Dear Toasties and lovely guests,

Super to see you all at our meeting this evening.

Updates, Actions, Opportunities

1. Members: thank you for completing the Members’ Survey that Aga sent out. If you haven’t yet and you’d like to, please check the WhatsApp group for the link.

2. We’ve got our club competition coming up on 30th September. So if you’d like to join in and make use of the opportunity to practice your skills under different conditions then now’s a good time to start thinking about it. We also get the opportunity to visit other clubs to be judges, take on roles, and learn from what other people are doing. There are lots of opportunities to get involved.

3. Keep signing up for roles and speeches on easyspeak. There are speeches and roles available every week between now and December.

Roles are fantastic for practicing your skills in really structured ways. They’re safe if you’re stepping up for the first time, and you can put your mark on them if you’ve got more experience or are up for getting creative with playful risk taking. A mark of mastery is doing with a tool what a novice can’t yet imagine. *We never outgrow icebreakers*.

So if there was a way you could bring a role alive in a positive and challenging way, that could help us see it in a way we haven’t before, what might that be?? Get creative, get insightful, get better!

Meeting Summary

The toastmaster deftly leading our meeting this evening was Esmé, who chose podcasts as the topic of the day.

We had a variety of responses to that including- Freakonomics from Aga
– Tim Ferriss from Carrie
and- Esmé‘s own response of Harry Potter At Home Readings.

Attached to this email is the full list of podcasts that were mentioned.

Helping make the meeting possible we had- All Of YOU!
– Vikki as our timer, who did the role for the first time tonight – well done!
– Carrie as our grammarian and Ah Master, who chose pliable as the word of the day, which a few of us succeeding in using, practicing our abilities to listen, remember, and adapt in the moment. She also brought our attention to moving between simple and evocative language, using alliterations, and key words that trigger a web of associations.
– and Dena as our SAA, making the tech work (thank goodness).

We also had an impromptu Props Master – Ailsa! Thank you for (almost literally) flying the flag! Marvelous. Sorry for not seeing you while I was speaking, and thank you to those who cheered in the chat. #team

We had JuliaRachel,and Shrutias our speakers, developing their skills and sharing with us their insights about what happiness is, what home is, and what happens when you’re contending with parenthood. It was Rachel‘s first icebreaker, which is a real milestone – well done! And Julia won best speaker – congratulations! Also a shout out to Shruti for doing her speech standing up, showing that we get to use the tech in a way that works for us, regardless of what the norm may look like at the moment.

Providing them with constructive feedback were KateJo, and Aga, including:
– have a clear purpose for every sentence
– play with your levels of animation
– and the ever-interesting question of signposting your structure

On this third point, it is up to you to try different methods – and you won’t please all the people all the time. Almost endless methods are available, ranging from an ‘academic’ style of “Intro, 3 points, conclusion: where you tell the audience what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them”, to a more creative narrative, building curiosity, not stating everything at the beginning, leaving punchlines, vagaries, red herrings hanging so you can build up to a plot twist and big reveal. Different speeches and different audiences invite different structures. Just be aware of what you’re asking your audience to do: trust you, follow you, and hold key points in mind.

Helping us develop our off the cuff speaking skills was Katie, also doing the role for the first time (well done!), who ran a suitably ridiculous table topics session, which included:Sam making Very Important Decisions about Chocolate – well done on your first TT!

Jenny bringing some decorum to joyriding the Queen’s horses – (someone has to, Jenny….)
andKiran considering the environmental benefits of farting unicorns (obviously), who won the contest this evening. Congratulations!

All participants were evaluated by Laura – also her first time doing TT evaluations – well done to you for that and for winning best evaluator.

Amongst many things, Laura noted- the benefits of riffing off previous speakers’ comments as a way to buy thinking time- the perils of twirling in one’s seat when feeling a little nervous- and she had the presence of mind to thank the Table Topics Master too.

If you feel confident with impromptu speaking because you’ve found a working solution, try a different approach next time. Success is lovely, and yet we often learn more through experimenting with ‘umm I’m not sure this is going to work but here I gooo…’. So make your aim to experiment, play, and ‘fail’ in a new way each time. Remember, this club is your crashmat: you get to take risks, survive, and play again!

Looking forward to seeing you soon


Eve Parmiter

President, City Women Speakers

Toastmasters International


Theme for today= podcasts, I’m relatively new to this, I recently discovered the harry Potter at Home Readings which has been great fun, I asked my fellow toasties to share their top tips for podcast to listen and that’s how I’ll Introduce each speaker tonight.

Timer Vikki has recently been reading HP during her commute. I definitely need some podcast inspiration, I only tend to listen to ones about running so will listen to _How to Fail_ next. Recently much time has been spent caring for her new pet rabbits.

Grammarian Carrie got very excited by my theme OMG – I listen to podcasts every day.   Tim Ferriss,  Ben Greenfield, Cellular Healing, The Guilty Feminist, You’ll Do, Newton Health.  I don’t listen to all of these every day – it’s what takes my fancy. 

One that brought a smile of joy to my face was Hugh Jackman on Tim Ferris.  Hugh seems such an utterly lovely, delightful, wonderful human being.

1st speaker: Rachel recently listened to an inspiring episode of Desert Island Disc featuring professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu who discussed her challenging childhood growing up in care and her experience as a black female nurse in the 80s, Rachel said it was very pertinent to the black lives matter campaign so worth a listen. 

2nd speaker Julia doesn’t listen to podcasts, prefer the old-fashioned way of reading a book, and I read loads (usually a book a week).

3Rd speaker Shruti is not much into podcasts however once stumbled upon Amy Schumer’s podcast called 3 Girls, 1 Keith and really enjoyed it 😊

1st eval Aga  (Rachel) like me is new to podcasts but enjoys Freakonomics, especially their How to be creative series. They usually have really interesting experts on too!

2nd eval Kate (Julia) shares my love for Harry potter, so will definitely look those up. She has been listening to a podcast called Get sleepy. . . relaxing stories to help you drift off. I’ve found them helpful to stop my brain from thinking too much!!

3rd eval Jo (shruti) does not often listen to podcasts. But recently watched a comedy TV series called Honey Bee Man on YouTube.

Guest intro Laura has recently started to get into podcasts so this is great topic to learn more recommendations but there is one she religiously listens to, it’s called Critical Role, where a bunch of nerdy voice actors sit around playing Dungeons and Dragons 🐲 It’s like listening to a story, and is great if you are new to DnD or want to find out more 🙂

TT master Katie says she has been binge watching the entire series for the first time recently. She doesn’t listen to podcasts (although has been meaning to). Instead she’s been busy with DIY with a huge amount fixing issues that “professionals” have caused….leaking pipes to electrical boxes

Back to president Eve: Loves podcasts – To choose one feels like treachery.

The first one that came to mind is How To Fail hosted by Elizabeth Day.