New Beginnings

With the new Toastmaster year beginning, it’s time to think about the growth the club has seen in the past year. With the pandemic, there were many challenges that the club faced however the club was able to stand strong and go beyond the stars.  

The last meeting of the Toastmaster year took place on June 30th where West Herts Speakers Club celebrated it’s 25th birthday.  Ryan Parke led the meeting in his shining armour, there were many special moments like Colin’s speech and everyone seeing each other.

Judy Mallison, the president gave a speech about the success the year has been and passed on the mantle to Aparna. The committee were then able to lead and make the event one of the best. The committee organised a bingo competition which was tense and exciting for everyone playing, the bingo was won by several teams and the night was an overall success.  

Throughout the Toastmaster year, there are several people who went beyond, and the club would like to congratulate Zsuzsanna Jakabfi for becoming the Vice-President Public Relations of the year, Ricard Beagle becoming Life member and Ryan Parke for being the best Evaluator in District 71. Three more members who were in the top three for awards in their roles, Hannelore Lackner for Zoom Master/ Sergeant at Arms, Ged Byrne for Vice President of Education and Judy Mallinson for President.

Lastly but not least, Colin Donald who has been at the club for 25 years and always brought a smile to everyone’s face. Special thanks to the committee for making 2020-2021 year such a great year for all the members in the club.

With the new committee coming in, it is the start of a year which will have its own challenges and successes.


An old Irish tradition on New Year’s Eve is to open your door at midnight and let the Old Year out and the New Year in. Every year deserves wide open windows and doors, especially so this past year.

Before you say the final goodbye to this extraordinary year read the next issue of West Herts Newsletter here:

Enjoy opening the doors to fresh opportunities! Cheers to 2021!

Our Calendar!

Check out our updated calendar for important dates to note until June 2021!
The next one to look out for is on the 24th October the Area 32 Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest where Ryan Parke and Ged Byrne are going to represent West Herts Speakers. Get your cuppa ready and join us from 10am to support Ryan and Ged! See you there!

Zoom Etiquette

The mission of a Toastmasters Club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth. We have moved our meetings to the zoom so we can continue to deliver our mission on line, until it is practical to meet in person again. In the world we are now find ourselves in online communication is part of our daily lives and we want to ensure our members train and develop themselves so they can thrive when using this medium. The skills that our members are learning in this new format are useful for on-line and face to face communications.

To ensure our on-line meetings work smoothly we operate within the following etiquette guidelines:

Be Zoom Ready

Check your equipment works in advance. Zoom allows you test your setting before a meeting which can be helpful especially when checking your sound/camera settings, just go to

Be on Time

A zoom meeting is the same as face to face Toastmasters meetings. It’s stressful turning up late so make sure you log into the meeting 5 minutes early so you are ready to go at 7.30pm


Part of the learning experience is to present to people so please keep your video on during the meeting. Please turn off your video if you need to use the bathroom or are interrupted during the meeting so it does not distract our speakers. We will have a short break during the session at which point you can choose to leave on/turn off the video function.

The Environment

Make sure you are aware of your surroundings when enabling your video as

people aren’t just seeing you, they’re also seeing whatever the camera is pointed at behind you. This is particularly important if you are speaking as you want people to be focusing on you and not what is happening behind you.

Video quality is improved with more lighting, just make sure the light is in front of you, not behind you – being backlit makes you harder to see.

You can experiment with presenting standing up as this keeps you dynamic and energetic. Top Tip- You can use and ironing board and position it at the right height for you if you want to present standing up.

The Camera.

If you’re presenting or speaking to the group, looking into the camera as this will give the appearance of eye contact, which is one of the elements of presenting well. It is also good

gauge reactions by looking at the screen, so alternating that with looking at the camera makes the audience feel like you’re really talking to them.


Background noise can be really distracting to speakers so if you are not speaking can you please remain on mute.

Screen share

Screen share is generally turned off for the meeting. If you need to share any documents as part of your talk please contact Ged Byrne


Make sure we can see your name (first name followed by last name).


There are a number of roles at each Toastmaster meeting, which we rotate amongst our members. Each role take-taker can be identified by a set of initials which appear before there name. If you have a role can you please rename yourself so people are aware of your role:

President – P

Toastmaster – TM

Timekeeper – TK

Ah-Counter – AC

Grammarian- G

Table-Topics Master – TTM

Evaluator – E

General Evaluator – GE

Speaker – S

Chat Function

We use the chat function during meetings for voting, providing feedback and asking questions. Although this tool is useful please your limit this so we can focus on our speakers.  

Club committee members will remain on the end of the meeting so can answers then or in between meetings too.

By Anita Muir – Vice President Membership

To new beginnings as well as endings

It was one of those evenings which you never want to end because you’re having so much fun. It was a smashing evening not only we had a we few guests visiting us from Eldergate toastmasters club in Milton Keynes they even took up roles and did a great job as timekeeper and General Evaluator. Its always interesting to get a different perspective and Jono gave us points that we could ponder about.

Ryan our President started the meeting with his commitment to inform the club of upcoming public speaking events and hopefully we as a team can gain a lot of knowledge through these events.

The table topics was headed by Paul who did dual jobs of being an evaluator as well a table topic master. The topics was all about Magic and we got lovely insights from accepting magic as an illusion to having the ability to fly like superman or go back in time. Or learning that magic is all about the choices we make even if we don’t have a clue who Houdini or Copperfield are. But at last the magic was conquered by Judy and she won the award for best table topic speaker. Ah! what a magical evening.

Prepared speeches was life itself as Mark started his toastmaster journey by giving a absolutely mind-blowing icebreaker which was so funny and made us all feel special by saying “The only certificate Warren Buffet has in his office is a toastmaster certificate” a very well earned Best speaker award and we are looking forward for Mark’s next speech.

It wasn’t just a new beginning but also a new ending as Aparna gave her last speech from the CC manual about the secrets of mindfulness and thus achieving the status of “Competent Communicator”.

Zsuzannah made the VPEs life a little simpler by giving an exemplary educational speech about the roles we have in a regular toastmasters meeting and how we can win in this public speaking poker.

Anthony our toastmaster for the evening was the king of spontaneity when we realised we didn’t have a table topic master and he led the session so interestingly. All the evaluators did a really great job and Chun took the cake for her evaluation of Mark.

The word of the day was Aphorism given by our grammarian Carmen and in spite of being a difficult word was used 4 times during the meeting.

And to prove West Herts is an ever evolving dynamic and growing club we had one new member who joined our family. WELCOME IAN

And more over our friend from Eldergate Kala introduced us to her book “The power of human energy” and we promised her we would check it out.

Phew! how much we can squeeze in to short two hours is magic itself and to repeat myself it was such a fun evening and I didn’t want it to to end.

Looking forward to our next meeting on 28th of August. See you there. CIAO

3 Pathway Speeches!

We are very proud our speakers get better and better each time! Today was a great meeting with three pathways speeches and great Table topic session! Ryan, who delivered a great speech on how Media exaggerates negative news, won the best speaker title!  Paul- who evaluated Ryan on his speech, gave a very informative feedback and took the best evaluator title! Anthony Boboe- was the best table topic speaker of the day! Welcome the winners!


Great meeting!

Our last meeting was a very good one! More than that- it was a great one! Not only did we have fun and good time spending, but we also had a very informative session. We have learned more about the importance of sleep, the reasons why people achieve success in life, the way telephone damages our lives and found out about Jack’s interesting profession. Our meetings are not just Toastmaster- we are a great team cheering up each other and creating a uniquely warm and welcoming atmosphere!

The winners of the meeting were: Diana- best speaker title, Aparna- best evaluator and Russel- best table topic speaker!


Toastmaster session+ football match

Those who managed to join Toastmaster session despite the temptation to watch the football match should have felt the special atmosphere we had – hearty speeches, lots of mutual feedbacks and laid-back ambience. Zsuzsanna started her journey as the club’s President and did her role great. Diana came up with a speech on relationship secret and the way she presented it- with such deep emotions and sincerity- made her performance special. Congrats to our winners Jed and Judy for the best evaluator title and speaker respectively. 

Best evaluator and speaker of the day