I Want To Be A Star in Your Show!

Meeting Thursday 20th February 2020

We had a packed room at Bromley Speakers on Thursday with plenty of members and guests.

We were delighted to welcome Area Director Michael Crane to the meeting. It’s always a pleasure to see Michael and we appreciate his visits to the club. Michael noted that we had all committee members present at the meeting which is not unusual for our club as our committee members are extremely supportive to the club, its members and each other.

President Christine Morrell also warmly welcomed two other distinguished guests, Phillip and Evelyn Khan-Panni. Phillip was a founder member of Bromley Speakers back in 1992 and was a runner-up in the International Speech Contest, which is quite an achievement for anyone to get that far in the competition.

We had four other guests, two of whom were first-time visitors to a Toastmasters club and all of them gave good feedback after the meeting.

Our Toastmaster for the evening was Karen Mefflin. Although Karen has been a member of the club for six years, it’s been quite a while since she has taken on the role of Toastmaster. Members can sometimes become very comfortable with certain roles and it can take a bit of courage to step up to another challenge, so well done to Karen for stepping into the Toastmasters shoes for the evening.

If you won the Euro Millions what would be the first thing you would buy?

The warm-up for the evening was guided by Harry Langley. Some of the answers were as predictable as a red sports car, a bigger house and a round-the-world holiday and others were more boozy like a pub and even several pubs! My personal favourites were from Caroline who said that she would give her friends envelopes with something that they all wanted in, and Richard who said that what he would want, money couldn’t buy.

Prepared Speeches

Our first prepared speech was delivered by Jamie Simpson. Freshly off the plane from Sri Lanka, Jamie regaled us of tales from his exciting and adventurous holiday, making us all green with envy of his exotic trip.

Jamie’s ‘second honeymoon’ speech was an Evaluation and Feedback speech from the Visionary Communication pathway. Jamie’s remit was to incorporate feedback from his last speech, which he did extremely well by not using any notes at all.

He made us laugh when he said that his missus ‘borrowed’ some food from the breakfast buffet, put some bananas in his rucksack pocket without his knowing and he had the monkeys chasing after him and he had no idea why!

He took us on his train journey through the tea plantations and he said that it was like Tuscany without the tourists. He visited the botanical gardens full of palm trees and saw flying foxes amongst other animals. He even saw his first leopard!

Jamie also told us about his visit to the turtle sanctuary, which seemed unnatural but then he struck it lucky when he was walking on the beach and a turtle came out of the sea and laid its eggs right in front of him! How amazing.

I love hearing stories of people’s travels at Toastmasters. It was an impressive speech which made me want to pack my bags and fly to Sri Lanka!

Speech number two was delivered by Sue Shaw. Her speech entitled ‘At the Heart’ was from the Storytelling pathway and her remit was to arouse emotions whilst telling a touching story.

Susan certainly did that when she told us about a man named John whom she had met through the hospice at which she was volunteering. When Sue started giving speeches to the hospice, she told us that the experience wasn’t connecting with her emotions and her heart. And then she had an epiphany moment when she heard stories like John’s.

“How patients are cared for remains in the minds of those who are left”

John was an ordinary man who loved to walk. He even walked an impressive 163 miles to Hastings. And then he got his diagnosis and became more reclusive. When he went into the hospice they did a wonderful thing for him. He was never going to be able to get to the seaside again and so the hospice brought the seaside to him. They arranged for the sights, the smells and even the taste to be there in his room on a very special day.

Our third prepared speech entitled ‘Who Do you Think You Are?’ was delivered by Phillip Khan-Panni who told us not about the Spice Girls but a story about mistaken identities. His brother happily accepted congratulations for an achievement that was Phillip’s and the judges of the ‘most stylish young skater’ award mistook another lad for himself and presented the award to the other boy! Phillip told the lad that he thought it was a mistake and that they had given the award to him in error and the lad retorted, ‘who do you think you are?’.

Phillip left us with a message.

Why be an extra in someone else’s dream when you can star in your own?


Feedback was given on all three speeches by our evaluators Vinu Madhavan, Susan Rayner and Richard Green.

Vinu said that Jamie had delivered an enjoyable speech and had brought it to life.

Susan commented that as Sue Shaw painted us her picture, we all smiled. Sue Shaw is a great storyteller and she used her expertise to draw us all in.

In Richard’s evaluation of Phillip, he pointed out that Phillip used all advanced techniques and also used his body well as he spoke to us. Again, Phillip is a very experienced speaker. In fact, he is a business speaker and presentation consultant and you can see his showreel here.

Richard finished off his evaluation with a strong message to Phillip…

I want to be a star in your show!

Some of the helpful recommendations given in the feedback this evening, which we can all learn from, were as follows:

  • Pause for the audience to absorb the messages
  • Gather everyone’s attention before you speak
  • Have a strong final message
  • Keep the body of the story to three main points

Table Topics

The Table Topics session was brought to us by Caroline Jeffrey who asked some interesting and thought-provoking questions. Caroline is a new member to the club and the role of Table Topics Master is quite a challenging one so it was ambitious of Caroline to take it on.

As well as being a valuable tool for learning to speak off the cuff, Table Topics questions are a good opportunity for members of the club, who haven’t had an opportunity to speak in the meeting, to stand up and talk. It’s always impressive when guests do a table topic but paid-up members are given the chance to speak first, if they haven’t already done so.

Some of the questions that Caroline gave the audience were, ‘what is your favourite way to relax?’, ‘what was the first job you ever had?’, who or what could you not live without?’, what is your opinion of tattoos and would you have one?’ and my personal favourite, ‘would you eat food past its sell-by date?’.

Two of our guests, Adam and Laurence courageously stepped up to the challenge and delivered very good first-time table topics.

Other Business

Our esteemed ‘best-dressed’ guest Evelyn Khan-Panni reviewed the meeting and gave us feedback on all of the roles that hadn’t been evaluated yet.

Area Director Michael Crane presented our President Christine Morrell with a Toastmasters Core Values Award which helps us remember that Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence are a set of timeless, guiding principles for everyone in the organisation.

Michael Crane with the evening’s award winners – Vinu, Adrian and Sue

Slide Presentation Workshop

Christine wrapped up the meeting and reminded us that there will be a workshop on 30th April (usual place and time of meeting) run by David Henson, The Slide Presentation Man.

David is an experienced speaker and an expert creator of professional slide presentations. We are fortunate and grateful that he will be giving us his time and sharing his expertise on how to produce engaging, effective and empowering slide presentations

Club Member Interview

Tom Jewers, Bromley Speakers club member, gives an interview to Public Relations Officer Deborah Goodman

Hi Tom. It’s always a pleasure to see you. Thanks for taking the time to give me this interview. I know that you joined Bromley Speakers in September 2018 but why did you join Toastmasters in the first place?

I joined to improve my communication skills and to face my fear of public speaking! After avoiding any situation which involved public speaking, like customer meetings, team meetings, University seminars etc. I decided it was time to face my fear and grow my confidence in a friendly environment.

I attended a public speaking course originally and following that programme before I was made aware of Toastmasters. Soon after, I did some further research on how Toastmasters works before attending as a very nervous guest!

Most people, if not all people, find it quite nerve-wracking at first. I still get nervous about the Table Topics session. But people soon realise that we are a very friendly and supportive bunch of people. Despite your nerves, how do you feel that Bromley Speakers club helps you?

It’s allows me to practice in a safe environment and to work at my own pace. With a variety of roles which all allow for different speaking requirements, I can pick a different one week by week, depending on how confident I feel.

Moreover, everyone at the club is extremely supportive, whilst also providing relevant advice for all levels of expertise. I have enjoyed learning and watching the more experienced speakers and taking notes on small aspects of their speeches to add into my own style.

The club has allowed me to realise that being nervous is normal and that it’s about embracing the nerves and adapting to the situation.

I could not have put it better myself Tom. And it’s so true, it’s such a safe place to practice and make your mistakes. Not that you make many mistakes, I think that you are a very engaging and humorous speaker. What do you specifically like about the club?

Thanks Deborah. I like Bromley Speakers because it’s a friendly, warm and welcoming group.

The sessions are extremely structured and we stick by this week by week. I feel that this is great for new members or more nervous beginners as you soon become familiar with the sessions and this allows people to step forward to challenge themselves.

Yes, I totally agree. It’s such a friendly group and we always have fun, but the structure and purpose of the meetings are always taken seriously and handled professionally.

People often join Toastmasters because it helps them with their career. What is it that you do for your job?

I’m an Institutional Banker. I work in the Fund Finance Team at RBS International.

It sounds interesting and important. What does your team do?

We provide investor-backed and asset-backed finance to large Corporate Infrastructure and Renewable Funds in the UK and in Europe.

And what is your role in the team?

My role is to act as the Relationship Manager to an existing portfolio of RBSI Fund names. This involves business origination, leading customer meetings, managing our Infra and Renewables portfolio, structuring new transactions and leading loan negotiations with lawyers and other lenders.

Very serious stuff indeed by the sounds of it. I can see how your personality would help you in this role. How have you used the speaking and leadership skills that you have learned in Toastmasters?

For me it’s been a slow process; however I have definitely seen a huge improvement in my communication skills at work. I have volunteered to present on several occasions, where previously I may have not put myself forward.

I also think it’s improved my communication in sports, as a semi-professional footballer, it’s enabled me to communicate better with my team mates in the dressing room and also during the games.

I’m very impressed that you play semi-professional football! That must keep you very fit. What team do you play for?

I play for Homesdale FC in the Kent League and I have represented Wales Universities at football playing against England and Scotland.  I’m also a huge boxing fan.

Wow, what an achievement! What would you say has been your biggest achievement at Bromley Speakers to date?

Completing my first speech at the club was a huge achievement for me. I waited a year to put myself forward and the feedback was extremely positive.

I’m so glad to hear that you felt that the feedback was so positive. The general rule at Toastmasters clubs is always to give positive feedback, followed by a few recommendations on how to improve and then finish with a positive comment. This way it helps the speaker to improve and also to feel more confident in their ability.

What do you want to achieve at the club?

My short term plan is to develop myself further at Bromley Speakers and to complete every role on the agenda – with a focus on the evaluation roles and prepared speeches.

My long-term goal is to compete in a Toastmasters competition at some point and also lead a session as ‘The Toastmaster’ at Bromley Speakers in 2020.

The Toastmasters role at the club is not as daunting as people think once you do it Tom. If I can do it, anyone can, trust me. And remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s about trying it, learning from it and improving. The point of the Toastmasters clubs is to practice in a safe environment. I look forward to your first stint as Toastmaster and then many more this year!

The competitions are obviously a bit more nerve-wracking as everyone wants to win. But they are fun and people always learn a lot from entering, so I wish you luck with that. Your mentor will help you and I am sure you will be fantastic. You are already winning awards for the best Table Topics session so you are clearly quite good at impromptu speaking.

Thank you for talking to me. We really love having you at the club and I look forward to hearing more from you this year.

Freddie Daniells Masterclass in Writing Winning Speeches

On Thursday 30th January we were delighted to welcome one of Toastmasters’ most experienced and respected speakers, Freddie Daniells to our club.

Freddie gave us an absolute corker of a masterclass on how to write and perform a winning speech for the Toastmasters International speech competition, which is held at the Toastmasters International Convention each year.

Freddie is in great demand so we were extremely privileged to have had this opportunity at Bromley Speakers to welcome him to a packed room, with, not only our own members, but also many guests from other clubs. Every club in our area was represented and we even had two Area Directors in attendance, Michael Crane from Area H35 and Mo Dawodu from Area H37.

Who is Freddie Daniells?

Freddie is a public speaker and a presentation skills coach and trainer.

A Toastmaster since 2004, Freddie sat at the head of the Toastmasters organisation in Great Britain and Ireland as the District Governor and has held many other positions within Toastmasters.

He has spoken at, run workshops or coached for companies and organisations such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Google, Ernst and Young, and the Association of Certified Accountants amongst others.

The Presentation

Freddie delivered what can only be described as an ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT presentation, full of top tips on how to become a winner at the International Speech contest and showed us the skills needed to become a world-class speaker.

Analysing videos of Toastmasters International champions and looking at some of the patterns that are being repeated, Freddie pointed out which type of speech does well in the competition, and that happens to be an inspirational one. The speeches all had some level of humour in them and included great storytelling.

Using a memorable message, taking an idea and making it original and repeating a message throughout the speech are just some of the valuable lessons we learned on Thursday.

Tell a Story

Everyone has a story to tell. Not just one story but many stories. Good speakers can take an ordinary story, such as changing a car tyre, and make it into a great speech. One such speaker who did exactly that was World Champion of Public Speaking 2013, Pres Vasilev. His speech was about the most basic of things but was humorous and had an important message running through it. And it won the International contest!

Stories help us to understand that we are not alone. People can relate to them. They give us direction and maybe even a route to solving our own issues. They can give us hope.

So, when you’re thinking about your next speech, be it at your Toastmasters club or elsewhere, think about your own stories. Think about not only the bigger events that happen in your life but also the little everyday happenings. Freddie suggested that we take notes throughout our day and capture the details of our lives. So guys, write down anything that made you laugh or that happened in your day. These are the little things that give us ideas for our speeches.

Do not think that nothing interesting ever happens in your life because it does! Value your stories and share them with the world. Remember that ordinary stories told really well can be highly amusing and entertaining. And they can win international competitions!

Freddie shared numerous pearls of wisdom with us about the many things we can do to ensure that our speeches are winners and it’s fair to say that every person in that room came away completely inspired and ready to get writing.

Speech Contests

Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition and they include table topics, humorous speches and evaluator competitions as well as the International Speech contest.

The International Speech contest begins at club level with members vying to win the club contest before going on to compete in the area contest, then on to the division and finally the district competition. If they win that, they are then into the quarter finals, which is a video round, the winners of which then get to attend the Toastmasters International convention where they will compete in the semi-finals and then possibly the finals.

The Toastmasters International 2020 convention is to be held on 5-8th August 2020 in Paris, France. The semi-finals will be held on Thursday 6th August and the finals on Saturday 8th August. 

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

Members Profile – Robert Parker

Robert has been a member of Bromley Speakers for over 6 months after moving from St Neots in Cambridgeshire to Orpington. He wanted to continue his Toastmasters and Pathways journey at a local club in order to continue to improve his public speaking skills.

 “The evaluation and feedback is the most powerful element for me. Both receiving and giving feedback aids my learning. Watching and listening to other members also helps me pick up new tips and techniques.

“I like Bromley Speakers Club because of its friendly, positive and entertaining atmosphere.  Ripley Arts Centre, where the meetings are held, is a good venue conducive to speaking.”

Robert is a qualified and experienced Family Historian. As a genealogist he has a wealth of experience and knowledge built through practical family history research.

His professional genealogy and training qualifications include a postgraduate certificate in Genealogy and a certificate in researching House History.

Robert has been researching his own family history for over 30 years.

“I help others to understand who they are by researching their family history too. I deliver guidance, talks and research services, plus courses, and being at Toastmasters has helped me with this.”

Robert is also a qualified and experienced management and leadership coach and trainer, but due to his health he currently focusses on delivering talks and helping people to develop their own family trees.

“I had to have my leg amputated in 2019 and am now a wheelchair user.  Speaking from a chair feels very different from standing up and speaking and the more I do it, the more I get used to the change. I want to continue to improve my speaking skills from my wheelchair.

Robert, Front left, with other members at the Christmast meeting 2019

One of Robert’s goals at Toastmasters is to enter and progress in the international speaking contest.

Robert says that he is pleased to have joined Bromley Speakers and he looks forward to continuing to improve his speaking skills at the club.

You can visit Robert’s website here and his YouTube channel here.

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

Meeting 16th January 2020

Happy New Year!

The first meeting of the year was opened by our Sergeant at Arms, James Kirkby.

In the event of a fire, run this way!

President Christine Morrell received a book entitled ‘The Fear Bubble’ for Christmas and she told us how the author, Ant Middleton, controls his fear and uses it to his advantage.

Conquering fear is an important step in our Toastmasters’ journey.

Our success story was given by Deborah Goodman who gave a speech at The Bromley Court Hotel on Monday to the Lewisham and Penge Rotary Club. Deborah and Christine were warmly welcomed by the President and members who listened attentively and asked lots of questions.

Our Toastmaster for the evening, Susan Shaw, talked about being an ambassador for the Heart of Kent Hospice and how her confidence has risen through being at Toastmasters, enabling her to speak about subjects that are out of her comfort zone.

It’s really helpful to our members when more experienced Toastmasters tell us how being at the club has helped them in their life.

Ben Lopez warmed up our vocal chords by asking us what our primary goal for 2020 is and judging by some of the answers that were given, it looks like it’s going to be a very interesting year ahead.

Other roles were taken up by the following people:

  • Timekeeper – Deborah Goodman
  • Ah Counter – Jenny Taggart
  • Grammarian – Cecilia Mbullah
  • Hot Tip – David Henson

David Henson was asked to give the hot tip at very short notice and appropriately his hot tip for the evening was to always have something in your back pocket that you can use at the last minute, like a speech, some table topics or indeed, a hot tip!

Prepared Speeches

Our first speech was presented by Margot Glover who gave us an interesting talk entitled ‘This is what we do.’ Her guidelines for the speech were to select visual aids that are appropriate for the message and the audience and she chose to use slides to convey her message. Margot cleverly asked us to close our eyes and smell the image on the screen and you should have seen our faces! I can still smell it now but I’ll leave it to your imagination to guess what it was!

Evaluating Margot was Neil Pettigrew.

Our second speech, entitled ‘John’ was delivered by Robert Parker. Robert told us all a story about his ancestor which was both moving and captivating. Robert has spent over thirty years tracing his family history and because of this, he has uncovered details about his family that would have been lost forever.

Robert’s speech was evaluated by Richard Green.

Our final speaker in this section was David Wilson. David’s speech was called ‘Making friends with your chimp’ and was all about three different areas of our brain and how they work for (and against) us. David gave us some good advice on how to feed our chimp positive thoughts to enable us to make friends with our chimp, or indeed our fears. His talk was both interesting and extremely useful.

David’s talk was evaluated by Jamie Simpson who stood in at the last minute. It’s only the second time Jamie has done an evaluation and he did a very impressive job.

Table Topics

After a short tea break the meeting continued with our table topics section, led by Eddie Barnes. Eddie chose to use ‘Three Words’ for the topics this evening and asked the audience to speak on the following subjects:

  • Kippers for breakfast
  • Learn a language
  • Visiting the seaside
  • Joining a gym
  • Growing a beard
  • Travelling by train.

We welcomed a first-time guest to the meeting, Nicola, who bravely agreed to do a table topic and she did a fantastic job. Just getting up and speaking for the first time is a great achievement and Nicola has now taken her first steps to becoming not only a better speaker, but a part of our amazing club.

We have a new member, Caroline Jeffrey who also did a table topic and was so good at it that she won the award for the best impromptu speaker.

**Well done to both Nicola and Caroline**

Tom Jewers did a brilliant job at evaluating the table topics, especially as it was his first time as an evaluator. You never would have known it!

Other Roles and Awards

After our ah-counter and grammarian reports, we had the meeting report from our general evaluator, David Henson who gave us lots of good feedback on the meeting.

Everyone in the room got a chance to speak and it was a fantastic start to the new year. 

Our Worthy winners were Caroline Jeffrey for best table topic, Jamie Simpson for best evaluator and David Wilson for best speaker.

Winners Caroline Jeffrey and David Wilson

The post-meeting conviviality is always something to look forward to after the meetings as we convene to the local hostiliary.

With the first meeting of the year done and dusted, we remind you that the International speech and evaluation contest for Bromley Speakers will be held on the 5th March so please enter the competition and get practising everyone!

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

Toastmasters and Rotary Form an Alliance

Providing members with more opportunities for personal and professional growth is at the core of the newly formed Rotary/Toastmasters strategic alliance. There is much excitement to leverage unique and similar strengths and meet the evolving needs of current and prospective members.

Toastmasters International

As Rotary and Toastmasters clubs team up to form an alliance, our members are actively connecting with our local Rotary Clubs.

Member Jenny Taggart visited the Bromley Rotary club today and reported back that they are interested to hear more about what we do and also to have a speaker from our club to visit their club to give a speech. Jenny said that they are an extremely friendly and professional group of people.

Bromley Speakers member Jenny Taggart

Public Relations Officer Deborah Goodman and President Christine Morrell were guests of Lewisham and Penge Rotary Club yesterday evening, where they were warmly welcomed by their President, members and guests.

Christine Morrell and Deborah Goodman with the President of Lewisham and Penge Rotary CLub

Deborah gave the after-dinner speech to which the Rotary members listened attentively, followed by a very engaging question and answer session.

Speaker Deborah Goodman

Christine then picked out the winning raffle ticket, which was….. Deborah’s! It really couldn’t have gone better 🙂

Find out more about Rotary and Toastmasters.

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

Freddie Daniells Workshop

With the contest season fast approaching, would you like to learn what it takes to deliver a world class speech? Then join us at Bromley Speakers when Toastmasters legend, Freddie Daniells will be delivering a workshop on how to win the International Speech Contest.

This event is open to existing Toastmasters members only.

Freddie will be analysing the skills of Toastmasters World Champions and sharing his expertise on how to use powerful and persuasive communication. Even if you don’t have ambitions for international success, Freddie will provide you with lots of tools and tips to take your communication skills to the highest standard.

Freddie’s workshops are renowned and and we are delighted and privileged to welcome him to Bromley Speakers. He is a professional public speaker and coach and has run workshops and coached for organisations such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Google, EY and the Association of Certified Accountants.

Freddie has held many positions within Toastmasters including Club President, Area and Division Governor (responsible for London), Great Britain and Ireland (District 71) PR Officer, Lt Governor Membership and Marketing and Lt Governor for Education and Training.

This is an opportunity not to be missed and is only available to members of Toastmasters. Places are limited and so please register as soon as possible.

Member Profile – David Hampton

David Hampton is a management consultant from Sevenoaks. He has been a member of Toastmasters for and incredible 19 years and a member of Bromley Speakers club for 18 of those years.

When asked why he joined Toastmasters David said, “I was moving to a role where I would spend a lot of time training people and needed to be more comfortable speaking without a script. I had enjoyed debating at school and university.”

David likes Bromley Speakers club because it’s very friendly and the members are easy-going people. He believes that the meetings are really well organised with good speakers that he can learn from. The less-experienced speakers get practice and receive helpful feedback from the more experienced speakers, which helps them to improve.

David finds the second half of the meetings, the Table Topics sessions, tremendously beneficial as they have helped him to develop his skills and confidence in an impromptu setting. The sessions have particularly helped his ability to speak and think at the same time, while simultaneously creating a structure to what he is saying.

“One particular benefit of Table Topics is that, by becoming better at thinking and speaking at the same time, I have more head-space for finding particular way of phrasing a criticism, or my disagreement with the client, so that it comes across as a suggestion or a recommendation.”

The nature of David’s work requires him to deliver a great deal of training.

“I lead workshops and I coach people and giving speech evaluations on a club night helps me with this aspect of my job.  I need to present myself as confident and articulate, particularly when I am advising clients who are senior leaders, or in a sales setting.” 

David hard at work training the leadership team of a factory in Russia on how to improve their quality.

David has ambitions of setting up a new Toastmasters club in his home town of Sevenoaks. However, with his busy work schedule, that will have to wait until he retires.

David has entered various Toastmasters contests over the years. His humorous speech entitled ‘My Shame’ won 2nd place in the District 71 Conference in 2002 and can be viewed on youtube.

David, a great team player who likes to get involved when the time permits, recently took part in a promotional video for District 91 which we are looking forward to seeing soon.

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

Happy New Year!

As one decade finishes another begins and the members of Bromley Speakers Club are looking forward to a new year of great speeches, leadership, table topics, fun and friendship.

In December we had our annual Christmas drinks which were enjoyed by many, with a few Table Topics on Christmas crackers to add to the festive fun.

It’s always great to get together on a social event as it gives our members more time to really get to know each other better and to have a bit more fun and laughter. Not that we are short of laughter at our club!

We are excited to welcome new members to the club this year, as well as seeing the familiar faces of existing members return for another year, so if you have thought about coming along to see what it’s all about, please don’t put it off any longer. Come along and join us at the Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley on the 1st, 3rd or 5th Thursday of the month. The next meeting will be held on the 16th of January at 7.15pm.

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