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

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