Category Archives: Toastmasters International

Hellish Halloween Happenings At Haymarket Toastmasters

Post written by Max Ridder-Patrick, Vice President PR, Haymarket Toastmasters

New Picture Hellish Halloween Happenings At Haymarket ToastmastersIn honour of Halloween, Haymarket held our hellish halloween theme night on Monday.

The ghoulishly good event was run by Lorna “the green witch” McCallum and table topics were dreadfully (well) directed by our very own President Mike “Dracula” Russell.

The evening was opened with a few pertinent lines by the witches from Shakespeares’ MacBeth leaving our Toastmaster of the evening, hoarse albeit briefly and to great effect.

Two great speeches followed on an epic tale of a 105 mile journey and another about the perils of wrestling with client services.

After the interlude the Count rose for terrible and trepidatious Table Topics. Pertinent prey selected, the Count guided us on a journey of monstrous motifs and marvelous misadventure.

Continuing on in the same vein, feedback was delivered, in a magnificent manner, by the three constant ghostly presences of the Ah counter, time keeper and wordmaster/grammarian.

Theme nights are a fun way to insert (additional) levity into a Toastmasters meeting and give everyone the chance to revel in childlike joy and silliness whilst learning to speak in public.

Haymarket Toastmasters Welcomes Visitors From New Zealand

Post written by Mike Russell, President Haymarket Toastmasters


IMG 0129 Haymarket Toastmasters Welcomes Visitors From New ZealandThe meeting of Haymarket Toastmasters, on Monday 13th October, was a special one in that we welcomed Toastmasters Alan and Jane Cobcroft, from Auckland, New Zealand who are holidaying in Europe and visiting their daughter in the UK (in the photograph above, they are 4th and 5th from the right).

There are 70 Toastmaster Clubs in Auckland alone, they told us!

Jane is the VP Education of Silver Service Club, and Alan is President of Harrison Road Club, both in Auckland.

They enjoyed our meeting, and our Club was enriched by the company of two such experienced Toastmasters from so far afield. In fact, they have the distinction of being the guests who have travelled the furthest to our meeting since Haymarket Toastmasters was established in 2012–a total of 17,874 Km!

We have also entertained visiting Toastmasters this year from Austin, Texas, and from China, as well as from other Clubs in the UK.

It is always interesting to hear our visitors’ views on one’s own Club…the similarities and differences between those visitors’ Clubs and our own.

We can all learn from them, and it was a useful reminder to our own members that, when travelling, particularly overseas, that it might be worth checking out in advance which Toastmaster Clubs are in the vicinity of those visits, to see if a visit can be arranged.


Toastmasters is 90 years old!

HistoryBanner Toastmasters is 90 years old!

Please join me in celebrating an exciting milestone in Toastmasters International’s history – 90 years of empowering individuals to become more confident speakers and leaders!

90thAnniversaryTimeline Toastmasters is 90 years old!Founder Ralph C. Smedley organized the first official Toastmasters meeting on Oct. 22, 1924, with the vision of helping men learn how to speak and lead effectively. Nine decades later, his vision continues to thrive as Toastmasters’ education program has helped members like you and me to live confidently, overcome obstacles, meet goals and change our lives for the better!

As we celebrate 90 years of breaking the ice, our organization stands at a historic high point. More than 313,000 members from 126 countries meet regularly to give speeches, gain feedback, lead teams and guide others to achieve. Please enjoy this short video that highlights Toastmasters’ vision and global reach.

We will celebrate the anniversary with a yearlong tribute that honors our organization’s rich legacy.

While we celebrate today, we will continue to build for our future. The next decade holds even greater promise as we continue to expand our reach around the globe as a leading non-profit educational organization!

In celebration,

Mohammed Murad, DTM
International President
Toastmasters International

Livingston Speakers Themed Open Evening – Fire Festival Fiesta Night

WLCourier Photo2 272x300 Livingston Speakers Themed Open Evening   Fire Festival Fiesta Night Livingston Speakers was set up last year by husband and wife team Stephen and Pauline Dix.

The idea was to provide a forum for local people to develop their communication and leadership skills, and to improve their confidence and self-esteem.

The club meets fortnightly on Thursday evenings from 6.45pm to 9pm at West Lothian College.

Membership is open to anyone over the age of 18, and guests are welcome to attend 3 meetings, free of charge, to get a taste of how the club works.

Livingston Speakers is the second Toastmasters club in West Lothian; sister club Linlithgow Speakers was founded back in 2004. And there are several other Toastmasters clubs throughout central Scotland. The same warm friendly welcome awaits guests at every club.

So how does the Toastmasters program help its members?

Colin Williamson, a professional storyteller and lifelong dyslexic, credits the club with helping him to add structure and clarity to his speeches and with improving his sense of timing through the famous Toastmasters traffic-light system.

Stephen Dix, co-founder of the club and a stammerer, gained confidence through the program to overcome his fear of speaking in public, and now gives regular educational presentations at the club, and also speaks at promotional events where he encourages others to share the benefits of the program.

Livingston Speakers is holding an Open Evening on Thursday 6th November 2014.

“Fire Festival Fiesta” will focus on the twin themes of Halloween and Bonfire Night.

Fancy dress is optional as is the chance to take part in the impromptu speaking session after the break.

Guests are most welcome to come along and enjoy an educational night with a difference.

Venue: Studio 3, Terrace 3 & 4, West Lothian College. Date: Thursday 6th November. Time: 6.45pm-9pm.

Check out the club website for more information.

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.

Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization’s membership exceeds 292,000 in more than 14,350 clubs in 122 countries.

Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.

Thistle Speakers: Scotland’s Advanced Speakers Meetings

Post written by Jane Cameron DTM, President Thistle Speakers, Member of Southside Speakers, Glasgow

lg Scottish Thistle Thistle Speakers: Scotland’s Advanced Speakers Meetings

One of the many reasons that I enjoy Toastmasters and have remained a member for so long is the fantastic range and variety of speaking opportunities which are available…like Thistle Speakers for example!

Thistle Speakers is not a club but a series of meetings which are held at different Toastmaster clubs and it offers advanced Toastmasters an opportunity to deliver speeches and receive evaluations within the context of an advanced meeting.

I find that it is useful to speaking in a slightly different environment and receive more in-depth evaluations while still among friendly and supportive Toastmasters.

Advanced Toastmasters are those who have achieved their Competent Communication (CC) award by delivering their first ten speeches in the Toastmaster programme and are now working through the advanced programme.

This programme offers 15 different speech manuals to work from, each focussing on a distinct theme or style of speaking. My favourite advanced manuals are Storytelling, Persuasive Speaking, The Entertaining Speaker and Speaking to Inform.

Thistle meetings are open to ALL Toastmasters and guests but only the advanced members may deliver a speech and provide evaluations.

At Thistle meetings everyone who delivers an advanced speech receives the usual 3 min verbal speech evaluation and then there is a 10 minute “open- floor” evaluation session to provide extra feedback. Also, the General Evaluator focuses their feedback on the speech evaluations to ensure these are as specific and constructive as possible.

The main aims of Thistle meetings are to offer members the following:

• more flexible programme to cater for longer speech projects
• deeper evaluations to drive better progress
• open evaluations to capture wider audience feedback
• practise speaking at different venues to different audiences
• networking opportunities with experienced club members
• exploration of the benefits of the Advanced Communication and Leadership programmes

I believe advanced members deserve occasional meetings which are focussed on their development, while we still enjoy helping at club meetings, assisting new clubs and supporting special events like competitions.

The speeches which are delivered at Thistle meetings are credited to the speaker’s home club so these still count towards the success of each club.

The next Thistle meeting, hosted by Capital Communicators, is on Wednesday 29th October 2014 in Edinburgh.

All advanced members should be on the mailing list to receive news on Thistle meetings but if you want more information please contact your club president; alternatively you can look on-line at for the next Thistle meeting.

It’s a while since I delivered an advanced speech but I am planning to deliver one at an upcoming Thistle meeting – and I’m looking forward to that. Maybe see you there?


Area 60 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest

Post written by Gerry Dunn, Area 60 Governor

Area60 Contest 300x178 Area 60 Humorous Speech and Table Topics ContestWe had a great Area 60 contest on 21st September hosted in fine style by Southside Speakers. There were 8 competitors in Table Topics and 6 in the Humorous Speech.

The results were:


Area60 Conor 150x150 Area 60 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest

Area 60 Humorous Speech Contest winner Conor

Humorous Speech
1st Conor Hunter
2nd Lucy Butters
3rd Dee Murray





Area60 Ameed 150x150 Area 60 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest

Area 60 Table Topics Winner Ameed

Table Topics
1st Ameed Versace
2nd Derek Munro
3rd Nkosi Frank

Capital Communicators Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests

Post written by Alistair Cottle CL, President Capital Communicators

It was a night of ‘firsts’!

Cross Club Fertilisation continued its first real opportunity to demonstrate the strength of the Edinburgh public speaking scene.

Our sister clubs supplied judges for our contest and I would specifically like to thank Moira Beaton, Paul Bailey and Aideen O’Malley from Waverley Communicators and Lorna McCallum and Michael Russell from Haymarket Toastmasters for providing their services on what was a difficult night to rank the scores.I saw this as chief judge! It was fantastic to be able to remove any potential judging bias by having judges from the other clubs and I sincerely hope this continues in the future.

It was also the first time both of our Contest Chairs had hosted a contest and what a terrific job they both did!

Martin Burke was first off the ranks by chairing the Humorous Speech contest and two of our contestants were also first timers.

CapcomContest 1 300x225 Capital Communicators Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests

Martin Burke congratulates James Shoemark for winning the Humorous Speech contest

Leeanne Bradley laughed her way through her first day selling reference books door-to-door, while Seonaid Reid joked about The Aunty Rules, but it was James Shoemark who took first place with ‘It’s a Fine Line’. His speech was about growing up and some of the mischief he got up to and even had him fooling about the stage at one point but he left us with the sobering thought of living to tell the tale rather than regretting it.

Next up was the Table Topics contest where the theme of ‘firsts’ continued.

With Lorna Bruce chairing, she posed the question “if you were to set up a society what would it be and how would you encourage people to join it?” The answers were as varied as the contestants.

From the politically aware Daljit Singh who was participating, having not even given his first [Icebreaker] speech, to the vastly experienced Edwyn Newman who actually managed to stay on topic!

A surreal experience, but as I said, the night was littered with ‘firsts’!

To break my theme, Seonaid came back for the second time in the night, but got straight back on track by competing in her first Table Topic contest. She achieved second place with her Christian society and showed there is some real talent coming through the club.

CapComContest2 300x225 Capital Communicators Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests

Renee Philippi is congratulated by Lorna Bruce for winning the Table Topics contest.

Renee Philippi took first place honours with an impressive demonstration of how to structure an unrehearsed answer and had a message for us all – that some of us stop listening to our inner voice and begin listening too much to surrounding voices. She chose to create a network society to promote being the best you can personally be.

CapComContest3 300x225 Capital Communicators Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests

James Shoemark and Renee Philippi will represent Capital Communicators in the upcoming Area Contest

We wish both our contest winners the very best of luck at the Area Contest on the 4th October.


Haymarket Toastmasters Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contests 15th Sept

Post written by Michael Russell CC, President Haymarket Toastmasters

Haymarket Toastmasters enjoyed a record attendance of members and guests for the 2014 Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests.

And what an evening it was!

There were four contestants in each, as follows:

HaymarketHunContest Sept2014 300x244 Haymarket Toastmasters Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contests 15th SeptHumorous Speech:

1. Penny Haywood Calder with a speech titled, “Food”
2. Laura Kinsler…”The Twitch”
3. Lorna McCallum…..”The Prankster”
4. David Calder…..”Save an Endangered Species”

HaymarketTTContest Sept2014 2 300x205 Haymarket Toastmasters Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contests 15th SeptTable Topics:

1. Shanda Doherty
2. David Calder
3. Margaret Coughlin
4. Penny Haywood Calder

We were delighted to welcome members from our sister-clubs, Capital Communicators and Waverley Communicators, who kindly helped judge the contests and also filled some of the other roles.

The Judges certainly had a tough job. Each prepared speech was laced with humour and effortlessly delivered.

The Table Topics “Topic” was whether television advertising was a force for good, or evil, and the speakers peppered their polished responses with examples from the past…does anyone (other than me!) recall the (very old!) advert for Pepsodent…”you’ll wonder where the yellow went, when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent”………

Laura Kinsler, an Australian, who only gave her “Icebreaker” in June, won the Humorous Speech Contest with her amusing story about life with her Italian father.

HaymarketHumContest Sept2014 DC 300x212 Haymarket Toastmasters Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contests 15th SeptHaymarketTTContest Sept2014 300x226 Haymarket Toastmasters Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contests 15th SeptDavid Calder was second, but was in first place in the Table Topics contest, ahead of his wife, Penny, in second place.

Our winners go forward to the Area Contest on 4th October. Apart from the Contest Chair (….ahem….that was me!) presenting the winners with the incorrect certificates, the evening was a great success.

A big thank you from me to those members from Capital Communicators and Waverley Communicators, who helped make our Contests a success, to Eu Jin Teh, our Chief Judge, and to all those who assisted on the evening.

But a particular thank you to our Contestants. You have certainly set the standard for our next Contest! What a great example to us you all were!


A celebration for Narmada Guruswamy, DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster)

Congratulations to Narmada Guruswamy, from Aberdeen Toastmasters, who has achieved her DTM award (Distinguished Toastmaster). A celebration dinner was held in Aberdeen on Friday 23rd November and was attended by Toastmasters and guests from Aberdeen and beyond.

NarmadaDTM 2 A celebration for Narmada Guruswamy, DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster)

Narmada being presented with her DTM award by Angela Aberdein, President of Aberdeen TM

This being a Toastmaster celebration, we were not going to miss a speaking opportunity! We heard from members who delivered their own tribute or who read tributes from past Presidents and Area/Division Governors; we heard a message from Joe Gibbs, Past D71 District Governor, who awarded Narmada the prestigious Area Governor of The Year award in 2009/10:  “you demonstrate a willingness to listen and analyse before acting, also diplomacy and a readiness  to understand the concerns of other; through your leadership roles you continue to lead by example and contribute much to Toastmasters and to D71”.  Narmada gave an inspiring acceptance speech chartering her journey in Toastmasters with reference to Alice in Wonderland!

DTM is awarded to members who have achieved both the Advanced Communication Gold and Advanced Leader Silver awards, comprising service and leadership at the club and area (or higher) levels and the delivery of at least 40 speeches. Narmada has been instrumental in the development of Area 43 and led Division E to achieve Presidents Distinguished Division in 2011/1

Congratulations to Narmada for her well-deserved DTM

Waverley Communicators – Latest News

P1020419 Waverley Communicators   Latest News

Waverley Communicators Meet at New Venue – Old St Paul’s Church, Edinburgh

For the latest blog posts from Waverley Communicators go to and read:

 1. Waverley Communicators Has Moved!  See photographs of the club’s new venue and find out the first night went.

2. Letter to Toastmasters – Find out which Waverley member has a letter in this month’s Toastmaster magazine and what she said.

3. Area 30 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest - photographs and results from the contest.

4. Video: Increase Your Confidence By Changing Your Body Language

5. What Does Your Voice Say About You? – advice from a voice coach

Post written by Moira Beaton DTM, Vice President Public Relations, Waverley Communicators