Club News & Speakeasy
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,
What a great and energetic evening hosted by our serial visitor, bubbly and ebullient Anjana Roy as Toastmaster. We were again hosted in the air-conditioned room, so thanks again to Dave Goodman for arranging.
Amada Zwarts was our stand in Sergeant at Arms tonight. As Gillian was away, representing Epsom Speakers club at her son’s wedding in Poland, I was the stand in president for the evening. I welcomed the members, and the many guests in the room. I then gave a very brief overview and history of Toastmasters and its founder Ralph C. Smedley, and how the format of the program used at EPSOM Speakers club is used at clubs all over the work.
Vikram, a second time guest took on the task as videographer and explained to us the reason for videoing the speaking roles in the club. Zana was Timekeeper, and Rohan our ballot counter.
This TM year we have introduced a new Wordmaster role, where a word is presented, its meaning described and its origins explained. Elizabeth took on this role for the first time, and explained to us the origin and meaning of two words that are similar, Royal and Regal, and it’s correct usage.
Matt Tutt, a first timer in the role, led us in a great warm-up session, simply asking ‘What makes you happy?’ Lots of interesting and varied things make our members happy. Great first time session Matt. Well Done.
Then onto the formal part of the program.
Willorna gave her ‘Icebreaker’ speech, telling us about herself and her life from UK to Sierra Leone and back again, and how she went from the corporate world to running her own HR Business. Great speech and well done on completing your Icebreaker. Nice to see and meet your son also, who came along to support his mom. Hope we see him again.
Matthijs spoke about communication styles. An interesting and thought provoking subject, and I think we all learnt something new about communication styles.
Chris spoke about being effective. He explained how tasks can be either important/unimportant or urgent/not urgent, and how to prioritise each. What should be done right away, those that can wait and those that can be rejected. A good skill to have, especially these days when most of us are task heavy and time light.
Finally, Dan gave us an entertaining speech about naming a room at the school he attended and described how his contribution to naming the room displeased the Headmaster. He was hoping that the school would invoke the spirit of ‘I am Spartacus’ and that everyone has a bit of Spartacus in them, and finished by telling us how much Epsom members supported him, and that he has a bit of Epsom members in him, except for a few! Who knew that Dan was such a ‘rebel’ in his youth.
Dave G evaluated Willorna, Paul Hickson evaluated Matthijs, Paul van der Hagen evaluated Chris and Charlie evaluated Dan.
All the evaluator’s gave good evaluations and gave each speaker excellent praise and provided good recommendations and feedback.
After the break we had a really fun Topics session led by Phoebus as Topics Master. All the speakers had a choice between two items, and all speakers spoke well and there was a mixture of club members and guests taking part. Well done to all for giving us an entertaining session, and for Phoebus for making the session ‘easy’ for all the participants.
Amanda 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.
Winners were: Dan for Best Speech, Charlie for Best Evaluation and our guest Roy for Best Topic.
The next meeting will be Monday September 3rd, when Patrick Ebbs will be our Toastmaster, and Gillian will be back as President.
See you all then
ESC Club meeting 6th August 2018
We had an inspirational evening, hosted ably by our Area Director, Lloyd as Toastmaster. Thanks are due to Dave Goodman for arranging a nice, comfortable air-conditioned room.
Chris Terry was our Sergeant at Arms tonight, giving us a rousing start, and Fatai our very dedicated videographer, dealing with teething troubles of the new camera. Willorna was Timekeeper, and Gary our ballot counter – both bravely taking on new roles.
Zane led us in a thought-provoking warm-up ‘Where would you like to be?’ Imaginations roamed from ‘exactly where I am’ to outer space.
Matt then gave his ‘Icebreaker’ speech, telling us about himself and his reasons for joining Toastmasters. I never tire of hearing a first speech – there are always fascinating insights into the individual, and this was a very polished performance – well done, Matt! Putting Abe Lincoln in the shade is a high objective, very best of luck.
Dave Lane spoke about confidence – a very interesting subject and I would like to hear more on some of the themes he explored. His ideas ranged from active listening for better communication, through visualisation techniques used in mindfulness, to just the simple idea of not setting limits on what you think you can achieve.
Finally, Amanda gave us an inspirational speech ‘Filling our buckets’ – don’t let life get you down, take courage and happiness from wherever you can find it. So good to hear Amanda give a prepared speech again, this time within the Pathways education system.
Penny evaluated Matt’s speech, telling us exactly what was great about it, with some helpful pointers for the future.
I evaluated Dave Lane’s speech, and Mark Peacock gave a very polished evaluation of Amanda’s speech – so hard to realise that this was his very first evaluation speech.
After the break we had a really fun Topics session led by Julia as Topics Master. The theme was Abba and their songs, and our guests and members revelled in ‘Money, Money, Money’, ‘Waterloo’ and even ‘Gimme, Gimme, Gimme a man (or woman?) after midnight’.
Doris gave an exemplary evaluation of the Topics session, and Dave Goodman was our General Evaluator, rounding off the evening.
Winners were: Amanda Zwarts for Best Speech, Penny Williams for Best Evaluation and our guest John (hopefully, soon to be a member?) for Best Topic.
We meet next on Monday August 20th, when Amanda Zwarts will be our Toastmaster, and Costa Nicolaou, our hard-working VPE will represent me as President. (I will be away in Poland for our son’s wedding!)
See you soon
ESC Club meeting 16th July 2018
Another fantastic, fun, lively summer meeting – Costa’s first as our new VP Education and definitely Julia’s first outing as Toastmaster of the evening. (Well done, Julia, for your determination, organisation and faultless presentation and leadership). Fatai was Sergeant at Arms this week, and took on board the advice to be gentler with the gavel! Well done Fatai, we appreciate your dedication, energy and good humour.
We were joined by a large number of guests, who took the plunge to join in and add to the entertainment. Timekeeper was Anjana (a last-minute recruit) and Fatai also took on the roles of Videographer and Ballot counter.
Dan Magill got us going with a great warm-up – everyone happily joining in.
We had four prepared speeches: Zane gave her Icebreaker speech, telling us about the challenges for ‘Millenials’ and the importance of soft skills such as communication. Costa told us about the ‘New Me’, using humour and honesty to persuade us to change our lives. Mark opened up a new world, the psychology of ‘pricing’, with fascinating illustrations of human irrationality. And finally, Paul Dowdeswell gave the club his C10 speech ‘Goals’, with a call to us to improve our public speaking, inspired by the famous Gettysburg Address.
Dave Goodman evaluated Zane’s speech, noting her ‘business class dress for a business class speech’. Doris evaluated Costa, with humour and sympathy. Amanda evaluated Mark , with skill and insight, and Chris, our other job-sharing Sergeant at Arms bravely gave an evaluation of Paul’s C10.
After the break, it was great to see Paul Hickson back on our stage, in charge of the Table Topics session. He encouraged us to speak ‘extemporaneously’, definitely word of the day for me. Many of our guests took part, and Dan Magill took on a second role as Topics evaluator to help participants improve their skills.
Our Area Director, Lloyd Griffiths, was General Evaluator for the whole meeting, rounding off the evening.
Best speech – Paul Dowdeswell
Best Evaluation – Doris
Best Table Topic – Angela (one of our guests!)
The next meeting will be on August 6th, when Lloyd will be Toastmaster.
Epsom Speakers Club Monday 21st May 2018
It was another great evening at Epsom Speakers Club. I thought the theme of the evening was really about courage and conquering your fears and preconceptions about public speaking. We do have a talented group of people at the club. That was on show this meeting with some thought provoking speeches, astute evaluations and interesting table topics answers. On the whole there was much laughter again. The whole room seemed alive with energy. I feel this makes Monday evening at Epsom Speakers Club something to look forward to.
We had a change of schedule for the meeting this week. Patrick Ebbs kindly agreed to chair the Annual General Meeting. Patrick is a very experienced Toastmaster and handled the proceedings very professionally. The session was thorough but was over on time, and everybody seemed happy with the result. I look forward to organising where the generous donation we received from George Hollis will go with the subcommittee. The subcommittee will then put the proposal forward as to where the money may go. I am pleased to see new members taking on committee roles also. It helped me with my leadership skills by taking on these roles. I was not going to do that when I joined Toastmasters as I was focused on learning to speak in public, but the roles have developed me not only as a speaker, but a leader also. The change in me is amazing. I hope it is as fruitful for all of you.
Costa was the Toastmaster and handled the role admirably. We had a good explanation of all the roles. Paul was the timekeeper, and Lloyd the videographer. Both stepped in at the last minute. A big thank you on behalf of the club, as these are very important roles. Elizabeth was the ballot counter for the evening. The whole team performed well and made for a smooth running of the meeting. I would reiterate Charlie’s general evaluation that when introducing the speakers, more emphasise is needed to lift the room for the arrival of the next speaker. Clapping of hands is not only encouraging for the next speaker up, but also stimulates the acupressure points on the hands when you clap. This helps to increase the energy in the body. It is truly a win win situation when we clap the next speaker onto stage.
Next up the speakers. We had Mark Peacock delivering his C1 on his first Pathways project. A great insightful speech about his journey through the corporate world and why he ended up at Toastmasters. I am sure Mark will re find his presentation skills as he performed admirably last night. Dave Goodman also delivered his C1 from his Pathways project. Dave gave us a little insight into his upbringing and how much fun he had with his imagination as a child. Yes I remember those days when imagination was used for play purposes. Unfortunately this is slowly diminishing with the use of more and more technology. With regards to the people I know with children, I can see the use of imagination coming back now, where children will once again explore their imagination to create a happy childhood. As Dave quite rightly pointed out, it is not about the money, it is about the attitude. And lastly, hamming it up in the best possible way, was Daniel Magill. Dan told us a story that was using the three little pigs tale as his theme. It was a very well thought out speech, with some toe curling humour in it. Dan is giving Dave Goodman a run for his money with the jokes in his speeches. It was a wonderful speech about courage. I have met so many people in my short life with so many different stories. We all seem to suffer from fear and lack of courage, and Dan addressed these issues in a very comprehensive way. The courage to keep going no matter what the circumstances is imbedded deep within all of us. It is part of our natural instincts for survival. Dan’s speech was inspirational as he encouraged us to use your courage to go where you want to go. Thank you Dan for your insight into the subject. Dan went onto win best speaker for the evening.
Next up was the evaluations. Phoebus evaluated Mark. Dave Lane evaluated Dave Goodman and Amanda evaluated Dan. All evaluations were very good. We could all learn from what each evaluator was saying, though some of them went into the first person, which is a little exclusive. Evaluations should be performed either using the speakers name or in the third person. This makes it open to the audience also. Toastmasters is all about evaluations and we had a real treat this meeting. Unfortunately there was not a vote on this part of the evening as one of the evaluators was so into his role, he went over time.
After the break came the Table Topics. Good to see Justin back at the club and taking on this role. Justin explained the role well but omitted to let us know the timings. The subject was the weather and what an set of questions he gave us. The participants were Anjana, Peter, Amanda, Chris, Dave G, Mark and Charlie. We had some fun, some wisdom and some insights into people’s views on the weather. It was another lively session so well done to everyone who took part. David Goodman and Chris Terry went onto win the topics session.
The session was evaluated by Doris. Doris gave us one of her best evaluations to date and showed us how to evaluate the topics session. With a good commendation and recommendation to all the speakers, Doris made this tricky role look easy. Charlie went onto give us his general evaluation of the evening and what a cracker. No notes again, and a commendation and recommendation for everyone. Charlie has run a memory workshop for us in the past. I am sure if asked nicely he will run this workshop again for us so we can aspire to have such a great memory. We then had the Presidents closing remarks who couldn’t even remember what month we are in!!!!!!!!
I had great fun again. I hope you all did too. Laughter is so good for you, it is refreshing to find it in a learning environment, which can sometimes be a little stuffy and rigid. I am glad to say that we do not have that problem at Epsom Speakers Club.
Until next time. Keep shining.
Epsom Speakers Club Monday 14th May 2018
We were blessed with so many wise words and quotes last night, I felt I was at an inspirational seminar. From Mark Twain to Yoda himself, we had an array of quotes during the topics session, and some inspirational speeches about change and realisations, as people across the world slowly wake up to the situation we find ourselves in as a species. It is that curiosity and questioning that I love in people and would encourage this kind of meeting every time. I left the meeting with such a grateful heart for such an experience. Long may it continue.
The evening started well with Paul D setting up the room and introducing the President. Then David Goodman stepped up to the plate as Toastmaster for the evening, and started with a joke about IKEA. We then went onto experience jokes about slamming sliding doors among many others flowing out of David. It really was a fun evening and Dave did a great job keeping the whole meeting running smoothly. David introduced his team asfollows. Fatai as timekeeper, who gave us a fabulous run down on why we use a timing system at Toastmasters. Mathijs was the videographer and Phoebus the Ballot counter. They all contributed to a great evening. And Sheena opened up the floor with her warm up about whether you would like to travel backward or forward in time to meet your past or future ancestors. It was a very interesting warm up and everybody managed to speech about the subject. Well done Sheena. What I would say is make sure you finish up your session with a definite ending.
Then came the speakers. First up was Rick Hazelden with his C2. The theme was really the theme of the evening, which was change. Rick performed a great C2 and really is growing steadily as a public speaker. Next up was Norman Keane speaking about plastic. It was an interesting speech and Norman did open up and say he had changed his view on plastic, even while being in the business. Plastic is a problem, but it has its uses. Norman did make us aware of many of the problems about plastic, but one of my major concerns are the endocrine disruptors that are sometimes added to plastic. Paul Dowdeswell gave us a very heart rendering story about love and rescue. I am sure Paul and I would have set up an animal sanctuary if we knew each other when we were younger as I was always rescuing animals out my cats and dogs mouths. Paul made some lovely points about how we can learn so much about ourselves with our interactions with animals. Charlie gave us an educational slot about growing the area. Again Charlie was upbeat and positive and shared with us the rise, fall and projected rise of the area with regards to Toastmaster clubs. You know you are going to get some good speaking on show when Charlie speaks, and he didn’t disappoint. I did here Charlie use an Errr though during his educational. Come on Charlie, standards are slipping.
At Toastmasters, everything is evaluated. Amanda Zwarts stepped up to evaluate Rick. Amanda gave us a wonderful evaluation and I am sure not only Rick, but we all learnt from this. Amanda was very encouraging of Rick and his progress and I couldn’t agree more. Then we had Lloyd evaluating Norman. He used a river as an analogy of the flow of the speech. Lloyds evaluation was very analytical and Norman did hear what Lloyd felt was good about his speech and what he could improve on. And lastly Julia Belling evaluated Paul D. This was Julia’s first evaluation and I felt she did a super job. Although you could see Julia was a little nervous, she managed to give great commendations and recommendations. Julia keeps getting better and better as a speaker and a Toastmaster. The best evaluator went to Amanda.
After the break we had the topics session. Mark Peacock stepped up for his first topics session and what a cracker. Mark chose inspirational quotes that made us all think. Mark managed to get all participants to speak for over a minute so he set up the ideal situation with the right themes. That is the idea of Topics by getting people to talk off the cuff and this was achieved. The participants were Peter, Dave G, Phoebus, Anjana, Gillian, Rohan, Sharon and Julia. It was a great session with many inspiring and wise words given to the audience. Anjana won the topics competition again. Dan Magill evaluated the topics session and what a great job Dan did. He managed to find a recommendation for all the participants together with many commendations. The topics evaluator role is a difficult role and Dan made this look easy. Dan is also improving very quickly as a speaker and Toastmaster. He does look like he has been doing this for years.
Finally we had a change from the agenda, where Doris stepped in and gave us her general evaluation. Doris decided to work herself harder by running down her evaluation from finish to beginning. Doris is a very experienced Toastmaster and this showed with her general evaluation. This is also a very tough role and Doris did make this look easy. Well done Doris.
Overall I was very impressed by this whole evening with the standard always rising at Epsom Speakers. What I really enjoy about the rapid improvement is that we do have many Advanced speakers at the club, and they can’t rest on their laurels. Also the wisdom and knowledge shared with us was also very impressive. There were also many laughs to be had over the course of the evening and laughter is the best way of clearing many things, and nerves and fear take a back seat when there is much laughter. I love to hear it and be around it, as we do live in very difficult times as a species and it is good to let off steam with laughter. So keep smiling and keep laughing.
I will see you all soon.
I am sure that most Epsom Speakers Club members are aware of the Youth Leadership Programme we are currently running at Reeds School in Cobham. This has been running for a number of years now. We have currently just had a change of Teachers who are running the scheme. They are being guided by Patrick Ebbs, my mentor and long term member of Epsom Speakers. Every year they have an awards night and this year, I was invited as President of Epsom Speakers club to attend the gala evening. It was a black tie event. This is usually a little too formal for me, but I did dress smartly and enjoyed the evening.
There were 39 pupils who were on the programme this year. This is a slight increase from last year. This is looking likely to grow to over 50 in the next year for the programme. It is going from strength to strength. All pupils who are members of the programme managed to speak, and I was impressed by all of them. It took many hours before home time, but I felt suitably entertained by the talent on show and what they had to say. We even had some parents performing speeches and evaluations. It really did feel like a community affair. All the pupils showed their gratitude to Epsom Speakers for what we have done for them. We have helped all of them with their public speaking skills and made them look at different aspects of their lives. I was particularly interested in some of the contents of the speeches that were delivered.
There were two speakers in particular that I remember very well. One boy stood up and spoke about his battle against his suicidal thoughts. He spoke calmly and articulately about his turmoil. He also pointed out that he did not want for anything, and that was not the problem. As more and more pressure is put onto human beings in this very traumatic time in human history, we are going to see more and more of this from all levels of our society. It was very refreshing to see a young man being able to speak so articulately about his problems and what he was doing to turn his life around. You could feel from his passion that this was not a cry for help. He was genuinely trying to get to the bottom of his suicidal feelings and resolve them.
Another speaker spoke about the recent death of her mother and how she was coping with that. Again she spoke very articulately about her feelings and the speech was received in a heartfelt manner. Again it was very refreshing to hear someone speaking very clearly and concisely about how they felt, and what they were doing to rectify the problems. I was very impressed by both of these speeches, as it is really what I try to tell everybody to do when speaking in public, which is speak from the heart. These two speeches were particularly heart driven and I did feel compassion and even empathy to both of them as I have also suffered of losing my parents early on in my life and have had suicidal thoughts in the past.
We also had speakers who were very materialistic and flippant, to speakers who wanted to address the inequalities of our society between the haves and the have not’s. All the speakers were interesting in their own way, and I did learn much from this very diverse group of students. Times they are a changing, and I can see little glimmers of hope appearing everywhere in a very harsh world. There were many glimmers of hope from the speakers at Reeds on Friday evening.
Both Patrick and myself were celebrated at the end when we gave out certificates to all the attendees of the programme. I was delighted to meet all of them and hope they go on to make this world a better place. The food was good and the company too. We were welcomed like heroes and we kept the profile of Epsom Speakers Club high in the eyes of the Cobham community. If you haven’t been on a Reeds night, and are interested, please speak to Patrick as he will organise for you to attend one of their meetings. It is a very good experience and also one for helping you learn and grow as a speaker and a leader. I am sure Patrick will welcome a proactive approach to Reeds night if you approach him first. You also get a great meal thrown in too. Who could resist?