as a public speaker. Next up was Norman Keane speaking about plastic. It was an interesting speech and Norman did open up and say he had changed his view on plastic, even while being in the business. Plastic is a problem, but it has its uses. Norman did make us aware of many of the problems about plastic, but one of my major concerns are the endocrine disruptors that are sometimes added to plastic. Paul Dowdeswell gave us a very heart rendering story about love and rescue. I am sure Paul and I would have set up an animal sanctuary if we knew each other when we were younger as I was always rescuing animals out my cats and dogs mouths. Paul made some lovely points about how we can learn so much about ourselves with our interactions with animals. Charlie gave us an educational slot about growing the area. Again Charlie was upbeat and positive and shared with us the rise, fall and projected rise of the area with regards to Toastmaster clubs. You know you are going to get some good speaking on show when Charlie speaks, and he didn’t disappoint.  I did here Charlie use an Errr though during his educational. Come on Charlie, standards are slipping.

At Toastmasters, everything is evaluated. Amanda Zwarts stepped up to evaluate Rick. Amanda gave us a wonderful evaluation and I am sure not only Rick, but we all learnt from this. Amanda was very encouraging of Rick and his progress and I couldn’t agree more. Then we had Lloyd evaluating Norman. He used a river as an analogy of the flow of the speech. Lloyds evaluation was very analytical and Norman did hear what Lloyd felt was good about his speech and what he could improve on. And lastly Julia Belling evaluated Paul D. This was Julia’s first evaluation and I felt she did a super job. Although you could see Julia was a little nervous, she managed to give great commendations and recommendations. Julia keeps getting better and better as a speaker and a Toastmaster. The best evaluator went to Amanda.

After the break we had the topics session. Mark Peacock stepped up for his first topics session and what a cracker. Mark chose inspirational quotes that made us all think. Mark managed to get all participants to speak for over a minute so he set up the ideal situation with the right themes. That is the idea of Topics by getting people to talk off the cuff and this was achieved. The participants were Peter, Dave G, Phoebus, Anjana, Gillian, Rohan, Sharon and Julia. It was a great session with many inspiring and wise words given to the audience. Anjana won the topics competition again. Dan Magill evaluated the topics session and what a great job Dan did. He managed to find a recommendation for all the participants together with many commendations. The topics evaluator role is a difficult role and Dan made this look easy. Dan is also improving very quickly as a speaker and Toastmaster. He does look like he has been doing this for years.

Finally we had a change from the agenda, where Doris stepped in and gave us her general evaluation. Doris decided to work herself harder by running down her evaluation from finish to beginning. Doris is a very experienced Toastmaster and this showed with her general evaluation. This is also a very tough role and Doris did make this look easy. Well done Doris.

Overall I was very impressed by this whole evening with the standard always rising at Epsom Speakers. What I really enjoy about the rapid improvement is that we do have many Advanced speakers at the club, and they can’t rest on their laurels. Also the wisdom and knowledge shared with us was also very impressive. There were also many laughs to be had over the course of the evening and laughter is the best way of clearing many things, and nerves and fear take a back seat when there is much laughter. I love to hear it and be around it, as we do live in very difficult times as a species and it is good to let off steam with laughter. So keep smiling and keep laughing.

I will see you all soon.

Kind regards,

Peter. 🙂

El Presidente.

Reeds School Awards Night 27 May 2018

I am sure that most Epsom Speakers Club members are aware of the Youth Leadership Programme we are currently running at Reeds School in Cobham. This has been running for a number of years now. We have currently just had a change of Teachers who are running the scheme. They are being guided by Patrick Ebbs, my mentor and long term member of Epsom Speakers. Every year they have an awards night and this year, I was invited as President of Epsom Speakers club to attend the gala evening. It was a black tie event. This is usually a little too formal for me, but I did dress smartly and enjoyed the evening.

There were 39 pupils who were on the programme this year. This is a slight increase from last year. This is looking likely to grow to over 50 in the next year for the programme. It is going from strength to strength. All pupils who are members of the programme managed to speak, and I was impressed by all of them. It took many hours before home time, but I felt suitably entertained by the talent on show and what they had to say. We even had some parents performing speeches and evaluations. It really did feel like a community affair. All the pupils showed their gratitude to Epsom Speakers for what we have done for them. We have helped all of them with their public speaking skills and made them look at different aspects of their lives. I was particularly interested in some of the contents of the speeches that were delivered.

There were two speakers in particular that I remember very well. One boy stood up and spoke about his battle against his suicidal thoughts. He spoke calmly and articulately about his turmoil. He also pointed out that he did not want for anything, and that was not the problem. As more and more pressure is put onto human beings in this very traumatic time in human history, we are going to see  more and more of this from all levels of our society. It was very refreshing to see a young man being able to speak so articulately about his problems and what he was doing to turn his life around. You could feel from his passion that this was not a cry for help. He was genuinely trying to get to the bottom of his suicidal feelings and resolve them.

Another speaker spoke about the recent death of her mother and how she was coping with that. Again she spoke very articulately about her feelings and the speech was received in a heartfelt manner. Again it was very refreshing to hear someone speaking very clearly and concisely about how they felt, and what they were doing to rectify the problems. I was very impressed by both of these speeches, as it is really what I try to tell everybody to do when speaking in public, which is speak from the heart. These two speeches were particularly heart driven and I did feel compassion and even empathy to both of them as I have also suffered of losing my parents early on in my life and have had suicidal thoughts in the past.

We also had speakers who were very materialistic and flippant, to speakers who wanted to address the inequalities of our society between the haves and the have not’s. All the speakers were interesting in their own way, and I did learn much from this very diverse group of students. Times they are a changing, and I can see little glimmers of  hope appearing everywhere in a very harsh world. There were many glimmers of hope from the speakers at Reeds on Friday evening.

Both Patrick and myself were celebrated at the end when we gave out certificates to all the attendees of the programme. I was delighted to meet all of them and hope they go on to make this world a better place. The food was good and the company too. We were welcomed like heroes and we kept the profile of Epsom Speakers Club high in the eyes of the Cobham community. If you haven’t been on a Reeds night, and are interested, please speak to Patrick as he will organise for you to attend one of their meetings. It is a very good experience and also one for helping you learn and grow as a speaker and a leader. I am sure Patrick will welcome a proactive approach to Reeds night if you approach him first. You also get a great meal thrown in too. Who could resist?

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.

New ways to learn how to speak in public

Epsom Speakers meeting 19th March 2018

First of all, thanks for everyone braving a bitterly cold night to come along to our meeting on Monday evening. I must admit, I poked my nose out the door and nearly turned back when I saw two penguins happily walking along the street. I knew it was bitterly cold from the biting cold on my nose, and how comfortable the penguins looked. Of course I am joking, but it is all of you who make the effort to come to the club each meetings that makes the club such a success. So thank you for making the effort. We are all appreciative of your efforts for all of our learning experiences.

We had a very experienced Toastmaster running the meeting. Amanda Zwarts was the Toastmaster for the evening and kept the energy going for what was promised to be a very informative evening. There were many hiccups at the start as we were not sure what time the general evaluator was going to turn up, and one of the evaluators couldn’t make it, among other problems. Apart from all of these problems, the evening ran smoothly. Amanda’s team did a great job. Mark was the timekeeper and kept us to time. This is a very important aspect of refining your points to a specified time. Paul D took on the videographer role, which he jumped in at the last minute to take on. Julia was ballot counter and was made redundant at the beginning of the meeting, as there were not enough speakers to vote for. It is was quite a choppy sea at the beginning of the journey of the evening, but these problems were overcome very quickly.

Fatai then took on the warm up. We were asked about presents for Mothers day and everybody managed to say something on the subject so it was a good warm up. The purpose of the warm up is to give people the opportunity to speak for 20 seconds and try to make it as easy as possible for the members. Fatai did this well.

Then came the speakers. First up we saw Matthijs with his ice breaker speech. It was great to hear about his midlife crisis, and how he is coping with it. Matthijs spoke a little quickly, but this is understandable with an ice breaker, as I am sure the nerves were tingling. It was great to hear him speak about himself. Well done for completing your ice breaker. Second up we had Charlie with an advanced speech on Toastmasters. Charlie is one of our better speakers and went through all the ways Toastmasters can help you with your quest to become a better speaker. Even our more experienced Speakers can draw a blank, and Charlie did lose his train of thought during this speech. We can all learn on how Charlie calmly waited until the thread of the speech came back to him, and then carried on as if nothing happened. It was a very good example of staying calm if you lose your place. It happens to the best of us, so if you are new to Toastmasters and public speaking, you need not worry. Your confidence will grow the more you get up on stage and speak.

The evaluators were Phoebus, who was evaluating Matthijs. Phoebus has improved with his public speaking and evaluation skills quietly and confidently over the months he has been a member. Phoebus gave us a very good evaluation of Matthijs. Phobeus showed us he was listening and observing the speech well. I am sure we all learnt much from this evaluation. Doris stepped in and took on Charlie’s evaluation. Doris being an ex President and one of our most experienced Toastmasters gave us a great evaluation. She did give a few recommendations as well as many commendations. Again we learnt much for Doris’s evaluation.

We then took a break, which Paul organised the refreshments so well. Instead of the usual topics session we had an educational on Pathways. Filip graced us with his presence instead of attending his new clubs International speech contest. A big thank you to Filip for doing this. He presented an easily understandable presentation on Pathways. Although some of the processes are a little harsh on some of the older members, I do understand why it has to be that way. Any change can be hard to take, as we are all  conditioned to be creatures of habit, but I feel that this change is going to be a good one. Club meetings will not change. What you have to do for your educational progress is going to change though. I am here to help, as well as any other members of the committee. So if you have any questions please just ask. You have all been sent the log in details to the website so go ahead and get stuck in.

David Goodman gave us a great general evaluation to end the evening. He ran through the events of the evening well and gave us all something to think about with his commendations and recommendations. So thank you David. David was also very positive about the change of education system we are all facing and was prepared to start again on his Toastmasters journey. Great inspiration from David there. Thank you.

Our next meeting is on 9th April when Dan Magill will be our Toastmaster. Please reply to him as soon as you can for your roles. It is his first time and he is hot off the experience of winning our International Speech Competition, so I am sure it is going to be a great night. I will see you then.

Keep shining.

Peter. 🙂

El Presidente.