Club Meeting – 5th September

Good to see many of you at Monday’s Club meeting after the long summer break.  Here’s a quick recap of the evening and announcements to keep everyone informed.

It was great to welcome back Dave Villa-Clarke to ESC after his year’s study leave.  Dave took the helm as Toastmaster for the evening, and with his energy and humour, expertly steered the meeting.  Everyone’s vocal cords, and listening skills, got warmed up with a creative story-telling exercise, dreamed up by Araba.

David Villa-Clarke as Toastmaster of the evening
David Villa-Clarke as Toastmaster of the evening

James’ C5 speech, “Don’t Look Down” won Best Speech for the evening against tough competition from Adam and Peter.  Patrick, Sonia and Penny all gave constructive feedback in their evaluations, with Penny voted as Best Evaluator.

Bohwon led a well-prepared Topics session on the topical theme of the Olympics, with seven Topics speakers including three of our guests who belong to other Toastmaster clubs and are keen to join ESC also.  Our own Dave Goodman managed to clench another Best Topics Speaker vote.

It was a first time for Araba as Warm-Up, Sonia as an Evaluator and Gillian as General Evaluator – really well done for stepping up and giving these roles a go.

Our next meeting on Monday 19 September is our club’s Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest, with Adam Jones and Patrick Ebbs as Contest Chairs.  Look forward to seeing you all there.

Confidence Workshop – 1st August

It was good to see many of you at last night’s workshop and masterclass with Richard Stacey.  We were joined by over a dozen guests, including some from Surbiton and other clubs.  The room was buzzing as we tried out the tips and techniques for grounding and centring, and learning to align the external markers of confidence with our internal experience and connecting with the audience as a powerful presence.  Richard’s put together take-away document as reminder of what was covered.

In the second half of the evening, several volunteers had the opportunity to deliver a 10 second speech, getting feedback from Richard on how to improve, as well as feedback from the audience.  It was amazing to see how subtle changes can make such a difference, as each volunteer repeated their delivery 3 or 4 times, incorporating the feedback each time.

Richard has kindly offered to run the session again at other clubs, so if you missed coming last night or if you’d like to go again, watch this space as he may be coming to Surbiton Speakers in the near future.

We’re back to our normal two meetings a month from Monday 5 Sept, with a full agenda of prepared speeches, evaluations and topics.  VPE Peter Parker will be issuing the Grid allocating roles.

July 4th Club Meeting

What a meeting we had on 4th July. Our first meeting for the club this Toastmasters year and what an eventful one. From the beginning of the evening to the end, there was an air of expectation in the air, as the Toastmasters year started on a very upbeat note.

When I turned up to Bourne Hall, I quickly realised that it appeared we did not have a room booked. Luckily, Lloyd had taken the initiative and secured us a room at the back, with a natural view, and lovely surroundings. After the initial shock, the meeting started on time and what a cracker.

Lloyd started the evening explaining the situation well and putting us all at rest. I was acting as President for the evening, which was a new experience for me. I felt I was confident in the role, and realised that I need to grow more to be a proficient President. It is always good to get out of your comfort zone.

Then we had Adam Jones as the Toastmaster, who was excellent and kept the energy up. Sheena ran an excellent warm up, where we had many various opinions about newspapers and the main stream media. And then Adam went through the agenda in a very professional manner. We had speeches from Stephanie, David Villa Clarke and Costa. This was an excellent mix of new speakers and experienced. Unfortunately we did come across over time issues with one speech, which was a shame, as all speeches were excellent and gave us all food for thought.

The evaluations were conducted by Gillian, James and Amanda. Amanda is an excellent evaluator as we all know. What was pleasing to see was Gillian and James both improve on their evaluations and start to really get into their role. Evaluations are a very important part of the Toastmasters journey, so well done to all, as I felt they were all very good.

After the break we had me on stage again running the topics. We do need volunteers for the Topics session as this is the second one I have done in two months. I chose films and did we have a great session. We had some very creative topics and I feel everybody had fun. Dave Goodman spoke about the Shawshank Redemption, Dan Jacobs on the Godfather, Quwanie on Forest Gump, Kevin on the Matrix, Elizabeth on its a wonderful life, Tom on Casablance, and Alex on Raiders of the lost ark. Everybody spoke well and had a go, which is in the spirit of topics. Well done to all of you. And to the newer members, keep going with the topics. They are hard but well worth persevering with.

We had a great evaluation of the topics By Aishi in his usual laid back style and a lively general evaluation by Stephen.

Then the awards which went as follows. The Reeds trophy went to Lloyd who has worked so hard in the background for the club. Stephen won the trophy for most improved speaker, which he showed with his fantastic general evaluation. We had Dan Jacobs win the topics session. Amanda won the evaluation prize and David Villa Clarke won best speech. I was very honoured to be in the position to give these prizes to such a talented group of people. The calibre of speakers at Epsom is very high, and this really does highlight the value of the club, and how we all inspire each other to improve. I felt we were all winners who participated in the meeting, which was all of us, as the whole evening was full of laughter, fun and learning. What more can you ask for at a Toastmasters evening.

Next meeting is 1st August, where we will be running a Confidence workshop and a tackling topics workshop being led by Richard Stacey. This will be highly interactive, so hopefully you will get a chance to get up and speak if you wish. This will be a great evening of learning and improving your speaking skills from a very experienced Toastmasters. Normal service will be resumed and your new President, Doris will be at the helm. Let’s keep the momentum going from our first meeting and make it another lively, fun packed energetic evening that is full of learning.

I looked forward to seeing you on the 1st August,
Vice President Education

World Champion of Public Speaking Workshop

On 11 May ESC hosted the current World Champion Speaker, Mohammed Qahtani for his workshop on two aspects of public speaking. These were; Preparing an Award Winning Speech and Qualities of a Good Leader. President of ESC Ian Upton introduced the evening to over 100 people. Mohammed is very involved with Toastmasters and personal development, works in IT and is leader of a large team. There were many people who made this event happen, in particular, Patrick Ebbs and Lloyd Griffiths who organized the whole event. Videos and promotional materials will follow in due course.

Mohammed Qahtani , the World Champion of Speaking 2015
Mohammed Qahtani – The World Champion of Public Speaking 2015

Here are some of the points covered by Mohammed.

A good speech has structure, a message, good choice of words, body language, voice, informing and humour.

Structure: The opening should have a ‘hook’ to capture the audience’s attention. The body should include 3-4 points, not two or five. Transitions should be with words and pauses. Conclusion, repeat and remind the audience of your points, leave them on a high note with a strong statement.

Words: Paint a picture, have a signature phrase which can be repeated throughout the speech, bring your speech to life and do not start with a rhetorical question as this has been overused.

Body Language: Arms should be below shoulder level. Move with a purpose rather than wandering around the stage.

Voice: Act your speech and use your voice to emphasise points.

Information: State source of information researched, for instance statistics, quotes. Use visual aids to show charts, graphs and pictures.

Humour: Inject a little humour to aid the message. This can be exaggeration, self-deprecation and physical humour.

Conviction: Know your audience prior to preparing your speech. Speak with passion, from the heart. Leave them with something they can do.

Inspirational: Leave the audience on a high note and never copy someone else’s material.

Other points – write your speech, practice many times changing words or parts of the speech you feel would improve it. Time yourself. Practice in front of a mirror then in front of a family member or friend. Ask them ‘was it interesting, clear, worth giving?’ Don’t be afraid to ask for help, particularly with any weak points you may have.

Ask yourself why you are a Toastmaster – how do you want to be remembered for instance, aiming to change the world to make it a better place or to help just one person in a good way. Always speak with a purpose.

Mohammed covered Qualities of a Good Leader starting with the difference between a boss and a leader. A boss gives orders; a leader works with their team/group. They need to be confident to enable discussion and involvement. They also need to be a role model and able to delegate even if a team member makes a mistake, they never make the same mistake twice and you as leader can encourage correct action. Be passionate and here he talked about Walt Disney and how he was determined to make animation films. Also a leader should be reachable such as Henry Ford who did not sit in a large office but had a small area on the work floor. Be friendly; include the team in discussions and decisions. Don’t make empty promises, be truthful.

Lastly be thankful when one or all the team has done well, show your appreciation.

Our thanks go to Mohammed for his insight and also to Ian Upton, Patrick Ebbs and Lloyd Griffiths for all their hard work to make this event a success. The photographer at the event was Paul Milsom (Lightning Photography Ltd).

June McCullough, DTM