West Herts excels at Area contest – Sep 2015

West Herts was wonderfully represented at Area level today with talented competitors and plenty of club support.

Congratulations to Muhammad Omer who stepped in at the last minute to win the Table Topics Contest with a rib tickling take on what he would want on a desert island.
Delightful veteran Stuart Lawson took a highly commendable second place.

Richard Beagle took third place in a field of eight in the Humorous Speech contest with a tale of smuggled apples and a escaping model plane.

Irina Baldwin (Table Topics) and Anthony Brennan (Humorous Speech) also put in strong performances after winning at club level.

Special mention also to the other West Herts members Karen, Phil and Judy who were there to cheer on their fellow club members and take on essential support roles on the day.

Not to be missed! – 26th Aug 2016

Wednesday 9 September we have two contests in one evening! Why not have a go at a humorous speech, or Table Topics (or both)? If you are a member you are eligible to enter! You can find out more about the contests here:http://toastmasterclub.org/kb.php?mode=article&k=27

Wednesday 23 September, we have a showstopper of an evening! We are delighted to be welcoming Martin Brooks, an impacttologist®. He studies how the top communicators in the world convince, influence and motivate others through the combined effect of their behaviours, their “impact”. Martin will share what impact is, why you need it and give some simple but highly effective “take-aways” to help you increase your impact and success. Martin will be available for some Q&A informally also. Please note that there will be a normal Table Topics session, but no other prepared speakers. As always, guests are welcome.

Fun for all – 26th Aug 2015

For anyone who feels shy about joining a Toastmasters group this week’s meeting, especially, would have dispelled any fears.

The night, as usual, was a distillation of support, fun and encouragement. It was even more obvious than usual because of the smaller group – summer draws many of the members away.

President Richard Beagle asked everyone what they wanted to achieve that night and everyone accomplished their goals!

New member Phil Walls led an invigorating round of Table Topics (impromptu speeches).

The word of the day was ‘portmanteau’, and even the winners of the evening ended up as two parts.
Table Topics was the only competition of the evening and the tied winners were Richard and Judy!

20150826 Richard and Judy

Lost spoon leads quietly – 14th Aug 2015

Opeyemi Sebastian scooped the little pool on 14 August. It was’t a huge gathering – summer takes its toll on numbers – but he put in two masterful performances.
The speech that won him Best Table Topics was a remarkable tale of the strangest object that has ever been in his car – a cereal spoon found far too late. You had to be there to understand.
His masterful Why Don’t You Consider Leading Quietly won best Speaker ahead of an excellent and touching Having a Hero by Seb Lane.

Ope juggling trophies and ribbons presented by President Richard Beagle
Ope juggling trophies and ribbons presented by President Richard Beagle
Richard welcomes new member Philip Walls
Richard welcomes new member Philip Walls

Being human makes a world with more toothpaste than fish – 22nd Jul 2015

Toastmaster Gwendoline embraced the holiday feel on 22 July by “inviting” us to her metaphorical holiday house for what proved to be a fun-filled evening.

The “conversation” therein was led by three erudite speakers highlighting a world of wildly differing values. Alex led with a philosophical journey of what makes us human, Irina on the tyranny of choice, and Megan reminding us that we can no longer say there are plenty of fish in the sea.

In table topics, Alex put us on the spot with speeches that punctuate life – especially when you have to talk around the horribly obvious.

Area Director John Kendall visited to urge all members to compete for the Table topics and humorous speech competition at Area in October Club competitions are planned for September.

Judy Mallinson, standing in for President Richard Beagle, urged all members to bring their Competent Leadership manuals to all meetings so that roles can be evaluated and lead to the completion of that competency.

As always, we were thrilled to welcome visitors and new members and assure them that many of the speakers are in themselves only new to the club and have learned speech making through practice and support.

Those taking home the ribbons were:
Table Topics and Best Evaluator: Ope Sebastion
Best Speaker: Irina Baldwin

New Officers Appointed – 8th July 2015

It’s that time of year when new members step up for officers’ roles.
Appointed at this months’s meeting were:

President – Richard Beagle
VP Education – Karen Willis
VP Membership – Karen Newell
VP Public Relations – Judy Mallinson
Secretary – Anthony Brennan
Treasurer – Opeyemi Sebastian
Sergeant at Arms – Judy Mallinson

Our thanks and much admiration to Caroline Flanagan for her inspirational leadership and contribution over the past year, and her commitment to the committee this year as Immediate Past President.

Our latest Competent Communicator – 11th Feb 2015

Last Wednesday, in front of an eager audience, one of our most enthusiastic members, Richard, presented his 10th speech from the Competent Communicator’s Manual. We were treated to a passionate delivery and exposition of an event in Richard’s life which helped him make a fundamental change in direction and attain success in his career. It’s these speeches which encourage other members to dig deep and find inspirational topics which allow us to learn more about each other’s life experiences.

The other speaker who delivered a prepared speech was Ope who beautifully crafted a homage to the three most important women in his life – his mother, wife and young daughter. His love and admiration for them came across so vividly that we were spellbound by his ability to bring his early years with his siblings to life.

Our more serious speeches were complemented by a light-hearted Table Topics round of five speeches, loosely structured around the topic of Comedy. Our worthy winner Karen managed to talk eloquently about ‘How to Life your Mood’ and even one of our visitors boldly stepped up to the plate for the first time and told us all about ‘My Favourite Sitcom’.

So, if you are looking to hone your speaking skills, do join us for an enjoyable evening in two weeks time.

Blowing away the January blues – 15th Jan 2015


Our first meeting of 2015 was a jam-packed event ably led by Richard Beagle our Toastmaster for the evening.

Toastmasters think on their feet

The first part of the evening was devoted to Table Topics, which was introduced by Megan who came up with an innovative theme for this suite of impromptu ‘mini speeches’ lasting between one and two minutes. She asked the speakers to pick the name of a celebrity from one envelope and a profession from another and the idea was to tell the audience why these well known people might be good at a particular job. For example, we had Kate Middleton as a fire-fighter and David Beckham as a policeman. It made for a humerous start to the meeting and a challenging Table Topics for our members.

Early speeches delivered with aplomb

The second part of the evening was devoted to the prepared speeches. Daniel gave his first speech, known as The Ice Breaker, and Monica followed with her second speech which is all about organisation – delivering a strong opening, developing content with a clear path and finishing with a memorable conclusion. Both speakers gave extremely well prepared speeches and we look forward to their next contributions.

Advanced Toastmaster interviewing techniques

Gwendoline, one of our most advanced and accomplished speakers, is following a the ‘Communicating on Video’ Manual and delivered speech number 3 where she was required to host an interview. She prepared a series of questions and gently led her interviewee through the short interview with great skill.

After a break, we returned to hear the evaluations…..but more of this in our next blog post

Kick Start 2015 with West Herts Speakers: 4th Jan 2015

For many the start of the New Year is a time for making some resolutions. If one of the goals you have for 2015 is to improve your public speaking or leadership then joining Toastmasters is a great first step.

We start back after the Christmas break on Wednesday 14th January at 7.15 for a 7.30 start with lots of new members who joined us in December and seasoned speakers to guide the meetings and take on the roles which keep the schedule flowing.


Toastmasters membership is not just about speaking but also includes the all important evaluations. Each speaker has their very own evaluator who is dedicated to listening with care and assessing how well the speech meets the speaker’s objectives – always delivered in a positive way. We also have members acting as grammarian, another counts the ums and ahs and then there is the time keeper keeping everyone on schedule.

So why not turn that New Year’s resolution into action and come and join us. Please get in touch to find out more – telephone Amanda Brown on 01707 373138