Good morning Toasties,
Thank you for a super meeting yesterday. Lovely to spend the evening with you.
The theme that developed through the meeting, from our opening convos, my off the cuff intro, Carrie’s theme ‘Lean On Me’, Armelle’s speech, Julia’s evaluation, all of our TT speakers and the way Kiran ran it, through to Rachel’s observations as our Grammarian, is this: presence. The quality of our presence affects the quality of our connection and the impact of our message.

What do we need to do to be honestly present? To arrive, at this moment now, rather than being distracted by our thoughts about the past or future?

To be speaking with rather than talking at?

And how do we manage our own engagement with others so that our own biases, assumptions, and prejudgments don’t get in the way of us really hearing what’s being said and why?
Most of us have something that gets in the way of us being fully present; with being comfortable being seen and heard.

For some it’s a worry about our accent ( – certainly affected by our context in Britain with classism and colonialism).

For others (hi!) it’s physicality ( – bullying around appearance is one of the most prevalent forms and most of us don’t make it through school without being negatively affected, let alone having to deal with the social messages we get bombarded with).

And yet others will have been told somewhere along the line that we’re not smart enough, articulate enough, interesting enough.

And, many of us will have a mix of it all.

So, this is a gentle invitation to be aware of our conditioning. We all have thoughts that aren’t ours: were you born with that thought about your face? your voice? your body? No. That thought was put there. If you don’t want it, then other thoughts are available.

Considering these things we’re apologising for or trying to hide… what would be different for you if you *knew* these were the things that allow us to relate to you, engage with you, and make us feel connected to you as an effective speaker?

Because what makes you stand out can make you outstanding.

[steps off soapbox]

Celebrations & Thanks & Opportunities
1. Huge cheer for all who were members last year who contributed to the success of getting
*** drum roll ****President’s Distinguished Club Award*
This is the highest level a club can achieve. These things don’t happen by accident. Thank you to everyone who made that possible – including last year’s committee and our immediate past president Carrie for driving this achievement. The banner arrived in the post yesterday and now sits as a gauntlet on my desk, so you know I’m going to be upping the encouragement to make the most of the opportunities we have now with available speaking slots (such a rarity last year!) – get ’em in! Let’s keep building this success and this momentum!
2. Free path offered by Toastmasters!
They usually cost $20, and TM are gifting us a free path each. Here’s the link to claim yours (again, get it in the bank now even if you don’t immediately need it, so you can use it later). Thank you to Rowena for getting our renewals payments in on time so we were eligible for this. Link is in WhatsApp, and here:

“Please visit your Toastmasters profile, click the “Choose A Path” button, and follow the normal path selection process to redeem your free path ‪before March 31, 2021‬. For more information about the free path, please see frequently asked questions.”

3. Mentoring ProgrammeHurrah for the launch! Thank you Carrie for making it happen, and to our first sets of mentor:mentee pairings. I’m so looking forward to seeing how this develops. You should’ve received an email from Carrie with the details, and they were also posted in WhatsApp. Let us know if you didn’t get them – and if you’re interested in joining in!
4. 4th November Area Comp – with Esmé and JennyHere’s the invite from our Area Director:Wednesday 4th November 2020 is Area L56 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest – and you are invited.

Join us at 6 pm when the Zoom doors open, the contest begins at 6.30 pm

Meeting ID: 381 127 3791Passcode: L5u?ue
Jacqueline Omoregie

5. Aga’s EasySpeak & Basecamp workshop
Thank you Aga for running this very helpful session. And thanks to all who attended. We’ll be looking to get the recordings up on our website so everyone has access to them.

The toastmaster smoothly leading our meeting this evening was Carrie, who chose the topic of the day to be Lean On Me.

Helping making the meeting possible we had- Dena & Georgina as our SAAs
– Rachel as our grammarian, who chose the Zonked as the very apt word of the day. It’s great when we get a word that hits the mood AND that we struggle with adding. I think there was just one moment of success?! Good. Let’s keep raising the bar.
and- me as our timer, getting over-enthusiastic about various household objects

We had Armelle as our speaker, getting us to really consider the use and misuse of filler words by ourselves and others. Who is benefiting from such scrutiny? Who is being silenced? How can we leverage filler words to increase our awareness and connection?

Providing constructive feedback was Julia. Amongst many good thoughts, Julia noted the balance we try to get between conversational flow + clear structure to follow. This can perhaps be helped by stating the structure at the beginning (‘3 points’ or otherwise), or having clear pauses between sections, or changing body angle between sections, so that we get those clear demarcations even in a conversational delivery.  

Helping us develop our off the cuff speaking skills was Kiran who ran a cracking table topics session, which includedShruti talking about getting mentorship from a one year old (… move away from the bum… )
Laura discussing, well, avoiding death by fur (eek!)
andJenny considering the untapped potential of paperclips, winning the contest as she did so.

All participants were evaluated by Aga who helpfully drew our attention to strategies of alternating between serious and humorous answers, having the presence of mind to refer to other TT speakers’ answers in our own, and reminding us of a useful strategy of big picture:little picture, e.g. we can state a broad principle and then give several specific examples to support our case. “I think x is good. And I shall evidence this by making 3 points. Point 1….” This helps us make the most of our available time.

Speaking of which, I hope you have a super fortnight. Looking forward to seeing you next time.

All the best


Eve Parmiter

President, City Women Speakers

Toastmasters International