Triple Crown Award for Rose Saliba 🥇

Rose Saliba received a special ward for completing three advanced level achievements in the last Toastmasters year (which runs from July to June).  She completed three advanced level honours – two on the leadership side with her Competent Leader and Advanced Leader Bronze and an Advanced Communicator award which involved completing 10 speeches on themes of humour and story telling.  Well done Rose.

Rose Saliba receiving her Triple Crown Award from President, Lynne Wilkins

North Hearts Speakers, like all Toastmasters clubs around the globe, adapted to the COVID-19 challenges. We have been successfully conducting our meetings online now for a while. Nevertheless, one of the things toastmasters love is fellowship outside of the regular meetings too.  So it was a particular pleasure for our President, Lynne Wilkins, to be able to meet Rose Saliba in person recently to present Rose with her badges of honour over coffee and cake.

Things that surprised you about Toastmasters

In our last meeting, we asked attendees what things surprised you about Toastmasters. This is what they said:

Toastmasters are friendly people

Those new to Toastmasters are surprised with how friendly, lovely and supportive everyone is.  It may be a weird thing for some but everyone is very welcoming. Some regular members shared that they were surprised by the fact that they make friends within the club.

Toastmasters like growth opportunities

Those new to Toastmasters are surprised that there are so many “job roles”. From club to clubs sometimes those roles vary. There are plenty of opportunities to speak and learn. Regular members are surprised with how you grow by doing roles and speeches. Some get amazed at how much some members improve and how much more confident they become. Particularly people who were very nervous to begin with.

Toastmasters have a variety of levels 

Newbies are also surprised about the levels that you have of learning at Toastmasters. We are all just people who are at all different stages – some just starting out and a bit nervous; as well as some more accomplished speakers, who are humble and wanting to learn, from whom we can learn from and aspire to be like. Not everyone is an expert and it is not about being competitive! 

Image by JoeBreuer from Pixabay

Toastmasters followed a detailed agenda

Toastmasters newbies are surprised with how detailed the agenda is, showing very specific times for each person’s role. Those detailed agendas make things run smoothly and provide a good structure.

Toastmasters like evaluations

Those new to Toastmasters are surprised about how much evaluation goes on during the meetings. Some point out that many details of the speeches are examined. As some regular Toastmasters would say ‘Everything gets evaluated at Toastmasters. All meetings would have a few people playing the Evaluator role and in some occasions one person would do the job of General Evaluator role. The main function of these roles is to provide constructive feedback. 

Toastmasters’ meetings are not always the same

Regular Toastmasters members especially are constantly surprised with the fact that meetings are not always the same. Toastmasters love variety. We all bring different things to the different roles we play in the meetings. Variety goes from the prepared to the impromptu speeches. Specifically about the speeches we make, there are not two same speeches, even if we follow the same theme. 

Toastmasters treasure feedback

This is something that I personally like to treasure since I started my Toastmasters journey. I collect the feedback slips – they are like little gifts 🙂 And now that we are conducting the meetings on Zoom, I am collecting feedback online, copying and pasting the feedback I received from fellow Toastmasters and guests.

Image by Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay

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

Rossana Espinoza, VP Public Relations

Toastmaster’s Takeaways: An inspiring Evening

Hello everyone

Mystery Toastmaster here, reporting on our zoom meeting on Wednesday 5 August. 

Great to have a well-attended meeting in August when so many people are usually away.  We had five wonderful guests.

It was great welcome Felicia from Milton Keynes Confident Speakers.  She’s used to shorter lunchtime meetings there so she enjoyed something different with a longer meeting and its relaxed evening vibe. We always value constructive feedback from toastmasters who are members at clubs to learn how they do things differently and we were delighted she commended us on our friendliness.

So much learning for everyone in fact this evening with four very inspirational prepared speeches – we heard about Belbin leadership roles from Enroy, how we can use our environment to change us from Lynne, Rossana spoke about Leadership Lessons from JFK … Airport and Rose had us thinking about the use of negative feelings and gratitude. 

It was a hugely entertaining time with Maria as “Toastmaster” (equivalent to chairperson) for the evening – she brings something very special to the role and revels in the opportunity to be a bit of a rebel and inject humour which we all enjoy.

Well done to Vice President Education, Oliver, for taking on so many roles at the meeting at the last minute which earned him the nickname “Batman” – not forgetting his “Robin”, Enrico who stepped into the role of Ah Counter with no notice.

Our Vice President Membership, Mike, had some great table topic questions to ask us based around Rishi Sunak giving 50% off, which three guests gave impromptu short speeches on.  They had to talk about what they would do with 50% off and why in various scenarios. 

Image by Mark Rosemaker from Pixabay

Our guests took on these subjects with apparent ease and we had some great answers.  These took us cooking with Nigella Lawson, travelling in a camper van and eating lots of ice cream – what’s not to love about that!  Felicia was a worthy winner of our Table Topic of the evening winner – it really was as good as a prepared speech. 

We heard exciting news that North Herts Speakers is going to be introduce guest speakers (who may or may not be Toastmasters) to future meetings – so watch this space for details in future.

Meantime, our next club meeting will be on Wednesday, 19 August 20 – come and join us.

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 Wilkins, North Herts Speakers 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 D’Souza to our Club Officer Committee as our new VP of Membership.

Well done to Dorothy Molloy for completing Level 2 of her Pathways education programme and Enroy Nugent 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

Who reigns as Summer Pub Quiz Champion 2020?

A bunch of Toastmasters across Area 20 attended a very special event, an event that only happens once a year: Our Area 20 Summer Quiz!

Our 2019-20 Toastmasters year came to a close on 30th June, so our Toastmasters clubs in Area 20 came together for our annual Summer Gala (social distancing style)…

The Area 20 Summer Quiz took place on 7.15 PM, 1ST JULY 2020.

With massive thanks to our Toastmasters members who attended from:

  • Herts Speakers
  • East Herts Speakers
  • North Herts Speakers
  • Stevenage Speakers
Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

What we did?

  • We celebrated our successful Toastmasters year with our Area Director for 19-20, John Allsop.
  • We heard the end-of-year highlights of our clubs.
  • We congratulated and welcome-in our new Club Officers for 2020-21.
  • We did our best to answer the questions of our Quiz-Masters, John Allsop (Area Director 19/20) and Bradley Peters (Area Director 20/21).
  • Clubs in Area 20 went head to head to find out which will reign as Summer Pub Quiz Champion 2020. Who won? Stevenage Speakers. Hooray. 🌟💥⭐
  • We raised a (virtual) toast to a fantastic Toastmasters year!

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 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.

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.

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!