Our 6th Birthday Celebrations!

What a night we had with our 6th birthday celebrations of the Lewisham Toastmasters club!
Richard Green gave a very warm welcome introducing our birthday as the club was born on the 19th November 2008.
Our very own VPE Phillip Langerdon was and deserved to be Toastmaster this evening as he was the founding partner of our club 6 year ago alongside Chris Howell who unfortunately couldn’t be there this evening. It was wonderful to have Phillip as toastmaster on such a special occasion and he did us all proud as always with his charasmatic leadership skills and excellent hosting.
Chris Douce led the warm up asking us to all share a memorable birthday – Jason’s was a parachute jump, mine was getting drunk and being locked up in a cell for the night and others ranged from eating dinner at Zizzis to a week in the Maldives with rose petals and banana leaves on their bed.
Our three speeches of the evening were all brilliant icebreakers by our new members, Robert, Suresh and Judith.
Robert told us his interesting story about coming from Grenada in the Caribbean to the UK and meeting his beautiful wife. He shared with us some African history from Zambia and Zimbabwe and his main message was how he didn’t believe that African landmarks should be names after European travelers or monarchy. It was really interesting to hear that the real name for Victoria Falls is actually Mosi-oa-Tunya.

Suresh’s icebreaker was fascinating as he shared with us his up-bringing, and how he had been brought up in a family where his father was a total disciplinarian. Suresh can do almost anything in absolute silence as this was how he was brought up until he started work at 15years old in the Indian Air Force (following his father’s footsteps). He soon realised he wanted more of a challenge from life and headed overseas for his big adventures.
Judith shared with us her story of her unconventional job as an environmental scientist. She organises groups of volunteers to help clean up the grasslands of Lewisham – removing thistles and dandelions that otherwise take over entire meadows. One of the volunteers is 87 years old but extremely fit which is very inspiring!
Flavia, Katy and Julie gave wonderful evaluations of these ice breaker speeches with Katy saying how Judith’s speech made her feel warm inside as she was inspired by what she does for a living.
Phillip brought in a cake that we all devoured with our tea in the break to celebrate our birthday which was so sweet of him!
Last but not least was our tantalising tabletopics which gave our guests the chance to speak sharing some brilliant ideas and stories.

Well done to everyone for a brilliant night and lots of fun as always!

A SHIMMERING NIGHT

Wednesday night might have been Fireworks Night but our meeting was certainly dazzling or should that be shimmering?
Jason as President welcomed Paul a visitor and reminded us all that we offer a safe environment in which to develop our speaking and leadership skills .
Vivienne was our Toastmaster and she introduced the rest of the team and her smile put us all at ease and she pre-empted, Jenny our Grammarian who encouraged us to include “shimmering” in our speeches, by shimmering herself and Robert our timekeeper kept us all in line.
Suresh, one of newest members, lead the Warm Up by asking us all what we thought about Fireworks Night and we split into two groups mainly, those who were young at heart and those who weren’t that keen, though Richard was more interested in the Fireworks that he feels inside when with us.
David, a fellow accountant gave his Icebreaker and he stood proud as he admitted to having procrastinated about joining us and hoped that his time with us would be profitable.
Then Zhanna was interviewed by Steve and she told us how when first in the country, she had to make sandwiches before becoming a Teacher and how her perseverance has served her so well, before answering questions sharing how beautiful Odesa is and the benefits of networking, all very informative.
I then spun a yarn incorporating Planet, Diplodocus (a dinosaur) and Diplomat, suggesting that the modern day dinosaurs are diplomats and politicians and that international issues could be solved by having mascara face offs.
Our evaluators John, Jason and Richard, all gave helpful feedback, including how we learnt about David and complimented him on eye contact with us all though he left he us wanting more, then Jason complimented Zhanna and Steve the tension and interplay within the “radio studio” and Richard evaluating me commented on how movement can distract and ideally it should enhance a story with dialogue can be more effective when given from the centre of the stage.
After the break Lucinda lead Table Topics, Impromptu Speaking, or should that be serenaded us as each topic was based on a song around the theme of Fireworks and possibly she and Peter could be a double act, as he responding to what his teen age dream is explained it was to enjoy music, being an acid fan and he now has a small music production operation, John on celebrating Independence Day had us all salivating over a massive hamburger listening to Bruce Springstein at the Hard Rock Café. Flavia, demonstrated how a look can say so much leaving us in no doubt that youngsters need clear boundaries and she certainly wouldn’t buy fireworks for anyone under age, Suresh on why no one any longer says thank you explained that in India people are too busy as well and that it really good to be thanked. Jenny, on white T shirts explained she really only has one from a Blondie concert and Richard on the effects fireworks have on him gave an explosive answer since at work he is a very fierce person, though he left us in suspense over meeting a lady at a bar!
Lukas gave everyone a encouraging evaluation.
Then Jason announce our winners, Richard was a double winner as best evaluator and table topics speaker and David was the best speaker.

We look forward to seeing all Lewisham Speakers on 19 November for our Anniversary Meeting.

From the Write Angle

Posted: 12 Oct 2014 10:00 PM PDT
by Jemi Fraser
Last month, my post talked about 5 Tips to Trim Your Writing. This month, I’m tackling the opposite. With my current rewrite, I attempted to plot (kaboom!) and ended up with a shorter story than I expected (15k shorter).
So, now I’m focusing on how to flesh out a story without padding it. Some of the things I’ve discovered:
Fleshing it Out Tip #1 — Emotions
This one I’m having a blast with. I write contemporary romance, so it’s all about the emotion, but I think that’s true for most stories. It’s the emotions that pull me in and make me gobble up those pages, no matter what the genre is.
Delving into the character’s emotions helps the reader connect and makes the writing much more interesting. For me, plot is obviously important, but it’s how the characters respond to the plot that intrigues me. So, show that!
Fleshing it Out Tip #2 — Show, Don’t Tell
Another fun one, and very connected to #1. Telling removes the emotion. Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said, “Don’t tell me the old lady screamed, bring her on stage and let her scream”? Looking for those telling words/sentences in the draft helps me find places I can strengthen my story and make it longer/more compelling at the same time.
Fleshing it Out Tip #3 — Dialogue
Connected to #2! I love dialogue and tend to include a lot of it in my writing naturally, but there are still places I find where I can have my characters really showing…by telling. Dialogue infuses the story with life and lets the readers hear your characters talking. It also gives the reader a visual–and mental–break from narration, thus increasing the pace of your story.
Fleshing it Out Tip #4 — Description
Blech. I’m not an especially visual person or writer. My descriptions tend to be focused around the emotions of the characters. And I’m not a fan of reading paragraphs of description either, so I tread very, very carefully when I do this.
For people, I sprinkle in the description. A mention of hair colour by another character here, a comment about height there. Nothing obvious, certainly no looking in the mirror and offering up a self-evaluation. For example, rather than saying my character is short, I’ll have her drag a chair over to reach something off a high shelf.
For places, I don’t mind stringing a sentence or two together to anchor the reader in the setting, especially when it’s a new place. I try to focus on what the character would notice, and only on what is relevant to the story.
I’d rather leave most description up to my readers, but I’m learning I need to include those anchors and let the readers fill in the rest.
Fleshing it Out Tip #5 — Character Arcs
This one is more complex than the first four. Here, I’m looking for the pace of how my characters are growing. I want them to slowly learn to change, have strategically placed AHA! moments, and obstacles tossed in their paths to have them second guessing their realizations. This is another instance where I find Scrivener invaluable. I can colour code, or use the side bar, or make another file to put side by side in order to track the arcs. Then I can spot where the arc needs some help, tweak a scene here, add a scene there, throw in another obstacle, or three.
There are many more ways to flesh out a story (adding in a subplot and looking for plot holes to fill in come to mind), but these are the 5 I’m working with. Any tips to add? Do you like fleshing it out or do you prefer to trim?
Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs  and tweets while searching for those HEAs.

Humour, Quality Speeches & Fierce Competition!

Humour, Quality Speeches & Fierce Competition!

If you’d like see a toxic mix of these three – please come along to the Toastmasters Division K Humorous and Table Topics Contest at a terrific venue, details as below-

Contest Venue: 
Barclays
1 Churchill Place
Canary Wharf
London E14 58P 

Date: Tues 21st Oct 

Functionaries and contestants to arrive by 6.30pm for the briefings, with a view to start the contest by 7:15pm.

Place guaranteed if you register by 15th Oct.

Tabletopics Contest (District 91)

Happy 90th Birthday Toastmasters International!

The first official Toastmasters meeting was held in October 1924 in Santa Ana, California. Why not celebrate the organization’s milestone with a themed club meeting devoted to Toastmasters’ history? Check out the 90th Anniversary http://www.toastmasters.org/90thanniversary webpage for fun resources to use throughout the anniversary year.
Planning a Speech Contest?
Ensure your contest is a success and contestants are eligible to compete by using the most up-to-date documents. Download the latest speech contest materials for free, and consider purchasing and presenting awards to celebrate contest winners’ accomplishments.
Speech Contest Rulebook Update
New versions of the Speech Contest Rulebook will now coincide with the Toastmasters program year. The next version goes into effect July 1, 2015, and the 2014 version is valid until then. The rulebook will be included in the May club officer mailing; clubs will not receive one in October, as was done previously.
Coming Soon: The New Toastmasters.org
Stay tuned for announcements on the debut of our new, sleek website. The redesign will provide easier navigation, interactive multimedia, a resource library and a new online store.
New Accredited Speaker
Congratulations Barbara Khozam of Escondido, California, for achieving the Accredited Speaker designation at the International Convention in August. Accredited Speaker is an elite designation signifying mastery of professional speaking techniques. Applications for the 2015 program will be accepted between January 1 and February 1.
Read the Toastmaster Magazine on Your Tablet
Get instant access to the magazine on your iPad, Android or Kindle Fire tablet today to enjoy interactive extras such as videos and photos. Download the free app from the Apple, Google Play or Amazon app stores.

The Strength of a Great Team

It always surprises me how everything comes together at Lewisham Speakers Club, well last week was a meeting of two halves.
Jason opened the meeting and welcomed our guests, Michael, Jason, Robert, Serena, Joanne, Patrick, David and Peter from Meridian before handing over to our Toastmaster Katy whose warm and generous personality held the rest of the meeting together Judith, introduced the warm up on what we would do with lottery winnings, the most popular choice was a long holiday.
Then I as grammarian, encouraged us to become comrades, and quite a few met and surpassed the challenge, by using the word.
Peter, being a true Toastmaster stepped in as Timekeeper and kept us all on time. Then the Lewisham Magic Happened as our three speakers had a common theme, of observing the ordinary and learning from it.
Kirk took us back to a Saturday as the movies as a child as after watching The Devil Wears Prada, he pacified his Rotwelier of a boss by solving an equation and whilst teaching won his American ca
Habibu, then noted the importance of eye contact in Europe and explained that hazel or amber eyes actually have green and brown specks, very evocative, before reminding us that above all our eyes enable us to expand our vision.
And Kirk and Habibu were joint winners then John, again took us back to our childhood of living in the moment, having been Dolphin watching in America where the sea was like pea soup, and encouraged us all to keep our minds open to our surroundings and actually live in the moment and then be more relaxed.
Our evaluators, Jason, Shernett (evaluating for the firt time) and Serena, picked up on the power of personal stories, confident voice projection and the power of rhetorical questions enabling our speakers to become even better. Serena was awarded the best evaluator title.
After the break, Serena became Topics Master and this section was an opportunity for our guests to show us there existing speaking talents, and I as Topics Evaluator as a result had an easy job for the record, due to their quality so giving much for commendation.
Jason, our Best Table Topic Speaker used humour as he recounted confessing to hitting a neighbours car as a child and despite telling the truth had to pay £54 for the repairs!  He’s not sure honesty always pays?
Patrick was definite about which he prefers a city or beach holiday, Why? Because his reward from a cycling holiday will be a few days at the beach, good to be decisive.
Michael, told us that his pet hate is litter but also reminded us how sometimes caution is called for if standing up for our rights can be too risky, very wise and more powerful being personal Joanna admitted that one of her bad habits is being late and as she explained how she finds herself rushing to catch up, her voice speeded up for added effect.
Peter, also speaking about being late told us how his family delayed him and over time he became resigned that he couldn’t solve jams in the Blackwall Tunnel with great gravitas for added impact.
David admitted that he would struggle to pretend to like a boss to get a promotion and his gentle body language supported his message.

Another encouraging, educated and energised evening of Lewisham Spaekers Club. Looking forward to the next soirée!

Toastmasters can lead far!

We do learn and practice, speaking and answering and thinking on our feet.

We do it to go then out and use it!

Our member, now for six years, Julie Kertesz, proved she did use the skills that can be learned and practiced in our Toastmasters meeting.

Going from speech to speech, table topics to table topics, then out from storytelling live to standup comedy, she landed now up live on BBC1’s The One Show, and was not disturbed by all the different modifications they did and not only performed her minute of gig with confidence, but succeeded to add an impromptu introduction to it and even found a new true line that made all laugh, including the presenter.

Till Wednesday on IPlayer still. I just observed my name on this photo snap of the screen. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04httj8/the-one-show-01102014

Last Night’s Competition – The Humorous Speech

At last nights competition we had three humoirous speakers Chris D with “Randomness”, Kirk with “Hats of the World” and Habibu with “First Flight” and Chris was a very worthy winner who will now represent Lewisham Speakers at the Area Competion on 2 October in Cannary Wharf and hopefully quite a few of us will be able to attend and support him.
The contestants in the Table Topics Competition answering “What was your Most Disastrous Shopping Experince” were Chris, Habibu and Richard, and our worthy winner was Chris again so he will also represent the Club on 2 October at the Area Contest as above.
On behalf of all Lewisham Speakers thanks are due to Lucinda who was Contest Chair and Katy as Cheif Judge along with the other judges, counters and timers etc of Richard, Judith, Steve, Shernett, Sholem, Jason, Zhanna, Lukas, Chris H and Ajit our Area Governor, without this team the competition would not have been possible, so again THANK YOU.
As Jason said last night, you have got to be in the Competition to Win it, and the only way to become develop the Leadership Skills we all have is to volunteer for roles you possibly haven’t performed yet. Myself, Jason or your mentor will give you all the support you need and it is a great feeling having been say Toastmaster for the first time, so volunteer or be volunteered, but rest assured within the Club you are always supported by your freinds and fellow members so we can all expand our comfort zones in safety.
Philip Labdergan
VPE – Lewisham Toastmasters