Toastmaster’s Takeaways: Musca Domestica

Hello everyone

Mystery Toastmaster here, reporting on our zoom meeting on Wednesday 16 July. 

We had another very enjoyable evening on Zoom with lots of inventiveness on show. Lynne our new Club President welcomed everyone in her debut meeting in that role 💥 

Oliver, VP Education, stepped into our Grammarian role at the last minute and displayed his word for the day “Ominous” on a sign around his neck – made a nice change from a virtual background.

We had two great prepared speeches from Dorothy and Maria from whom we learned even more about mentoring and how to get the best out of it – an area we are keen on developing further at North Herts Speakers. They offered different perspectives about mentoring which proved very insightful and entertaining.

Then for something really different, we had a speech from Enroy about Musca Domestica (otherwise known as the Common Housefly) given in his inimitable and entertaining style – none of us will ever look at cheesecake in the same way now!

Unusually, we had a few technical hitches with Zoom but as good Toastmasters -especially, in social distancing times- we have learned to keep calm and carry on, especially Maria who re-started her speech with aplomb and charm ⭐

The Star of the night was Pat, Lynne’s guest, who visited us for the first time and delivered a textbook impromptu speech in our table topic round – she regaled us with a true story about the antics of baboons on a trip to India. A deserved winner of best Table Topic speech of the evening.

We are delighted to welcome Mike to our Club Officer Committee as our new VP of Membership.

Well done to Dorothy for completing Level 2 of her Pathways education programme and Enroy who has completed his speeches for his Level 1 Award. 

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, 5th August 2020. Join us! 💃

Table topics, love them or hate them?

Table Topics are a great way to test your ability to speak on the spot in any situation. Table Topics are definitely a marmite part of the meeting. Generally speaking, if it’s an easy question, toastmasters will love them but if no answer comes to mind, toastmasters will not be so keen.

Some toastmasters like table topics as it challenges everyone to get involved in the program. Toastmasters is about learning by doing! Some have grown to like the challenge and enjoy the thrill of doing table topics.  Plus toastmasters don’t need to prepare for a table topic speech!

Those who love to be prepared may not like table topics. BUT table topics are a good thing to do, because in life sometimes we don’t have time to get as prepared as we’d like. So what do we do when we can’t prepare as much as we’d like? We can link table topics to a personal story. That would be the first step to love table topics💕

Photo by Product School on Unsplash

It is a journey to love table topics, some of us used to hate them. As time has gone on and we have got more confident, however, we begin to like them, even love them. Table topics are exciting and a thing we like is the way it brings out people’s creativity and things you’d never hear about any other way!

Some people like them from a skills perspective. Table topics are something we can all master. Table topics are a good way of feeling mildly uncomfortable and getting used to that. Table topics make you think and get you out of your comfort zone. 

Those who love adrenaline and adventure love table topics, because you have to think fast and react, it’s like an extreme sport for words! The truth is that table topics give you an opportunity to speak spontaneously with no time to be nervous. What a great experience to do. Bring it on! 👍

With massive thanks to all North Hearts Speakers who contributed to write this blog.

Rossana Espinoza, VP Public Relations

Open Mic in the Square

A huge thank you to all the volunteers who generously gave up their time on Saturday, 14th September, to greet visitors at our stall in Hitchin Town Centre. This was our second time running a Speakers event in the square and I am pleased to say that it was as successful as the first one.

Our President, Bradley Peters opening the event and Salman Lone manning the stall

The event was opened by our President, Bradley Peters, pictured, while Salman Lone continued to set up the stall with the flyers that he had kindly designed for us previously.

Salman giving technical assistance with the mic for Olli

Oliver Schlenker (Olli) took a turn at the mic informing the people in the square of all the many advantages that joining North Herts Speakers can bring. These include becoming a better speaker, developing skills and confidence to express yourself effectively and opportunities to build leadership skills – all in a supportive and friendly environment.

There were several debuts and demonstrations of bravery in overcoming resistance to using the mic. After Sophie Brown successfully gave it go, she encouraged and assisted Christine Evans-Pughe to do likewise. And Maria Iredale gave her first speech using the mic in the square. Well done all of you! More pictures are available on our Facebook page at:

Dan improvising with the mic and Dorothy, Andrea and Trevor on the stall

While you are visiting our Facebook page, please click the Like button (if you like) and follow us. If you want souvenir photos, that is where you will be able to download them (I hope) as there isn’t space to put them all here.

Dan Winterbourne is pictured above creatively engaging passers-by and supported by volunteers Dorothy Molloy, Andrea Lee and Trevor Fisher. Thanks again everyone for all your help on the day.

We are looking forward to welcoming some of our visitors to the stall to our meetings at the Sun Hotel in Hitchin on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month. Your can try us out for free for the first two visits with no pressure to speak if you don’t want to and plenty of opportunities if you do.

Machines that Think?

We had a very lively meeting on Wednesday, 4th September, with over 20 people joining in the fun. There were two Pathways Icebreaker speeches. Christine kicked off the evening with her first speech on Machines that Think? and treated us to an interesting experiment involving the sense of smell. Judith gave her first speech, entitled What do you See? and won best speech of the evening.

Charlie brought music to our ears with his second speech entitled Beats, Rhymes and Life, for the Presentation Mastery Pathway. Oliver gave us ‘food for thought’ with his speech about The Delight of a Chewy Meal. And Dan was presented with the best Evaluator award for the evening.

We then had five excellent table topics from Andrea with speeches from Maria, Sophia, Sam, Sharan and Enroy. Well done to the guests and new members. Maria won best Table Topics speech and is pictured below with Sharan who presented her with the certificate, and Bradley, our President.

Sharan, Maria and Bradley

Dorothy received her Competent Leadership award and badge and was thanked by the club President for all her hard work as Vice President for Public Relations over the last two years and for setting up and organising club events. She is going to be a tough act to follow!

Dorothy receiving her Competent Leadership Award

Come and join us for our next event on Saturday 14th September in Hitchin Market Square between 9am and 2pm. We will be running another Speakers in the Square where you can visit our stall and have a go in public with the mic.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday, 18th September, 7.30pm at the Sun Hotel and will be a contest night. Be great to see you there!

Quest for Knowledge

Our meeting on 7th August was well attended with over 20 people enjoying speeches and tabletopics. Oliver, one of our newest members, pictured below, won best speech of the evening for his first Icebreaker speech called Quest for Knowledge. Well done!

Oliver wins best speech for his Icebreaker called Quest for Knowledge. Also pictured are Peter on the left and Bradley on the right.
Well done Oliver – great first speech!

Our President, Bradley, gave an interesting speech called “Can you run at 200 mph?” Rose told a story about “Little Johnny” and Andrea introduced some excellent Table Topics. These are where members of the audience get the chance to give an impromptu talk for one to two minutes on a selected topic.

Dan, another new member, won best evaluator for the evening with his first ever evaluation. And our guest, Peter, won the best table topics speech on his first night.

Another first for the evening was for Karl who presided as Toastmaster of the evening and did a great job keeping us all in order.

Photo shows Dan Winterbourne receiving his aware for best evaluator, together with Bradley Peters, our President and Peter, our star guest of the night.
Dan, Bradley and Peter – Great work guys!

Come and join us next week upstairs at The Sun Hotel in Hitchin. The meeting starts at 7.30pm and runs till around 9.45 or 10pm, depending on the number of speakers. It’s great fun and you can try it out for free.

First Car?

Our meeting on 3rd July 2019 at the Sun Hotel treated us to three great speeches. The first one was How does it Feel by our new President, Bradley Peters. Then we had Sunbeam by Rose Saliba who won best speaker award for the night and the third was an informative speech on the Purpose of Business by Salmon Lone.

Lynne Wilkins is pictured receiving her Best Evaluator Award for the night.
Congratulations Lynne!

The best Evaluator Award for the evening went to Lynne Wilkins and the best Table Topics speaker was Maria, one of our many new visitors.

Photo of Maria who won the Table Topics (impromptu) speech of the night
Well done Maria!

Area 20 Gala Dinner

It’s been a while since we’ve held a gala dinner but Wojciech did us proud.

We had representatives from:

  • Herts Speakers
  • East Herts Speakers
  • North Herts Speakers
  • Stevenage Speakers

All the clubs in the area presented a report on their club year, its ups and its downs. 3 of the clubs attained the accreditation of President’s Distinguished, we are truly lucky to have such dedicated club officers in this area.

One of our fledgling clubs is yet to charter. This is a chance for all of us to help out. We plan to mentor officer roles by offering shadowing and guidance.

We also had some new awards to give to our members. Best Club Officer, Best club Member and Most Improved club member.

It was great to relax with our fellow members and have more time to talk.

You see, we’re such good friends!

Speakers in the Square

Rose Saliba

Saturday 25th of May was our first adventure into Hitchin Town Square. Our purpose was to let people in the local community know about our club and how it could help them to achieve their personal goals.

I have to say that it was a great success. The weather was great, the town was packed and we had a strong and committed group of Toastmasters who made the day. We even had a Toastmaster from Harrow and a Toastmaster from Stevenage Speakers club.

Salman, Karl & John meet spiderman!

Before the event, we had very little in the way of publicity material. We didn’t have any flyers or a banner to put up on the gazebo. Our club worked together to get the copy and designs done for the flyers and the banner which we used along the back of the gazebo. There was some work to do and compromises to made to suit all the members of the committee but we got it all done in just under two weeks! A special thanks to Salman, Lynne, Andrea and John.


Of course there are some things that we would have done differently. If we were to do this again we would have started working on the publicity a lot earlier and we would have had separate meetings dedicated to the design of the publicity material. This would have been much easier but the reality is that we all have day jobs and family so finding the time can be tricky.

Mandy (Stevenage Speakers)

For myself, I would aim to be more positive. I was worried that we wouldn’t have flyers, that I would forget something or that I would be alone at the stall! My anxiety about the event going wrong was not motivating, yet our club rallied round the idea and it was a great day. I really enjoyed the enthusiasm of everyone and in reality there was only one small problem which was sorted out by 10am!

David Phelops (Harrow)

David even sang “O solo Mio!” which certainly stopped passers by in their tracks.

The microphone and PA made a big difference. So much more interesting than a table full of flyers. Of course you would expect a speakers club to do some Public Speaking wouldn’t you?

Karl Hope

Funnily, we were all a bit reticent to use the mic at first!

We also managed to get members of the public to get up and speak which was great. Some people also asked us if we could help them to train students or to help out with providing some speakers.

It takes courage to speak.

Well done everyone! Let’s do this again!

Next time don’t forget the sun lotion!

Many Awards

Johns Kendall DTM finishes to Pathways paths!
John Kendall – 2 Pathways completed

This week’s meeting saw a flurry of educational awards so there were happy faces all round. You can see above a photo of John Kendall receiving two awards.

John attained his level 5 Pathways award in Dynamic leadership and his Pathways level 5 award for Presentation Mastery.

Rose Saliba Competent Communicator
Rose Saliba Competent Communicator

Rose Saliba completed her 10th Speech and received her Competent Communicator award.

We were again gifted with a number of visitors, three of which decided to join our club this week. In fact one of our visitors, Andy Scapelhorn, not only became our newest member but also won the Best Table Topics Speaker award this week!

Andy Scaplehorn Best Table Topic Speaker
Andy Scaplehorn Best Table Topics Speaker

Best Evaluator was won by Dorothy Molloy

Dorothy Molloy Best Evaluator