Our New President’s Inaugural Meeting Report

Wow Bromley Speakers what a night last night was. We had a slightly lower attendance than usual but we had a great laugh as usual none the less. Neil is our temporary Sergeant At Arms and he kicked things off at bang on 7.30 before running to the shops to buy milk and biscuits which were top notch, Thanks Neil.

I then stepped up to deliver my first speech as your new President. As our humorous and Table Topic contest is coming up shortly I was talking about how to be humorous and shared my 5 year old daughter’s favourite jokes. Don’t worry I won’t be entering any contests any time soon as I learnt two things last night, firstly I am NOT funny and secondly the first person to speak should warm up the audience on the night of a contest as it is unfair for the first speaker to do it.

Our toastmaster of the evening was David Wilson and he had two themes for us, What were your new years resolutions (we are now a little over 6 months in to the year) and who are your heroes. David did a fantastic job of guiding us through the programme and we all had a great laugh.

Umesh was our timekeeper for the evening and his hero is his dad. Umesh delivered a great introduction and all his reports were excellently delivered. Georgina was our Ah-Counter and Grammarian (Georgina’s new years resolution is to come to more Toastmaster meetings). Our word of the evening was ‘Apprehensive’ , it was well used through out the evening but entirely unnecessary to describe Georgina as she didn’t show and apprehension at any time during the evening.

Dave Henson, our new Vice President for Education, stepped in at the last minute to deliver our Warm Up (his hero is Cadbury’s Heroes especially the Dairy Milk one) the topic was what can you do that no one in the room knows you can do. Apparently someone can use the hoover but I have been told not to name any names in case everyone else finds out.

Richard Green, our Immediate Past President, gave us a fantastic hot tip again at short notice. At the opening of your presentation don’t faff about with your notes or signpost your speech (tell us exactly what you are going to tell us before you tell us) feel confident, and consider opening in the following ways:

  1. Ask a question
  2. Tell a quote
  3. Start with a mini story

The speakers were fantastic, Paul told us about his hero Elephant Bill and how he helped over 50 elephants and their mahouts escape the Japanese when they invaded Borneo. Paul’s use of the stage to illustrate the passage of time was excellent. Jenny Taggart was our second speaker and she spoke about ‘happy people don’t you just hate them’ and she gave us some great hints and tips about how to be happier.

Dave Henson and Evelyn Khan-Panni gave two brilliant evaluations and Dave managed to be humorous and use the phrase elephant in the room when referring to my poor jokes. Well Done Dave. Evelyn was insightful as ever and was full of tips we all could use and benefit from.

The Table Topics Master was Alex Clark who did tremendously well and, though you really couldn’t tell, it was his first time in the role. All the topics were based around the theme of proverbs, are they pithy words of wisdom or absolute piffle. The highlights of the Table Topics session were Vijay who has comes on leaps and bounds discussing whether the absence makes the heart grow fonder. I don’t know about that but I do know that it doesn’t apply when it comes to attending Toastmasters. Our Winner was Simon who is a returning Toastmaster from another club

Neil Pettigrew stepped up as our Table Topics Evaluator and had 7 minutes to evaluate 13 table topics. Neil evaluated everyone, gave all but one of the speakers a recommendation and his recommendation for everyone was to pause, take a breath and gather your thoughts before continuing so that you can go all the way to the red light.

Georgina Singleton came back to report on her findings during the evening. Georgina gave a very detailed report and gave accurate feedback on the numbers of erms and ahs as well as the use of language through out the meeting.

Finally Martin gave his report to fill out his role as General Evaluator and his resolution is to stop womanising and to only dress in women’s clothing once a week, Martin please don’t make that day a Toastmasters day! Martin opened with ‘the last time I was General Evaluator Ian Brett was a small boy’, well Martin you know what they say, flattery will get you nowhere. The main recommendations to the group were to keep the meeter and greeter role going and to remember to not say ‘Thank You’ as we the audience should thank you!

Overall a great meeting and all of us had a great time. Remember that if you’d like to do a role you can either register on Easy Speak or you can email Dave Henson at dave@thehensons.com. Also our humorous speech contest is on the 3rd of September and we will need contestants, judges and a whole array of helpers to help the meeting run smoothly.

On top of this we have been given the honour of hosting the area contest on the 19th of September and again we will need a team to help make the contest go with a bang and to show the whole of our area the Bromley Speakers really is the best club in Toastmasters!

Have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing you all in two weeks

Ian Brett
President Bromley Speakers

The first meeting of the year and what a great one!

President Green’s musings on the meeting of 15th January 2015

Happy New Year Everyone!

What a herculean evening we had last night folks with nine guests and at least twenty members packed into the music room at Ripley. Boy did we make music!

It really was a struggle to fit everyone in but we managed despite the protracted ramblings of our club president.  Say no more – tut tut Mr Green.

Guy Dessoy our Sergeant At Arms arrived at 7.20 – tut tut Mr Dessoy! Kick off 7.30 sharp.

Quickly to the Toastmaster as the President’s had a funny turn. The Toastmaster of the day was Vinod Venkatanarayana. I can spell it but have great difficulty in saying it. Vinod was proficient, efficient and calm especially after the eight minute intro according to our GE – tut tut Mr Venkatanarayana.

Our timer was Subir Kumar, eagerly poised with his finger on the bell. Then to our ‘fresh’ member Martin Langdon who stepped into the Grammarian role and delivered with aplomb. You can guess the word of the day.

Our hot tip was delivered by an enchanting Ling Ling (no that was her name) a guest who told us all about the power of pausing and taking breath giving us time to collect our thoughts – oh yes our thoughts.

Our first speaker was Ian Brett. Big, bold, assertive! The power of the pose. Great, I thought,  I am good at that.  Ian talked the talk and definitely walked the walk. Well done that man.

Next to our dear Karen Mefflin. A heartfelt story of her deafness and tinnitus which people seem to think she is not paying attention or she does not care or she is dumb but they could not be further from the truth. Well done Karen.

Over to you Jenny Taggart our third speaker. We are waiting………and waiting……..and waiting. Another poignant speech with a heartfelt message. Don’t wait for something to happen,  go out and grab it with both hands (unless it’s called Ross of course). I mean life and whatever life represents to you. Make it happen people! Yes you can!

Three excellent, enjoyable speeches, well done indeed!

Over to the evaluators, the legendary Neil Pettigrew, the professional James Hassler and finally the iconic Richard Murray DTM no less, all providing very useful tips on how to move forward in this noble art. Great stuff guys.

Then its’ over to the Table Topics Master – Yours Truly. Proverbs were the order of the day and when in Ripley do as the Ripleans do – carefully navigate their way around the question which I am glad to say is what most people did. Now then, our TT evaluator David Wilson carried out a gargantuan task by evaluating twelve table topic speakers and within time. Brilliant David just brilliant. We needed a fire extinguisher for the man’s biro it was so hot.

Martin Langdon, our Grammarian and Ah Counter with very keen ear, delivered a comprehensive report. Thorough and with his usual satire which is very funny I might add.

Our timer Subir wrapped up the evening well, disappointed that the poised finger was not deployed enough but never mind.

Then up steps Tony Babatunde our larger than life General Evaluator. Tony did what all good GEs do and that was to highlight some areas of improvement, namely, “shut up rambling Mr Green and Mr Venkatanarayana and get on with it”. Lol!
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening once again and it was an absolute pleasure to see the return of Martin Langdon, Nisha Yates, James Hasler and Steve Roberts who have obviously been busy with their lives.

Our next meeting is on Thursday 29th January, same time same place. Be there or be square!

5, 4, 3, 2, 1….. and we have lift off!

Vinod Venkatanarayana offers some praise to Club President Richard Green as he receives his award for best speaker of the evening.

As he receives his award for best speaker of the evening, Vinod Venkatanarayana offers some praise to Club President Richard Green.

President Richard Green reviews the meeting at Ripley on 20th November.

“5…….4…..3……2……1. you may put down your pens”. Not my words, that of our timer for the evening and what a great time we had too! Another epic evening at Ripley!

Guy Dessoy our new Sergeant At Arms let us have it at 7.30 sharp. The opening went to plan. Phew!

The Club President sat calmly in his chair. Not only was the program correct, without last minute cancellations, but Richard knew this was all under control. Gone were the days of chaos theory as our super suave Dave Henson took the helm as the Toastmaster of the Evening.

Wow, he looked the part. Dark suit with charcoal open necked shirt. He certainly walked the walk, could he talk the talk? Absolutely! Dave was competent, confident and polished as he delivered an almost flawless display and a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Very well done indeed sir and a huge thank you from myself and everyone for a great fun night.

Step into the limelight Paul Goodhill our timer, always a delight and thoroughly entertaining. Paul kept us on time with military precision, except on the odd occasion when he nodded off, eh em, titter titter, only pulling your leg sir. Thank you Paul. However, we did finish 1 minute 53 seconds late due to the Club President not wanting to go home.

Our Grammarian Alison Morey was a delight too. We learnt so much from a very comprehensive account of our parlez. Now I do not want to sound ‘dogmatic‘ but how does one shoehorn all that which has been conveyed well into those four tiny minutes – easy, take seven and a half! Hahaha. Very well done Alison for illuminating our evening.

Our VPE Patricia Caesar gave us a deep and meaningful hot tip. “Be yourself, be genuine and be authentic. Brilliant Patricia, thank you – I’ll give it a go!

We were then all warmed up by the illustrious Karen Mefflin. “If you could design a website.”  There were lots of ideas flying around and I am sure the nabobs in the room were making all sorts of notes. Thank you Karen.

Our first prepared speech was delivered by the debonair Alex Clark, who started his journey by delivering his icebreaker. “The Emperor Napoleon the Third” Where are we going with this, I thought. Then Alex said they were both exiled in Chislehurst – great; then on to a naked civil servant, what? Say no more. Thank you for a very interesting and articulate speech with lots of twists and turns. Very well done that man.

Then Vinod Venkatanarayana, (hang on my spell checker has gone into melt down) entertained us all with a thoroughly humorous speech about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Having babies that is – no not Vinod, his wife, silly. An excellent speech delivered with advanced skills which were extremely engaging. This chap has so improved in all areas of public speaking you know.

Then to our final speaker Mr Neil Pettigrew. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful speech, expertly and naturally delivered in a conversational style. We all had a chuckle when we saw Neil as a young bus conductor. It brought back childhood memories, hopping on and off buses with our red rover passes, generally misbehaving, so what’s changed now Richard?  Thank you again Mr Pettigrew for another hugely entertaining speech with a brilliant message. Life is a rich tapestry, get out there folks and sew! I love stories like that.

Our evaluators were Ian Brett, yours truly, and Evelyn Khan-Panni.  Three experienced evaluators.  First came the gentle support and encouragement, then the recommendations or improvement points, finally the conclusion, a real commendation lifting the speaker and inspiring the audience. All three came through with huge aplomb. Well done!

Table topics, what a scream it was too! Friendly challenging questions, sensitively put to each and every speaker by our very own Area Governor and previous president, Jenny Taggart.

I had to laugh when Mrs T asked Neil Pettigrew should his wife be his best friend or best lover. Get out of that one Neil, I thought. True to form, came a brilliant retort. Buy me a pint and I will tell you what it was. Hahaha. Neil once again walked off with best table topic speaker.

Curtis Christie was our TT evaluator. I was so impressed when Curtis delivered a much improved evaluation of eight table topic speakers. This chap has come on in leaps and bounds and so engaging with his heart warming smile. Keep it up Curtis.

Our General Evaluator was Tony Babatunde another previous President. What a man! Always ready to help the club with his passionate, energetic overview of the evening. Thank you so much for your wealth of experience Tony. What was that, there was no club recommendation? Tut tut Tony, for such an experienced Toastmaster. We previously had a beautiful tip about moving our chairs together so as to allow our speakers to formulate good eye contact and it worked beautifully. Never mind Tony, put it in the post.

Please, please, please all you budding GEs let us have your club recommendations like the above, so we can improve, you see.

Finally over to Mr. President for a little bit of fun and a round-up of a truly beautiful evening which I have to say was incredible and very funny too.

Thank you once again to everyone who took part.

Richard Green, Club President

President’s review of the meeting on 6th November

Bonfire night had come and gone!

You could have fooled me as there were plenty of sparks flying at Ripley!

Our transformation to using the D71 portal is giving more shocks than a box of fireworks.

Come 4.30 on Thursday Patricia our VPE lit the blue touchpaper.

Now everyone stand well back!!

Our Sergeant At Arms Anthony Smith jumped in and opened the meeting. We are off!

Tony was standing in for Guy Dessoy who took over from Peter Bull – yes one of those nights.

The usual ramblings by our club President led us to our top guy folks, Ian Brett. Ian was coerced at the very last minute to stand in as our Toastmaster of the evening.

A massive thank you to Ian who produced another sterling performance as our acting Guy Fawkes, a job well done with huge aplomb. Ian led the meeting extremely efficiently and we all knew we were in for a blast.

Eddie Barnes gave us a brilliant hot tip: “get out there and do it” and speak to other clubs, organizations and gatherings. It’s scarier than a dark alleyway on Halloween but it sooooo broadens your horizons you know. Thank you Eddie!

Alex Clark warmed us up with a real sparkler: “what was the first record you bought?” Gee I felt old when I said Mungo Jerry then someone mentioned Neil Sedaka. Phew, I was off the hook.

We were ‘enchanted’ by our grammarian Julie who lit up the evening and gave a thorough report on our parlez (you know what I mean).

Our two speakers were extremely entertaining, delivering high standard speeches with hidden messages.

Albert Akhende with “Merchison Falls” a beauty spot in Uganda. Watch out for the flies though and the economy option may not appeal to everyone.

Karen Mefflin, an advanced speaker, rocked and rolled us with her Michael Jackson story. “Billy Jean is not my love….”. I still have that tune playing in my head and I am polishing up on my moon dance.

Thank you Albert and Karen for two excellent speeches.

Eddie Barnes doubled up and evaluated Albert Akende. He is a clever stick like that and delivered a thoroughly clever evaluation, highlighting what Albert did well and how Albert could have lit up the room. Well done and thank you Eddie.

Always good value when Dave Henson evaluates. He is a super evaluator. Dave gave some uplifting commendations and hit the spot with clever recommendations.

Our two evaluators displayed the art of good feedback. Yes, the speakers learn, but by demonstrating their recommendations, the whole audience learns.

Our VPE Patricia Caesar led the Table Topics and threw out some whacky challenging questions. Now ladies and gentleman, there are three things we try to avoid discussing  in Toastmasters, politics, religion and things of a sexual nature. Patricia blew that philosophy wide apart. Well bully for you girl because we all have to deal with some tricky things in life and we witnessed an artful display by our table topic speakers.

Royston made me chuckle when asked what was his favourite colour.  He used a brilliant delaying tactic….can you repeat the question please? No he could not believe it either! Sometimes the simple things in life can just throw you.

Very well done to all our table topic speakers!

Our guest Tracey Seed walked away with top spot. Wow she certainly showed us how to handle a mind bending question. Pause for a few moments, hold the pause….think, think, think,…. then boom let it fly. I learnt a lot from that in a subliminal way….catch my drift.

Our Table Topics speakers were evaluated by Vinod Venkatanarayana, another fine evaluator who carefully went about his business giving recommendations where he could.

It’s not easy, with many speakers, to find recommendations for all.

Finally our evening was completed by our General Evaluator, Evelyn Khan-Panni. This evaluation and feedback was extremely valuable to our speakers as it was to a very high standard. Recommendations to all with a beautiful club tip to re arrange our room to help us focus our attention on our audience not to an empty space in the middle. Every now and then we all need that proverbial rocket and Evelyn certainly let us have it! Thank you Evelyn.

Back to the President for a roundup of a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

The messages of the evening came from Patricia and Evelyn:

Patricia – the D 71 portal can be our friend, if we use it that is. Please if you are looking for a role and I know you all are, it’s the only way to learn in this business, then sign up today, now, quick the speaking slots are going fast!

Next time our room will be arranged differently. Oh yes, watch this space!

Thank you everyone and I look forward to seeing you at our next meeting on Thursday 20th November.

Division contest – what a great night

DivKSuch a good contest yesterday, we were laughing all the way.

And brilliant representation from Area 35.

Chris Howell (Bromley Speakers) was the contest chair, and did an excellent job keeping us to time, acknowledging all involved and making sure all the rules were followed.

Evelyn Khan-Panni (Bromley Speakers) gave us a polished personal story about the Digital Technology Evolution and Richard Green (Bromley, T&O, Lewisham, Trustmasters – have I missed any?) kept us amused with his story about Gordon Lamsey. I swear his wife puts on another 10 1bs with each humorous speech, no wonder he is scared to invite her as a guest to one of our meetings.

Stars of the evening were both from Area 35.

Malachi Talabi (Speakers of Croydon) brought his wife to witness a funny story with a message. Come and see them both again in Brighton in just over a week.

Samir Malak (Croydon Communicators and T&O, Bank of America) gave us a table topic with structure, a message, engaging body language, and great entertainment.

Malachi and Samir are both proudly holding their Division K trophies in the picture.

Thank you also to Becky Tuff – President of Women in Banking and Finance at Barclays who hosted the event, also pictured.

The President’s thoughts on 16 July meeting

Just wanted to say, thank you for an incredibly enjoyable and humorous evening I felt we all had on Thursday at Ripley.

My first evening as your new President. Gosh it felt good!

Especially the fact that we had eight guests and a packed house to boot! It could not have run better. Everyone took part and we all had a blast. We learnt so much too.

A hot tip from Sasha Kenna “Dont worry be happy” really set the tone for the evening.

We were all warmed up by the charismatic Nisha Yates. Oooohhhhhh!!!

NeilPettigrew kicked the speeches off with his tale of sarongdom, opening doors in a dress no less, and waltzed off with top speaker award! Well done Neil.

Then our own Eddie Barnes engaged us with his powers of persuasive talking, body language and good old eye contact. Well done Eddie.

Lastly Patricia Ceasar sent out a brilliant motivational message to one and all….just do it! With whatever comes to hand. Even if it is a small bust of Beethovan, pardon the expression.

Our three evaluators Area Governor Jenny Taggart, Evelyn Khan-Panni and Ruth Gordon all gave sound feedback and good recommendations. This is what we are about: helpful supportive and motivational advice. Well done to you ladies!

How hilarious were the table topics, led by Dave Henson? Challenging questions with some intelligent answers. Notice I said some intelligent answers. There was one chap who seemed to let the subject fly away. I wonder who that was. A rather embarrassed President. I am still trying to formulate an answer to Sean Bremman’s table topic question which I guess can never be answered successfully. Not in this lifetime. But our guest Sean walked away with top table topic. Thoroughly deserved too! Very well done David Henson.

Our table topic evaluator, Assistant Area Governer Samir Malek successfully navigated and negotiated his way round a tricky job of evaluating 8 speakers, but he gave excellent commendations and recommendations to one and all. Samir’s recommendation to me was “what was that, raise the bar Rich” which roughly translated meant “Hey Rich your table topic was rubbish, you can do better. You are the President you know.” Ha ha ha. Must try harder!

Finally, I must commend Ian Brett on what was an outstanding general evaluation. He gave feedback to all with some excellent recommendations, all delivered in fine style without notes. I say, well done Ian.

Not forgetting our Sergeant At Arms and timer Peter Bull who had a firm grip on our new stopwatch and kept everything running smoothly and Jane Bennett our delightful Grammarian grappled with our grammar and informed us of our intriguing uses of the English language .

Very well done to everyone, it was a real pleasure and so funny too!