A Time to be Merry


A Time to be Merry

It was an evening of fun, food and frolicks at Hertfordshire Speakers club on Monday 19th December, the last meeting of 2016.

President Davina Malcolm got the evening off to a great start with a Christmas themed quiz.  The questions thrilled and intrigued us and kept the small teams of competitors racking their brains for answers. Robert, Claire and Hazel were the winners and were rewarded with a box of mince pies.

The quiz was followed by the well-known team game, ‘Call My Bluff’, where we had to guess whose explanation of obscure words was correct. There were some amazing explanations for such words as Callipgian and Zarf.

The eagerly anticipated break at around 20:45 lived up to expectations. There was an array of festive treats and drinks that were generously provided by fellow members.  We mingled as we ate and drank and shared stories about our plans for Christmas.

After the break, the fun continued with storytelling cubes.  Peter Ford got the game started in hilarious style and each person then rolled the dice and built on the story.  The laughs continued until the end of the third round.


The formal part of the evening finished with a cracking Table Topics session led by Elizabeth Jordan. The theme was ‘Christmas Crackers’, and each speaker had to pull a cracker and answer a related question.

The evening ended with hugs and handshakes and exchange of wishes for a Happy Xmas and New Year.

Our first meeting of the New Year will be on Monday 16th January 2017. Look forward to seeing you there.

Seasons Greetings to everyone!

Elizabeth Jordan

A New Home

Finally it’s confirmed Hertfordshire Speakers Club has a new home.from 14th November 2016, Hertfordshire Speakers Club will meet at the new address below:

Oxlease House
Travellers Lane
Hatfield AL10 8TJ

Parking is available in the car park of the Finesse Leisure Centre next door.

10th October 2016. A Buzz In The Air

There was a definite buzz in the air in the Trident Room at David Lloyd, Hatfield, on Saturday afternoon. Forty- five Toastmasters and guests gathered to hear the six Humorous speech contestants and six Table Topics contestants from Area20 compete for a place in the Division contest on Saturday 22nd October at Wyboston Conference centre, Great N Rd, Wyboston MK44 3AL.
The afternoon got off to a great start with a workshop on ‘Contest Judging’ by Kevin Baggs (DTM) who is the District 71 Chief Judge for the UK. What the audience appreciated about the workshop was the opportunity to judge a mini-contest of three short speeches and then have the opportunity to provide feedback informed by the criteria on the voting ballot.
The Humorous Speech contest which followed was hosted by Steve Campion with ease and eloquence. Each speech lived up to expectation and laughter filled the room. Choosing a winner must have been truly difficult. However, the judges had to make a choice and David Banfro from Hertfordshire Speakers was declared the winner, Aris Kapsanakis from East Herts Speakers came second and Kat Anderson from Luton Speakers came third.
The Table Topics contest was equally thrilling with Constance Turner (DTM) and Immediate Past Division Director, at the helm as Contest Chair. Her Table Topics question: “If you were looking for a belly full of laughs, where would you go and why?” was enthusiastically embraced by the six contestants who crafted six awesome impromptu stories. Tony Stead, from North Herts Speakers won the contest with Coralie Frances from Cornerstone Communication in second place and Frankie Lewis from Luton in third place. David Banfro and Tony Stead will represent Area20 at the forthcoming Division contest on 22nd October. Best of luck to you both! I hope that as many members as possible will be at Wyboston to support the David and Tony.
The afternoon ended with the presentation of certificates and plaques to the winners, followed by a message of appreciation from the Area Director, Elizabeth Jordan, to all the contestants, the Chief Judge, the Contest Chairs, the timers, counters, usher, SAA and the audience.
The room was still buzzing long after the contest ended.
Elizabeth Jordan

Blog For Meeting 17/09/16

Hertfordshire Speakers Club

Meeting 2016-09-16 A Piece of Cake

As General Evaluator for the meeting on 12 September my role was to evaluate the whole evening. I can legitimately say that if you weren’t there you missed a real treat. And you’ll also have just missed my point-scoring in-joke, because LEGITIMATE was our “Word of the Day”. The challenge for all speakers was to incorporate that word into their speeches; not an easy task when you have carefully prepared and rehearsed your speech.

First of all we had four excellent prepared speeches. Three new members made their debuts with their “icebreaker” to introduce themselves. Though given the same project instructions, each speaker tackled it differently. Of course, you would expect their life-experiences to be different – Charles from Nigeria, Ruth from Germany and Claire from the UK – but it was more than that: their approach and their focus were different. They all spoke fluently and with humour, like old pros. They made it seem like a piece of cake. With this level of skill as a starting point, they should be able to race through the Competent Communicators’ projects with no problems.

Our fourth speaker Philip’s project objective was to entertain us, and he certainly did. His DIY experiences were much more surreal than the usual attempts at trying to put together a cupboard, and we laughed with him.

Then came another treat – delicious chocolate and red wine cake, courtesy of Ruth. (I think it a great idea: if anyone mentions food or drink in their speech, they ought to provide us with a taster. What do you reckon?)

In Table Topics, you really have to be able to think quickly. Mark asked 8 volunteers to answer what seemed like a simple question: “How do you… ?” But the range of subjects was wide, from “motivate yourself” to “deal with rejection”. Was he really asking for advice, or did he want to know how you do it? The speakers all managed well, speaking for their allotted time, some with humour, some very seriously – there is no wrong or right way to do it.

All the speakers were formally evaluated by experienced Toastmasters, and given appropriate praise and recommendations. This feedback is the main way of learning in Toastmasters, not just for the speakers themselves but for the audience too.

It gave me great pleasure as President to give the awards for the evening to Bob Ferguson as Best Table Topics Speaker; to Peter Ford as Best Evaluator and Ruth Williams as Best Speaker (and cook!)

Davina Malcolm

Meeting 16-08-22

 22nd August 2016  – An Evening to Remember

One of the great delights of attending a Toastmasters meeting is meeting such wonderful, friendly people.  This was the first time that I’d visited the Hertfordshire Speakers Club, but being a member elsewhere meant that I knew roughly what to expect. I was certainly not disappointed by the warmth of the welcome.  Within minutes I’d been introduced to a number of club members and guests, and even been invited to undertake a meeting role.  This is clearly a club that’s eager to help people reach their goals.  I was excited even before Davina brought down the gavel to open the meeting.

Jillian was the Toastmaster of the evening, guiding us through the agenda with great style and confidence.  She was displaying her own Toastmasters badges with pride as she introduced the various “helpers” that make the meetings run so well.  This started with Bob, our grammarian, informing us that the word of the day was LUCUBRATE.  I must confess that I thought that was something that people did to rusty door hinges, but Bob’s witty explanation revealed that it meant “to work, write or study laboriously – especially at night by lamplight”.  A wonderfully appropriate word for an evening at Toastmasters.  Myriam helped keep us all to time and Claire’s diligent work as “ah counter” meant that we were all aware of our distracting filler-words.

The first speaker was Jacob, sharing news with the club about the upcoming membership dues renewals.  It was obviously well researched, with Jacob explaining impact of increased membership charges from Toastmasters International plus the huge swing in the UK-US exchange rate.  Although Hertfordshire Speakers has managed to maintain its membership fees at the same level of years, the combined impact of these two factors means that the club membership dues needs to increase.  As would be expected, such news was followed by a number of questions and helpful suggestions from the audience.  The key message was that, even with the dues increase, membership of the club still presents amazing value for being able to learn in such a supportive environment.

Elizabeth was our next speaker, with the intriguing title of “Wet, wild and wonderful!”  Elizabeth described her white water rafting experience with such wonderful imagery and enthusiasm that I could imagine myself there.  She guided us on her journey through the route, starting with the “morning glory” and on to “the devil’s toilet bowl”.  Throughout the speech Elizabeth injected regular humour, and she was clearly flushed with success as she told us of her progress towards “oblivion”. I thought that this was a speaker who has been there, done that and bought the T-shirt.  I was right – as Elizabeth concluded with a demonstration of the T-shirt itself.

Dorna then treated us to her ice-breaker speech.  I always think it a privilege to hear someone’s ice-breaker speech, the first prepared speech that someone delivers at a club.  It’s an important rite of passage where a new club member has an opportunity to introduce themselves and get feedback on the skills that they already have.  Dorna’s speech was excellent.  She met all the objectives of the speech and I was particularly impressed to see it delivered without notes.  I’m sure that Dorna’s skills will really flourish in the club and that everyone is looking forward to her future speeches.


Hertfordshire Speakers Blog – 8th August 2016

“You attract people by the qualities you display. You keep them by the qualities you possess”.  – Unknown.
This quote certainly reflects this weeks Toastmasters meeting where we attracted 11 new visitors to the club, 2 DTM’s and a good turn out by the regulars. We also had 3 stunning speeches, a very amusing Table Topics session,  an announcement of a forthcoming  Humorous Speech competition, and a well organised program.
The evening was presided over by Davina, our President, who  took on the additional role of Toastmaster thereby setting down the quality  standard for year ahead.
It was a quality evening all round with all three speeches being thought provoking and well executed.
Saravana was doing his 3rd speech from the CC manual – which is good going as he has only been a member for 6 weeks!
His ‘Getting to the Point ‘ speech entitled Food Scarcity made our thought look towards the outside world by making us think about how much we waste in terms of  food and energy despite knowing that there is so much scarcity in the poorer regions of our world. Images, facts and memorable phrases were delivered with confidence, passion and clarity.
 Myriam made us think about how we approach our day to day lives with her 4th speech, (The Way You Say It),  entitled Ownership. Her excellent story telling of how she overcame the destructive attitudes of an old boss taught us a new way to assess  and manage our lives. It was a delight to see her take over the stage and deliver a clear, entertaining and inspiring speech – even with the loud air conditioning, and tannoy announcements.
The veteran Mark Thomas was our final speaker for the evening on ‘Mastering Meditation’ and he made us think about how we think inside ourselves by providing us with the theory and a practical ‘minds on’ demonstration. He was able to deliver this using phrases and a pace that kept within the ‘rhythm of the heart’ – thereby making us even more relaxed by the break.
Damian was our Table Topics Master for this evening, and he provided us with a very entertaining set of scenarios based on ‘Every Cloud has a Silver Lining’, and then getting 7 members to come up and talk about subjects such a divorce, death, and terminal illness. Everyone stepped up to the mark and delivered some great stories – must have been helped by the mindfulness training that was done Mark earlier.
So what else did we learn from the session and from our evaluators – who all gave thoughtful and useful feedback to all those who contributed to a great evening.
It’s was great to hear from the visitors – which included a comedian, and entire family with a baby, and a public speaker! Well Done to David and Myriam for all the PR and social media work in attracting so much interest.
This weeks accolades  go to Kevin for Table Topics, Phil for evaluator, and Myriam for best speaker.
And finally there is a Table Topics and Humorous Speech competition coming up on either the 12 or 22nd of September – organisers and speakers required.
Next meeting same place same time on the 22nd August.
Phil Carey

meeting 2016-07-25

Another Great Evening 25th July 2016

The danger of speaking too much is that it becomes….contagious. And that certainly was the case and this week meeting at Hertfordshire Speakers Club. Where all guests and members participated in a thoroughly entertaining and enthralling evening at David Lloyd’s in Hatfield.


Mohammed Raza

Mohammed Raza opened proceedings with his inspiring and heart-felt speech “Don’t Give Up” Mohammed inspired us with his own personal rags to riches story. He left us us with the inspirational message that if focus on our goals and don’t give up then anything is possible.


John Kendall using slides

Immediate Past Area Director, John Kendall, educated us on the possible organisational changes in our region with a speech titled “Realignment.” John informed us that as the Toastmasters organisation becomes increasingly popular and ever expanding that the chances are that certain clubs may have to move region and division. John presented the changes well to us so we all understood and allowed us to express our opinions in a Q&A session at the end. As John said in his speech “Change is good” so we look forward to any upcoming changes for our organisation.

Congratulations to Bev Rimmer, a guest speaker from North Herts, who collected the award for the Best Speaker for the night with her speech titled “To Win or Toulouse, That Is The Question” Bev entertained us with her stories of her backpacking adventures all over Europe using visual aids to bring life to her story

Giada Soprani turned us all into sales people with her creative and entertaining Table Topics session which encouraged us to sell everyday household appliances to our audience. Our guest Andy Arter shone particularly well at this and subsequently picked up the awarded for Best Table Topics Speaker.

The evening ended with the presentation of awards to the winners: Bev Rimmer won the award for ‘Best Speaker’; Andy Arter won the award for ‘Best Table Topics’ speaker and Peter Ford won the award for ‘Best Evaluator.’

We look forward to another exciting evening at Hertfordshire Speakers Club on Monday 8th August.

Meeting 2016-07-11

The Way We Socialize

The first meeting of the Toastmasters New Year got off to a great start with a warm welcome from new President, Davina Malcolm. The evening’s agenda of three prepared speeches and a Table Topics session was skilfully managed by Toastmaster, Peter Ford, with characteristic humour.
Congratulations to Myriam Sacile, who collected her first ever ‘Best Speaker Award’ for her speech titled ‘’The Way We Socialize’’ Myriam’s speech reminded us of the importance of not neglecting real-life relationships for those on social media. Myriam encouraged us to make a real effort to get out there and meet more new people rather than just networking online. Myriam’s speech was fitting as we enjoyed another fun and sociable evening at David Lloyd’s where we were joined by three new guests. The way we socialise at Hertfordshire Speakers always makes for a fun and friendly atmosphere which makes the learning more fun and the speeches evermore engaging.

Enlightening and engaging best describe the Advanced speech –‘Exploding Leadership’ – by Belinda Naylor-Staples. ’’Belinda shared leadership lessons from both her successes and failures in the business world. Belinda then took the time to practically show us that Leadership is for everyone not just managers. Belinda used members of the audience to show that by using the game of patience we can organise out thoughts and ourselves to be effective leaders at work and in business.
The final speech by Saravana Goteti was speech #3 from the Competent Communicator manual. Entitled ‘Perception vs Reality’ it was a confident and thought-provoking speech.
Hazel Smith’s creative questions on familiar life situations made the Table Topics session fun for both guests and members.

During the Just-A-Minute session, John Kendall, outgoing Area Director, handed over the badge of office to the in-coming Area Director, Elizabeth Jordan,and wished her well in the coming year.

The evening ended with the presentation of awards to the winners: Myriam Sacile won the award for ‘Best Speaker’; Mark Thomas and David Banfro won the award for ‘Best Table Topics’ speaker and Mark Thomas won the award for ‘Best Evaluator’.

You can see highlights of all the speeches (or only Myriam’s ???) on youtube please click the link to enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w-Js350IbA

David Banfro, VPPR

2016-06-27 Meeting & AGM

Moments of Enjoyment

Ralph Smedley, the founder of Toastmasters, famously said: “We learn best in moments of enjoyment,” and we certainly did at the final meeting of the Toastmaster’s Year last night. It was a mix of fun and formalities.

The formalities included the Annual General Meeting (AGM) ably presided over by Club President, Stephen Halstead. This was followed by the handover of responsibilities to the new committee: A vibrant and creative team led by President Davina Malcolm.  The other members of the committee include Hazel Smith (VPE), Myriam Sacile (VPM), David Banfro (VPPR), Ian Morrison (Secretary), Jacob Kallergis (Treasurer) and Jillian Haslam ( SAA).

In her acceptance speech, Davina thanked Stephen for his exemplary leadership which has helped Herts Speakers achieve the accolade of President’s Distinguished club. She presented him with a card and a small gift as a token of the members’ appreciation.

Outgoing Area Director John Kendall followed with a note of thanks to the members for their support during his term of office, and for their contribution in helping Area 20 to achieve Distinguished Area status.  John wished the new committee and the Area Director-elect, Elizabeth Jordan, all the best in the coming year.

The fun part of the evening included wonderful humour from the prepared speeches, a creative table topics session and later mingling with members and our three guests over celebratory drinks and nibbles.

The evening ended on a high note with the presentation of the awards to the winners by Stephen Halstead. Philip Carey won the award for ‘Best Evaluator’; David Banfro won the award for ‘Best Table Topics’ speaker and Hazel Smith and David Banfro jointly won the award for ‘Best Speaker’.

It was a lovely end to a successful year, and we all left looking forward a Happy New TM Year!


Elizabeth Jordan

2015-06-22 Meeting & AGM

22nd June 2015

Highlights from Toastmasters meeting on 22nd June 2015

Passing the Baton

2015-06 passing the baton on

One enduring image from the 2012 Olympics was the passing of the baton across the country and in relay races. These vivid and exciting images characterised the formal handover of responsibility from the current President, Elizabeth Jordan, to the new President, Stephen Halstead

On reflecting on the last year, in the annual AGM, there was much to celebrate: Achieving President’s Distinguished status, having an article published in The Toastmaster Magazine, the May 11th celebration for Bob Ferguson’s 20th year as a Toastmaster, an active website and blog and a host of achievements by club members. The Committee had done its part in keeping the Vision and Mission of Toastmasters alive, and making the club a warm and friendly place for members to thrive.

The earlier part of the evening saw three members deliver prepared speeches. Philip Carey in his Ice Breaker speech entitled ‘1 of 7’ introduced himself to members by sharing positive life lessons from disappointment. Philip delivered his first speech with confidence, humour and insight.

In the second Ice Breaker speech – ‘Hedging my Bets’– Ian Morrison shared highlights of his through vivid images and lots of humour. He left us with an abiding image of an expertly sculptured hedge showcasing an assortment of birds and animals.

The final speech of the evening, by Hazel Smith, left us with a very warm feeling although the topic was decidedly wintry. Hazel used a range of rhetorical devices in such a way that we were happily transported to our childhood memories of that special ‘Night Before Christmas’.

The Toastmaster of the evening, Chris Lynam, orchestrated the evening in expert style, and the functionaries all undertook their roles in a professional manner.

The evening ended with the presentation by the President of the ‘Best Speaker Award’ to Ian Morrison and the ‘Best Evaluator Award’ to Bob Ferguson.  In addition, the outgoing President presented three special awards – The President’s Award – to three members who, in her view, have gone beyond the call of duty over the past year and made our club a better place for members: Jillian Haslam, Davina Malcolm and Jacob Kallergis.

2015-06-22 Eliz -Steph

Elizabeth Jordan & Stephen Halstead

With the formal proceedings completed, the new President –Stephen Halstead – thanked the outgoing President, and presented her with Carmine Galllo’s book, ‘Talk like TED’.

The word of the day – Euphoric – chosen by Grammarian, Belinda Naylor Stables, aptly described the mood of the final meeting of the old Toastmaster’s year!

Happy New Toastmasters’ Year 2015-2016!

Elizabeth Jordan


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