Category Archives: Toastmasters International

Central Toastmasters – First Charter Meeting

Post written by Gerry Dunn ACB ALB

Central TMCentral Toastmasters held their first meeting as a chartered club on Wednesday at Jury’s Inn in Glasgow, and what a great and busy meeting it was.  As you might expect the atmosphere was brilliant throughout.

After being welcomed by Club President Kamil Toume, Toastmaster Scott Jackson did a great job in piloting us through a very busy agenda. The Area 60 Governor, Gerry Dunn, was able to pay tribute to the club and its founder Michael Whyte on a fantastic achievement in chartering in just 8 months.

We had 4 excellent speeches including an inspiring icebreaker from Alan Paton, and a varied Table Topics session led by Martin Timoney.

Central Toastmasters don’t have a network break in the middle of the meeting.
What they do have is Central Talk which gives members and guests a chance to chat and ask questions after the formal business of the meeting,
without the pressure of having to be back for the second half.

For example, this is when the VPM can talk to guests and, if necessary, help them fill out membership forms. On Wednesday he had plenty to do!

Central Toastmasters brings the number of clubs in Area 60 up to 5.

The club meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month in Jurys Inn at 7pm.

This club is going to be a big asset to the Area 60 family.

Gerry Dunn is a member of  Glasgow Toastmasters and Area 60 Governor

Scottish Toastmasters Excel

Post written by Penny Haywood Calder ACS, ALB

Hallfame_PerthAt the Division S Speech contest in Perth in October this year, Immediate Past Division S Governor, Jim Davidson, presented his Hall of Fame awards to the clubs, and to the members involved in running the clubs. They are responsible for the recent extraordinary progress of Toastmasters in Scotland.

One of the key measurements of success, for clubs and members, is the number of qualifications club members achieve, so getting results for members is at the heart of everything we do.

Division S (Scotland) achieved the President’s Distinguished Division award: the highest (and rarest) accolade bestowed by Toastmasters International, mainly for our members who earned:
• 32 competent communicators awards plus
• 17 advanced communications awards, plus
• 22 leadership awards.

Each of these awards represents a sustained commitment over a significant period by each member.

The Competent Communicator award, for example, involves 10 individual speech projects. Each project adds a specific skill, culminating in motivating and inspiring speech levels. Every speaker is supported by formal evaluation plus group feedback for each project.

Voluntary club officers and district officers donate their time to make these awards possible for our members. Their success proves that Scotland is one of the best places in the world to attain Toastmasters’ globally recognised (in 126 countries) qualifications in communications and leadership.

In addition, the volunteer officers attracted 200 new members to Toastmasters International clubs in Scotland and 119 club officers were trained to run the clubs.

Jim Davidson and Oscar Merkx

Jim Davidson and Oscar Merkx

New clubs chartered (officially recognised by Toastmasters International) in 2013-2014:

Inverness Toastmasters, led by Isla Cruden
St Andrews Toastmasters (St Andrews University) led by Yenlik Nurasheva
• Caledonian Toastmasters (Glasgow Caledonian University) led by Oscar Merx.
State Street Toastmasters, corporate club in Edinburgh, led by Max Ridder-Patrick

Exceptional Performance:

The following clubs achieved the highest award: President’s Distinguished club status:
Capital Communicators in Edinburgh led by Eoin McDunphy, who was also recognised for bringing former International President of Toastmasters, Ted Corcoran, to Edinburgh to run a workshop on how to write a speech in 10 minutes.
Dundee Toastmasters led by Majorie Gillan who was also recognised for her superb organisation of the very first Division S speech contest in 2013 and providing considerable ongoing assistance to St Andrews Toastmasters allowing them to charter in record time.
• Haymarket Toastmasters, Edinburgh, led by Professor Alex Roberts who was also recognised for enabling world public-speaking champion, Jock Elliott’s Edinburgh workshop on winning speech competitions
Perth Toastmasters led by John MacDonald who also assisted St Andrews greatly and has organised more than is fair share of Area and Division events.

The following existing clubs achieved select distinguished club status:
Aberdeen Toastmasters, led by Allan MacLeod
Glasgow Toastmasters led by Michael Whyte
Southside Speakers, Glasgow, led by Ian Barton
Waverley Communicators, Edinburgh led by Kevin Miller.

Jim Davidson and Jane Cameron

Jim Davidson and Jane Cameron


Jim Davidson and John Smith

In addition, the outgoing Scottish Division Governor, Jim Davidson recognised:
• Declan Mair for re-designing this Public Speaking Scotland website
• Peter Stewart for promoting Toastmasters
• Jane Cameron for marketing Scottish Toastmasters and her considerable contribution to the Division throughout the year and her personal support to the Division Governor who said “This is the unseen work of Toastmasters and Jane made an disproportionally high contribution for which I am personally very grateful”
Sheila Fraser, Gerry Dunn, Charles Wood, Moira Beaton and John Macdonald for services to Toastmasters in Scotland.
• Area governors Peter Cranston (Area 43) and Penny Haywood Calder (Area 30) for each helping to set up two clubs. Also to Gerry Dunn who took up the reigns of Area 60 Governor mid-way through the year.
Special recognition was given to John Smith who set up the first of the current clubs in Scotland nearly 20 years ago.
Well done to all involved.



Penny Haywood Calder is a member of Haymarket Toastmasters and Immediate Past Area 30 Governor. Find out more about Penny at

Success for Division S at the D71 Speech Finals

Post written by Moira Beaton DTM

L to R Sheila Fraser DTM, Division S Governor, Laura Bruce, Luanne Kent, ACB, ALS District 71 Governor, Morag Mathieson DTM, Regional Adviser Toastmasters International (Region 11 - Europe. Middle East, Africa)

L to R Sheila Fraser DTM, Division S Governor, Laura Bruce, Luanne Kent, ACB, ALS District 71 Governor, Morag Mathieson DTM, Regional Adviser Toastmasters International (Region 11 – Europe. Middle East, Africa)

On Sunday, Laura Bruce, member of Inverness Toastmasters (Area 43, Division S), took third place at the District 71 Table Topics final in Belfast.

Laura, who admits she’s hooked on Table Topics  which she describes as an absolute adrenaline thrill-ride of an activity, was competing against the seven other finalists  in District 71 which covers Scotland, Ireland and part of England.

To be placed in a District final is a great achievement, even more so if you have only been a Toastmaster for less than a year as Laura has. You can read more about Laura’s first year as a Toastmaster here.

Conor Hunter winning the Division S Humorous Speech contest in Perth in October 2014

Conor Hunter at the Division S finals in Perth

Division S was also represented by Conor Hunter, a member of Southside Speakers in Glasgow (Area 60) who won the Division S Humorous Speech Contest in October, and competed in the D71 final.

Although not placed, he said after the contest  ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to speak in front of such a large audience and fingers crossed next year I can make it to the top.’




Moira Beaton is Division S Assistant Governor and  a member of  Waverley Communicators in Edinburgh. To find out more about Moira, go to


What a difference a year makes: My Toastmasters year in review

Post written by Laura Bruce

Meeting of Inverness Toastmasters

Meeting of Inverness Toastmasters

I just checked and I can hardly believe it: it was one year ago, today, that I posted about my first experience at the public speaking group Toastmasters. I had attended my first meeting, and decided to blog about it.

My experience at that first meeting was very positive. It was — and continues to be — a warm and welcoming group. (With a name like “Inverness Toastmonsters”, it would be hard not to like them.) I joined the group in January and have attended religiously. Well, regularly.

One of the things that keeps me going back is a regular feature of the meetings: “Table Topics”. For the uninitiated, Table Topics is an absolute adrenaline thrill-ride of an activity: you volunteer to speak to the audience on a topic that you aren’t yet aware of. You are given your topic . . . as you walk to the front of the room!

It’s marvellous! Some people hate it. I think you either love Table Topics, or you hate it. I love it. I recently described it to my Toastmasters friends as “the crack cocaine of public speaking”. Not that I know a lot about crack, but I have gathered it’s highly addictive. And that is how I feel about Table Topics.

Inverness Toastmonsters President Stuart Byfield presenting my prize last Sunday.

Inverness Toastmonsters President Stuart Byfield presenting my prize last Sunday.

Which is why it is so particularly gratifying to have won — less than a year after joining — the Area 43 Table Topics Competition. Next stop: Perth for the Scotland-wide finals! I can’t wait. I am a bit nervous, but mostly I am just really looking forward to it.

Which brings me back to the point of that original blog, one year ago tomorrow. Sometimes, stretching yourself means doing things that you *aren’t * afraid of, even if you’ve never done them before. So if public speaking is something that you think you might just have a flair for, or, if you don’t feel completely terrified by it, come along to your local Toastmasters meeting. You never know, you may just find yourself at the national finals.

Laura Bruce is a member of Inverness Toastmasters.  Since writing this post, she has gone on to win the Division S Contest in Perth and will represent Division S at the District 71 Table Topics final on 9th November. Laura is also the Director of Bruce Public Relations in Inverness.  This post was  originally published on the Bruce PR website at



Thistle Speakers – Great Meeting in Edinburgh

Post written by Jane Cameron DTM, President Thistle Speakers

What a great Thistle meeting last Wednesday – many thanks to all who helped and especially to CapCom for their hospitable hosting. There were over 20 in the audience.

We heard Paul Bailey deliver an intriguing tale about the challenges of Winston Churchill in the ‘Bringing History to Life’ speech from the Story Telling Manual.

Then Conor Hunter entertained us with a speech involving addiction, bereavement and redemption (from the Humorously Speaking Manual, yes – really!).

Conor will represent Division S (Scotland) with this speech at D71 Humorous Speech Finals in Belfast on Saturday 8th November, competing against 7 other Division Finalists – all our very best wishes go with him!

We had expert speech evaluations from Sheila Fraser, Neil McLure, and Max Ridder-Patrick; Eoin McDunphy challenged us to deliver high quality speeches – in our two minute Table Topics;  and Edwyn Newman was general Evaluator.  Gerry Dunn expertly kept us in order as TME.

  • Further Thistle Plans:
    Next Thistle meeting on 10th December in Glasgow, Jury’s Inn (Jamaica Street, near Central Station - “mistletoe and wine” meeting theme!
  • Continue to promote the Advanced Communication Programme in our clubs and help celebrate achievement of the AC Awards.
  • Further effective speech evaluations with our round-table evaluations.

Stop Press: extra Thistle meetings are being discussed to offer more speaking opportunities for our Thistle members so please keep planning your next advanced speeches.

I look forward to seeing you at the next Thistle Meeting – onwards and upwards for Toastmasters in Scotland!

Jane Cameron DTM is President of Thistle Speakers and a member of Southside Speakers, Glasgow. To find out more about Jane go to

Hellish Halloween Happenings At Haymarket Toastmasters

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

New PictureIn 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_0129The 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!

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!

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

Livingston speakersLivingston 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

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?