Monthly Archives: August 2015

City Speakers Conquering New Heights

A post from Ana Lesnaja on our latest club social:

Brecon Beacons Aug 2015


Five members of the City Speakers and two members of the Kings Cross Toastmasters clubs departed for Wales over the Bank Holiday weekend. Their destination was the Brecon Beacons national park, specifically the Pen y Fan peak.

At 886m above sea level Pen y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales and together with another peak called Corn Du was formerly referred to as the ‘Arthur’s Seat.

The journey was not without its hiccups as the security levels at Heathrow have once again been heightened against the Irish Republicans, which made it difficult for Hugh to hire the mini bus. The group also had to look after Matteo, who was regretting drinking large amounts of Turkish wine the night before. Despite these setbacks we reached the Brecon Beacons national park at about 3pm and began our ascent.

The area is rich in natural beauty and free from noise pollution, which made it the perfect respite from the chaos of London life. Our walk was moderate in its level of difficulty and suitable for both beginners like Leila and Ana and seasoned hikers like Christine. It is worth noting that as you get higher above the sea level it gets progressively colder so it is a good idea to carry some warm clothes and a hat in your backpack. Unfortunately, Gio had to learn this lesson the hard way, having hiked all the way up and down in just his shorts and T-shirt.

Ga Lok was as usual the most dedicated Toastmaster and carried 7 Toastmaster magazines to the top of Pen y Fan for the group photo that he had now entered into the Toastmasters International photo competition. Our walk finished at about 7.30pm, however, our adventures did not stop there.

Having arrived at the nearby town of Abergavenny at about 9pm we discovered that most restaurants had already finished serving food and we had to do another exploration trip up and down the high street in search of our dinner. We eventually were rescued from hunger by a local Indian restaurant who supplied plenty of chicken tikka masalas and baltis to keep everyone happy.

We departed back to London the next morning. All in all, this was a great trip. A nice opportunity to get out of London, do some exercise and breathe some truly fresh air. It was also fantastic to meet the members of another Toastmasters club and to get to know everyone better.

Many thanks to the organisers Hugh and Ga Lok.


The picture, taken at the peak from left to right: Gio, Christine, Leyla, Ga Lok, Matteo, Hugh and Ana. More photos can be found on our Facebook page; our regular meetings will be continuing this year, every 1st, 3rd and if it exists 5th Tuesday at the big church next to Aldgate station (see homepage for the next meeting). Our meetings always finish with drinks at the Hoop and Grapes pub and we will be planning  even more socials with other clubs in the next few months. If you would like to find out more or even get involved in organising our events, then just have a chat to our committee members at our next meeting.

Hope you had a great Bank Holiday, Ga Lok

Meeting 18th Aug results

A great meeting based on the theme of EXAMs


Paul, the President opened the meeting to encourage everyone to get involved and gave a reminder that the club Humorous Speech Contest will be held on Tuesday 15th September – all City of London Toastmaster members are eligible to compete, so please contact Paul for more info.

Ga Lok opened the theme of Exams and that Toastmasters is a place where you can’t fail, you can only get better.

Leigh was our timekeeper and chief tax exam expert.

Charlotte our Grammarian introduced the word of the day “Wan”, a word she picked up back in her A Level study days.

Ana was our Table Topics Master gave a whirlwind set of topics for our members and guests.

Henry, a visiting Australian Toastmaster was our Topics Evaluator; he has been a guest for several meetings and will be missed as he heads back to the other side of the world next week.

Ivelina, a visiting Toastmaster from Kings Cross introduced our guests, she recently became a Toastmaster and did her icebreaker with 8 hours notice.

We had 4 great speeches tonight (their speech evaluators in brackets):

  • Christoph – The forgotten holiday destination (Marcelo)
  • Tian – You are what your ancestors ate (Leigh)
  • Noor – How to make a successful career transition (Christine)
  • Paul – Advanced speech on Conversing with Ease (Hugh)

Rachel then gave her General Evaluator report and will be gracing her presence in other clubs to do her external GE soon.

It was a likely and action packed meeting; congratulations to Christoph winning best speech, Hugh winning best evaluator and Geoff (a guest) who won best table topic.

See you at the next meeting on Tuesday 1st September.

Ga Lok

What can Toastmasters do for me?

Thoughts from our new Club President – Paul Rocks:

“In my experience,  most guests or a potential new members main question on turning up is “What can toastmasters do for me?” I am going to tell you about what the toastmasters programs have done for  me since I first joined, five years ago.

It’s been a long time since my first speech,  I remember the day well, I had researched and rehearsed everything.  I was prepared for everything, except the unexpected wave of apprehension that washed over me.  You expect it, you prepare for it, but until you experience it, it’s only a concept in your head.  However, the preparation I’d made according to the guidelines in my manual, the repeated practice of the speech that I had done allowed me to side step the effect of the nerves to get through the initial stage and then I was able to focus on the delivery of my speech. 2 months later, I hosted the IT department monthly meeting, in front of 300 people, without notes

Last year I interviewed for 2 jobs. The evaluation, speaking and team skills I have learned from hosting meetings, giving feedback, organising events, impromptu speaking via table topics and delivering prepared speeches meant I was extremely well prepared.  I literally had everything timed down to the last second in terms of my personal statement, the description of my roles and how it was of relevance to my prospective employers. The preparation and skills I learned from evaluation and being Toastmaster were particularly effective on helping me prepare everything so I could deliver my ideas and get my points across in the interview. The skills learned from table topics mind allowed me to think on my feet when i was caught off guard with something. I was offered both jobs.

The Toastmaster  program offers you several ways to develop. You develop your speaking skills by doing impromptu speaking with table topics and prepared speeches from your competent communicator manual. You develop further communication and leadership skills by giving evaluations, one of the most valuable soft skills you can learn. Your leadership roles are developed by fulfilling roles and following the projects in your leadership skills manual

Leadership, team work, organising meetings, time keeping, organising events, team work. Giving constructive informative feedback, being able to speak about a topic you’ve not prepared for confidently, being able to prepare a speech, technical talk or presentation on any topics….If that is you want to learn, at your own pace for a a fraction of an expensive crash course, then toastmasters is the right choice for you.

For me, its been the cheapest but best value, most practical thing I have done in terms of public speaking and soft skills improvement. Can’t say more than that.”

Thanks Paul, see him in action giving his latest advanced speech this Tuesday 18th August.

4th August Meeting – Welcome to the future

Great meeting on Tuesday; with over a dozen guests visiting our club

  • Paul opened the meeting as President and Toastmaster; evangelising the benefits of practicing your public speaking.
  • Tian completed his first functionary role as Timekeeper.
  • Chris gave a prop filled Table Topics session where speakers thousands of years in the future needed to describe the relics of 2015.
  • With 10 topics tonight, we had our first ever dual Table Topic Evaluations by Ana and Annette.
  • Charlotte, back from her travels introduced the guests and how they see themselves in the future.
  • Ga Lok delivered 2 advanced speeches from the Special Occasions Speech manual, the Roast and Accepting an Award
  • Shamim was out main speech evaluator for Ga Lok

And our socialising continued at the Hoop and Grapes pub; with a box of Celebrations.

Congratulations to:

  • Best Table Topics Speaker: Chris
  • Best Evaluator: Annette
  • and it was Ga Lok vs. Ga Lok for best speech but he insisted on getting a certificate anyway


Next meeting on the 18th August; we’ve got more slots than usual due to the summer holidays; so if you’ve been waiting for the ideal opportunity to deliver that knock out speech; get in touch with Rachel and Leigh.