Epsom Speakers Contest Night – 5th March 2018

We had a galaxy of stars at our contest night on Monday! So many eager contestants that it really was hard to fit in everyone who wanted to speak. But we did try. Justin Pybus and I were ‘newbies’ to organising a contest, but backed by the expertise of long-standing club members, and with the enthusiastic assistance of newer members too, with a wonderful team effort, we got there. And not forgetting those staunch Toastmasters from other clubs who were willing to head out on a dark winter’s night and give a hand. This is what I really love about Toastmasters – the community working together to create something fantastic!

So thank you to everyone who helped, before, or during the contest. Our timekeepers, Rohan and Matthijs, ballot counters Elizabeth and Paul Dowdeswell (taking time out from his Sergeant-at-arms job), videographer, Rohan, ushers, Paul Hickson and Mark Peacock. To Elizabeth for her warm-down, evoking memories of snow. To our two contest chairs, Doris Sew Hoy and Paul van der Hagen, keeping control over the proceedings and each lending their own personal touch. To Lloyd for valuable advice beforehand and help with printing, trophies and publicity. Very much to Patrick Ebbs, our chief judge, and to all the other judges, from ESC and Mole Valley clubs (you know who you were, though you weren’t supposed to let on, at the time).

And so to the speakers. There were seven entrants to the international Speech Contest, and each one, in his own way, sought to inspire and enthuse us – to raise our spirits and fire our imaginations!

Peter Parker gave us his three keys to success – the one that inspired me was to picture yourself in that winning situation, feel what it would be like to be there in that moment.

Dave Lane took us on a visit to Goodenough Street and showed us that great achievements can be made in ordinary ways, just by keeping on doing whatever you are able to do. It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be good enough!

Dave Goodman gave us a thrilling story of first-aid rescue (with his trade-mark comic punch-line) and urged us to take up first-aid training so we could be prepared for that moment when the worst happens.

Justin told us his personal story of endeavour and risk, in starting his own business, and quoted from Mark Twain ‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails!”

Charlie talked about removing the barriers to success. These are often just a question of attitude, created somewhere along your life when someone else persuades you that you can’t succeed.

Costa asked us where are you heading? A clear explanation of how to set and achieve realistic goals.

Dan Magill shared personal moments with us. How much difference can an hour make? 5 minutes, even one minute, could make all the difference, could be the point when a life changes.

In the Evaluation contest, we were honoured to have experienced speaker Bob Nisbett from Camberley and Guildford clubs with his speech ‘The Flying Monk’: a real tour-de-force – he had us on the edge of our seats, and a master class in many ways. Despite this, our intrepid evaluators, Amanda, Penny, Charlie, Phoebus, Dave Goodman, Doris, Peter and Dan Magill managed to find a few points for possible improvement, amongst all those shining virtues, so very well done to them, too. Definitely not an easy task.

At the end of the evening, Patrick Ebbs presented certificates and trophies. In the evaluation contest, first place went to Charlie Warshawski, second, Amanda Zwarts and third to Penny Williams.

In the International Speech Contest, first place was Dan Magill, second, Charlie Warshawski and third, Dave Goodman.

Very well done to our winners, and to all of the contestants!

Two winners from each contest will now go on to the Area contests at Mole Valley Speakers on April 11th. You are all encouraged to attend!


Reed’s School – 23th February 2018

I was invited to attend the Reed’s School 6th Form Toastmasters club. The meeting was very well organised and the Chairperson, Matthew Moran ensured the evening went to plan. I was invited to talk about Humour and how to use it effectively in speeches. The key points, in the form of “DOs and DON’Ts” I shared were:


  • Only use humour when it fits your speech. Humour has to fit into the content, tone, and structure of the speech;
  • Use humour for a speech from your own personal experience;
  • Ensure that the humour is funny to you. If it does not make you laugh then do not expect your audience to laugh;
  • Ensure that the humour relates to the point you are making;
  • Do practise your humour as funny passages need to appear spontaneous;
  • Have fun and enjoy yourself!


  • Tack on jokes at the beginning of a speech to ‘break the ice’;
  • Launch into a long humorous story; audiences are quick to forgive a single line that may not be funny, but will not forgive a long anecdote that is not worth the time. So start out with brief bits of humour;
  • Start by saying, “Let me tell you a funny story.” Let the audience decide for themselves;
  • Use offensive material.

The prepared speeches, evaluations and impromptu speeches were of a high quality and Mr Ha and Mr Gibbins, the joint Presidents of the club are to be commended for the time and effort they put into developing the members.

Patrick Ebbs

Public speaking. Can you learn to love it?

Epsom Speakers Club Monday 19th February 2018

To love public speaking may seem a pipe-dream for so many people. It is more fearful than death according to certain surveys. That is quite a statement. But can you learn to love it. I believe you can. What do you need to do? Practice, practice, practice!!!!! It really is as simple as that. When you engage in as much public speaking as you can, the fear slowly subsides, and you build confidence each time you attempt to speak in public. It is a process all the more experienced speakers have been through at Epsom Speakers Club and we are witnessing a high standard at the meetings at this point in time. As I stated at the end of the meeting, I am grateful for the opportunity to engage with every member at Epsom Speakers and try to help achieve the individual goals we all have. I see that it is in the spirit of cooperation and appreciation that is the beginnings to fixing this broken society we live in today. The divisive strategies appearing in many forms from politics to religions, gender to sexuality etc are causing so many problems today among human beings. It is fantastic we can put all that aside and learn together. We can entertain the positive thoughts of starting to love your public speaking. You can do it. Only you can choose that fate for yourself. Epsom Speakers Club is just the vehicle.

Penny Williams was the Toastmaster for the evening. The evening was guided by Penny in an effortless way, and she explained all the parts of the agenda well, and let the Topics Master explain his role. Penny showed us how to be a great Toastmaster. Just enough to feel her presence, but not too imposing to detract from the other speakers. The Toastmasters role is probably one of the most fun roles at the club, and you do see the meetings in a different way after taking on the role.

We had Norman on the lights, who was very organised and explained why we use the lighting system at the club. We had Mark as videographer, explaining why it is important to have your speeches filmed. And Doris stepped in as ballot counter. Then came the warm up which was taken on by Phoebus. I used to look at Phoebus when he spoke as a new member, but his growth as a speaker makes me see him in a different light now. Phoebus has improved so much as a speaker and took to this role like a fish to water. He asked what do we do to relax after work? The warm up should enable everyone in the room to say a few words on the subject, and Phoebus certainly did that. Play stations and beer stood out, though I must say more and more people are turning to meditation to relax, which is hard, but a very enlightening pursuit.  When you can slow the monkey mind down, life really does take on a different look altogether.

We had four wonderful speeches and the competition was close for the winning speech. We witnessed two C2 speeches from Chris Terry and Julia. Chris spoke about speed cameras. Chris raised some interesting points. If you look deeper into why the road safety set up is the way it is, then that is a very interesting piece of research in itself. Julia spoke about being a parent. One of her children is in their terrible two’s. Julia looked more like a C7 or C8 speaker and was evaluated in that way. Julia has made enormous improvements in her speaking, and it is great to see. I do remember her as a guest. She found it so difficult to introduce herself. I see the confidence starting to rise in her public speaking and it is a joy to see. Also Julia highlighted a good point that we do judge parents on moments in time rather than seeing the whole picture. Another good tip was don’t go to Pizza Express before 7 pm if you want a quite meal out.

Paul Van Der Hagen was next up, and his speech was about flying. For me, it was like Paul quoting my Father. He used to say ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’. Paul also has improved greatly as a speaker and gave us a very interesting speech about hitching a lift in a plane. I would never of dreamt of doing such a thing. My Father would have though, so Paul has re awakened the more adventurous spirit that has been lying dormant in me for a while. It was another thought provoking speech. And last but not least, we had Lloyd speaking about loving his spot. It is wonderful to see Lloyd reaching his C10. I know he has really worked hard on his speaking. Lloyd does much background work for Epsom and Mole Valley speakers as well. It is great to see him now achieving his C10 award. Speaking in public takes on a different turn when completing your C10. It is a different pressure. You feel you have to produce something special each speech. I am sure Lloyd will rise to the challenge. Lloyd went on to win the best speaker prize, but it was a close call.

The evaluators were Daniel, Patrick, Costa and Gillian. All the evaluations were of a great standard. This is at the heart of Toastmasters. Everything is evaluated, and therefore we learn from our recommendations and build on our commendations. I feel the evaluations at Epsom are becoming so much more refined. The recommendations are clear and easy to understand, and everyone in the room learns from them. I did notice there were some people evaluating in the first person, rather than the third person with some evaluations though. This is a little distracting for the whole audience as it starts to feel like a one to one conversation, rather than addressing the whole audience. Patrick also raised a good point during his recommendations of asking a question of the audience. Rather than saying ‘Has anyone…?’, ask ‘Have you….?’. This makes the question open to everyone and more personal. These seem like little points, but they are very important. It is the little things that mean a lot. Daniel went on to win the best evaluator. Daniel also is a relatively new member, and he has improved remarkably also.

After the break we had the Topics Session ran for the first time by Rick. Rick is another new member to the club and is slowly and methodically chipping away at his nervousness at public speaking. This was a great example of how he is achieving this by running a great topics session. The theme of the session was interview questions. I can’t even remember the last time I went to an interview in a formal way, so this was particularly interesting to me. The participants were Dave Goodman, who let loose with a foray of jokes, myself, Doris, Justin, Elizabeth, who managed to speak about Scottish dancing again, Aron and Phoebus. It was an amazing topics session where everybody had something to say, and many laughs were had. Justin went on to win the topics session.

David Lane was Topics evaluator. David gave us good commendations and recommendations for every participant.  David is becoming more confident as a speaker since being at Epsom Speakers. David is good at finding recommendations and is a real asset to all of our learning experiences. And last but not least was our general evaluator Aishi Lim. Aishi gave us a wonderful run down of the evenings proceedings and kept the humour going from the topics session. Aishi has a wonderful presence on stage and showed us this with his observant evaluation of the evening.

I had so much fun last night I was laughing most of the evening. Laughter is so good for you on many different levels, but it also helps to stop you feeling so nervous. I do hope you all learn to love speaking in public. I am very grateful also to be able to preside over such an amazing club. May the learning curve keep growing.

Keep shining.

Kind regards,

Peter. 🙂

El Presidente.

The heritage of Epsom Speakers

Epsom Speakers Club meeting Monday 5th February 2018

Firstly, I do want to reiterate what I said last night.  I am truly grateful for Epsom Speakers Club, the heritage that it has passed down to us, and the people who share that history today in the terms of members of our club. Without the members, there would be no club. Without the committee, there would be no organisation of the meetings, and without the heritage, we would be a fledgling club just starting out on the Toastmaster journey. As a member of Epsom Speakers, you know there is a great history behind us, and a bright future ahead of us. All the tools are there for you to look inside yourself and bring the greatness out from within. We are all here to help with that personal journey of public speaking and leadership. Rest assured that you have a diligent committee working hard in the background to keep this all alive. And I will say again, a big thank you to George Hollis for his donation of £1,000 to the club in his will.

We were given a great treat last night with Patrick Ebbs as our Toastmaster. Patrick is a very experienced Toastmaster and has encouraged me greatly as I keep trying to get better at public speaking. Patrick showed us his gravitas last night as he held the stage and ran a very entertaining evening. Patrick’s team was also on good form, from Paul D setting up the room, Rick H, who was first time up as timekeeper, Phoebus as videographer, and of course all the members on the agenda.

Chris Terry opened up the proceedings with his first warm up. Chris was looking for holiday suggestions to take his young family on. It was a great warm up, as everybody spoke well. Many ideas were given to Chris to help him find the perfect destination for his holiday. Then came the speakers.

First up was Justin with his C9 entitled White Dune Kite Camp’. I can’t believe Justin has already reached his C9. The speech was a little bit of a sales pitch, which Amanda quite rightly stated that this is frowned upon. But Justin did get away with it, and it certainly made me think about what his Sister and associates are trying to do. It certainly looks like an interesting holiday idea if you want an action holiday. Wall to wall sunshine all year round sounds great to me also.

Katie performed her C6 entitled ‘The big 5 – 0. ‘ This speech was a list and again Amanda showed here experience by saying lists are usually frowned upon at Toastmasters. Again Katie did make it work in her usually upbeat manner. It was a touching speech. Also what is wonderful to see is two relatively new members proceeding through their manuals and learning the skills necessary to become a great public speaker. So well done to Katie and Justin for providing us with the speeches for the evening. Please, please, please try to keep to time. It is important for many reasons.

Charlie presented an educational about the Youth Leadership Programme that we participated in at Woodcote School. It really was a life changing experience for the young people who took part. The pupils grew in confidence, stature and speaking abilities while we were running the programme. Charlie reiterated that so well during this educational. The Youth Leadership Programme is a great way to help young people empower themselves so they can say what they feel, in a confident articulate way. So thank you Charlie for your educational, and thank you for organising the meetings at Woodcote.

There were no winners of the speech contest as all speakers went overtime.

 Then came the evaluations. David Lane started the evaluations. David was evaluating Justin and gave us a very insightful look at Justin’s speech. He gave Justin some very good commendations, but did say he wanted to feel more of the emotions of a story in the speech to persuade him further that we all should go on a holiday like this. David has grown well with the club and is a very keen Toastmaster. This really showed on Monday, so thank you David for your valuable contribution.

Next up was Doris with her evaluation of Katie. Again Doris is a very experienced Toastmaster and gave Katie many commendations. I also agree with Doris saying Katie could have gone into more details of just a few of the points, than going through all 50. Maybe that would have lost some of the idea of the speech, but it certainly was food for thought. Doris went onto win the evaluation contest. Again Thank you Doris for your great contribution to the evenings agenda.

Last up was David Goodman. David also did a great evaluation of Charlie’s speech. Dave was on the team at Woodcote School. We did have a little more information given about the experience. David found some good recommendations as well as commendations for Charlie. Thank you David for your contribution to the evening.

After the break we had the topics session. Costa ran the session. It was a thoughtful  topics session looking at balance in certain aspects of life. We had many participants, both new and old members alike. We also had guests participating. Costa achieved his objectives as Topics Master as all the speakers managed to speak on their given topics. We done Costa. The winner of the topics was a guest called Chris.

Aishi was the topics evaluator. Aishi is also now one of the more experienced Toastmasters at Epsom, and gave us a very funny and insightful evaluation of the session. Aishi has a lovely way about him that is funny and entertaining, while he manages to get important points across. Thank you Aishi for your contributions to the evening.

And lastly, we had Amanda as General Evaluator. Amanda gave us an insightful evaluation for the evening. Many commendations and recommendations were given. Amanda is another very experienced Toastmaster, and she showed it with her General Evaluation. Thank you Amanda,

Patrick did mention at the end that many people had left during the break. I do not feel that this was not a reflection on the evenings proceedings. I feel that this was due to people having busy lives. So keep moving onwards and upwards and I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting on 18th February, where Penny Williams is going to be our Toastmaster.

Keep on shining.

Kind regards,

Peter. 🙂

El Presidente.


Learning to speak with etiquette

Epsom Speakers Club meeting January 22nd 2018

What another great evening last night at Epsom Speakers club, only marred slightly by a supposed humorous speech that wasn’t humorous. It is water under the bridge now, and thank goodness for that!!!! What was really fantastic was that we had two icebreaker speeches, and three relatively new members taking the award ribbons. So a big congratulations to Rick as best speaker, Dan as best evaluator, and Julia as best topics speaker. With so many advanced speakers at the club, it is wonderful to see the new members giving them a run for their money. The only recommendation I have for the evening, which needs to be improved, was the handing over of the stage from one speaker to the other. We all witnessed a little confusion on occasions where there was no one on stage as the handing over process was neglected. I suppose coming from a performance background such as music, the stage was never left empty during any performance I was involved in. The etiquette taught at Toastmasters should also be adhered to, as it keeps the audience engaged with what is happening with the next speaker, keeping their focus on the stage. Clapping also is important as it not only creates a better atmosphere in the room, it can help to ease the nerves of the next speaker coming onto the stage. Keeping this in mind, it helps the speaker to make sure they have finished what they are saying before departing the stage. Endings of speeches are very important to let the audience know you have finished.

Gillian ran a great evening as Toastmaster and managed to fill the agenda well, even with last minute additions. Gillian has really grown as a speaker since joining the club, and she showed her confidence well last night. The Toastmasters role is actually a fun one, and Gillian looked like she was having fun last night. Then came the warm up with Mark, another relatively new member taking on the role at the last minute. Mark asked us about holiday destinations, and everyone seemed to have an idea of where they are going, or where they want to go. So well done Mark for getting everyone involved and warming up the room for another round of speeches and evaluations.

Then came the speeches. We had two icebreakers from Norman and Rick, a humorous speech from a person whose name isn’t worth mentioning as it wasn’t humorous and an in depth educational presentation from Costa about the club and committee roles. I do hope that this was clear for the new members as it is important to know the roles as I am sure you may be taking one of these on in the not too distant future. Well done to all the speakers. You did a great job and definitely kept the audience entertained. It is always a pleasure to see a new Toastmaster starting out on their journey, and last night we had two.

The evaluations were performed by Charlie, Dan, Aishi and Amanda. This line up  included three very accomplished evaluators, and Dan who is a relatively new member. Dan won the evaluation award and he is relatively new. Evaluations are at the heart of the toastmasters journey as we all learn from good evaluations, and it appears we have another emerging evaluator who is more than proficient at it. Well done Dan.

The topics session was run by Paul V. It was an interesting session as Paul wanted the members and guests to talk about a headline he would give them from the news. Our topics speakers were Dave Lane, Julia, Mark, Rohan, Elizabeth, Mateus, Lawrence and Fatai. We had everything from cementing your head in a microwave, to a dog called trigger shooting itself in the foot. It was an excellent session and most people made it to the one minute mark. With topics, even if you have to stand there in silence, stay until the green light goes on. It helps you to go past that frightening point, into a place where you will be more comfortable standing up there on stage. I have seen a Toastmaster at another club stand up for one minute and say nothing and leave the stage. The club is a practice ground for you to improve your life in the real world, so don’t be scared to use topics to conquer your fears. It really does help, and to me, it is my favourite part of the evening, even though I need much improvement.

Dave Goodman gave us a great Topics evaluation. Dave managed to give a commendation and a recommendation to all the participants and even managed a few funnies at the end. David was pulled up by the general evaluator, but I would say we all love Dave’s terrible jokes. Our meetings would not be the same without them. Keep them coming.

And finally the evening was rounded off with Patrick and his general evaluation of the whole evening. Patrick is a very experienced Toastmaster and picked up on many good points of the evening and had some recommendations for us. One of the biggest points was the handing over of the stage. So let us show each other a little more respect by handing over the stage by holding your position in the centre of the stage until the next speaker arrives to relieve you of your position. Apart from that. keep growing and keep learning and keep expanding your mind into a position where you do become a more confident speaker, a better leader and a more empathetic human being. The world needs more empathy right now. So keep shining.

See you soon. Kind regards,

Peter. 🙂

El Presidente.

Learn to speak in public in 2018

Epsom Speakers Club meeting Monday 8th January 2018.

Firstly, thank you to all the members who turned up on Monday evening, which was another busy night. It is great to see so many people keen to learn the art of public speaking. There was much laughter again and all the new members who took on new roles did really well. On the whole, the evening was a great success, and I look forward to more of the same over the coming months.

David Lane was the Toastmaster for the evening, and guided us through a great programme of mostly advanced speakers. Firstly Sheena Cambell introduced the warm up about resolutions, which seem to warm the room up and engage everybody, which is the mark of a successful warm up. Then we had the speakers.

Penny opened up proceedings with an educational speak on the subject of ‘How to begin your speech’. I am sure Penny would be more than happy to send you the key elements of the educational if you would like. It was real food for thought when preparing the opening of your speech. Dave Goodman spoke next and gave us a Eulogy. Dave’s Father has recently died and he wanted to air this Eulogy before the funeral. It certainly touched me, as Dave recounted stories and anecdotes of what I now see as a wonderful man, and how Dave has passed that knowledge and love onto his children. In my humble opinion, I feel that was Dave’s best speech as yet at Epsom Speakers. Thank you so much Dave for sharing such a personal moment. Next up was Justin with his hard hitting speech entitled ‘Are resolutions for losers? Justin went on to give us food for thought about why we make resolutions and what percentage of them fail. I guess we will all have a drink in his bar in February when he closes down his gym. Last but not least was Doris who spoke about ‘What’s your type?’. A very interesting speak based on a survey influenced by Carl Jung. Sometimes I feel like I want to follow in Carl Jung’s footsteps and go and take myself away from society and indulge myself with artistic pursuits. Unfortunately there is too much work to be done for me as yet. This was a well researched speech and delivered by a very experienced speaker. Thank you Doris for such an insight.

Then came the evaluators. We had Daniel, Amanda, Paul V and Gillian all performing great evaluations. I learnt much from their insights and I am sure the speakers did too. The standard of the club is always rising, and it does not seem to be deterring new members to join us, so I feel we are all doing something right.

After the break we had the topics run by Phoebus. Phoebus asked for advice on how to bring up his children. The list of speakers were Anjana, Peter. Julia, Mark, Ramon, Joe, Chris and Matt. It was great to see guests and new members getting stuck into the topics session, which I find the most fun part of the evening, as you really see people on the razors edge. Who knows what is coming next and it really did bring up some good ideas and some fun moments. So well done everybody who took part.

Charlie evaluated the topics session and he managed to find a commendation and a recommendation for everyone. Charlie did this all without the use of notes, and the guest next to me was absolutely stunned. One of Charlie’s memory workshops are definitely worth considering.

And we had Costa to end the evening with a general evaluation. Overall the evening was great, but he did make some very valuable points which I concur with. Please always keep control of the stage before handing over to the next speaker. This is very important for many reasons and is a good discipline. There were times when the next speaker coming up for whichever role it was, seemed a little confusing. Also please ensure that you applaud the speakers coming up onto stage. Clapping has a very positive effect on the psychology of the audience, if you look into it. So the applause you give not only encourages the speaker who is about to perform their role, but also makes you feel good too. It is truly a win win situation. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful if we could get a win win situation in all aspects of our lives. Maybe one day.

Two more announcements to make. We have Club officer training at Mole Valley coming up at the end of January and the details are as follows.

  • Date:  Monday 29th January, 2018
  • 7.15pm for a 7.30pm start – ending no later than 10pm.
  • Venue:  Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall
  • Woodfield Lane, Ashtead KT21 2BE

If you are considering joining the committee next year, then this is an ideal opportunity to see what it entails.

Also there is a short survey from the District conference about education. If you could take a few moments to complete the survey, we would be most grateful. Here is the link.


However you choose to spend your year, I hope you enjoy yourself. I also do wish for your to get what you need out of Epsom Speakers Club and that we fulfil your educational requirements. Have a great 2018 and I will see you at the next meeting where our Vice President of Education Gillian Prior will be Toastmaster. I look forward to that.

Keep shining.
Peter. 🙂


Reed’s School – 8th December

It was a privilege to be invited to Reed’s school to support another lovely evening of their sixth form Toastmasters club. The evening was well attended, with 40 students, four staff, the headmaster and his wife, plus me! It was a very festive evening with everyone wearing a wide variety of Christmas jumpers, and the room decorated in a Christmas theme.

After a delicious dinner, I was charged by the Toastmaster, Eleanor Graves to give an education slot. The topic was gestures. I gave a brief demonstration of how not to do it (hopefully intentionally!), Before drawing up some key features of what people do well with gesturing. I made sure that I mentioned my faux pas of the chicken wings that Patrick often gives me feedback about!

The room then split into two and I stayed to watch one of the groups. There were four speakers, four evaluators, and four topics Speakers. What they did well were high quality topics with interesting and stimulating material – about Christmas, mental health, whether to go to university. To work on is their engagement – bit less use of notes and be more eye contact. The evaluators were very good at their analysis, and need to work on brevity in the recommendations. The topics speakers were very good at engaging the audience and being amusing. Their area to work on is more courage to come out from behind the lectern

The evening was very well managed by Eleanor. She was organised, professional, and offered encouraging comments to speakers. Overall this was a very enjoyable evening. They are halfway through their Toastmaster calendar and are clearly developing their skills. It will be great to see how far they have gone by the end of the year.

Charlie Warshawski

A truly International Public Speaking Experience

Epsom Speakers Club meeting Monday 20 November 2017.

Well wasn’t it another great night at Epsom Speakers Club. We truly had an international flavour to this evening with many speakers on the programme with varied ethnic backgrounds, and a topics session that took us around the world. There was much laughter as well as learning, and it is best to improve your public speaking skills with a smile on your face. We learnt that feedback is the breakfast of Kings, and that we are all busy people having amazing weekends. Long may it continue.

The evening was kicked off again with Paul D, who also ran the warm up which was all about your weekend activities. He introduced the President who then introduced the Toastmaster for the evening. Charlie showed us how to run a polished evening and even explained his mistakes, which were not frequent. This was great for the less experienced Toastmasters as we can see that at Epsom, it is ok to make mistakes. In fact, I would encourage it, because we really do learn from our mistakes.  We had Justin as the ballot counter, Daniel as the videographer and Gillian as the timekeeper. Charlie had a great team behind him.

Onto the speeches and there was a great array of experience. Fresh from her topics win, Julia Belling gave us her Ice breaker. Remind me not to let her introduce me to her cat. Daniel gave us some good hints and tips about public speaking. Phoebus spoke about the power of fasting, which is very good for the body. And Peter went onto speaking how to change the world by changing yourself and how you look at food. It was a fun, serious and informative session. Daniel went onto win the best speaker award. Well done.

The evaluation session line up was full of very experienced Toastmasters. This showed us how to do it. We saw many great commendations, recommendations, and reminders of the speeches. Personally, I ask the evaluator to be as tough as possible, as I still have so much to learn. The evaluators were very empathetic and gave us all very considered and insightful recommendations. Penny evaluated Julia. Amanda evaluated Daniel. Doris evaluated Phoebus and David Goodman evaluated Peter. This session was excellent and really showed us the importance of evaluations. Evaluations are for everyone, not just the speakers and I hope you learnt much too. David won the best evaluator prize.

After the break we had a truly international session run by Lloyd. Everybody managed to get to the green light, which was excellent. We had the choice of two destinations, as the Topics master way of trying to decide where to go. Ian had the choice between Antarctica or Belgium. He chose beer, I mean Belgium. Anjana was asked to decide between Birmingham or Orkland. Anjana chose Birmingham in a rather sarcastic manner. Rohan was asked about Austria or Brazil. Rohan chose Austria because he liked the sound of music. Costa was asked about Athens or Budapest. It was a no brainer for Costa and he chose Athens. Justin was asked about Australia or the Bahamas. Justin chose Australia. Mark was asked about Amsterdam or Berlin. Mark chose Berlin because of its history. Elizabeth was asked about Aberdeen or Brighton. Elizabeth chose Aberdeen. And Norman was asked about Avignon or Barcelona. Norman chose Birmingham. It was an excellent example of how to reject a topic. Justin won the topics competition.

Next came the final two evaluations in the form of the topics master, Patrick. Patrick gave us another great evaluation for all the topics participants. The whole evening was then evaluated by Aishe, who also gave us a great insight on how he saw the evening go. I feel that everybody had fun, learnt much and I hope the meetings keep up to this level of engagement and enthusiasm. This is infectious and makes for a great learning experience. I certainly saw how much I need to improve.

I will leave you with a quote this week which was given to me by a friend. Yes I do have one!!!! ‘Yesterday, I was so clever I tried to change the world. Today I am wise so I am changing myself’. A quote from Rumi.

Keep shining and see you on 4th December where Justin will be the Toastmaster.

Kind regards,

Peter. 🙂

El Presidente.

High Flying Speakers in Epsom – November 6th

Epsom Speakers club meeting 6th November 2017.


We certainly have some high flyers at Epsom Speakers club. In fact, at this meeting we had one of our members letting us know how to fly a glider. One of the wonderful attributes of Toastmasters is that you get to meet an interesting array of people. We certainly have that at Epsom Speakers and we as a committee, look forward to the further growth and development of all our members. So what happened on Monday evening?

Paul D set up the room perfectly again. And thank you all for chipping in for the tea and biscuits. This was Paul’s initiative and it has improved the service. Paul also introduced the evening with his usual witty introduction of me. We then had the warm up session with Paul Van Der Hagen. Paul gave us a great thoughtful introduction to get people speaking by asking us how we would change ourselves and change the world. That is a long and deep subject matter, but we had a great array of witty to more heartfelt answers to the topic. We then had Lloyd as the Grammarian, kindly finished off by Asher who gave us a rundown of our um’s and er’s at the end of the meeting. What a fabulous group effort.

David Goodman was the Toastmaster for the evening, who ebbed and flowed in his usual friendly style, and showed you how to recover when forgetting a point that needs to be made as Toastmaster. David ran a fun and educational evening in a way that is inspiring to all of us. David introduced the speakers who were Daniel Magil completing his C2 speech entitled the Power of T. Daniel gave us an excellent example of a C2. He was funny and animated and used props really well. Rohan then gave us his C4 with a speech entitled Flight controls and a glider. Rohan’s speech was technical, but he did slow down from his last speech, but needs to work on his eye contact. Penny gave us an educational slot on conversation. She let us know the four ways to hold a better conversation. The devices she said for us to improve our conversations were – 1. Small talk. 2. Disclosures. 3. View points and opinions. 4. Personal feelings.  Julia joined Penny on stage and gave us a great performance as a new visitor to Toastmasters. She was a valued addition to Penny’s presentation. Daniel won the best speaker award. It is always good to see new members receiving awards so early in their Toastmaster journey.

We then went on to the evaluations. Evaluations are at the heart of Toastmasters and we try to commend a few times before moving onto our recommendations, and this was done admirably by all our evaluators. First up was Phoebus who evaluated Daniel. Then we had Costa evaluating Rohan, and finally Justin evaluating Penny. Both Justin and Phoebus have greatly improved with their evaluations, and this improvement in turn, will help you become a better public speaker in general. I did here the evaluators using ‘you’ in their evaluations, where the third person is needed. This helps to include the audience as well as the speaker being evaluated. We can learn so much from people evaluating speeches if you pay attention and see what they are recommending. There is always room for improvement for all of us. The best evaluator was won by Costa.

We then had our welcome break and moved onto the topics session. Elizabeth ran the topics session and showed us how to do it. She asked us about our favourite things. I am glad no one broke into the Sound of Music during the session, but it would have been fun. First up was Peter, which is me, speaking about my favourite food, which I said was habanera chilli. Then Hugo told us about his favourite TV programme, which was friends. Charlie told us about his favourite drink, which was green tea. I drink it by the bucket load also, by the way. It was great to see Adam back after an absence and he told us about his favourite hobby, which was playing football. Julia was up next  talking about her favourite weather, which was sunshine. Me too! Norman spoke about his favourite book, which was a scientific encyclopaedia. Norman also spoke about his interest of quantum science. So at what level was Norman really there? I am sure Norman will be able to let us know about this fascinating field of research in the not too distant future. Raj spoke about his favourite holiday destination, which was Spain. And finally, Phil gave us his favourite music which was Gangster rap. Looking at the Paradise Papers, we live in a gangsters paradise at the moment! We have an amazing session where everybody managed to speak. We have joint winners which were Hugo and Julia. Well done. Again great to see a new member and a guest win the topics.

The topics evaluation was given to us by Amanda. Amanda gave us some great tips on topics, like give the topic first and then the speaker, so we all have to think about what we could say, which includes the whole room. Amanda also gave everyone great commendations and most participants recommendations. Amanda is a very experienced Toastmaster and is an inspiration to all of us. She has grown in stature since the beginnings of her Toastmaster journey where she was too nervous to even do a topics session. David Lane finished off the evening with a wonderful general evaluation, but he did use ‘you’ instead of the third person, which we all need to look at and make sure we break that bad habit. Again David gave some great commendations and recommendations.

If you want to know a little more about Epsom Speakers history, please visit the link below. You will see there is a great history to the club, and I am glad to be carrying on the responsibility of keeping the energy flowing and the learning curve moving upwards. We certainly have some high flying speakers at our club, and long may it continue.


See you at the next meeting.

Keep shining.
Peter. 🙂
El Presidente.