It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

There was a joyful vibe in the air at Ripley Arts Centre on Thursday.

The Centre in Bromley looked very festive with its Christmas tree up in the foyer and the members of Bromley Speakers got into the Christmas spirit by dressing in their finest festive attire.

Richard decided to do a bit of tree-hugging

Our President Christine Morrell introduced the meeting and welcomed to the front Adrian Clay and Deborah Goodman respectively, who told us their ‘success stories’ about how being at Bromley Speakers has helped them to achieve and succeed in recent speaking situations which they may not have put themselves forward for if it were not for the help and support of the club members.

Say YES and come out of your comfort zone

Adrian has been saying ‘yes’ to giving talks at networking events, even when he’s faced with last-minute invitations. Before he came to Bromley Speakers he would have shied away from this and it has resulted in him obtaining not only some more confidence in himself but also some business, so it’s paying off for him, for sure.

Deborah has said ‘yes’ to giving an interview to the Telegraph newspaper, which was published in The Sunday Telegraph, and then said a very bold ‘yes’ to being interviewed live on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, which has 7 million listeners. A clip of her interview has had 4,000 views in less than 2 weeks on social media and she wouldn’t have put herself forward for it without the knowledge and confidence she has gained and support that she has had over the past 2 years of being a Bromley Speakers Club member.

Christmas Meeting

Richard Green was our Toastmaster for the evening and he took us on a sleigh-ride through the meeting with a Ho-Ho-Ho and the effervescent sparkle that he is renowned for.

As the lights dimmed, we were all surprised as his jumper lit up! And he proceeded to light the way for the speakers, members and guests by suggesting that the meeting was going to be a whole heap of fun! Which, of course, it was.

We were delighted to welcome three guests to our meeting, Caroline, Annabel and Donna.

Birthday girl Susan Rayner led an interesting warm up of ‘bananas, plums and sausages’ which culminated in an impactful ending by Royston Pistone.

Prepared Speeches

Our first speech was an inspiring ice-breaker, delivered extremely well by Tom Jewers. Tom comes across as a confident speaker and we wouldn’t have guessed that it was his first speech at Bromley Speakers if we didn’t know. Tom took us on his personal journey from childhood to the present day to explain to the group why he joined Toastmasters and how it is helping him as a speaker and presenter. He cleverly weaved the title of the speech, ‘Why am I here?’ throughout and provided a good contrast between the highs and lows of his presentation experiences.

Reading a course on-line does not cure the nerves.
You have to get up and practice.

Our second prepared speech, aptly entitled ‘Starry, Starry Night’ was presented to us by Jamie Simpson. Jamie’s illuminating speech taught us all things we didn’t know about Van Gogh and he presented it with good gestures and great humour.

We celebrated everything Christmassy in the break with prosecco and mince pies, provided by our President, Christine Morrell.

And not to forget that it was Susan Raynor’s birthday so we also celebrated that with her birthday cake.

Table Topics

The second half of the meeting was full of festive fun and fired by lady-petrol (aka Prosecco) with Christmas-themed Table Topics brought to us by Jenny Taggart. The subject of the topics was:

What will Christmas time be like for ……

Some great topics followed along with some interesting and comical answers. I don’t know what was in that Prosecco but I’ve never known so many people go over time with Table Topics before!

Two of our guests took on the impromptu challenge and the winner of the best Table Topic went to our guest Annabel who answered the question,

What will Christmas be like for Santa?

Annabel answered with humour and suggested that, after his busy and stressful Christmas Eve, he will be requiring lots of counselling and alcohol! Well done to her for winning the best Table Topic of the evening.

Other Roles

All the roles (or jobs) at the club are important to the smooth running of the meeting and they also help us to become better managers, leaders, organisers and speakers. Thanks to all of the members who took on roles at the meeting. Our Sergeant at Arms James Kirkby, our Timekeepers Ross Taggart and Robert Parker, Table Topics evaluator John Vickers, Grammarian Martin Langdon, Ah Counter Karen Mefflin and General Evaluator Alan Culos. All of whom did a brilliant job.

The festive meeting ended with a ‘Ho-Ho-How many people can we get up the stairs for a photo’ (thanks to Glen for that) and a reminder that our next get-together will be another Christmas celebration on Thursday 19th December at the Railway Tavern, East Street, Bromley at 7:30.

The Committee of Bromley Speakers wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we look forward to what 2020 will bring to the club.

Bromley Speakers meets at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays of the month, at 7.15 pm.

For more information please email us
vppublicrelations@bromleyspeakers.co.uk

Halloween Meeting – October 31st

All Hallows

Why do we celebrate All Hallows Eve?
Celts believed that on Samhain, the walls between our world and the spirit world became thin enough to allow ghosts to pass through and damage their crops. All Hallows’ Eve began in the eighth century as a Christianised version of Samhain. Christians would honour saints and pray for souls who had not yet reached heaven.

Who you gonna call?

Members showed what great sports they are by wholeheartedly throwing themselves into the spirit of our Halloween themed meeting on 31 October.  All sorts of awesome and creepy creatures turned up, including terrifying ghosts, a couple of zombies, a coven of witches and a She Devil.  Just as well we had out very own ghostbuster there – Martin Langdon.

A spooky video, inspired and created by the talented Dave Henson, set the spine tingling scene. As the lights dimmed, thunder clapped, lightning flashed and skulls and scary images were projected onto the curtains as an eerie voice welcomed fellow ghostmasters to Bromley Spookers.

Our president, Christine Morrell, AKA The Spirit of Fear, opened the meeting with a warning that fear defeats more people than anything in the world.  She declared that as it was a celebratory evening for the spirits, she would spread some goodwill and share her secrets with us mere mortals on how to overcome the thing that most people fear more than death itself – public speaking!!

She warned that if we run from fear, the fear will grow but if we face up to our fear, we will grow. 

‘Do the thing you fear and death of fear is certain’.

Table Topics

With this in mind, it was onto an evening devoted entirely to the ultimate fear of our Ghostmasters – TABLE TOPICS!

There would be no escape for anyone – we were all in this together.  And to give everyone maximum opportunity for impromptu speaking, two evaluators would be randomly selected to evaluate each table topic on the spot.

To take some of the chill out of the air, our Wizard of Warm Ups, Neil Pettigrew, got us all confessing to our worst fears which covered a wide range of scary spectres and phobias including snakes, the dark and Donald Trump!

Our first foreboding Table Topics Master was Vinu Madhavan – the Bewitched Enchantress. She welcomed us to her telestore with the warning that, as it was Halloween, she needed to sell all its items. If she failed, we would all be engulfed in flames and perish. To save us from this horrific fate she invited her team of presenters to the stage to deliver sales pitches for all the items to be sold.

Each and every Ghostmaster took on the challenge with relish and delivered some very persuasive reasons as to why we must buy a whole range of unlikely items, including LED curtains, an acrylic painting and a skeleton costume for dogs.

Black cats are the assistants of witches – never let them cross your path!

We barely had time to recover our breath in the break before we were launched into the second Table Topics session. Now we were into uncharted and very dangerous waters as the deadly Martin Langdon, dressed as a black cat, presided.

There was much shivering and quivering but again the Ghostmasters rose to the challenge, launching into explanations of such supernatural situations as to what they might do if attacked by a werewolf or dealing with the disaster of inadvertently running over a neighbour’s cat. 


The Ghoul-Tossing Club

It all took on a very surreal turn when Richard Green and Dave Henson revealed they were long standing members of the Bromley Ghoul-Tossing  Club and that David – or was it really Richard? – has a penchant for wearing frilly pants.

It was a tough contest but prizes for the best table topics speakers for the evening were awarded to Sue Shaw for explaining why we needed to buy a black-out eye mask and David Hampton for his passionate and persuasive plea for an end to discrimination against ghouls.

David, who slinked silently into the meeting, totally unrecognisable as a truly terrifying ghoul, also won the prize for best costume.

An eerie figure walks silently amongst us……..

Well done everyone for taking on the Toastmasters scary monster of Table Topics and emerging victorious.  As always at Toastmasters we picked up lots of tips and tricks on speaking along with plenty of treats.

Bromley Speakers meets at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays of the month, at 7.15 pm.

For more information please email us
vppublicrelations@bromleyspeakers.co.uk

Practice, Preparation and Product

Last night’s meeting was fabulous, fun and full of useful information and feedback. As people arrived and the room filled up there was an exciting buzz in air.

Our wonderful President, Christine Morrell kicked it off by telling us about a professional speaker she listened to this week who was talking about how to deliver a great speech.

Christine relayed the professional speaker’s message that there were three main important points to remember and follow.

  1. Practice. Keep on doing it as much as possible and find a safe space to practise with people who will give you honest and helpful feedback. Get other experienced speakers to evaluate you.
  2. Prepare. Think positively about how it’s going to go. Be excited instead of nervous. Learn to think on your feet by practising impromptu speaking.
  3. Product. Ensure that you have a great product. Your speech should have a strong beginning and flow smoothly through to a powerful ending. Use the rule of focusing on three key points and use a personal story.

What really struck Christine was that this is EXACTLY what Toastmasters provides us with and, therefore, we are in the best place we can be to become great speakers.

We are extremely lucky to have some very experienced speakers at our club and although this can be a bit off-putting to new members, it’s important to ensure that our guests and new members are encouraged to learn from them rather than be intimidated by them. After all, we ARE a very friendly bunch and the experienced speakers want to mentor and encourage the less experienced ones. That’s what it’s all about.

Success Story

We always love a success story. Success stories are told when a member delivers a speech or presentation outside of the club and tells us how being at Toastmasters has given them the tools, support and courage to step up to a challenge.

This week we heard from James Kirkby. James has been a member of Bromley Speakers for 9 months and he joined us to improve his confidence and presentation skills. James works in the IT industry and aspired to present at an industry conference. He achieved this recently by giving a 30 minute presentation to over 100 people and afterwards was commended for his presentation. James admitted that prior to coming to Bromley Speakers he never would have accepted this challenge. James’ success story is another testament to how Toastmasters helps us to improve and deliver.

The Meeting

Our Toastmaster for the evening was David Hampton. A very experienced speaker, David joined Toastmasters in 2001 in America before coming to Bromley Speakers in 2003. He has competed in the division finals of the Humorous Speech contest four times and has won the Table Topics contest at Division level. Our President said that he has ‘mastered the skills of making the difficult look easy’ and he certainly did that as he guided us expertly through the meeting this week.
You can watch David’s in a humorous speech contest here.

Deborah Goodman warmed up our vocal cords with her mouth-watering question, ‘what’s your favourite dessert?’ and left us all feeling a little hungry after hearing about all the puddings people love to eat. It’s a good job there were some delicious chocolate cookies available in the tea break!

Tom Jewers presented his very helpful ‘Top Tip’, reminding us that it’s fine to be nervous. He told us not to panic, just practise and the nerves will fall away as you speak and your delivery will improve.

Prepared Speeches

We had three fabulous speeches, beginning with Cecilia Mbullah’s personal story entitled simply ‘She’. This was followed by Rajesh Deshmukh’s Icebreaker speech about his journey towards becoming a cataract surgeon, aptly entitled ‘Why Did You Choose Eyes?’

The third prepared speech came from Richard Green who had us laughing all the way through with his humorous competition speech, ‘Life in Siberia’. Richard is taking this speech into the Division competition after winning at Club level and then at Area level and we wish him all the very best in the competition.

The speeches were expertly evaluated by Susan Raynor, Vinu Madhavan and Margot Glover and the evaluations are speeches in their own right.

Susan said that Cecilia has a natural ability to engage her audience and that her speech was vivid, descriptive and emotive. It was delivered with emotion and had a strong message and the ending had impact and direction with a call to action.

Vinu commented that Rajesh delivered an excellent first speech without the use of any notes. He engaged well with the audience and was clear and confident in his delivery. An Icebreaker speech is the first prepared speech so we congratulate Rajesh for stepping onto his pathway and taking the first steps to becoming a better public speaker.

Margot evaluated Richard’s speech and it was an easy one to evaluate as Richard is an accomplished and experienced speaker with a natural ability for comedy.

Table Topics

Table Topics, led by Karen Mefflin were fun, as always, and new members, Harry and Arun, and guest, Adrian, both did well for their first attempt. Tom Jewers won the contest with his impromptu speech about where he sees himself in five years’ time.

The topics were evaluated by Alain Culos and Susan Shaw gave an evaluation of the rest of the meeting.

Other Roles

Our ‘Ah’ Counter, Robert Parker galloped us through an excellent and very unique report, as if we were at the races, which was a lot of fun. Well done for coming up with that idea Robert!

Hospitality was Vinu, Sergeant at Arms – James Kirkby, Timekeeper – Ben Lopez, Grammarian – John Cross.

Congratulations to our winners. Richard Green for his prepared speech, Vinu Madhavan for her evaluation speech and Tom Jewers for his impromptu speech.

Another great night at Bromley Speakers Club!

Bromley Speakers meets at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays of the month, at 7.15 pm.

For more information please email us
vppublicrelations@bromleyspeakers.co.uk

Would you rather fight 50 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?

You may think this is a strange title for a blog. And you would be right, it is a strange title. It was one of our amusing Table Topics questions on Thursday, presented to us by Luca Fortuna. The theme of the topics was ‘would you rather…?’

We had questions like ‘would you rather have a conversation with your past or future self?’ and ‘would you rather have no taste buds or be colour blind?’

The chosen speakers had just a few moments to think of what they were going to say before delivering their 1-2 minute speeches and it was a very entertaining session, as always.

Alistair kindly saved us all from a plane crash, David became famous and rich, Susan Rayner angered a witch and became smaller, Alain went back and forth in time, Neil spoke to his future self to find out how much longer he had and Jenny had pink hair (oh hold on, that was real!). It was fabulous to welcome Royston back and great to hear that he is having no regrets.

Table Topics Master Luca Fortuna

Robert Parker evaluated the Table Topics and gave us some good tips on how to answer them, such as ‘whilst walking up to the front, think about the 3 key points that you want to make’.

Jenny and her pink hair

Returning member Tom Jewers shared his success story about how coming to Bromley Speakers recently helped him to secure his new job. When you have to get through eight rounds of interviews and a big presentation just to secure one job, the skills that you gain at Toastmasters can definitely benefit you in achieving success. Congratulations Tom, we wish you all the best in your new position.

Margot Glover also shared her success story about how she delivered a speech at her friend’s party. People at the party congratulated her on what a great speech it was and she feels that she has taken a huge step towards where she wants to be.

We are so thrilled to hear that Bromley Speakers has helped.

Our President Christine Morrell talked about how to handle failure. She reminded us that when you’re faced with a challenge and it doesn’t go your way, you can either have a limited mindset or a growth mindset. Failing never feels good but if we choose to, we can learn so much from it. When everything goes right for us, there is no opportunity for growth.

Our Toastmaster for the evening was John Vickers. John eagerly throws himself into the roles at the club and is a very keen and supportive committee member. He oversees our mentoring programme and is our club Secretary and he won the most improved speaker award at our annual dinner in July.  

James Kirkby led an amusing warm up by asking us what our best night out with our work colleagues has been. Funnily there seemed to be a common theme of alcohol consumption and the answers provoked lots of chuckles from the audience.

Our first prepared speech, entitled ‘Under the Oroaka tree’ was delivered by Cecilia Mbullah. Cecilia is a great storyteller and evaluator David Hampton said that this was an easy speech to evaluate. It had a dramatic opening, an interesting story and it was well delivered.

Two strong aspects stood out as Cecilia was speaking: passion and control. She is a passionate speaker and uses her voice and hand gestures well to create drama within her speech. She has great control over the structure of her speech, with good pauses and movement on the stage.

Our next speaker, Adrian Clay, lured us into his dark secret. Adrian is an engaging speaker and it’s fair to say that he uses as much of the stage as he can.

Adrian Clay

Speech evaluator Richard Green enthused with just about as much passion as Adrian himself when he said that Adrian told his story with passion and humour. “He’s watchable and likeable and he has charisma” Richard said.

His geeky story had him running to the window to point out a plane and as Richard said, although he has a dark secret…… he has a bright future!

Well done to both Adrian and Richard for a great speech and evaluation.

Our third speech entitled ‘Solo2Darwin Dare to Dream’ was delivered by Pilot Amanda Harrison. Amanda told us her story about how she had dreamed about emulating Amy Johnson, a pioneering English female pilot who was the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia. We flew on a journey that started with a young girl who dared to dream.

“Someday….. one day…. I WILL”.

When Amanda’s father passed away, she was reminded about how short life is and she knew that she had to do it, and do it now. The day came and that day was January 6th 2018. She flew her Tiger Moth solo to Australia and she took us with her in what was described by her evaluator, Vinu Madhavan as a ‘perfect speech’, which is amazing being as Amanda only signed up for it a day before the meeting.

Amanda Harrison Solo2Darwin

Vinu said that Amanda’s speech was well organised and that her experience of speaking really showed. She said that Amanda had amazing confidence and stage-presence. As she acted out the scenes, she brought the story to life, enabling the audience to really feel the emotion.

Great job Amanda, you are a worthy winner of our best speaker award.

Our general evaluator was Karen Mefflin who did a great job of evaluating those who hadn’t been evaluated, including our President Christine. Karen thought that the meeting was hugely entertaining and we have to agree with her on that one!

And so, with that thought in mind, some of us went off to contemplate our existence and others went to the pub to talk about what we’d learned this evening. Which, by the way, was that Richard loves Adrian.

It was wonderful to welcome four guests to our meeting who all indicated that they enjoyed it very much and we look forward to seeing them again.

Thanks to our Sargent at Arms, Jamie Simpson, our ‘ah’ counter Ben Lopez, our grammarian Margot Glover and our Timekeeper David Wilson.

Congratulations to our winners: Amanda Harrison, David Hampton and Richard Green.

Bromley Speakers meets at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays of the month, at 7.15 pm.

For more information please email us
vppublicrelations@bromleyspeakers.co.uk

Humorous Speech & Table Topic Contest

Bromley Speakers held it’s Humorous Speech contest and Table Topics Contest on 19th September and it was a fantastic event.

With no less than 7 contestants delivering Humorous Speeches, the deserving winner was Amanda Harrison with her speech entitled ‘Flying Fun’.

Humorous Speech Contestants

Neil Pettigrew was the winner of the Table Topics Contest, which saw 8 people competing for the title.

Table Topics Contestants

Thanks to the judges and to everyone else involved in making it a fantastic event.

A very well done to all who competed and congratulations to Amanda and Neil, who will go on to compete at the Area Contest, which will be held on October 12th.

The Winners!

Congratulations also goes to our member, Richard Green who came first in both contests at Lewisham Speakers Club. What an amazing achievement.

Richard Green

Get tickets to the Area 35 Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest.

Bromley Speakers meets at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays of the month, at 7.15 pm.

For more information please email us
vppublicrelations@bromleyspeakers.co.uk

Club Member Interview

Jamie Simpson, Bromley Speakers new club member, gives an interview to Public Relations Officer Deborah Goodman

How did you first hear about Toastmasters?

It was recommended to me by a millionaire businessman who lives in a castle in Scotland. He teaches Mergers and Acquisitions courses in his castle and he suggested that I go to Toastmasters to improve my communication skills in order to excel in the business world.

Wow, I wasn’t expecting that! What is it that you do for your job?

I own a transport company and a care home acquisition company.

Do you have any previous experience of Toastmasters clubs?

Only a little. I originally attended a Toastmasters club in Brighton a few years ago in the hope of improving my presentation skills. I had started a new project and needed to raise finance in the city. Unfortunately, with it being such a large club I felt too far out of my comfort zone and made my excuses to leave early without returning.

Why did you come to Bromley Speakers after that?

Earlier this year, after moving to Kent, I decided to try Toastmasters again. I found out that Bromley Speakers club was local to me and I attended one Thursday evening as a guest.

Bromley Speakers was a lot smaller than the previous club I had attended and it felt more welcoming and warm.

Were you nervous about coming back to Toastmasters?

The urge to give in to my comfort zone kicked in again and I had to internally win a battle with myself in order to stay for the whole session. However, in doing so I was extremely impressed with the structure of the meeting, which gave so many people the opportunity to speak.

What do you particularly like about the structure of the evening?

I was surprised to see that there are lots of roles to fulfil, such as a time keeper, warm-up, evaluator and Toastmaster. These roles help to keep the meeting running smoothly. Without these vital roles, the club would not be able to run.

Why do you think that this is important?

I recognised these roles as a very clever way to integrate people into positions of leadership and ownership for their roles, of which some people are not used to in day-to-day life. This is a fantastic way to improve confidence in leadership and communication skills, whilst in a friendly and non-judgemental environment.

I am so pleased that you liked the first meeting and decided to come back.

Yes. I decided to return to the next meeting in two weeks’ time and stood up to give my first Table Topics talk.

I was very scared as, although I see myself as confident and have a sales background, it suddenly dawned on me that I had not needed to use my communication or presentation skills in such a long time. So long in fact that I had bypassed the point of being rusty and they were now at an all-time low.

Some people find Table Topics a bit scary. How did you feel after doing your first Table Topic?

After my first Table Topic – which I was determined to do in order to be a participant rather than just a spectator – I felt very good about myself and actually ended up winning the best Table Topics’ speaker of the evening! I could feel the confidence and sense of achievement that I had unknowingly been without for so long, start to return.

That’s fantastic Jamie. Did that have a knock-on effect on you?

The burst of confidence worked a treat and then, instead of mentally forcing myself to attend the next meeting after a long day at work, I eagerly anticipated it.

I hear that you got married this year – congratulations – and therefore had to give a speech. How did that go?

Bromley Speakers, in such a short space of time, has helped me get over the initial anxiety of speaking in front of others and allowed me to deliver a well-received groomsman speech at my wedding in June. This of course boosted my confidence even further and I could then feel the momentum growing.

That’s fantastic to hear. Where did that momentum take you?

After one groom’s speech and four visits as a guest to Bromley Speakers – of which included two Table Topic wins and two Table Topic flops – I am now the one of the newest member of Bromley Speakers club and have just given my first speech. With the help of my fellow Toastmasters, I feel that I am growing as a person, alongside like-minded and friendly people.

Thank you to Jamie for sharing his story with us.  

A Halcyon Meeting 29/08/2019

What a Halcyon meeting we had last night at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley.

Yes, Halcyon was the word of the Week and a few of the members managed to use it throughout the evening, which was definitely happy, joyful and gay, especially as the table topics were all about humour. Thanks David Henson for a great Table Topics Session.

Also, we had a very humorous speech by Ross Taggart, who won the Best Speaker Award, well done Ross!

Our members and guests were greeted warmly by our Club Membership Officer Vinu Madhavan and our fabulous Sargent at Arms James Kirkby opened the meeting, which was held in a room full of wonderful artwork. That’s one of the benefits of meeting at the Ripley Arts Centre; not only is it an entertaining and educational evening, it’s also a spectacular feast for the eyes.

Members and guests mingle amongst the artwork at
Ripley Arts Centre

Our President Christine Morrell introduced the meeting with a fabulous lesson on how nerves and excitement are both a state of heightened emotion and how a simple technique called ‘anxiety reappraisal’ can help people channel nervous jitters into improved performance.  When evaluating the meeting, our General Evaluator John Vickers noted that Christine created a good mood and led us into the meeting with positivity.

David Henson shared his success story, telling us about his forthcoming comedy slot where he will be performing in front of 300 people at the Professional Speaking Association (PSA) National Convention in October. What an amazing challenge to take on and he could never have even thought about doing it before he came to Toastmasters.

Here at Bromley Speakers we just love the success stories. Keep them coming guys!

Rajesh Deshmukh warmed us all up by asking about our amazement over the past few weeks and our Top Tip was delivered by Ben Lopez who shared with us a personal story and urged us all to persevere.

The Timekeeper was the ever-amusing Martin Langdon and Vinu Madhavan was our Ah Counter for the evening.

The Grammarian was Richard Green who picked up some great use of language throughout the evening.

Our first Speaker, Jamie Simpson delivered a speech entitled ‘The Three S’s’. This was Jamie’s icebreaker speech and Jamie told us that he joined Bromley Speakers because he finds it friendly and supportive and that he feels it will help him to achieve his goals, not only in business but in life. He regaled us with his tales of travel and he engaged the audience well by asking us questions. It was a great first speech, well done Jamie.  We look forward to many more tales from our newest member as he will no doubt go from strength to strength.

Our second speech was delivered by Susan Rayner who educated us on her thoughts on how we might improve as leaders. Her speech, entitled ‘Learning to Influence’, was an enlightening insight into the world of persuasive influence and understanding of leadership styles.

She told us that it’s easy to tell someone what to do but it’s more difficult to take someone on a journey with you. How true that is. Another gem of wisdom from Susan was that it’s good to give praise in public and reprimand in private. It was a great speech with lots of useful information on leadership skills.

Speakers Jamie Simpson and Susan Rayner

Our third speaker, Ross Taggart, had us all laughing with his speech entitled ‘Interview’. Ross should definitely enter into the forthcoming humorous speech contest as he is a naturally funny guy. As he told us about his hilarious experiences of job hunting, he improved on his last performance by incorporating feedback from a previous speech. When Neil Pettigrew evaluated Ross’ speech he said that it was his best speech to date. Nice one Ross!

Toastmaster Jenny Taggart reminded us that children have no shame when it comes to evaluating their peers as she encouraged our three evaluators up to give their reports.

Sue Shaw said that she liked the way that our first speaker Jamie Simpson linked into the word of the day and reminded us that, for a 6-minute speech we should have no more than 2 pages of A4 in a 14- to16-point font. She said that Jamie had excelled at his audience rapport.

Evaluators Sue Shaw, John Vickers, Neil Pettigrew and John Cross

John Cross evaluated our second speaker, Susan Rayner. He said that she had an engaging and interesting delivery, good punctuation and a good varied pace. It was a polished delivery.

Evaluating Ross Taggart, Neil Pettigrew agreed that Ross had achieved both of his objectives by incorporating feedback from his previous speech. It was humorous and, as mentioned before, his best speech so far!

Table Topics at Bromley Speakers always gets us laughing but this week the subject was indeed ‘Humour’. David Henson delivered the topics and kicked off the session by asking, is laughter the best medicine? Following this he asked, is swearing funny? (to which Alistair managed not to swear at all), Are women as funny as men?, Is it important to have a good sense of humour in a relationship? and a few other amusing questions.

Our Topics Evaluator, Eddie Barnes also tickled our funny bones with his amusing feedback on the topics.

Best Speech – Ross Taggart, Best Evaluation – Neil Pettigrew, Best Table Topic – Martin Langdon

As you can tell, here at Bromley Speakers we like to have fun. But at the same time we also take our learning and feedback seriously. At the end of the day, Toastmasters is about improving our speaking skills and that is always at the heart of what we do and why we do it. But if we can’t laugh at ourselves along the way, then life as a speaker might become a little dull. Our audience will dictate our level of seriousness or humour and that is always remembered when giving our speeches.

Learning can be fun and I can’t wait for the next meeting!

Bromley Speakers meets at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays of the month, at 7.15 pm.

For more information please email us
vppublicrelations@bromleyspeakers.co.uk

Member’s Profile

Deborah Goodman, Public Relations Officer -Press Release 22/08/19

Orpington Woman Reaches New Heights

After nearly 20 years away from the corporate world, a woman from Orpington has gained the prestigious position of Vice President Public Relations at her local Toastmasters club, Bromley Speakers.

Deborah Goodman, from Crofton, Orpington worked in the Telecoms industry for 23 years before leaving the corporate world behind her in 2000 to pursue her passion in holistic therapy.

Deborah, who has recently been appointed Public Relations Officer at Bromley Speakers Club said, “I really thought I’d left this kind of work behind me, but I am finding that this new role has ignited a spark in me and I’m eager to get my teeth into it.”

Deborah left her London job after suffering stress and depression and experiencing her first massage and energy healing whilst on holiday in Costa Rica.

After losing her father, aunt and two brothers to a hereditary neurological condition, she started to raise money and awareness for the Huntington’s Disease Association. Deborah trekked on the Great Wall of China, the Inca Trial to Machu Picchu in Peru and even summited the world’s tallest mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro.

Standing at 5,895 metres Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain in the World.

China Trek
Machu Picchu
Summit of Kilimanjaro

After raising over £20,000 she took on another colossal challenge, writing and publishing her autobiography, Hummingbird.

After the publication of the book, Deborah was invited to give talks at Bromley College and Langley Park Girls School.

Deborah with her book
Langley Park Girls School
Bromley College

“I think I did an OK job, but I’d never done anything like that before and I realised that I definitely needed some help with public speaking” Deborah said. “So I joined Bromley Speakers and I haven’t looked back.

 “I was instantly struck by how friendly the club is” she said. “It’s a safe environment to practise and it’s OK to mess up. The meetings are structured in a way that is really informative and I learn something useful each time I go. My confidence has soared and I even filmed for Channel 4’s First Dates programme! I would not have had the confidence to do that, were it not for Bromley Speakers.

Deborah at C4s First Dates

Unfortunately they didn’t show my date but I got through all the interviews and auditions and went on to film a date with them. The whole experience was exciting and incredible. ”

In March this year Deborah was a key speaker at the Amazing Women Awards, held in London by Roz Thornton of Amazing Women Global.

“I am sure that being a member of Toastmasters was instrumental in securing that speaking slo,” Deborah said. “It was one of those ‘pinch me’ experiences that I will never forget.”

In 2015 Deborah also took part in a video for 5 News, in relation to the Assisted Dying Bill which was being debated in Parliament. “I don’t think I did the best job in this interview, and I wish I’d have found Bromley Speakers years ago. It definitely would have helped me to come across better.”

Filming for C5 News Report

Deborah has recently taken part in a documentary with David George of Utility Films about her experiences of living in a family with Huntington’s disease, which is currently being finalised.

Bromley Speakers is a non-profit organisation and was founded in 1992 as a local group of Toastmasters International.

Deborah said, “It is a place where you can overcome your fear of speaking in public, and it provides positive leadership at work or in your business. It enables you to develop skills related to timekeeping, grammar and helps with overall communication skills. Bromley Speakers is a multi-award winning club, but it’s not just for business people. It’s also open to those who just want to increase their confidence in life.

“The club is friendly, very welcoming and hugely supportive. I really look forward to the meetings where I get an opportunity to practise my speaking skills and receive constructive feedback and recommendations on how to improve. And, as an extra bonus, I have made some wonderful new friends.

“Members represent a wide cross-section of the community, including students, educators, business people, professionals, authors and retired people. Anyone can go along as a guest, without any charge, to three meetings to get a feel for it before actually joining.  I promise we will give all our guests a friendly welcome.

“As Public Relations Officer, I am happy to speak to organisations about what we do.”

Bromley Speakers meets at Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays of the month, at 7.15 pm.

For more information contact Deborah via email vppublicrelations@bromleyspeakers.co.uk

We All Need Heroes

“Fantastic Toastmasters club with energetic members.
The atmosphere is awesome; highly engaging and supportive community.
Will love to be back again.”

This was the feedback on last night’s meeting from our special guest, Harun Dagli, President of Beckenham Communicators Club.

Harun was one of nine guests who were warmly welcomed to the meeting by our hospitality host and membership secretary, Vinu Madhavan.

Last night’s energetic meeting opened as usual with our Sergeant at Arms, James Kirkby.

James Kirkby

Our President, Christine Morrell gave her introduction and handed over to our Toastmaster for the evening, Deborah Goodman. Deborah is the club’s PR officer and Christine commended her on the good work she has been doing since she started the role six weeks ago.

The President hands over to the Toastmaster

The warm-up was set in motion by Neil Pettigrew who asked us to share our special buildings with the group. We went on a journey from the building we were in – Ripley Arts Centre – through various London and UK buildings before going overseas to Cologne, Warner Brothers Studios, Mumbai and Barcelona.  

The warm-up is always fun and it was a very interesting ‘virtual’ journey for us all!

The Hot Tip was given to us by Martin Landon, who always brings humour to the meeting.

The Speeches

Our first speech was delivered by Ben Lopez, who was presenting his ‘Icebreaker’. The Icebreaker is the first speech on the Toastmaster’s pathway and Ben surpassed expectations by delivering his speech without notes. With his speech entitled ‘Ten Year Life Experience’ Ben entertained us with his Australian Adventures. He left us with a heartfelt message – that we shouldn’t wait to fulfil our dreams.

Our second speaker pulled out at the last minute due to unforeseen circumstances and club member Sue Shaw stepped in with a speech entitled ‘We All Need Heroes’. Sue was definitely the hero of the evening, delivering her speech with only 15 minutes of thinking time.

Sue told us about how she was once asked to speak on behalf of the hospice and went on to tell us the fascinating story of Cicely Saunders, an English nurse, social worker, physician and writer involved with many international universities. Sue told a great story of how Cicely became involved in the birth of the hospice movement and how she emphasised the importance of palliative care in modern medicine.

Sue delivered her speech with expertise and it certainly was deserving of the ‘best speaker’ award of the evening. Well done Sue Shaw!

Illuminating us with the third prepared speech of the evening was John Cross with his speech entitled ‘Let the Light In’. John has been a member of Toastmasters for four and a half years and is an accomplished speaker.

With his 7th speech from the Presentation Mastery pathway, John’s objective was to share with us the impact and importance of having a mentor, which he did brilliantly. It was obvious from John’s speech that his mentors have helped him a great deal in his life and he is now listening more and letting in the light!

It was an interesting speech which was relevant to everyone in the room.

Bromley Speakers guests and members listen to Grammarian David Henson

Evaluations

Our three speech evaluators for the evening were David Hampton, guest Alison Morris from Legacy Speakers Brixton and Richard Green.

David Hampton evaluated the first speaker, Ben Lopez. He reported that Ben’s speech had a good structure and commended him on not using any notes for his first speech.

David liked the detail in Ben’s talk and the way that Ben tied up the speech with a ‘neat bow’.

David is a very experienced evaluator and this was evident in his feedback.

It’s always a great pleasure to have visiting guest speakers from other clubs and we were delighted to welcome our second evaluator, Alison Morris who evaluated Sue Shaw’s speech.

The evaluations are also speeches in their own right and they take practice and skill to deliver. Alison has a very engaging manner and delivered her evaluation with the expertise of an accomplished evaluator.

Alison thought that Sue’s speech got off to a great start. She liked the structure of it: a clear introduction followed by great storytelling and rounding off with a clear conclusion. Alison said that she thought Sue’s speech had great transitions between the three sections and that her gestures were engaging. Sue was continually connecting with the audience and the best thing about the delivery of the speech was that the vocal variety and range was clear. 

A great evaluation for a great speech!

Guests from other clubs,
Harun Dagli and Alison Morris

Richard Green then evaluated the third speaker, John Cross. Another accomplished evaluator, Richard commended John for his mentoring example. In his engaging, effervescent manner, Richard said that John was an affable guy who had created an image for us when he said that his mentor had ‘handed him the baton’.  As usual, Richard gave an entertaining and insightful evaluation that concluded with him telling us that John had given a really good speech.

When giving feedback to the speakers, the evaluators always try to give recommendations for improvement. It’s usual for people to speak too quickly when they first start public speaking and it was suggested that a 6-minute speech should contain about 1,100 words.  

Timekeeper

It’s a challenge to make the time-reporting engaging and entertaining but our Timekeeper, Susan Rayner did just that! Stepping in at the last minute to take on the role, Susan did a great job.

Table Topics

The Table Topics session was run by Vinu Madhavan who gave us topics under the following statement:

You woke up to find yourself in someone else’s shoes. Share a slice of your day with us.

The topics subjects and speakers were:

  • Hacker – Alistair Feely
  • Zookeeper – John Vickers
  • Driving Instructor – Jenny Taggart
  • Astronaut – Jamie Simpson
  • Tour Guide – Ross Taggart
  • Children’s Party Entertainer – Rajesh Deshmukh
  • Artist – Robert Parker

Karen Mefflin gave her evaluations of the Table Topics. The Table Topic speakers were as humorous as ever and Karen reminded us that the answers to the Table Topics don’t have to be true – we can make it up and create a good story if we want to.

The ‘Best Table Topic Speaker Award’ went to Jenny Taggart who had us all laughing with images of her as a driving instructor, having fun with the dual controls. 

Jenny Taggart

Our ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ and filler words were counted by James Kirkby and we kept him quite busy last night. #MustTryHarder

David Henson was our Grammarian for the evening. David reported on the good use of language and of rhetorical devices and there was plenty to report on with examples of metaphors and similes as well as two alliterations – ‘second scheduled speech’ and ‘comforted, cosseted and encouraged’.

David’s word of the day was ‘prodigious’ which was used four times in the meeting. He could only find two misuses of the mother tongue which demonstrates what a grammatically-aware group of people we are.

Grammarian, David Henson

Harun Dagli, our guest from Beckenham Speakers, took on the role of General Evaluator. He liked the idea of having a ‘warm up’ and a ‘hot tip’ and these are agenda items that he might take back with him to incorporate into his home club.

He commended Susan Rayner for making the role of timekeeper humorous and interesting. He also liked the humour that David Henson injected into his Grammarian report and said that David Hampton was an outstanding evaluator. Harun liked Alison Morris’ voice and thought she was a great evaluator and he also liked Richard Green’s personal humour.

Our President, Christine Morrell presented the awards and congratulations went to the following people:

  • Best Speaker – Sue Shaw
  • Best Evaluator – Alison Morris
  • Best Table Topic Speaker – Jenny Taggart.

The President invited our guests to give feedback on how they enjoyed the meeting and it’s a great pleasure to report that two of the guests have decided to join the club. Yay! We love it when we have new members. We look forward to welcoming Robert Parker and Amanda Harrison in the very near future.

Other feedback from our guests was that they liked the humour, the table topics and that we were a friendly and welcoming group. Some were excited and nervous at the same time and that is totally normal and usual. That’s why we are doing what we do – to overcome our nerves and practice our speaking so that we can get better and better, with the support of the wonderful people at Bromley Speakers!

What did we learn?

We always learn something new at each meeting. This time we learned about the interesting and inspirational life of Cicely Saunders, that it’s essential to carry a piece of acetate in our back pockets and that we have some of the most humorous Toastmasters members at Bromley Speakers Club.

I think it’s fair to say that the unexpected theme of last night’s meeting turned out to be ‘We All Need Heroes’.

Club Meeting 1st August 2019

Wow, what an incredible meeting! It was a pleasure to welcome seven guests to our club meeting 1st August 2019. Members and guests were greeted with a friendly welcome from Deborah Goodman (hospitality) and the meeting commenced with more warmth and smiles from Margot Glover, our Sergeant at Arms.

Our President, Christine Morrell

Bromley Speakers President, Christine Morrell
President
Christine Morrell

Although it was the second meeting of the Toastmasters year, it was the first for our new President, Christine Morrell. Wearing the Presidential ribbon with pride, which has 27 names of the past Presidents of Bromley Speakers on it, Christine told us that she was delighted and honoured to be our President this year.

Talk to Us

Christine was happy to take on the role as President because she knew that she would have a great team of committee members supporting her. She invited the members to let the committee know what is required from them to meet their personal objectives and to ensure that the club has a successful year ahead and therefore her message to our members is… please talk to us!

The Past President, David Henson, did an amazing job last year and implemented some of his own ideas, such as ‘success stories’ and ‘what have we learned?’

Christine is carrying on in this vein and our newest member, Jamie Simpson told us how – after just three times as a guest – Bromley Speakers helped him to deliver his wedding speech recently. Congratulations Jamie, we wish you all the very best for a happy and healthy life together – with your wife and with your new Toastmasters family!

Word of the Day

Congratulations also went to the rhapsodic Richard Green who has been a member of Toastmasters for ten years this week. Richard was our grammarian for the evening, introducing our ‘word of the day’ which was Panacea. Panacea means a remedy for all ailments, a cure-all. Four people managed to shoe-horn it into the evening and Richards’s mystery prize was ….. that there was no mystery prize!

Toastmaster Paul Goodhill
Toastmaster
Paul Goodhill

Our Toastmaster was Paul Goodhill, who entertained us with an interesting and fun warm up and put us in touch with our inner Julie Andrews! Paul guided us through the evening as he introduced us to the speakers and members taking on the roles.

Prepared Speeches

Speech One – P.A.D by Haluk Resitoglu

Haluk Resitoglu
Haluk Resitoglu

We had three prepared speeches in the first half of the meeting. The first was from a visiting member of  Beckenham Communicators, Haluk Resitoglu.

Haluk took us on a car journey which was both serious and humorous and shared with us his thoughts about receiving dating advice from a ten year old lad.

He went on to deliver a more serious message of how our Perception will influence our Actions and therefore our Decisions.

Speech Two – Three Letters From France by David Henson

Men at war

“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori – How sweet and fitting it is to die for your country.”

David’s speech was a powerful and emotive story, fully meeting with the speech objective which was to bring history to life. He had us all captivated by his moving story of a family whose 19 year old son William had gone to war. William wrote to his family, “This war is bloody awful. It ain’t right.”

David’s speech was delivered with the expertise of a very experienced speaker. He acted out the characters in the story with control and emotion and used props to enhance our experience.

Broken Heart

The Grammarian, Richard Green later picked up on a phrase that David used; ‘this letter had the power to smash her already-broken heart into a thousand pieces’.

Well done to David Henson for winning the best speaker of the evening.

Speech Three – My Life by Eddie Barnes

Although Eddie has been a member of Toastmasters for almost twenty years, he was delivering his Icebreaker – which is traditionally a member’s first speech – on the new Pathways programme. Eddie’s objective was to introduce himself to the club by engaging humour and he certainly did that.

Eddie is by nature a humorous man and he delivered his speech with ease and wit. He told us that he joined Toastmasters all those years ago because someone told him that it would help him to become a better salesman. Now retired, he continues on his journey with Bromley Speakers purely because he enjoys it. He told us about his life and his travels to India and Japan.

It seems that Eddie Barnes is becoming more adventurous the older he gets as at 72 years old he is snowboarding, windsurfing and taking lessons in an autogiro aircraft! He has also recently taken up the trumpet and has learned to read music. What an inspiration Eddie is to us all!

Other News from the Evening

Every role at Bromley Speakers involves an opportunity to stand up and speak. Our Timekeeper for the evening was Simon Philbin who did a fantastic job of explaining his role and delivering his report.

The three speeches were evaluated by Robert Parker, Neil Pettigrew and Marot Glover and the award for the best evaluator went to our guest, Robert Parker. A very well done for a great evaluation.

As it was such a lovely evening, some of our members enjoyed their tea break in the garden of Ripley Arts Centre before reconvening for the Table Topics session.

Bromley Speakers Tea Break at Riply Arts Centre

Table Topics

The session was delivered by Simon Maggs and was inspired by a study, the results of which were published as “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness”.

The worthy winner of the Table Topics impromptu speech was our newest member, Jamie.

Our ‘Ah’ counter for the evening was the lovely Shaun Brennan who reported that not one of our prepared speeches included any ‘ums’ or ‘ahs’, which is pretty good don’t you think?

David Hampton concluded the reports by delivering his evaluation of the entire meeting and stressing that ‘the most important thing in a meeting like this is enthusiasm’ and boy, did we have that in abundance last night!

Worthy Winners.
Best Speech, David Henson. Best Evaluator, Robert Parker.
Best Table Topic, Jamie Simpson.

Bromley Speakers is a non-profit organisation. We meet at Ripley Arts Centre on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursdays of each month. Guests are welcome to come along free of charge. Please see our website for more details or contact us @vppublicrelations@bromleyspeakers.co.uk. See you there!