How To Organise a Unique Area Contest (even if you’re pressed for time)

Toastmaster Area Contest, Sep 14The Area 21 Humourous speech and table topics contest was held on 27th September 2014. First of all huge congratulations to all who competed and our winners, Steve Catchick of Wokingham and Chris Boden of Maidenhead. If you came along, thank-you, you really helped make the event special! And I’m collecting feedback here.

From the feedback I’ve received so far, everyone has commented on how unique an event it was. I wish I could take the credit for this but it was really down to our formidable contest chair Mell Sheppard who pulled it all together. It was great working with her, as well as the whole team and here’s what went into making it happen (and a little behind-the-scenes insight too)

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Book Now For Our Most Magical Area Contest Yet

Magical. Mental. Magnificent. Those are the three words that came to mind after I heard the plans for the Area contest from our brilliant Contest Chair Mell Sheppard. It is now less than 2 weeks to go until the Area 21 Humourous Speech and Tabletopics Contest, which is on Saturday 27th September from 9.30am. I’m super-excited. And that was even before she told me about her amazing warm-up act – but more about that later.

The contest itself will feature the winners from clubs in Area 21. Unlike previous years, this year only one winner from each contest goes through, so it really is the best of the best. If you’ve ever tried to make people laugh in a speech, you’ll know how tricky that can be. The humourous speech contest brings together four of the most entertaining, on-form speakers in the area. Then we also have the tabletopics contest – impromptu speaking at its very best. The contestants for this are quick-witted but mentally organised as they structure a mini-speech to strike a chord with the audience in the blink-of- an-eye.

And if that’s not enough, I am so thrilled to tell you about the warm-up act we have lined up for you, a special guest: Ian Souch. Ian Souch has a magical way with words because he is no less than a magician! In a special warm up for the contest, Ian will be performing ‘Mentalism’ or mind reading. It has to be seen to be believed – will he really be able to get into the minds of Toastmasters? I can’t wait to find out!

The area contest promises to be an entertaining and truly stunning event year. The event is free to all but places are limited so must be booked in advance.

Saturday, 27th of September 9.30am-12.30pm. Burnham Park Hall, Burham, SL1 7HR

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Tall Tales Contest, 30th September Burnham

Chiltern Speakers are hosting a tall tales contest on Tuesday the 30th of September at Burnham Park Hall from 19:00 to 21:00. All are invited to join as participants or guests.  It promises to be a fun evening of outlandish tales. Speeches will be 1-3 minutes and should be in your own words and authentic.  To join in please contact Bibi Chutoo May the most improbable story win!

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World Championship Speech and Evaluation Workshop 30th September, Wokingham

Wokingham Speakers are holding a special evening on Tuesday 30th September.

In part one we focus on how to become a World Champion speaker. You will learn:

  • What it takes to become a world champion speaker
  • What makes a world class speech

We will watch two world championship speeches on DVD and our host, Freddie Daniells will lead an analysis of the speeches, identifying the characteristics that make for a winner, picking out commonalities and noting differences in a fun and interactive way.

In the second part of the evening Freddie will present a condensed version of his well-received Evaluation Workshop. You will learn:

  • What to look for in a speech

  • How to structure your evaluation

  • How to give effective feedback in a way that motivates the speaker

With a wealth of experience in Toastmasters and having attended the last four World Championship of Public Speaking finals, acting as a judge in one and helping coach a finalist in another, Freddie is perfectly placed to share his findings on what makes a successful contest speech and what makes for a winning evaluation.

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to refine your skills and give yourself that extra edge.

£6.00 admission fee through Eventbrite.

There are only 30 seats available, so please book early to avoid disappointment via the Eventbrite link:

30th September promises to be a delightful evening!

Any questions, please contact

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3 Reasons You Should Take On the Judge Role

It’s competition season in Toastmasters! You may already be signed up as a speaker or taking on a key leadership role for your own club’s competition. But I still encourage you to take on a judge role at a visiting club, here’s why:

  1. If you are a contestant, it’s a great way to check out the competition as well as spend an evening focusing on the actual criteria on which yuou will be judged.  For instance, in a table topics contest 30% of the score is for structure – open, body and close. How do other competitors achieve that with so little time to think?
  2. If you are part of organizing your own contest, visit another club to do some recon – How does the timing work out over the evening? What works well and what doesn’t? Maybe there are ideas to ‘borrow’ or lessons to learn. A judging or other role gives you particular insight into a competition from a different perspective. Don’t forget to get your leadership brownie points for this as part of the leadership manual!
  3. For everyone, judging is an important transferable skill that works for other parts of life. Avoiding bias, being able to evaluate on the fly and ranking different performances are all part of it. Just today I’ve been using that very skill to rate some keynote speakers at an industry conference I went to for work.

Convinced? Well here are some club contests for you to go along to, email the club and sign up for a judge role.

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Competition Season is Here!

September in Division H means the beginning of competition season – for both humourous speaking and tabletopics.  It is a great opportunity for Toastmasters to take the skills they’ve been developing over the months and test them out either in a speaking or leadership role.

In early September the individual clubs will each host their own competitions. Then the winners of those proceed to compete at the area, district and division level. To be part of it all here are some dates for your diary.

Area 21 Contest: Saturday 27th September, Burnham Park Hall, Burnham

Division H Contest: Saturday 18th October, Oxted

District 91 Contest: Saturday 1st November, Brighton as part of the D91 Autumn Conference

In particular I’m looking forward to our Area 21 contest for which is already well in the planning and has a strong team behind it, as well as for me, attending my very first district conference and contest. It’s going to be amazing, see you there!

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Great News!

Okay, so I was so excited about writing a summary of how the year has panned out for Division H. I made myself a cup of coffee, sat down at the computer, opened up the reports on the website and started writing.. but guess what?! Even though I was writing on Monday afternoon, the reports weren’t up to date! Imagine that for a surprise.. but anyway, moving on.. the result is some other amazing achievements were left out of my report, and let me tell you, the club presidents and area governors were quick to let me know about it! So let me add to the great news from Division H…

Camberley Birthday CakeCamberley Speakers Club achieved 10 DCP goals; Farnham Speakers Club managed to get their membership up to the coveted 20 members and achieved President’s Select, which is really pretty amazing, given they started the year with 14 members.

Camberley also celebrated their 5-year anniversary with a bit of a party and a superb cake!

I’m sure there are many more causes for celebration around the Division, keep the news coming and I wish you all the best for an amazing year in 2014-15.

Vanessa King.

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What a year!

It’s the 30th of June, already! I look back on the year and marvel at how quickly the time has flown. When I began the year as Division Governor for you wonderful members, I’ll confess there was a giant elephant in front of me. I didn’t have any specific goals really, other than to serve you as best I could in the way I thought I could actually achieve. I sat down in the holidays last July, scouted venues and booked everything well in advance. I sent out messages to our wonderful team and asked for people to contribute to the workshop opportunities I was creating. I had no idea what people would come back with, but those of you who attended will agree that we had some incredibly skilled presenters and stimulating workshops that taught us a great deal and were fun as well!

I learned to check the pub actually served lunch on a Sunday, that if you have to make the decision to cancel an event making the decision sooner is infinitely more desirable than later. I developed great relationships with people I didn’t know all that well before, which is a great privilege. Also a joy and privilege was the opportunity to visit every club in the division at least once and to share my experiences in the General Evaluator role. Clubs really benefit from an outsider’s point of view and I encourage you to actively seek out members from other clubs – invite them to your meetings and ask them for their impressions.

Let me outline some of the success we have enjoyed this year…

We had three new clubs charter this year. Over 50 of our members achieved their Competent Communicator award, over 20 members achieved an Advanced Communicator award and nearly 40 members achieved a Leadership award. I’d like to make special mention of three clubs who achieved 10 DCP goals – Woking Speakers, Maidenhead Speakers and Canterbury Communicators. Canterbury achieved a whopping 9 leadership awards and added 17 members this year, not bad for a club with 29 members. County Communicators also did well with Advanced Communicator (3) and Competent Leader (4) awards, particularly as they have 22 members. It’s not always the bigger clubs that achieve the most!

There is a great deal of quality across the division, and I saw it in the Club Officer Training organised by our wonderful team of Area Governors. They all went to great lengths to ensure the training delivered to our club officers was interactive, useful and of course fun. I also saw it in the quality of contests during the year, topped off by our very own Chris Boden being named District Champion and heading off to Kuala Lumpur to represent District 71 in its current form.

I would like to thank my Division team: Meg Heyworth in Area 55, Richard Murray in Area 37, Tim Rampton in Area 32, Christina MacGuire in Area 14 and Mark Emanuelson in Area 21. Without the input and support of this amazing team, Division H would not have been the first to achieve President’s Distinguished Division. Their support has been fundamental to our success and I am very fortunate to have them on my team.

Your incoming Division Team will serve you equally well, I am sure. Under the leadership of Bob Nisbet, DTM, I’ve no doubt the Division will continue to perform well. After all, there’s a precedent to uphold! I personally welcome the following members who will serve as your Area Governors in the 2014-15 year: Johanna Murray (37), Gordon Piggott (55), Wendy Benson (37), Tania Grant (14) and Tracy Miranda (21). You have an exciting year coming up, with the first District 91 Conference being held in bubbly Brighton in November. You have an awesome conference team and you have already demonstrated your willingness to work together (remember my request for funding the conference?). I’ve no doubt Brighton 2014 will be an incredible conference!

Which brings me to the new District 91. I am so grateful for the honour of serving you all once again, this time as Lt. Gov. Marketing. It’s a rare opportunity to shape and influence the growth of any district, let alone a brand new one. As I reflect on the amazing year Division H has had, surveying the crumbs on the plate of the elephant I have consumed, bite by tiny bite, I am very much aware of the even bigger elephant awaiting consumption in front of me! However, Division H members, you have prepared me well to serve in this role and contribute. I know that as long as I keep the well-being and best interests of our members at the forefront of my mind, our new district will be incredibly successful. How can we not be, with members like you!

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Discover Essential Tools for Starting a Club

On Thursday 12th June a special event has been arranged where you will –

Discover The Essential Tools For Starting a New Toastmasters Club

Starting a new club can seem like a daunting experience. At this event you will learn from members who have previously started a club as they share the knowledge and know-how they’ve picked up on their journey.

You will also gain an understanding of the formal requirements for a club, what Chartering means, how to organise a demonstration meeting, plus details of the support that’s available to help you get started, develop and grow your club.

To book your ticket to this free event Click Here

Thursday 12th June
Speakers Trust
32-36 Loman Street, SE1 0EH

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World Champion In London

I had the chance to see the 2011 World Champion of Public Speaking, Jock Elliott, in Ireland on the weekend. Here’s your chance to see him in London. You won’t want to miss this!

Discover the essential tools for gettingJockElliott your message across to any audience with World Champion of Public Speaking (2011) Jock Elliott.

When: Friday 23rd May

At this amazing event you will have the opportunity to learn the techniques of world class speaking and presenting including:

What makes a world class speech?

  • Look ‘under the hood’ at Jock’s winning speech
  • Discover how careful crafting builds towards a powerful and compelling conclusion.
  • See how every word is selected for a reason and how reason plus emotion creates success.

You will learn how to:

  •  Identify your point
  •  Know your audience
  •  Make your message valuable
  •  Add impact to your presentation
  •  Touch your audience’s hearts and minds
  •  Master the mechanics of your speech
  •  Get the right competitive and performance attitude
  • Write a world-class speech

This is a great opportunity to have an evening of humour, insight, inspiration and learning.

There’s no one right way to do anything but there are always many ways of doing something better.

Tickets are just £7.50. Click Here To Book

Friday 23rd May 2014
Cass Business School
106 Bunhill Row, EC1Y 8TZ

Please arrive in time for the 6.45pm start of the evening presentations.

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