Club News & Speakeasy
The first of July was the start of the Toastmasters year, and what a way to start! We had a great view of the grounds from the studio, and much cooler than our usual room too!
We welcomed our visitors Dao and Jo and told them a bit about Toastmasters.
Elizabeth stepped in as our temporary Sargeant at Arms and got the meeting off to a flying start. We really need a SAA or SAA co-ordinator to take the role full time. If you can help then please let me know.
Our Toastmaster was Gillian. She had prepared a great evening or prepared speeches from Kathy, John, Penny and Myself. Kathy was on her Icebreaker and did a great job.
Evaluations were carried out by Matthjis, Matt, Patrick and Amanda.
At the break, we started our first week of ‘Bring a Mug’. The best mug went to Dan with his GE 101.
Back at the meeting, we had a great Topics session run by Lloyd based on book titles with everything from One Hundred Years of Solitude to The Tiger that came to Tea. Topics were evaluated by Julia in great style with an individual commendation and recommendation for everyone.
General Evaluator duties fell to Daniel with various references to his competition-winning humour our speech.
Finally we had the awards with Best Topics Going to Gary for bluffing his way through The Tiger that came to Tea. Best Speaker was Kathy and Best Evaluator was Patrick.
Thanks to everyone that made it to the meeting and made it such a success.
Looking forward to seeing you all again for the next meeting on Monday 15th of July when our Toastmaster will be John.
ESC Meeting 3rd June 2019
Dear Epsom Speakers
We had another energetic and fun-filled meeting yesterday – great to see so many of you back from your holiday weekend or half term break and ready to take part!
Sergeant at Arms, John welcomed our guests and got the meeting started in enthusiastic style. Matt Tuff (for the first time at ESC) was Toastmaster for the evening and did a grand job, assisted by Timekeeper Julia, ballot counter Kathy and videographer Mark.
Elizabeth Bennett, as Wordmaster, discussed poetry and prose, with an interesting explanation of Burn’s poem ‘Tam O’Shanter’ – new to most of us, probably, and now I know where the Cutty Sark got her name and her figure-head.
Philip Smale’s Warm-up theme was ‘Guilty Pleasures’ – especially of the musical sort. Who would have thought that the club had so much to hide? We all enjoyed confessing.
First speaker was Paul van der Hagen, with his C8, encouraging us all to become entrepreneurs and investors, rather than wage slaves, for our daily bread.
Next, Willorna gave a very professional presentation (just her third with the club, I believe) on ‘Social Media – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ – an exploration of the development of social media and an encouragement to focus on real life rather than the false glitter of online content.
Dan Magill followed with an advanced speech, ‘The Butterfly Effect’ – no, not meteorology but Ralph Smedley and the beginnings of the Toastmaster movement, brought to life in our imaginations as a fascinating story.
Finally, Dave Goodman showed us how to ‘Negotiate’ – clear and practical guidelines that I know Dave puts to good use in his day-to-day life.
Evaluators were Costa, Patrick, Doris and Gary, an elite group giving advice that we all can benefit from.
After the break, Paul Dowdeswell led the Table Topics session, encouraging participants to explain and illustrate a series of English proverbs. Julia, Kim, Amy and guests Andreas and Lauren valiantly met this challenge, showing interesting highlights of their own lives.
Penny and Phoebus followed, with a slick dual evaluation of the session and speakers, and finally Rick Balfour rounded off the evening with a biscuit-themed general evaluation (you had to be there to understand).
Dan Magill – Best Speech
Gary Argent – Best Evaluation and
Lauren (guest) – Best Table Topic
Next Monday will be the Presidents Evening; I would appreciate responses to my invitation, please. It is an excellent evening, a chance to socialise with your friends at the club and not to be missed. Please let me know, if you haven’t already.
The following Monday, 17th June will be our last meeting with the current committee, and will be led by Toastmaster Amy Liu. I look forward very much to seeing you all there!
ESC Meeting 1st April 2019
So much has happened in such a short time! Here is a reminder of our last club meeting – full of energy, it was a wonderful opportunity to get to know some of our members better.
John Drinkwater, our Sergeant at Arms, gave an inspirational introduction to the meeting, in true Toastmasters style (‘It’s not where you start, it’s where you end up’).
Our Toastmaster for the evening, Paul Hickson, then introduced a full and carefully organised program of speeches, evaluations and impromptu speaking. He was assisted by John as Timekeeper, Tom Hendra as Ballot counter and Paul Dowdeswell as videographer.
The Warm-up gave everyone a chance to contribute. Gary Argent encouraged us to speak on ‘Happy memories or April Fool’s jokes’, a wonderful, lively beginning.
Moving on to the prepared speeches, first speaker was Matthijs Houweling, sharing with us the history and delights of his home city, ‘Haarlem’. We now know the meaning of the Dutch word ‘Gezellig’ (a little like the Danish ‘hygge’?) – sounds inviting, anyway.
New member Philip Smale followed with his Icebreaker speech ‘What have I done to make my ancestors proud?’ This was a lively speech showing wide interests and revealing Philip’s ambition to become ‘the best version of’ himself that he can be. I agree with the Toastmaster, this was a trailer for at least 10 future speeches!
Willorna Brock spoke on ‘Obsession’, the name of a famous perfume, appropriately describing Willorna’s keen and lifelong interest in all things girly and glamorous. What lovely images she conjured up!
Julia Belling shared her experience as a parent in ‘A lost age of innocence’ – playground knowledge will influence our treasured offspring. (Do they REALLY know THAT WORD??) Education itself can generate a conflict between thirst for knowledge and hearing about the evils of the world. Much food for thought.
Some excellent, well-considered evaluations of the speeches followed, from Matt Tuff, Phoebus Apostolidis, Patrick Ebbs and Dave Goodman.
In the second half of the evening, Zane Vaisla led the Table Topics session with the theme of Quotations. Members and guests were invited to consider quotes from Henry Ford, Thomas Jefferson, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson and many others. Experienced Toastmaster Anjana Roy had the challenging role of Topics Evaluator, telling us what was great about the session, and finding maybe, one or two possibilities for improvement.
Finally, Penny Williams was General Evaluator for the evening, sharing her experience for the benefit of the whole club.
Best speech: Philip Smale
Best Evaluations: Phoebus Apostolidis and Dave Goodman
Best Topic: Kathy Addison (new member!)
On Sunday 7th April the Division H Contests were held, won by our members Dan Magill (International Speech contest) and Amanda Zwarts (Evaluation)
Many Congratulations! Both go on to the District 91 Contests in early May, and we wish them the very best of luck.
The date for our AGM has been agreed by the committee. It will be held at our club meeting on May 20th (we have two meetings in May, on the 13th and 20th, avoiding Bank Holidays!)
We are looking for new committee members, so if you are interested, please talk to any of our current wonderful committee to find out more, and I will be in touch soon with details.
Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing you very soon! Our next meeting is Monday April 15th, with Patrick Ebbs as Toastmaster.
Speaking at Reeds
Reeds has been working along with Epsom Speakers Toastmasters club. They have been empowering students with public speaking skills. The way Epsom Speakers helps is by providing educational presentations and feedback.
I was fortunate enough to be accompanied by Leo Gadson and Amanda Zwarts. Reeds has about 50 students that take part in the public speaking training. By having three visitors we are able to provide feedback in the 3 different groups of students.
The atmosphere at Reeds is always warm and welcoming. The meal and the wine was great as usual. Mr Terry had done a great job on organising the event. We had a lovely chat with Sally Briggs, one of the maths teachers. I was very fortunate to be seated next to George, the chairman of the evening and we covered a series of different topics. It was evident once again how smart the kids are Reeds tend to be.
After our dinner I covered through the educational material presented through their school year. As guest Toastmaster I was asked to cover the topics of how to create a speech and how to deliver it effectively. How to effectively evaluate and how to respond to an impromptu speech effectively. There was a lot to cover in 10 minutes.
After the meal and the speech we split up into three separate rooms. There are were about 50 student members in the club. Amanda and Leon both went to the different rooms and provided constructive feedback.
Seeing students participate in public speaking is very inspiring. They were all fantastically good. Whenever I visit Reeds, I always think I should have started my public speaking journey sooner. High quality speeches, thought provoking and full of humour! The delivery of most students was calm and well manor.
Nicholas spoke about fear of missing out, Elliot about living in a computer stimulation, Maya about fake tanning. Emily evaluated Nicholas. Gus evaluated Elliot and Joseph evaluated Maya. We then followed the session with some impromptu speaking.
All students portrayed great public speaking skills such as vocal variety, stage presence and confidence. Lots of humour to make everyone laugh. The evaluations were very constructive and resembled the standard and ethos of a Toastmaster. The speakers at the impromptu were more relaxed and allowed their creativity to develop.
I was pleased to see great use of story telling, humour, gestures and lots of smiling. After their session I provided a general evaluation to all the participants and to the way the meeting was run. To help the students with their improvement and to also encourage them for what they already do very well.
If you haven’t already attended Reeds than I would highly recommend that you speak to Patrick Ebbs and get yourself booked in for the next event. Patrick needs a list of speakers that he can poach when needed. The commitment is really about once a year. We can all contribute to the future of the students at Reeds.
I have only been to Reeds twice and I have great memories. They have a high standard and the students have great skills at public speaking. Definitely a great environment to be in both to help and to grow.
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.