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.

Christine and Sophie

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 Malloy, 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 Evans-Pughe 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 Jones-Nugent gave her first speech, entitled What do you See? and won best speech of the evening. They are both pictured below receiving their Pathway badges and ribbons.

Judith, Christine and Bradley

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

We then had five excellent table topics from Andrea Lee 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 Peters, our President.

Sharan, Maria and Bradley

Dorothy Molloy 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. Volunteers for the day are also required. Contact Rose on 07949 199222.

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 Schlenker, 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.

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 Peters, gave an interesting speech called “Can you run at 200 mph?” Rose Saliba told a story about “Little Johnny” and Andrea Lee 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 Winterbourne, another new member, won best evaluator for the evening with his first ever evaluation. And our guest, Peter, won the best tabletopics speech on his first night.

Another first for the evening was for Karl Hope who presided as Toastmaster 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


On the 20th of March we had a great speech by Lynne Wilkins on Mentoring. So what is mentoring?

  • Informal and supportive relationship.
  • It’s a voluntary arrangement – one that’s not like being managed formally: but it is supportive.
  • Someone you can learn from whether it’s from what they do, specific skills coaching or someone with which to share your worries.
  • Someone to help you meet your goals.

There’s a lot to get used to when you first come to Toastmasters, it can be a bit baffling with the funny names, agendas and clapping. A mentor can ease you into this; sitting next to you at meetings and explaining things and helping with any questions about pathways. They can encourage you to build your skills and get involved with taking on meeting roles. They will help you to join in and get ready for that all important first speech.

Each mentoring relationship you have should have an end point. In the beginning you want to gain your wings and to get confident so you can get to a point where you are happy to fly on your own.

As we go along our toastmaster journey it’s important we keep growing. Sometimes we need a refresh, or a new destination. You can change mentors to get the help you need at the time in your journey when you need it.

Why Mentor?

This takes time and effort – so why would you bother? Well because as much as you pass onto your mentor, you’re going to be learning from the experience too, and your mentee will have suggestions too that could be useful for your learning experience. You’ll realise how much you do know and each bit of knowledge you pass on refreshes that and inspires you again. One of the best ways of learning is to teach.

A Bucket List?

Wednesday 6th February

This was a meeting with a wide range of topics as well as speakers.  We had two speakers giving their Ice Breaker speech.  One was an experienced speaker who wanted to take a step into the pathways experience (the Toastmasters new educational programme) and one speaker who was completely new to Toastmasters.

Steve presents Wojciech with his pathways pin

Wojciech, who has been a member of our club for 3 years now said of doing his icebreaker again:

“I have to say I much more enjoyed my second Icebreaker. And another challenge accepted with the Pathways educational programme. You cannot get bored with TI (sic – Toastmasters International).”

Wojciech also got the best evaluator award.

Less Bag and More Makeup

Sam gave her very first speech, her Icebreaker.  I was intrigued by the title but by the end of the speech I was laughing at the images of her over preparing for a three day music festival with a large rucksack!  She explained to us how taking so much care to prepare actually meant that she was less able to enjoy the event and how over time she learnt to relax and take things as they came.

Steve presents Sam with her Pathways pin


Karl spoke to us about the Thrive programme and how it has transformed thousands of lives around the world.  He explained the key psychological concepts and why it’s not therapy.  It was an interesting speech and we hope to hear more about it over time.

Bucket Lists

Andrea’s speech was about making bucket lists – a list of what a person wishes to achieve or experience before they die. Examples were given from her own personal bucket list. She then questioned whether such a list was of limited value. Was it only useful for building memories to carry us through old age but lost when life ends. To illustrate this, she surprised us all when she opened and closed the door next to her, kicking the bucket containing items on her list, outside so that it disappeared from view. It was proposed that a second bucket list could also be written with goals designed to help others or impact the world positively. She filled a new bucket with goals designed to make the world a kinder place. Explaining research revealing that the process of physically writing a goal makes its realisation 42% more likely, she gave a handout, challenging us all to write a list of what we wanted to achieve for others.

Andrea gets the best speaker award

Best Speaker Award: Andrea Lee

Best Table Topics Award: Dorothy Molloy

Best Evaluator Award: Wojciech


When Life gives you Limes

Our last meeting was on January 19th and the content of the speeches was very varied.  Something for everyone.

European Trade

Almost controversially, we began with a speech about European Trade by Dorothy Molloy.  I say controversially because at Toastmasters we avoid talking about Politics or religion.  We don’t like to frighten the horses!  However this speech was not about Brexit, although topical, it was just the facts about Europe and who trades with who and attempted to demystify some of the terms we hear nearly every day at the moment!

Free as a Bird

If you want to know about how aeroplanes work then why not listen to Eddie Asquith who was a commercial pilot for many years.  Who would have thought that he could have us laughing so much whilst explaining how a plane stays in the air!

The Mystery of Marketing

Rose Saliba told us about her exasperation with all the forms of marketing that we are told we need to do these days.  This was her 7th speech from the Competent Communicator manual.  Not long until she has completed the whole level.  Congratulations!

When Life gives you Limes

Bradley Peters really took the challenge of this project and ran with it.  The challenge of speech number 8 is to get comfortable with Visual Aids and Bradley used both a projector and … limes, soda water, sugar and a cocktail mixer!  He was very calm as he made use of all of these things to explain how to make a Mojito, the favourite drink of Ernest Hemingway which he drank often at one of his favourite bars, La Bodeguita del Medio, in Havana, Cuba.

Best Speaker: Eddie Asquith

Eddie Asquith is presented with Best Speaker award

Best Evaluator: Ben Osborne

Ben Osborne is presented with Best Evaluator award

Best Table Topics: Karen Harris

Wow! First time at Toastmasters and she has won the Table Topics!  Great improptu speaking Karen!

Karen Harris is presented with the Best Table Topics award