Club Competition Night!

What a night! Two competitions and five very funny speeches kept everyone guessing who would represent the club in the Humorous Speech and Table Topic competitions…

Table-Topics was chaired by Chris and saw Dom and John both have to talk about ‘Why they love giraffes’.

And the winner was:

1st Dominic – with his story about riding a giraffe.

Lynne hosted the official Humorous Speech competition and the winners were:

1st Dorothy – “Learning from mistakes”

2nd John – “Growing older & Younger”

3rd Dominic – “Milk” (it was actually about squirrels).

Humorous Speech Contestants

Dom accepts 1st place in Table-Topics

Dorothy accepts 1st place in the Humorous Speech contest

Dorothy and Dom now go on to represent us at area level!

Toasting at our 100th Meeting

Our 100th meeting was a very relaxed affair with many more opportunities for impromptu speaking.  It was great to have some guests too and they were good sports, joining in and taking up the challenge.

Guess who won the Table Topics best speaker award?  None other than Nick Gill, Editor of The Comet, our local newspaper!  He was really good, a natural!

100th Meeting!

Yes, it’s true, we will be having our 100th meeting tonight!

Join us tonight 4th of July 2018

Come join us and earn yourself some recognition

We have 3 speakers for you two of which are Distinguished Toastmasters.  Our speakers are:

  • John Kendall
  • Christopher Johansen
  • Steve Campion

Many of my friends joke with me that we just sit around make toasts and drinking sparkling wine.  We tonight I can safely say that there will be some toasting and there will be something to toast with!

We’ve also got an extended section of impromptu speaking where everyone will get a couple of minutes to have a say. We’re making this a special evening where we can all let our hair down and speak up!

So come join us, you know you want to!

Competition Time!

International Speech and Evaluation Contest

Wednesday 7th March 2018

Last Wednesday was competition time at our club.  Everyone was a bit twitchy on the night as most of us were either performing a role that we had not done before or were participants in the competition.  Luckily for us we had some visitors and new members to calm us down!

Contestant as March 7th competition
Contestant as March 7th competition

The competition was in two halves with the first part dedicated to the speeches.  I must say that I’m glad that I was not judging those speeches as they were all such a high standard. Well done to our members for all the hard work and incredible personal progress they have made on their road to public speaking.

With a speech entitled “My affliction”, Dominic Goddard won the International Speech contest.  His speech was very amusing but also very though provoking.  He spoke of his “unhealthy” need to keep looking at his mobile phone.  Something that many people are now discovering to be a trojan horse in our lives.

Dominic Goddard first place
Dominic Goddard: Best Speaker

The second part of the contest was the evaluation competition.  This might seem very strange to those who are not familiar with Toastmasters so let me explain.  Evaluation is a core part of the Toastmaster program.  Not only do we learn how to communicate more effectively but we also learn how to give constructive feedback.  This part of the competition was to see who could give the most useful feedback for a given speech.

We aim to give our feedback as a cocktail of commendations and recommendations.  We give each other encouragement by pointing out the aspects of a speech that are particularly effective and we also give out tips on things that could be improved so that the speech can become even better.  In this way our members gain both confidence and also tips on things that they can work on that will aid them in the future.

Dorothy Molloy won the Best Evaluator competition.

Dorothy molloy Best Evaluator
Dorothy molloy Best Evaluator

The winners of the competitions are invited to take part in the Area Contest on the 7th of April.  Unfortunately Dom cannot make the concert but Eddie Asquith, who won the area contest last year, will represent our club in his place.

Good luck Eddie and Dorothy!

Jam Packed!

Last week’s meeting was jam packed with speakers and with audience!
We had 5 speakers speaking on a variety of topics and using a variety of styles.

  • We had Mo giving us a talk about Blockchain and the Crypto technologies.
  • Bev interviewed Chris in a TV like style asking him about his experience of Toastmasters “New York” style.
  • Wojciech made us all crack up with his talk on “Crack Mania” which was about his work as a structural engineer.  I know what you are thinking, but no, it was not related to anything medicinal!
  • Gladys made us all think about how important it is to spend time with your family.  After all, you can work more and more, money is never enough but time is limited.  So spend your time wisely.
  • Dorothy pitched for work building business software for a heating manufacturer.

Alas, we had no time for impromptu speaking.  But that is just the way we are, we have a standard agenda but when there is a big demand for time to do speeches, we can adapt.

The winner of the best evaluator was Steve Saunders

Dorothy Molloy was best speaker


Bev got her Advanced Leadership Bronze award!  Congratualtions Bev!

It’s great to see Bev!

Bev got the best speaker award at our last meeting (17th January).  We are very pleased to have you back Bev Rimmer, we missed you when you were in Cambridge.

I love this photo!

New Year resolutions

If you are anything like me then you have stuffed yourself silly with chocolates, cakes, goodies and generally far too much food.  This must be a common practice for many of us Brits because January is always filled with adverts relating to dieting or exercise!

Yes, so many of us make new year resolutions and a great deal of these are to do with our health.

But what about your plans for self development? How is your self esteem? Maybe you would like to gain more confidence this year? Maybe this is the year that your career really takes off? Is this one of your new year resolutions?

Is this not a good time to trying out Toastmasters?  You’ve been thinking about it, I know!  It’s just that you haven’t found time to come along or you were going to go with a friend but that became impossible to organise or perhaps you just kept forgetting about it.

Well here is your chance to use the new year to give you that extra bit of will power that will enable you to try it out.

North Herts Speakers Gladys and John

Have you been asked to do a presentation of your work?  Have you been told that you will need to be willing to speak in order to progress your career? Are you are filled with joy and excitement at the chance to get up there and give a talk?  If you feel less than happy with this proposition don’t worry you are not alone. It has been claimed that most people fear public speaking more than they fear death.

Or maybe you are OK with presentations but you would really like that person at the back to stop snoring!
It doesn’t have to be like this.

Come along to North Herts Speakers club and find out how it can help you to improve your leadership and public speaking skills and so progress your career.

Producing great work is key to your personal success but you need to let others know what is important about it and as you did the work, you are the best qualified to talk about it.  But it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

As I see it you have three options:

  • You can just continue as you are.  If you put on a brave face and do a presentation: when pushed, you can get by. But why would you want to just “get by”, that’s not how you approach the rest of your work is it?
  • Or you can just avoid ever having to do a presentation. But like I said, this may not be a great career choice!
  • Better still you can learn how to speak in public in an easy going supportive environment.

I will presume that you all want to be the best you can be so let me tell you about our club.


I am a member of North Herts Speakers who meet every first & third Wednesday of the month at The Sun hotel in Hitchin. We currently have 23 members of various levels of experience which enables us to learn a lot from each other.

A typical meeting goes like this:

Each meeting 4 members give a short speech for which they are given feedback the very same night. The feedback is always positive and we also offer at least one recommendation on how to improve each speech. In this way it is not just those who give the speech who learn but also the audience.  I should point out that the audience is comprised of all the other toastmasters who also want to learn from the speeches.

There are many other roles that members perform at a meeting, all of which give a member the opportunity to speak in front of a welcoming audience. For example you can be an evaluator for a given speaker which requires you to give your feedback to the audience, or you could be the grammarian who will report on points grammar used throughout the meeting and of course, you can always be the toastmaster!

We also have a section of the meeting where we can practise speaking without preparation, a particularly handy skill to have in advance of your boss asking you to step in and talk at the last minute!

Toastmasters value leadership skills and some of the roles available can give you the opportunity to gain experience where you might not have otherwise.

And we’re really nice!


Just imagine yourself presenting your work in a way that keeps all your colleagues engaged.  How much more valuable do you think you will be perceived to be? Have any of you heard colleagues complain that “so and so” just knows how to talk the talk?  Well maybe it’s time that you got to do some talking?

In summary, you are not alone if you feel uncomfortable about public speaking but you don’t have to remain unconfident if you don’t want to.  Being able to communicate effectively will definitely help to progress your career or business for that matter.

At toastmasters we know that effective public speaking is a skill that can be learnt and we all aim to help each other to become the best we can. You can practise speaking and make as many mistakes as you like knowing that you will always be supported.

We meet every first & third Wednesday of the month at the sun hotel in Hitchin at 7:30. We would be very pleased to welcome you to visit us free of charge to any meeting.

What have you got to lose?

Lynne Wilkins Competent Communicator

We are very proud to announce that Lynne Wilkins has completed all 10 speeches in the Competent Communicator manual.

This Wednesday Lynne gave us her 10th speech entitled “Who Do You Think You Are”.  Project 10 is a challenge to give a speech which inspires your audience.  The manual describes it as follows:

Inspire the audience by appealing to noble motives, challenge the audience to achieve a higher level of beliefs or achievement; Appeal to the audience’s needs and emotions, using stories, anecdotes and quotes to add drama.

This Lynne did to perfection. She described to us how our life experiences mould our view of “who we are” which was very interesting and she provided us with stories of how a young child can learn to think about themselves and how we hold on to this as we grow up.
Touchingly she showed us how the “little slips” of paper which all of us use in our meetings to give feedback to every speaker also mould our impression of ourselves.
These little slips of paper mean so much to us all as they give us a glimpse into how others see us and it is usually in so much better a light than we see ourselves.

So let’s celebrate!