meeting 2015-06-08

8th June 2015 A Warm Welcome 


For the second time this year, we were delighted to extend a warm welcome to ten guests. When asked what attracted them to Toastmasters, the reasons varied from wanting to ‘test drive’ a bridegroom speech to wanting to improve impromptu speaking. It was especially gratifying to hear a guest say that the warm welcome that was extended to him made him feel very much at home.

In the first speech of the evening – ‘A Night to Remember’- Elizabeth Jordan, presented the second part of her High Performance Project. She detailed the key learnings from the project behind the 20th anniversary celebration of Bob Ferguson’s time as a Toastmaster, held on May 11th

Tana MacPherson Smith’s speech – ‘Mind Your Senses’ – used vivid language and a wide variety of rhetorical devices in a way that captivated the audience. The speech left us with a clear call to action to be more aware of our senses so that we can appreciate the beauty of the world around us.

Ian Perry’s speech entitled ‘Vino’ changed the mood from one of reflection to humour. His stories of discovering, drinking and cooking with wine brought lightness and laughter to the room.

Former club member, Kevin Baggs, gave his Special Occasion Speech #5 entitled ‘Be like Bob’. In accepting his Advanced Leader Award Silver, Kevin spoke with dignity, grace and sincerity as he acknowledged the role that Bob Ferguson and Hertfordshire Speakers club played in his development as a Toastmaster.

The Impromptu speeches were led by Table Topics Mistress, Hazel Smith. Hazel cleverly created a Murder Mystery scenario, and invited volunteers to speak about the clue from the murder scene that he or she was presented with.  We were treated to some highly imaginative stories.

As always, the meeting was enriched by the high quality of the evaluations and the effectiveness of the functionaries. The Toastmaster of the evening, Raza Khan, relished the role he had taken on for the first time. He brought his unique touch to the role by asking us to turn to our neighbour at the start of the meeting and share something with each other. It worked well, especially on a night with many guests.

The President brought  the evening to a close by presenting the ‘Best Speaker’ Award to Tana MacPherson Smith; the ‘Best Evaluator’ Award to Mark Thomas and the ‘Best Table Topics’ Award to Davina Malcolm.

The next meeting on 22nd June will be the final meeting of the Toastmaster year.  The new committee will take over the reins on 1st July 2015.

2015-2016 New Committee

  • President: Stephen Halstead
  • Vice President Education: Tana MacPherson-Smith
  • Vice President Membership: Davina Malcolm
  • Vice President Public Relations: John Kendall
  • Secretary: Ian Morrison
  • Treasurer: Jacob Kallergis
  • Sergeant-at-Arms: Hazel Smith



Elizabeth Jordan

2015-05-26 Meeting

Club meeting Tuesday 26th May 2015

Recognising True Wealth

In her third speech from the Competent Communication manual, Hazel Smith, kept her audience engaged both mentally and physically. As she informed us about the benefits of Chair exercises for the elderly and those who sit for long periods of time, she also invited us to join along with her as she demonstrated some of the exercises. Hazel ended her speech with a powerful quote: “Your health is your only wealth.”

Davina Malcolm, in her speech #5 from the Storytelling Manual definitely achieved her objective of bringing history alive. Davina, in her inimitable style, told the story of Thomas Clarkson, a leading activist against the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  She brought Clarkson’s story alive with powerful quotes, props and a wealth of examples of the courage that led to the founding of The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, an organisation that helped to achieve the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807 in Parliament and ended the British trade in slaves.

In the first of two speeches required for the High Performance Project (HPL), Elizabeth shared the project vision, mission, core values and plans that delivered the Club’s celebration of Bob Ferguson’s 20th anniversary as a toastmaster, on May 11th. Bob’s wealth of experience and knowledge which he has shared, and continues to share, makes him a highly valued and respected Toastmaster.

The Toastmaster of the evening, Peter Ford, and the functionaries executed their roles in text book style, providing useful lessons on timing, grammar, fluency and evaluations, for members and the three guests.

The Table Topics session had a distinct scientific theme. Drawing on her inspiration from ‘The Periodic Table’, the thought-provoking book by Primo Levi (chemist and writer), Elizabeth invited volunteers to speak for 1-2 minutes on an element from the periodic table drawn from an envelope. Five fascinating stories were shared with the audience.

The evening ended with the presentation of the ‘Best Speaker’ award to Davina Malcolm; the ‘Best Evaluator’ award to Jillian Haslam and the best ‘Table Topics’ Speaker’ award to Mark Thomas.

Another evening at Hertfordshire Speakers’ club ended on a high note.

Elizabeth Jordan

2015-05-11 Celebration Meeting

Bob, the Builder


Bob Ferguson DTM

There was a definite buzz in the Trident Room at David Lloyd Leisure on Monday 11th May, as forty-five toastmasters and theirs guests from 15 clubs across Hertfordshire and London, gathered to celebrate Bob Ferguson’s 20th anniversary as a Toastmaster.   During that 20 year period Bob has won many awards, including the ultimate accolades of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) and UK & Ireland Evaluation Champion.

The members of Hertfordshire Speakers Club honoured Bob’s many and varied achievements with an exciting program that featured a three course meal, guest speakers and a raffle.  Snapshots of the evening’s events were captured by Brian Hunt and will be published in due course.

Toastmaster of the evening, Peter Ford, orchestrated the program with characteristic good humour. The guest speakers: Viv Starkiss (co-founder of Hertfordshire Speakers Club), Kate McNeilly (DTM) and Gayna Cooper (2014 winner of the Humorous Speech Competition) all gave speeches that were rich with superlatives including ‘Super Toastie’, and which praised Bob’s generosity of spirit, commitment to mentoring and building up the confidence and skills of new and established members.

Kevin Baggs, from East Hertfordshire Speakers, led a special celebration Table Topics session infused with humour and warmth. Speakers Graham Frost(DTM), Gill Ornstein, Constance Turner (DTM), Coralie Frances and Stuart Lawson and Bob himself spoke on themes related to his life to rapturous applause from the audience.

The President of Hertfordshire Speakers presented Bob with a Hunter Pocket watch from the members of the club, and presented his wife Sally with a bouquet of flowers. Sandra Lawes, DTM, from Watford Speakers, presented Bob with a book containing messages from members. One message from Luanne Kent, District 71 Governor said: Bob is an outstanding Toastmaster. Please do extend my thanks to Bob for all that he does for Toastmasters”.

The evening concluded with the raffle. Thanks to the generosity of those present, £135 was raised for ‘Children In Need’, one of Bob’s favourite charities.

On Bob’s Facebook page today, he wrote: “What a brilliant night last night!………Thanks to you all for making the night so special”.

15-04-27 Meeting

In the Footsteps of History

History came alive at Monday’s meeting in Stephen Halstead’s speech: ‘In the Footsteps of History’- about the aircraft industry in Hatfield started by the aviation pioneer, Geoffrey de Havilland.  I was riveted from start to finish as Stephen explained the development of the different types of aircraft with exciting names such as Tiger Moth, Mosquito, Comet and Trident that live on today in the names of the local streets and the very room (Trident) where we hold our meetings.  Each time we meet, members of Hertfordshire Speakers’ Club literally walk in the footsteps of history.

20150427_chrislynam Best speaker

Chris Lynam & Elizabeth Jordan

Stephen’s illuminating talk was followed by a fascinating speech by Chris Lynam entitled:  ‘The Mindset of Failure’.  In his #10 speech from the Competent Communication manual, Chris drew on the work of the highly acclaimed academic, Dr Carol Dweck, and her theories about the positive benefits of developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ versus a ‘Fixed Mindset’. I was sufficiently inspired to want to buy Dr Dweck’s book, ‘Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential’.

As Chris concluded his CC journey, Raza was halfway on that journey and gave his #5 speech, ‘Body Languages’. As expected, this speech was rich with movements ranging from a quiet prayerful position to an open powerful position, and engaged the whole audience.

The evening’s agenda was ably lead by Toastmaster Brian Hunt and the other functionaries: Davina Malcolm (Grammarian), John Kendall (Timer), Ian Morrison (Ah-Counter).  Eric Tomaszewski was the Table Topics Master and invited members to speak about a series of futuristic scenarios.  All four Evaluators did an excellent job in providing specific commendations and recommendations for each speaker.

The evening ended in traditional fashion with the presentation of awards by the President to Chris Lynam as Best Speaker, to Brian Hunt as Best Table Topics Speaker and to Tana MacPherson-Smith as Best Evaluator.

Another evening of great speeches, networking and learning.

Elizabeth Jordan


2015-04-18 Our entry in Division G contest



Tana interviewed by Peter Lawton Area Governor of area 25


Tana with Patricia O’Reilly District 71 Secretary & Red Skelton Division G Governor

I am delighted to report that Tana MacPherson-Smith, from our club, came third in the Evaluation Contest at last Saturday’s Division G contest.

This is a wonderful achievement; Tana has done herself and our club proud.  Thanks & Congratulations to Tana!


On the subject of winners, the 2014 World Champion of Public Speaking, Dananjaya Hettiarachichi, will be in London on 28th May to lead a workshop. If you are interested, you can purchase tickets at:


2015_04_13 Meeting

The Value of The Journey

2015_04 JillianHaslamCCAward#1

The completion of the final speech (# 10) in the Toastmaster’s Competent Communication (CC) manual is always a special occasion for the member and his or her club.

Last night it was wonderful to hear Jillian Haslam deliver her moving and inspirational 10th speech, entitled “Mental Resilience”. Her great sense of poise, purpose and presence was clear evidence of the learning and the value she has gained from her Toastmasters journey.

Ian Perry concluded his High Performance Project with a speech aptly titled – “Vision to Serve” – in which he described the upgrade of the Hertfordshire Speakers Club’s website. It was a revelation to see its evolution over the past few years from a basic static page to the more dynamic site it is today complete with a blog, links to podcasts, videos and more.

Brian Hunt completed the trio of prepared speeches for the evening with an eye-opening presentation about the great inventor, Thomas Edison. It was a speech that brought to life Edison’s many inventions including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting electric light bulb. One quote, for me, summed up why Edison remains a hero: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

The Table Topics session, led by Peter Ford, saw both members and a guest rise to the challenge of speaking extemporaneously on the topic of ‘My hero’. We were moved, informed and inspired by a wide variety of stories.

The evening’s agenda was well choreographed by Jacob Kallergis, the Toastmaster of the evening. He ensured that everything flowed smoothly and that the Toastmasters rituals e.g. the applause and handshake were explained to the four guests who joined us. Jacob was ably assisted by the other functionaries: the three Evaluators, Timer, Grammarian and Ah-Counter.

The evening ended on a high note with smiles and handshakes as the President presented the Best Speaker Award and CC badge to Jillian Haslam, Best Table Topic Speaker Award to Chris Haslam, and Best Evaluator Award to Belinda Naylor Stables.

Elizabeth Jordan

2015-03-23 Meeting

23-3-15; Get Up, Stand Up …….

Contest cert

The title for this blog came to me as I sat at the Area contest on Saturday 21st March and saw contestants get up, stand up and spoke passionately and courageously in the two contests. Coralie Frances, from Cornerstones, won the International Speech contest and Tana Macpherson-Smith from Herts Speakers won the Evaluation contest. Both winners will go forward to the Division contest on 18th April.

At the Area contest, John Kendall was elected Area Director (formerly Area Governor) Toastmaster year 2015-2016.

Congratulations to the new Area Director, winners and all the contestants.

Last night at the club meeting, I saw nine members get up, stand up and speak eloquently. Naveed Khawaja and John Kendall presented prepared speeches, and later seven members contributed to the musically inspired Table Topics session, led by Adas Rudas.

Jacob Kallergis, Toastmaster of the evening, did a great job ensuring that the agenda flowed smoothly. He took time to explain the ceremonial rituals such as applause and handshakes to the three guests: Ian, Ishtiak and Alaistair.

The three evaluators: Chris Lynam, Bob Ferguson and Peter Ford, gave excellent feedback to each presenter, with clear commendations and recommendations.

Ishtiaq Khaliq, a guest, very bravely accepted the role of time-keeper; Brian Hunt gave a fine summary as the Ah-counter and Jillian Haslam was in her element as grammarian.

The President ended the evening on a high note with the presentation of the Best Table Topics and Best Evaluator Awards to Bob Ferguson.

Elizabeth Jordan

2015-03-09 Club Contest Night

9 March 2015;  An Evening to Remember

Contest certs

As millions of fans sat down to watch the eagerly anticipated quarter finals contest between Manchester United and Arsenal, at Old Trafford, on Monday evening, a small gathering of toastmasters sat down to watch a contest of a different kind in Hatfield in Hertfordshire.

Members of Hertfordshire Speakers Club were mesmerised by the speeches given in the International Speech contest by the four contestants: Brian Hunt, Davina Malcolm, Naveed Khawaja and Jillian Haslam.  It must have been an extremely close call, and any of the speeches could have won.  Naveed Khawaja, with his speech entitled, ‘Unplugged’ was the winner and Brian Hunt, was runner up with his speech entitled ‘ Fear’.

The Evaluation contest got off to a wonderful start in the second half of the evening with the ‘Test Speech’ given by Julie New from North Herts Speakers. It was an amazing speech that was touching, humorous and deeply inspirational. Julie deserves an extra vote of thanks for stepping in at the last moment; we were privileged indeed!    The three contestants: Tana McPherson, Chris Lynam and Naveed Khawaja responded to Julie’s speech with truly insightful evaluations. Again, the standard was very high and anyone of the three contestants would have been a worthy winner. Tana McPherson Smith was voted winner of the Evaluation Contest.

The smooth running of the two contests was thanks to the effective planning by the contest organiser, Jacob Kallergis, and the professional execution of the plan, in accordance with the Toastmaster guidelines, by the two Contest Chairs, Peter Ford (International Speech) and Bob Ferguson (Evaluation), and the other officials: the Chief Judge, the judges, tie-break judge, timers and counters.

The President and committee members will review the event and put in place recommendations for improvement to future conferences.

The two winners will go on to represent Hertfordshire Speakers club at the Division ‘G’ area contest, on 21st  March, at David Lloyd Leisure, at 13:30.

We wish Naveed and Tana the very best of luck, and I hope that many of you will come along on the day to cheer them on.



Elizabeth Jordan

23-02-15 Birthday Legacy

23-2-15   A Rich Legacy

Sunday, 22nd February, was the anniversary of the birthday of the founder of Toastmasters, Dr Ralph C Smedley. His legacy lives on in the 14, 650 Toastmasters clubs present in 126 countries that attract over 300,000 members all dedicated to improving their communication and leadership skills.  One of Dr Smedley’s most memorable quotes is: “We learn best in moments of enjoyment.”

Monday’s meeting was filled with enjoyment and learning from three stunning speeches, a creative business-themed Table Topics session and informative evaluations. The Toastmaster of the Evening – Belinda Naylor Stables – exuded warmth and confidence and the agenda flowed with ease.

Davina Malcolm was in her element presenting project #4, The Touching Story, from the Advanced Storytelling manual.  In her speech ‘The Best Things In Life Are Free’, our emotions were moved as we listened to the story of the sad abandoned Christmas tree that was rescued by the lonely old lady who then lit up the occasion in her special way.

With a speech entitled ‘Me and the Porsche’, Ian Perry left the audience incredulous with a hilarious story of how he inadvertently assisted the police in arresting a member of a drugs cartel!

New member – Tana Macpherson-Smith – gripped the audience with her second speech entitled ‘Sensory Inspiration’. We were moved by her story of Alfie, a young man, who inspired her by his courage and determination as he fought to recover from his brain injury.  Tana left us to ponder the question of who inspires us and why.

During the ‘Just a Minute’ slot, Brian Hunt, the new Mentoring Officer asked members to write to him outlining the skills they offer as a mentor and the expectations mentee have of mentors. He will then match mentors and mentees. Please support Brian in getting this important initiative off to a great start.  Bob Ferguson encouraged members to participate in the forthcoming International and Evaluation contests as it offers great opportunities for growth. David Brooks, the 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking underscored the point when he said: “We do not compete because we are the best. We become the best because we compete”.

The Business-themed Table Topics session led by Jacob Kallergis drew some imaginative presentations from the speakers who represented roles ranging from Shareholder to CEO.

We were privileged to have Richard Rutty, the President of Hertfordshire East, as our General Evaluator. He complimented Herts Speakers on being a ‘strong club’ and recommended areas for improvement which will be discussed at the Committee meeting on 5th March.

The President closed the meeting by thanking everyone for making the evening such an enjoyable one, particularly the members who took on roles at short notice. She then presented the ‘Best Speaker Award’ to Tana MacPherson-Smith, the best ‘Table Topic Speaker’ to Mark Thomas and the ‘Best Evaluator Award’ to Bob Ferguson.

Our next meeting on 9th March is special; it’s Contest Night! Look forward to seeing you there.

Elizabeth Jordan

Candid Camera


They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  The pictures – courtesy of Brian Hunt – were creatively composed by Ian Perry into the short video below. It captures highlights from our first meeting at the new venue – David Lloyd Leisure, Hatfield, AL10 9AX.

The video has been entered in this month’s Toastmasters International Video Brand Contest.


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