Dear Toasties and very welcome guests,

Lovely to see you all at our meeting last night.

1. We’ve got our club competition coming up on 30th September. This is for table topics and humorous speeches. 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 have a conversation and get started!

If you’re worried about you or your speeches not being good enough or funny enough or any other real or imagined worry – believe me I get it! – I’ve competed in both – succeeding and crashing in both! It’s not important if we win or lose – just that we improve.  

If you’re not looking to compete this time then do sign up for a role – timer, judge, etc – this way you get an inside look at a competition and get some ideas for what you might like to do next time.

Feel free to speak with Carrie about any functionary role, and with Katie, Laura, or me about competing.

2. Date for your diary: Area competition on 4th November, and Division competition on 21st November. You’ve also got the opportunity to take roles at these levels too.

3. And as always, do sign up for roles and speeches on easySPEAK and make the most of the opportunities to progress through Pathways and develop your skills.

The toastmaster leading our meeting was Aga, whose topic of the day got us thinking about what our happy place is.

We had a variety of responses:
– for Esmé it was being in nature
– for me it was being in a process of growth
and- for Vikkiit was rabbits. You win Vikki, you win.

Helping making the meeting possible we had- Vikki as our timer, who did a cool, calm, and competent job of keeping us on track
– Armelle as our grammarian, who got us thinking about the peculiarities of the English language with the words responsibility and accountability, asking us to find a way to differentiate between them as we spoke.

A wonderful benefit of having proficiency in more than one language – oneself and as a club – is that we get additional perspectives, insights, and opportunities for creativity as we move between them, blending and bending the rules as we go. In another meeting, we’ve had Julia, a previous president of the club and a DTM, ask us table topics based on idioms and proverbs translated into English, which was fascinating and hilarious. So, if you could take something from another language and bring it into the English we use in our meetings, enriching our experience, what would it be?

We had Jo as our speaker, sharing with us the challenges and insights from her experiences of running a project at work. Congratulations on your recent completion of Level 2, Jo.

And we had Robina, Kiran, Anne, Georgina, and Sam getting involved with table topics, developing their impromptu speaking skills by responding to questions ranging from chats by the water cooler to sabotaging one’s boss to operationalising the philosophy of Nietzsche in our day to day lives. Katie, our super Table Topics Master, gets bonus points for scope!

And they were all winners – we voted and the votes were shared evenly. Brilliant work, congrats to all. And specific congrats to Robina and Anne (I think that’s right, Anne?) for doing table topics for the first time. Hats off to you.

Providing them with constructive feedback were Esmé and Kate, so we could all receive the benefits of their thoughts on
– body language: can we see you – and your hands – in the frame?
– eye contact: do we feel connected?
– structure: can we follow clearly where you’re taking us?
– emotional engagement: can you show us you care? can you show us whywe should care?

Finally, I’ll close this email with the opening invitation I made in the meeting.

Make a conscious choice about which version of you you’re bringing to the meeting, to your speaking, to your learning. The state you’re in (anxious, self-doubting, confident, at ease, generous) changes the skills you have access to (your oratory, use of language, ability to create rapport) and thus how well you can use your tools (your speech, presentation, professional expertise).

Are you unconsciously connecting to that version of you who, for example, was 6 years old and forgot your line in the school play and everyone laughed at you? Or that version of you who aced the exam, the interview, the off the cuff joke at your friend’s party and had everyone howling? Or that version of you who’s done that thing you feel really proud of, that no one else knows about, but that gives you a bit of a swagger, a sparkle in your eyes, and that feeling of ‘if I can do that, I can do anything’? Different things become possible in each of those states. And, gloriously, we get to practice being who we’d most enjoy being. Isn’t that magnificent?! I’m off to make the most of it…

Have a super fortnight.
Best wishes


Eve Parmiter

President, City Women Speakers

Toastmasters International