Dear Toasties and lovely guests,

Super to see you all at our meeting on Wednesday.

Actions & Opportunities
1. Our next meeting is our competition! Come and cheer on our people – it’s an enjoyable evening and we’ll all learn something from their courage and creativity.

2. Other clubs are running their comps too so feel free to ask to turn up as a guest, or if you’re interested in trying out the role of a judge (it’s not that scary, I promise!) or counter or timer then let any one of our committee know and we’ll see what we can arrange.

3. We’ll be taking a few pics of the comp, which prompts us to ask you to let us know what you’re comfortable with in terms of the use of your image, so that you can feel at ease, we can make sure we’re looking after you, and we’re all on the right side of GDPR. The preference form is here – please put a X in the relevant box and email it back to us by 30th Sept – thank you!

NamePhoto takenCity Women Speakers websiteCity Women Speakers LinkedIn GroupDate Consent Given/Consent Not Given
I consent to having my photo takenI consent to having my photo uploaded on the website & my first name mentioned in the photo captionI consent to having my photo uploaded on the website but do not want to be named in the photoI consent to having my photo uploaded on the LinkedIn page & my first name mentioned in the photo captionI consent to having my photo uploaded on the LinkedIn page but do not want to be named in the photo

4. As always, roles and speeches on easySPEAK are there for you to sign up for and enjoy.

We had a different format to our meeting this time: 4 speeches, 3 from our members working on their Pathways programmes, and 1 from a guest preparing for his TEDx talk. We also had a General Evaluator visit and give us an outside perspective to help us see what we’re doing well and where we can do even better.

Jo led us through our meeting as the Toastmaster, who chose the topic of the day to be “what did you do with your first proper pay cheque?” Our answers ranged from Kate’s escapades with expensive jeans, Kim (our GE) buying the luxury of a chocolate cake, and me with… the rent.

Helping making the meeting possible we had:- Anne as our timer, who did a cracking job in her first time in the role having to interrupt both the President (sorry!) and the guest GE! It doesn’t get harder than that! Well done!
– Kiran as our grammarian and umm-ahh-y’know-counter, who chose superfluous as the word of the day, which several of us succeeding in using.and
– Dena as our SAA keeping Zoom happy and playing nicely.

We had Esmé and Amina and Shruti as our club speakers, sharing with us the challenges of making one’s leadership style effective within the workplace when our values might not be shared with our bosses; the social, cultural, and religious constructions of the meanings of colour; and the divide between dog lovers and dog avoiders… can it ever be crossed??

Providing them with constructive feedback were KateCarrie, and Katie, so we could all learn from their thoughts on
– creating engaging stories to illustrate our point whilst warming the audience to us
– the distraction of filler words
– how a natural (not over-rehearsed) delivery can make a speech more compelling
– the powerful use of strong clear visual images to support your argument

Our guest David did a different kind of speech, not Pathways based, in prep for his TEDx talk: The Fight For Fairer Funding. This was the speech’s first sharing – and it was a critical audience to deliver it to – and by critical I mean ‘essential’ as well as ‘careful analysis’.

If you’re speaking about a group to a group but you are not part of that group then you’ve set yourself up for a challenge. Are you an authority on someone else’s experience? How are you going to establish credibility and relatability? Do you know the language (terminology) well enough to use it authentically, respectfully, thoughtfully, insightfully, or are you co-opting it? Be careful how you identify the problem your CTA (call to action) is set to solve.

One of the things David’s speech did very well was make use of his name: it is a fact that there are more people named David than there are women leading the FTSE 100. David turned this into a joke at his expense (without diminishing himself). In marketing terms, this is a USP (unique selling point). In standup comedy performers will own their quirks and make a joke about it to pre-empt hecklers, and if I remember rightly the history podcaster Dan Carlin calls it ‘trademarking your flaws’ – he uses huge vocal range, which drives his sound engineers mad but which the audience loves. Sometimes ya gotta choose who you’re gonna piss off. (A teacher told me that once and I think it’s one of the best things I learnt that whole year…)

For me as an evaluator I had lots to say and a key learning point for me was to remember I have the written evaluation as a tool and space where I can give a fuller response with more examples, I don’t need to try to fit everything into the verbal 3 min eval. And I didn’t fit it into the 3 mins – sorry Anne!

David won the best speech award, and Katie won best evaluation – congrats both!

Kim was very complimentary in her GE report, so do enjoy the genuine feedback about the quality and energy you all bring. You really do enrich this space and all of our learning and enjoyment. A huge thanks to you for doing so, for being part of an enthusiastic audience, which makes all the difference, for taking on roles, for sharing speeches, and for being on the committee. It’s a privilege to be part of this team.

See you all on the 30th for the competition – I’m so looking forward to seeing our people shine. Bold, brave, brilliant. Bring it on.

Best wishes


Eve Parmiter

President, City Women Speakers

Toastmasters International