Club News & Speakeasy
The room was buzzing with excitement this Monday for our annual club International Speech and Evaluation Contests. Eminent Toastmasters from other local clubs joined us, plus a good number of curious new guests.
The meeting was opened by our Sergeant at Arms, John Drinkwater, who welcomed attendees. Many thanks to John for all the work he puts in behind the scenes to make sure room and equipment are ready. Not to mention all the other things he does for the club!
The International Speech Contest is a massive affair – the first round is at club level, and winners progress through Area, Division, District and so on, to the finals at the Toastmasters International Convention. This year, that will be held in Denver, Colorado, in August. So our contestants are aiming high!
I chaired the contest, and welcomed our four contestants. Dan Magill with ‘There is no Canary’ gave a powerful speech, reminding us of the Hillsborough tragedy and its effects on his friends and neighbours in Liverpool. Amanda Zwarts with ‘Get back in the race’ showed how some of the worst life events can still be overcome, with an attitude of determination. Phoebus Apostolidis with ‘Beyond Depression’ reminded us how many people are affected by this illness and gave us hope and ideas to overcome it. Finally, Dave Goodman gave an upbeat speech ‘Grattitude’, encouraging us to be grateful every day for the good things in our lives and to carry this positive attitude through to our dealings with other people.
After the break, the Evaluation Contest was ably chaired by our VPE, Costa Nicolaou. Costa introduced our mystery guest speaker, Mike Majuru from Croydon Communicators, who gave us a very entertaining (and rather brave!) speech on the theme of Brexit. Many thanks to Mike for joining us – we really enjoyed your speech.
Costa interviewed Mike while we were waiting for the contestants to prepare their speeches. We learned some fascinating facts. Mike has been in Toastmasters just three years but has already completed his Competent Communicator, Competent Leader and higher awards, and was President of Croydon Communicators last year. His take on Brexit – a small affair compared to troubles that occur in his home country of Zimbabwe – is refreshing and gives us pause for thought.
Mike’s speech was evaluated with skill and appreciation by our contestants: Amanda Zwarts, Richard Balfour, Phoebus Apostolidis, Dave Goodman and Mark Peacock.
Finally, Penny Williams led the audience in a never-ending story version of the ‘cool-down’, with much hilarity and contributions from most of the room.
Doris Sewhoy, as Chief Judge, announced the winners:
International Speech Contest:
1. Dave Goodman 2. Dan Magill 3. Amanda Zwarts
1. Dave Goodman 2. Amanda Zwarts 3. Mark Peacock
Many congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who took part or helped in any way (you know who you were): Judges, Timekeepers, Ballot counters, Ushers, Videographer, and not least to Richard Balfour who helped me to organise the whole thing, did much of the printing and had to put up with my constant worried emails!
Our next club meeting is on April 1st, when Paul Hickson will be Toastmaster.
But before that, we have the Area Contest on Monday 25th March, to be held at 7.30 in Surbiton Hill Methodist Church. Our first and second place winners, Dave, Dan and Amanda will be competing- please go along, cheer them on, and while you’re at it, volunteer for a role – make yourself part of the event!
ESC Meeting 21st January 2019
‘Blue Monday’ – but the atmosphere was fun-filled for our second meeting of the year. Costa, our temporary Sergeant at Arms, introduced the meeting and also presented the ‘Warm-up’, encouraging us to tell the meeting ‘What are you proud of?’. A really positive start!
Dave Goodman was our Toastmaster, full of wit, in charge of the evening and keeping us all entertained. Gary Argent was Timekeeper, Kim Pleatman, the videographer and guest Leon Gadson, helped out as the ballot counter.
Elizabeth Bennett was Wordmaster, this time encouraging us to think about learning another language – Latin! Far from being a dead language, Latin is making a come-back in schools and is still used in professions such as the law.
Speakers were John Drinkwater: ‘Do I need a website?’ (consider the needs of your customers, to decide), Mark Peacock ‘Do your homework’ (an interesting discussion of communication styles: for more information, check out the Toastmasters international website), and finally, Doris Sewhoy, exhorting all Toastmasters to ‘Keep the Commitment’. A most useful reminder of the Toastmasters Promise, which we all make when we join a Toastmasters club.
Speech evaluations were given by seasoned evaluators, Phoebus Apostolidis (John), Paul Dowdeswell (Mark), and second-timer, Matt Tuff (Doris). Congratulations to all for careful and thoughtful advice and encouragement to the speakers, and in particular to Matt, speaking like a professional. Evaluations are never easy to perform, with limited time to prepare.
After the break, I was Topics Master, clutching a bag of coins from which each lucky speaker chose one and then told a story from the year of the coin. We heard some amazing stories and learned a lot about our members and guests.
Charlie Warshawski was Topics Evaluator, as usual demonstrating his formidable powers of memory and managing to produce useful commendations and comments for all participants.
Penny Williams as General Evaluator, with her sense of quiet humour, rounded up the enjoyment and gave expert guidance to help us improve.
We welcomed new member Kim Pleatman to the club – good to see her taking the stage to give us a ‘Table Topic’ despite nerves!
- Best Speaker was Mark Peacock
- Best Evaluator was Matt Tuff (congratulations, again, Matt)
- Best Topic was from Gary Argent
And many congratulations to all, and to everyone who participated in the evening.
Our next meeting will be on Monday 4th February, when Mark Peacock is our Toastmaster. Come along, experience the warm atmosphere and forget the winter chills!
ESC Club meeting 18th February 2019
It was a full house on Monday, we were pleased to welcome many guests and it was great to have them participating so fully in the meeting. Penny Williams was our able and experienced Toastmaster for the evening, leading a team of:
John Drinkwater as our lively new Sergeant at Arms (multitasking as Timekeeper), Elizabeth Bennett as ballot counter, and Kim Pleatman as videographer.
Willorna Brock gave us a great ‘Warm-up’, all present invited to describe their ‘bucket list’ holiday destination. Thoughts of warm and exotic places alongside attractive home locations to drive away thoughts of winter.
We had a packed program of speakers: Ian Upton, experienced speaker now starting on the ‘Pathways’ education program gave us his Icebreaker: ‘Essence by Ian’, entertaining us with hints of domestic life. Gary Argent followed with ‘Eat to live, or live to eat?’ exhorting us to cook and enjoy our own good food. Matthijs Houweling gave a thoughtful speech ‘Is having a mentor really worth it?’, emphasising the two-way relationship involved, with hints to make the most of this. Dave Goodman, finally, spoke on ‘Stylin’ it’ – great stories illustrating the places where differences in communication style can really cause problems!
Matt Tuff evaluated Ian’s speech, Phoebus Apostolidis, Gary’s speech, Paul Dowdeswell evaluated Matthijs and I evaluated Dave’s speech, all in good Toastmasters tradition, picking out what was best and giving one or two hints for improvement.
After the interval, our Topics Master was Paul van der Hagen, with a general theme of ‘groups of two or three’, asking volunteers to choose their favourites. All managed to face the challenge of impromptu speaking – congratulations especially to our guests! Always a fun session.
Mark Peacock was Topics Evaluator – his first time. It is a challenging role, to find a commendation and recommendation for each speaker, but Mark did a thoroughly professional job.
Finally, Doris Sew Hoy was General Evaluator, with many useful hints and tips to improve our meetings – I’m very grateful to her!
- Best Speech: (draw between) Ian Upton and Gary Argent
- Best Evaluation: Phoebus Apostolidis
- Best Topic: (draw between) Bev (guest) and Charlie Warshawski
Congratulations to our winners, to everyone who helped out, and to everyone who took part!
Our next meeting will be on Monday 4th March, when the Toastmaster will be Dan Magill
At the following meeting on 18th March, we have our Club International Speech and Evaluation Contests.
Please contact me if you would like to take part. We still have one or two spaces for speakers, and it is always interesting to take a meeting role, if you aren’t speaking.
I look forward to seeing you all next time!
ESC Meeting Monday 4th February 2018
We had another lively meeting on Monday 4th. Mark Peacock was our Toastmaster for the evening and did a brilliant job, in charge of the proceedings. First of all we had a piece of club business – the election of our new job-sharing Sergeant at Arms, John Drinkwater. John has stepped up to help the club, and was elected unopposed. (Proposed by Costa Nicolaou, Seconded by Dave Goodman). It is wonderful to welcome John onto the committee and he gave an impressive performance tonight in his very first outing, making us all feel very much at home.
Matt Tuff was our timekeeper for the evening, Costa our ballot counter and John doubled roles as videographer.
Elizabeth Bennett was our warm-up artist, with the theme ‘Shocks and Surprises’, which led to some dramatic and heart-warming disclosures from attendees.
Zane Vaisla gave us her speech ‘Nearly Dead’ – an interesting account of the rise, and fall, but then the rise again (in a slightly different form) of electronics giant Nokia. This was definitely food for thought. Paul van der Hagen followed with a well-researched story following the French ‘Yellow Vest’ (Maillot Jaune) protest movement. I had often wondered how and why the movement arose – here was the answer!
Phoebus Apostolidis followed with his C10 speech, extolling the need to gain confidence – a magnificent conclusion to his Competent Communicator Award, and a very clear demonstration of how far Phoebus has come since his early days in the club. It is great to see how much confidence Phoebus himself has gained in his time at Epsom Speakers!
Dave Goodman evaluated Zane’s speech, I evaluated Paul’s and Penny Williams evaluated Phoebus’ C10 – all aiming to show the club exactly what was great about the speeches, and also one or two ways that each could be improved.
After the break, Matthijs Houweling was our Topics Master, leading members and guests in impromptu speaking – as usual a challenge for each speaker but a hugely enjoyable session.
Julia Belling was Topics Evaluator, rising gamely to the challenge of finding a commendation and recommendation for each speaker, as well as the Topics Master himself.
Finally, Charlie Warshawski shared with us his valuable experience as the General Evaluator for the evening, looking at everything that had not yet been evaluated, giving us all hints and tips to improve future meetings.
Best speaker: Phoebus Apostolidis
Best Evaluator: Penny Williams
Best Topic: joint winners (new member) Philip Smale and (guest) Joe.
Our Annual Club International Speech and Evaluation Contests will be held on Monday 18th March. All members are eligible to enter the Evaluation Contest, all who have achieved C6 or Level 2 in Pathways can enter the International Speech Contest. Please contact me, to enter!
The next club meeting will be on Monday 18th February, when Penny Williams will be our Toastmaster – I look forward to seeing you all there!
Dear Epsom Speakers,
For our first meeting of the year, former Area Director Ian Upton was Toastmaster of the evening, introducing a line-up of stars – with an excellent supporting cast. Costa Nicolaou, our hard-working VPE, doubled as Timekeeper and as temporary Sergeant at Arms to start the meeting. John Drinkwater was videographer and Elizabeth Bennett, ballot counter.
We began with a very special event – Former long-serving committee member, Distinguished Toastmaster and past President, June McCullough returned as our guest to present Amanda Zwarts with her Distinguished Toastmaster certificate. This is the very highest educational award that a Toastmaster can gain, covering both speaking and leadership achievements. It is a huge credit to Amanda for her many years of hard work and dedication. It is also a true distinction for Epsom Speakers Club, to see a member reach this ultimate goal.
Amanda has been ESC President, Area Director, was the leading light in the creation of Surbiton Speakers Club and is a mentor to many people in ESC and other local clubs. We rely on her as our committee Secretary and it is a true pleasure to see her achieve DTM. Well done, Amanda!
Back to normal business, Willorna Brock led us in an excellent morale-boosting warm-up, each of us having to think of 3 things to cheer up January. Ideas ranged from sunshine, mindfulness through to learning a musical instrument!
Our speakers for the evening were Julia Belling ‘Life beyond this world (part2)’ (a fascinating look at current space missions to planets and moons), Matthijs Houweling ‘Jambo Jambo Bwana’ describing his arduous climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, Matt Tuff ‘How long have we got?’ researching possible threats to human existence (with the conclusion: Carpe Diem – party like there’s no tomorrow!) and finally Amanda Zwarts sharing with us the eulogy for her mother.
Speech evaluators were Patrick Ebbs (evaluating Julia), Anjana Roy (Matthijs), Doris Sew Hoy (Matt), each giving expert advice to help the speaker understand exactly what was great about the speech, and how to improve. I gave an evaluation of Amanda’s eulogy speech. Sounds like Amanda inherits quite a few characteristics from her mother!
After the break, Dave Goodman was our Topics Master, leading us in quirky seasonal thoughts on Christmas and New Year themes. Participants did a grand job of extemporising and the session was much enjoyed by all.
Paul Van der Hagen did the difficult job of evaluating the session, giving commendations and recommendations for all. Finally, Mark Page was General Evaluator for the whole evening, doing a thoroughly professional job of summing up our efforts.
Best Speech award went to Amanda, Best Evaluation to Doris and Best Table Topic to Dan Magill – many congratulations to all!
Our next meeting will be on Monday 21st January (Blue Monday!) and the Toastmaster will be Dave Goodman. I look forward to seeing you all there.
ESC Meeting 15th October (EGM, Variety and change!)
Dear Epsom Speakers
It was good to be back among you again, and it was an important meeting this week. Firstly we had an EGM to decide on our support of two new Toastmasters clubs in the area, Sutton Speakeasy and Reigate Rhetoric. The meeting was ably chaired by our VPE, Costa, and Amanda spoke convincingly on behalf of both new clubs. The motion to provide £200 to each club to help with start-up costs was carried unanimously. Our benefactor, ESC founder member George Hollis, recently left us £1000 in his will, and those who knew George felt that he would have been happy for his money to be used for the benefit of generations of future Toastmasters.
We then moved on to the normal meeting: Phoebus, our experienced Toastmaster introduced Amy as timekeeper, John as videographer and Fatai (Sergeant at Arms tonight) doubled roles as ballot counter. Elizabeth as ‘Word-master’ gave us ‘Miscommunication’ (failure to communicate adequately) with the wonderful example of a message passed from one man to another through army lines: “Send reinforcements – the general is going to advance” turning into “Send three and four-pence – the general is going to a dance”!
New member Andrew (Drew) led the warm-up with “How did the weather affect you at the weekend”, something we were all able to comfortably talk about, so very well done Andrew!
Julia did her C4 speech ‘Life beyond this world’ – knowledgeable, vividly expressed, a wonderful explanation of both the range of life on our own planet and the possibilities for life to exist in the most unexpected places, here and far beyond our world.
Chris also did a C4 speech ‘Can you say no?’ – clear and excellent advice on how to balance the load that you take on and avoid commitments that you won’t be able to cope with.
Dave Goodman, who is following the Dynamic Leadership path, gave his first Level 2 speech. This was a fascinating exploration of many leadership styles, tending towards his own preferred method. He gave us this quote from Peter Drucker as inspiration: “Leadership is a process of social influence which maximizes the efforts of others toward the achievement of a greater good”
Evaluators were: Mark (for Julia), Lloyd (for Chris) and Amanda( for Dave) – each showing us what was good about the speech and how it might have been improved – excellent advice for all speakers present.
I was the Topics Master, choosing the theme of ‘Change’ (my own life has seen many changes this year!). We heard from: Justin (What change are you looking forward to?), Elizabeth (change one thing in the world? – this turned out to be more rules for bicycles in traffic), Anjana (One change in your appearance? But we have to agree that Anjana is a mistress of change and imagination already and we like her just the way she is, in all her infinite variety), Costa (effect of changing seasons) and finally, and bravely, guest Leon (an event that may have changed the course of your life).
Matthijs took on the demanding role of Topics Evaluator and did a great job, giving useful advice to all participants. Paul Hickson was General Evaluator for the whole meeting, helping us all to up our game and improve – thank you, Paul.
Congratulations to our winners, who were:
Topics : Leon
The next club meeting will be on November 5th (Charlie Warshawski as Toastmaster)
But before that we have our Area Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest, to be held at 7.30 pm Bourne Hall on Monday October 29th. Please come along and support our speakers! Lloyd Griffiths is organising the contests, has many roles still to fill and would appreciate offers of help.
See you soon!
Dear Epsom Speakers,
As always, the room was all set up and ready for what turned out to be most enjoyable evening. Well done to the Sergeant at Arms for this meeting, Chris Terry. Bang on time he brought us all to order so the meeting could begin.
As Gillian was unwell, I was the stand in president for the evening. I welcomed the members, and the many guests in the room, and wished Gillian a speedy recovery (Hope you feeling better).
I then asked the question, why, with the nights closing in and the weather turning nippy, do we still venture out to attend a club meeting. I think it’s because we all want to improve out communication skills and our leadership skills. Must be some truth in that, as the room was jam packed! So much so that the SAA had to get extra seats in. Twenty three club members and six guests. Then I gave a brief outline what and who Toastmasters are, and how people all over the world attend meetings very similar to our meetings.
I had spoken enough so handed the meeting over to our Toastmaster of the Evening, Mark Peacock, who was doing the role for the first time at the club. Well done Mark. A smooth and slick run program, and on time
Timekeeper Matthijs explained the role of the lights and how important timekeeping is. And like magic the white light bulb turned green, when he turned it on. Gary Argent was the Videographer, and explained his role. Gary gave us two interesting tips when we watch the video of our speeches. One is to watch it with the sound off, and then watch again, but only to the sound (no picture). You get a different impression of your speech.
The warm-up session was run by Amanda Zwarts, asking us ‘How do we get out news?’ Every member and guest had something interesting to say.
Then we moved onto the speeches. Kim Pleatman presented her Icebreaker. Well done Kim. So too John, well done also. The Toastmaster speaking journey begins!!
We were honoured in the meeting to have the Director General of the BBC come and speak to us, and to apologise about the gender gap in pay rates between the male and female talent at the company. He spoke well. Obviously has had TM training.
The floor was then opened for a Q&A session. Some very hard hitting questions by the audience, and I was told later that none were planted. Who would have though our members could be so vocal and angry at the Director! Well done Sir for remaining calm and collected despite the attacks on you and your pay and the way the Corporation is been run!
For those of you that attended, you will know that the DG was Charlie Warshawski.
Penny evaluated Kim, Paul (nice to see you attending regularly again!) evaluated John and Dan evaluated Charlie. Paul especially commended John in using vocal variety, gestures and body language in an Icebreaker speech.
Good evaluations all round and good recommendations and feedback.
After the break we had a really fun Topics session led by Dave Lane as Topics Master. He explained the reason for topics and then led us into an good session
The theme was things.
- Dave G: Worst item you have lost – In true Dave style hilarious. He lost his purpose in life!
- Matt Tuff: Best thing you have found – Nothing, loose more than find
- Willorna: Hoarding or Obsessive tidiness – If an item is not used in 6 months it is dumped, except lipstick and other beauty products.
- Leon (Guest): Favourite childhood activity – Still a child apparently. Played drums as a child, and still does.
- George (Guest): Favourite children TV character – Bard Simpson.
- Jennifer (Guest): Best gift you have been given – Ivory chopsticks from her grandmother.
- Paul (Guest): Best or worst thing you have ever bought – Mountain bike
- Elizabeth: Best or Worst present you have given – Elizabeth told us about the worst gift she had received. Expensive perfume from France by her husband, which caused her to break out in a rash!
- Amy: Dullest thing you have ever bought – Nothing as she is a good shopper, and buys practical things, and then told us about losing her passport and finding it again soon after.
Well done to all for giving us an entertaining session, and for Dave L for making the session ‘easy’ for all the participants. Nine speakers in total. WOW, and a mix of members and guests.
Ian Upton (good to see you again) 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, who raised some good points, but overall said, in a seductive voice, that the meeting good.
Winners were: Charlie for Best Speech, Dan for Best Evaluation and Amy for Best Topic.
The next meeting will be Monday October 15, with Phoebus Apostolidis as Toastmaster, and Gillian will be back as President.
See you all then
PS: Area 53 Humerous and Table Topics Contest will be held on Monday, 29th October 2018 at Bourne Hall. Please come along to support our Club winners Dan and Amanda. Go ESC!!
Dear Epsom Speakers
What a great show-case of talents we had last Monday! Our annual Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests brought out a galaxy of stars.
Introduced by (VPE and contest organiser), Costa, our stand-in Sergeant-at Arms, Matthijs Houweling did a great job as chair of the Humorous speech Contest. We had four excellent speakers: Dave Goodman, Phoebus Apostolidis, Doris Sew Hoy and Dan Magill. The competition was fierce, but Dan was our winner with a (slightly disturbing!) speech exploring the possibilities of underhand tactics in speech contests. Dave, in second place, showed us some of the insanities of domestic real-life and Doris in third place, gave some of the hilarious joys and pitfalls of growing older.
Charlie Warshawski, as Chief Judge, organised his team of judges drawn from clubs near and far, Zane Vaisla was Videographer, Timekeepers were myself and able new member Amy Liu. Julia Belling and Fatai Dabiri were our ballot counters.
After the interval, it was good to see experienced club member Paul Hickson as chair of the Table Topics Contest, setting contestants the fascinating challenge to consider what alternative career they might have chosen. Matt Tuff and Fatai Dabiri were ushers for this, and we had contestants: Dave Goodman, Elizabeth Bennett, Amanda Zwarts, Dan Magill and Phoebus Apostolidis.
Standards were high, candidates sought to show us their true selves, to fascinate, perhaps even to shock! Winners were, in first place, Amanda, second, Dan and third, Dave.
I gave the warm-down ‘What music inspires you’, which brought out wide-ranging and imaginative answers from members and guests in our audience.
Two winners from each contest will go on to take part in our Area Contest on Monday October 29th at Bourne Hall, and we wish them every success!
Meanwhile, our friends at Mole Valley Speakers will be holding their own contest this Wednesday 26th September at 7.30 pm in Peace Memorial Hall, Ashtead. Please consider going along, enjoying the evening and taking on a role. Contact Lloyd Griffiths if you can help.
Finally, we have our next club meeting on Monday October 1st, when Mark Peacock will be the Toastmaster. I look forward to seeing you all there!
Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash
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.
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,