HOW TO! – Prepare and Deliver a Speech

It takes preparation and practice to create a speech before it is ready to be delivered at a club meeting. First you need a subject that will be suitable for the objectives you have to meet, you need to write it out and then start to prune it back so that it has an opening to entice your audience to listen to you, a logical flow of your subject and a strong ending which the audience can take away with them. Practice, practice, practice to yourself until you are comfortable with what you are going to say and make sure you will be in time. Record yourself and listen for the dreaded filler words such as ‘em’, ‘you know’, ‘actually’ and similar.

When it is your turn to walk towards the rostrum walk tall, take deep breaths, shake hands with the Toastmaster and make sure the stage is how you want it to be. For instance, move the lectern to your side at an angle if you are using notes or move it away if you are not. Give yourself sufficient room to enable you to use gestures and move around.

Start with a strong voice to engage your audience. Be expressive with voice modulation to add light and shade to your words and use gestures to emphasise points. Whether your message is serious or humorous, use facial expressions to create the feeling you want to convey. Don’t be afraid to be expansive in your movements and tone of voice, it all adds to the enjoyment for the audience.

Obtain advice and guidance from your Mentor and take note of the comments given by your evaluator, both oral and written, these will all help you to improve and enable you to give a better performance with each speech. It will also help you in your quest to become good at giving evaluations and also taking part in topics. Watch the video of your speech and relate that to your evaluation and work on the areas of recommendations to enable further improvement.

Remember you are performing in a very supportive atmosphere and all members will be encouraging you to do well and to keep improving, this will then give you the courage to speak outside the club.

What are your next two or three projects? Do you have ideas for these? Write them down before you forget and then start to work on your next project and give yourself time to prepare and practice, you will then be ready and comfortable to give a good performance which fellow club members will enjoy.

From Speakeasy 157 – March 2012

Hints and Tips – Beat the Butterflies

Have you ever wondered why some speakers seem cool, calm and collected when speaking in front of an audience? Does it make you feel you could never aspire to that level of confidence? Not so! Everyone of us who start speaking in any speakers club is nervous, it is part of the learning curve to master those nerves so that the ‘butterflies’ in your stomach are all flying in the same direction.

We all need some adrenalin rush, complacency and over confidence can be the downfall of any speaker. So work with your Mentor, gain evaluation feedback from other members apart from your named evaluator to enable you to find out what you have done well and the areas where you could improve.

From Speakeasy 138 – August 2010

HOW TO! – Use Your Voice

Each speech you give, whether a prepared speech, evaluation, impromptu, topic or general evaluation, is all an occasion for you to use your voice. As a painting has light and shade to give it interest, your voice has loud and soft, to help you to project and give emphasis to every aspect of what you are saying, rather than monotone which can be very dull for the audience.

Remember your audience, they want to listen to what you have to say so make it as interesting as possible, create a mood within your speech, whatever your subject. For instance, if talking about a sport, create the atmosphere of that particular sport demonstrate how the crowd may react to a football goal, a cricket run out, a tennis game, etc. If you speak about one of your particular holidays, bring this alive and use your voice to describe the colour of the sea, the different food, the peaceful surroundings, a crowded bar or any part of the trip that was different.

During an evaluation listen for the vocal variety and give demonstrations how the voice could have been used to improve the effect. Encourage the speaker not to be afraid to use their voice to make the speech much more interesting.

Practice in front of a mirror, record yourself and listen carefully when you play it back to see where you can add impact by speaking in different tones.

Exercise your throat muscles with deep breathing and stretching your mouth to the various vowel sounds.

Now, let us hear a speech with great voice modulation and projection!

From Speakeasy 89 – August 2006

Laugh while you are learning to speak in public – 4th September

Monday 4th September saw another fun packed and lively evening at Epsom Speakers. It was so good to see so many guests at the meeting and led to an energy filled evening. It is so enlivening to walk into the room at Epsom Speakers club and here the buzz of the crowd assembling before the event. It was also good to see many of the more experienced Toastmasters all looking after the guests. We even had our Area Director mucking in and helping the guests find our Sergeant at Arms.

The evening started well with Paul D setting up the room and then introducing the President, who then went onto speak about the mind and how we must overcome the negativity it can project onto us, and stop us achieving our goals. It is a good way of understanding the mind to think of it as a sixth sense, and something that we shouldn’t over stimulate and keep under control. The mind is a very powerful tool when we use it correctly. I have put a link about it at the end if you are interested.

Costa was the Toastmaster for the evening. Costa showed us how to be a Toastmaster in his usual laid back style. Costa kept the meeting going well with his little anecdotes and phrases in between each segment of the meeting, keeping the flow and energy going and also being respectful of what had just happened in the speeches. Costa also kept the laughter flowing and the energy high. Costa introduced Timur as the warm up artist who asked us to speak about a memorable moment. where everyone was able to participate. A good job by Timur and I believe that was his first time at the role. So well done.

We then had three speeches, which were passionate, informative and funny all at the same time. Katy Minson deservedly won the best speech contest with her emotional speech about her Grand Father, I spoke about the safety committee on Non Ionising radiation not being what it should be, and how this technology is proving to be detrimental to our health, and Patrick went onto speak about numbers. They were all great speeches and touched us, informed us and made us laugh.

We then went onto the evaluations. David Goodman, Gillian Prior and Doris Sew Hoy went onto evaluate the three speeches. They are all experienced evaluators and were a great help to the speakers and hopefully the audience in general on how important evaluations are on all of our learning curves. I do agree with the general evaluator though that there was too much emphasis on content rather than speaking skills. I feel this is something we all should think about. Amanda did talk about this at her evaluation workshop last meeting. Doris went on to win the best evaluation award.

After the break we had David Lane run the topics session. This was a fun packed part of the agenda and it was great to see so many of the guests participating. We had Ian, Robert, Rob, Julia, Chrissy, Drew, Dan and Sanjay all participate in the session. There were many funny monuments during the topics session and the winner was one of our guests Dan, who was very funny indeed. David showed much improvement in the way that he delivered this session, but like Timur on the warm up, he didn’t close the session very well. When you do this, it makes it confusing to the audience what is happening next. We always stress strong openings and endings to our speeches. We should also keep this in mind when doing a particular role.

Amanda went onto evaluate the Topics session and what a wonderful job. Topics is one of the hardest jobs on the Toastmaster agenda and Amanda managed to find a commendation and recommendation for everyone. That is quite an achievement in such a time constraining role. We again can learn much from Amanda’s evaluations.

Charlie W went onto to give us a general evaluation and managed to find recommendations for everyone except Amanda. Charlie showed us how to look at the whole meeting and went on to tell us how much he enjoyed it, and how the meeting could have been better. Charlie is a very experienced Toastmaster and he really shined for us during this general evaluation. One word of advice for Charlie when doing the General evaluation, don’t upset the President as he or she always has the last word, and also gets to write down a further attack after the meeting. Joking aside, Charlie made some excellent points for all of us, by keeping it real, keeping it for the good of the whole and keeping on moving forward. All of this without any notes. Amazing.

So keep on keeping on and keep shining like the stars you are. I still find it a great privilege and honour to be presiding over such a talented bunch of people. I hope you are enjoying the journey as much as I am.

Kind regards,

Peter. 🙂
El Presidente

A speech on controlling the mind

Hints and Tips – Three Ps

When practicing and giving speeches, do remember the three ‘Ps, Pitch, Pace and Pause. Use voice modulation/pitch to keep your speech interesting, the right pace – not too fast, not too slow and finally pause, a second or two between points helps you to consider your next point and gives the audience time to assimilate what you have just said. Never use ‘em’ instead of a pause!

From Speakeasy 119 – January 2009

HOW TO! – Choose and Handle Topics

Topics participants only have two minutes to give a mini speech therefore the Topics should be on subjects that everyone can say something about in that time. Firstly choose a theme i.e. recent news, sports, learning, hobbies etc. then break this down into say 8-10 different topics under the one theme creating a stand- alone topic. Think about what it is you want people to speak about and give it some thought and prepare well. The time allowed for your session will determine how many speakers you can get to take part.

Make your own notes and choose members from the audience who are not on the programme and try to make your first participant a longer serving member to enable newer members to see and listen to what is expected of them should they be called. There may well be times when attendance means you will have to ask those on the programme to take part. Please do not ask the Timekeeper or the General Evaluator, they have enough to concentrate on during the evening and do not need distractions. Give the timing required to the Timekeeper, state the Topic and introduce each participant stating what it is they are going to speak about. For instance, a theme could be “Unusual Hobbies.” The first could be ‘tell us how you play croquet’. The second could be ‘what is required to do patchwork’ etc.

Remember this is your session as Topics Master so it is up to you to introduce it well and decide which way you are going to call up members whether by using envelopes or calling them cold. If you call cold, state the topic first and then call on someone, that way everyone will have to listen carefully to what you are saying in case they are in the hot seat! When your session is finished, close it properly by calling on the Timekeeper for timings and then giving a resume of who spoke on what. It is then you request the audience to vote for who they thought gave the best topic. You then hand back to the Toastmaster for the evening.

From Speakeasy 168 – February 2013

Negotiating and evaluating – Two excellent public speaking skills – August 21st

Again we had another successful night at Epsom Speakers. The format was different but the energy and enthusiasm was very high yet again. A big thank you for Paul D for setting up the room, and organizing the projector in such a timely manner. And a big special thank you to Penny Williams and Amanda Zwarts for giving us such excellent presentations. I do hope that you acquired new skills form the evening. I certainly did.

The evening started well with Penny giving her presentation on Successful negotiations. Here is a breakdown of the content. Penny has also kindly offered to send the slides to anyone who is interested in them. That is a wonderful offer and I do hope you take up this.

Think ‘Win – Win’ as both parties need to be happy with the outcome of the negotiation for it to be a success

Prepare before you negotiate 

  • Know what you want – your max price, do your research, establish the best alternative if this negotiation isn’t successful (can you go to another dealership or get the goods/services from elsewhere), as well as the price you would like to get (aspiration price)
  • Know what the other party wants – their expectations and motivations
  • Options – what possibilities are available

During the negotiation

  • Gain rapport first
  • Discuss – get the other person to name their price first if you can
  • Propose – What if…?
  • Agree – Use the options to come up with a solution
  • Negotiation isn’t always the best option – car dealerships may do a deal at month end to hit their sales quotas
  • Nine magic words – What else can you do for me on price?

We also had an amazing insight into how Amanda sees evaluations. Although slightly restricted for time, Amanda gave us some really useful nuggets of wisdom to help us on the path to being a better evaluator. Amanda did stress that evaluations are not just for the speaker, or the evaluator but for the whole room to learn and gain insight on how to be a better listener. Amanda did promise to send out a handout so you can all revise what you learnt during the evenings session. Amanda also helped with the sessions after each speech brilliantly, allowing anyone with an evaluation tip to vocalize it. I felt this worked well and I hope the newer Toastmasters had a greater insight into evaluations and how important they are. Well done Amanda. Maybe we should have a longer session about evaluations in the future.

We had four great speeches firstly from Phoebus. It is always great to see a new Toastmaster improving before your eyes, and Phoebus is most definitely a prime example of this. He spoke passionately about Everything changes. It was an interesting and insightful speech, and Phoebus showed us how much he has improved since his C1.

Next up was Sonia Pritchard. Was that really the Sonia Pritchard who joined the club all that time ago. Sonia gave a great speech, and again showed how much she has improved. There was a timely reminder that is very important to remember the three key elements of your speech, or have them easy to see with your notes. Apart from that, I thought Sonia’s improvements were fantastic.

Following Sonia was Kevin Perkins who talked about coming home. It was an interesting speech, but I feel some people in the room did think the same as me which was ‘Why are you telling me this?’ Kevin was his usually upbeat self, larger than life, funny and utilizing his intelligence for our entertainment. Kevin is also growing as a speaker and it is always good to see him on the agenda.

Last and not least was David Lane with his speech entitled ‘The tale of two Toastmasters’. David has given this speech at another club, which he said went down far worst. I felt David did get some good feedback from the members and I do hope that he has learnt from the experience of using a projector. There is an art to it, and David is slowly learning that, as his performances are improving. David is a great speaker and has a good presence on stage. I know he is working hard at improving his skills and it shows.

Well done to all who made the decision to turn up for last night’s new venture. Life always gives you choices. And remember if you make the right choice each time the opportunity comes up, you are well on the way to a more enlightened life. I do hope the opportunities come for all of you who have chosen to better yourself through Toastmasters. I am honoured to be presiding over such a talented group of people.

Keep on Shining.

El Presidente.



ESC meeting 7th August 2017

What a lively and energetic meeting we all experienced on Monday. Again I was really pleased to be presiding over such a group of talented people. I do hope you gained as much as I did from the experience and I hope the club goes from strength to strength. Even though the numbers were low, the energy in the room certainly made up for it. There seemed to be much laughter, thought provoking ideas shared and a lovely cake kindly provided by Katy. From the speakers we came away with this idea. Design your life by being a superhero and by using the flower of success technique. How amazing is that. Also it made me realise that Toastmasters is a sales organization. It is selling the members a better version of themselves. That certainly is food for thought.

The evening started well with Paul D, our Sergeant at Arms setting up the room well. Paul also stepped in and did the warm up at short notice. When you have been a Toastmaster for a while, it does help you to be more proactive and help out where you are needed. Paul was a shining example of this. Some of the newer members should note that Paul also held his position on stage until the next person came to the stage and shook his hand to relieve him of his duties of being on stage. This is a very courteous skill and one we all should adhere to when conducting our meetings. It not only shows respect for the previous speaker on stage, but gives a definite hand over of roles from one member to another. Paul did this very well on Monday evening.

We then had our very experienced Toastmaster Amanda, who did another amazing job of keeping the laughter going, the energy up and the evening flowing. Amanda even came up with a new word. Feedbackers. Let’s all become great feedbackers to happify the world. Epsom speakers even extends your vocabulary to words that don’t even exist. How about that!!!!!

The three speakers all gave us excellent performances and much was learnt by all. Justin made design sound interesting, Dave Lane spoke about superpowers within you and Dave Goodman spoke about his technique of the flower of success. Dave Goodman won the best speakers award with his wonderful presentation.

We had three astute evaluations by three very experienced Toastmasters, which were Penny, Aishe and Costa. We can learn much from how people evaluate differently, and it is a very important part of the learning curve at Toastmasters. To work on your evaluation skills, definitely helps you become a better all round speaker. Costa went onto to win the best evaluation award.

We went onto the topics session and had Katy performing the role for the first time. Katy ran the topics like an award ceremony. The session was innovative and lively and I feel everyone had something to say. Elizabeth shone out like a star again by mentioning Scottish dancing on a completely unrelated topic. Amazing. So the topics ran like this. Costa won the award for the biggest bottom. Sheena was the biggest suck up. Zahir won the award for constantly repeating himself. Bobby won the award for most likely stealing the biscuits. Elizabeth won the award for unwanted advice. Phoebus won the award for forgetting where you are, and Paul D won the award for gaining the most parking tickets at Bourne Hall. Paul D won the session with a great topic. Everybody did really well though. There are fact sheets available for you to prepare for table topics, so make sure you have a read of this information, as it prepares you for these types of sessions. It will help you to enjoy them rather than fear them.

David Villa Clarke did an amazing topic evaluation session, where he managed to give everyone a commendation and recommendation, make us laugh and entertain us while educating us all the same time. David was obviously paying attention to the speeches earlier as he was showing us his superhero abilities.

Paul Hickson ended the evening with his general evaluation. It is great to see Paul back at the club more regularly as we have missed his wit and observations. It was a great evaluation on a wonderful evening. I will certainly take note of what Paul recommended to me, which is to stop Pee ‘ing on stage. We look forward to seeing you at the next meeting which is a special workshop hosted by Penny and Amanda on 21st August. I am sure the learning curve will be high again. Make sure you have fun until then.

Peter. 🙂
El Presidente.

An Energetic New Year – July 3rd

What an honour to preside over such a talented group of people. I thought the meeting was very energetic, fun and full of learning. I big thank you to Gillian, who organised the meeting as the new VPE. Well done to Gillian for making such a success of your first meeting.

The meeting was opened by Paul Dowdeswell, who is our new Sergeant at Arms. He certainly brought the meeting to order with the use of the gavel, and then gave us an energetic opening to start the proceedings off. Ian Upton was Toastmaster for the evening, and showed his experience by guiding the meeting so well. We can learn so much from Ian in the role of Toastmaster, as you are not looking to be the centre of attention in the role, but you need to make your presence felt. Ian did that brilliantly. His analogies using sport and celebrities were also insightful.

The warm up was ran by Kirk Dack. Who would have thought that was his first meeting as a member. That was a brilliant warm up and enabled everyone to speak. I look forward to Kirk’s icebreaker, which I imagine will be coming soon.

Then we had the four speakers. Timur opened the speaker part of the evening. He did a great speech on technology, which made me think. Timur showed much improvement from his icebreaker, which is always great to see. Katie spoke next and gave us five points about organisation. She also used Phil Collins songs as signposts to where she was going. It was more like a C7 speech than a C2, so there is so much promise there with Katy and we look forward to seeing her growth as a speaker and a committee member this coming TM year.

Phoebus spoke next, and what an improvement also. Phoebus spoke about bread making and how it relates to improving your life. A very clever analogy, and a very solid C2. Again, I am sure we will see great improvements with Phoebus, like all the speakers. Then Charlie gave a humorous speech on careers. Charlie was a little under the weather, but did give us a humorous speech. Charlie won the speech competition so well done Charlie. He is one of the most experienced speakers at the club and showed us how to do it with his speech.

Then we had the evaluations. I enjoyed evaluating Timurs speech. Kevin Perkins did a very animated and insightful evaluation of Katy. Justin gave us a great evaluation of Phoebus and Amanda evaluated Charlie, who is one of the hardest people to evaluate. All the evaluators did a wonderful job. Evaluations are at the heart of the Toastmaster meeting, as this is how we learn from our mistakes. Everybody learnt from these evaluations. Amanda won the evaluation contest, but there is no surprise there. Amanda is one of our best evaluators.

We then had the Table Topics run by Penny. Penny did a great job as everybody managed to speak on topic. Paul Hickson went into a Presidential type address in the middle of his topic, and managed to put the theme of his topic to the floor. A very clever tip when you are not sure what to say next when performing a topic. We had Costa speaking on Glastonbury, and how he wouldn’t go. Aishe on horoscopes, where he obviously didn’t know that these go back to the Mayan civilisations, but entertained us in his usual upbeat way. Aishe also gave us a fantastic interpretation of Mystic Meg which was brilliant, and guided us into the yellow light. Doris spoke on animals talking. Another excellent topic, as Doris is one of our more experienced Toastmasters. Elizabeth on hot or cold weather. Again Elizabeth always has something interesting to say and we are lucky to have her experience at the club. Emma spoke on the 60’s, but forgot about the moon landings. Her insight into an explosive era was great fun, and great to see. Rohan spoke on time travel versus teleportation. We had a wonderful look into the perils of time travel and the benefits of teleportation. Paul H spoke on the seven wonders of the world, who I covered earlier. Raj spoke on robots and artificial intelligence, and really bought up some more points that Timur was considering in his speech and Charlie spoke on healthy eating, which was funny and insightful. Charlie won the topics, and it is always wonderful to see a guest win the topics.

Sonia went onto to evaluate the topics. It was Sonia’s first time as topics evaluator and you would not have known it. Sonia showed us how to evaluate the topics, which is one of the most difficult evaluation jobs in Toastmasters. Sonia definitely rose to the challenge, and it was great to see.

David Goodman gave us the general evaluation and again another brilliant job. Dave is a very experienced speaker and he commended us on our performance and let us know what we could do better to improve the evening. Dave has taken on the role as treasurer again so we look forward to his insights into how to make the club better for all of us.

It gives me great pleasure to serve you as President this year. We have a feisty new committee with some experienced hands to steer us in the right direction. We have some evenings coming up in August, and I will be in touch about them soon. I would like to see the learning curve keep growing, as we have had an excellent year with Doris at the helm. Keep shining on and making the world a better place around you.

ESC President

Nicely Chilled – 19th June

Our final meeting for this TM year and it was the hottest day so far this year. So, it was wonderful to find ourselves nicely chilled, sitting in the well air-conditioned Azalea Room at Bourne Hall with experienced toastmaster Penny Williams at the helm as TM for the evening. Ian, as Club Secretary, took us through a quick EGM to elect Katy Minson onto next year’s Committee as Club Secretary. Then it was business as usual.

City worker Rowan breezed in just in time to do the Warm Up, with a very relevant question: “what does Summer mean to you?”  Mangoes, watermelons, sailing, surfing, biking, BBQs, cricket, fresh water swimming, cannabis…and more cannabis, apparently. Interesting what one learns about one’s fellow members…

Always great to have C1 speeches on the Agenda, and tonight we had two. Despite running over time, we learnt about the many entrepreneurial adventures and ventures of Timur Ganiev, originally from Uzbekistan and now a resident of Sutton, in his Icebreaker speech. Local Ewell resident Katy Minson wowed us with her story-telling skills, giving us a glimpse of her generous and focused nature and personality. Justin’s C4 speech with the title “Immigration Laws are there to protect us” was thought-provoking and controversial, leading us to his conclusion to take time to question statements so that “the truth will set you free”. Our fourth speaker was Peter Parker with an Advance Speech entitled “New Opportunities”. Winner of the Best Speaker vote went to Katy.

Paul van der Hagan joined Sonia, Ian and Charlie to deliver Evaluations. As a first time evaluator, Paul did a nice job highlighting Timur’s existing speaking strengths and what to work on. Congratulations to Ian who won Best Evaluator for his comprehensive feedback on Justin’s speech.

Gillian led the Topics session, with the theme on giving her advice on a range of topics from what to do about the dent in the car to what to do when you can’t get to sleep. Guest Emma won Best Topics with her insightful speech about what to do when you can’t stand your best friend’s new boyfriend.

Our very attentive Topics Evaluator, Aishi Lim, gave a commendation and recommendation to all 9 Topics speakers, while General Evaluator, Amanda Zwarts, effortlessly reviewed the evening’s proceedings before we adjourned to the warmth of the Wheatsheaf’s beer garden.

Many thanks to all my Committee members who’ve helped make my year as President especially fun and fill of learning. It’s with great pleasure that I hand over the President’s “gong” to Peter, who takes on this role from 1 July. Celebration time – see you at President’s dinner next Monday at Thames Sailing Club.

ESC President