Monday, July 17, 2017


My Mentor and My Musical Props

My first mentor was Indra who taught me to use props. 
My first speech described how I was an author. He asked, "Have you any props, books?" I had several books but the most relevant to a n audience of speakers was my book on Wedding Speeches and Toasts.

 I mentioned living in the USA. He asked me, "Do you have a flag or hat or piece of clothing?" I had a cowgirl hat. 

Then I went on to take about Singapore. He asked, "Do you have any prop, flag, map, clothing, or hat?" I had a Chinese Coolie hat.

I am obsessive about props. They have proved valuable when performing on You tube and doing stand up comedy and humorous speeches. I have dozens of hats, musical instruments such as miniature pianos which play Happy Birthday To You. 

I ought to bring one to a meeting every time somebody has a birthday. Statistics say that with 31 members and a meeting every month or fortnight, we must have a birthday nearly every meeting.
Being a mentor or mentee can start or cement a friendship and status. My mentee Warren Sheng used to mention at meetings how I had helped him with his speeches. I still frequently mention my first mentor Indra.

Angela Lansbury, Advanced Communicator Gold, Competent Leader. Secretary of HOD, mentor co-ordinator at Harrovians. Member of Braddell Heights Advanced Toastmasters in Singapore.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Dangers of Teasing, Dares, Bad Behaviour

A boy was killed by an allergic reaction to cheese at a school in England. Police are investigating whether another pupil deliberately flicked cheese at him or even pushed it into his mouth and down his throat.

This would not have happened if pupils had all been taught not to tease or disrupt others.

First consider:
1 It is a sign of ill will.
2 An attempt to get attention.
3 A distraction from group school work and friendly activities and friendship.
4 Ignorance of the possible severity of consequences.
5 It destroys friendship.
6 it takes up the time of parents, school staff and police investigating incidents.
7 It damages the reputation of the attacker.
8 It stresses the victim and the witnesses, both pupils and parents, school staff and prospective pupils and prospective pupils' parents and prospective teaching staff and administrators.
9 If schools don't already they should have a list of school rules and reasons to include:

Possible Rules For Schools and/or Pupil's Own Perusal or Family Conduct
I do not tease.
I do not mock.
I do not bully.
I do not touch another person's property.
I do not take school property.
I do not respond to bets nor dares.
I do not deface nor take signs.
I report accidental damage and apologise.

I might endanger another person.
I might distress another person, their family, school staff.
I could waste the time of pupils, parents and staff.
A joke could be very expensive if anybody has to buy another item.
I could damage the reputation of myself, my family, the staff, my school.
I could cause others to take revenge.
I could be denied a place in my favourite class, sports activity or school.

Long term results of gaining a reputation for being a nuisance:
You might not be taken on a school trip or holiday.
Teachers might refuse to take a school trip or holiday.
The school might close because pupils are removed by parents.
Interfering with food could cause somebody else to die.
Interfering with fire alarms could cause people to ignore them in a real emergency and die.
If you do naughty things at school and get away with it you are likely to be copied by others and to continue to do so at college.
Your bad reputation might stop teachers from giving you a good reference for your first choice college or your first job application.
Your bad reputation at college could stop other parents investing money in your parents' business.

1 When our son was at school his elderly and frail grandmother bought him a new laptop for his birthday. Other boy or boys took out part of it so he could not use it. As a result he was distressed. I as a parent was distressed. His grandmother was distressed.

Later, computers went missing. The boys who took parts of others' laptops were suspected. ((The culprit turned out to be the boarding school caretaker. This was found out when somebody went back and the item had gone missing when all the boys were out. A member of staff went around the whole building and found the missing laptop in the basement to which only the caretaker had access.

However, the point is that those who took small items were later suspected of bigger thefts.

The caretaker was not suspected. Why? Because the frequent minor thefts by school boys led staff to think the thief must be one of the boys trying out small thefts to see if he could get away with it.

Years on I feel hostile to his former schoolfriends, staff, and the school, and decline to give the money to any appeals by or for old boys or the school because I feel they did not set rules and could not be trusted. Even if I were to decide that I am being unreasonable, I would still have a gut feeling, an instinct to keep away and not get involved.

2 When our son was at university another pupil set off a fire alarm for a joke on a regular basis. Eventually our son discovered who it was. He did not tell me the name of the person because I threatened to write to the college. Besides, neither he nor I could not prove who it was.

After our son had left college, I was asked if I wanted to invest money in a business connected with one of his friends.

I asked, "Was that pupil was one who set off the fire alarm? I do not want to be involved, if it was him and his family."

If I was not told categorically that he was not the person involved, or I was told that nobody could be sure who it was, I would simply not trust anybody my son knows from that era.

3 I have read numerous stories of people taking selfies and doing dangerous things. One boy in Singapore died jumping over a barrier onto what looked like a marble ledge. It was merely painted. It was not strong enough to bear the weight of a person although it conformed to architectural legislation. The friend who was going to take his photo was also going to do the same thing next. Even if it had taken the weight of the first person, it might not have withstood the weight of two.
Romanian sign warning of drunk on road. Photo by Angela Lansbury. Copyright.

4 At a party somebody sat on a table. A table does not take weights designed by chairs which support people. The table was strong enough for one person. However, when he pulled me onto his lap, the table broke. This cost us money in offering pay. The host had to live without the item which could not be replaced. We paid for a gift. The gift was probably not as much as the cost of buying not one table but a next of two or three tables. I am forever uncomfortable. Maybe the host was not comfortable with us.

5 A woman in Wales left her child in a parked car on a slipway. (Reported in an online newspaper 20 March 2018.) When the mother came out of the building, the car was gone. She thought the car had been stolen with the child inside. That's one possible bad outcome. Another is that the animal or child interferes with the handbrake. the sad outcome was that the car was found under water.

The morals are:
1 School pupils should not touch other people's property.
2 You do not bully.
3 You do not dare others to take risks nor take risks yourself.
4 You only stand on surfaces designed for people to stand on them. You don't take risks. You only sit on chairs designed for people to sit on them.
5 Do not leave children or animals in parked cars.

Schools should have lists of actions pupils should take, and actions pupils should not take.

Useful Warning Websites

Angela Lansbury, author, parent, tutor, teacher. Please share links to your favourite posts.

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Sunday, July 09, 2017


How I Won Best Table Topics Ribbon for an impromptu speech on Collaboration

At Harrovian Speakers club on Monday July 3rd, 2017 I was the best table topics speaker ribbon for an impromptu speech on Collaboration.

I said:

I helped organize a session on mentoring at the Club Officer training. Only two people at this (Harrovians Speakers club) meeting, Kavita and me, were there, so it will be news to you
this was a collaboration from the start.

My speech on mentoring at HOD Toastmasters club had seen by Kavita, Area Director,  who asked me to run a session demonstrating mentoring at the Club officer Training, attended by committee members of the four clubs in the area.

Kavita said it was a 15 minute spot, which I could share with two members of my mentoring committee, Loran and Ruth. Easy. I only had to speak for five minutes. Easy. I'd given sessions on mentoring previously using HQ slides.

I just needed to check that Ruth and Lorna and I did not overlap. I emailed Ruth and Lorna and asked one of them to speak on mentoring advantages for clubs, and mentors, and mentees. and one to speak on the challenges of pairing up mentors and mentees. They both emailed back, useful information. But both were away on the training date.

So I emailed Indra, who was my original mentor, and had done mentoring sessions with me previously. I want away on holiday, leaving Indra to liaise with Kavita. I told Kavita I had no time to make new slides. So she asked a member of an in house club to make slides.

On the night it was a great success. We needed with my calling Indra on stage, demonstrating taking a selfie of mentor and mentee, which is done in Singapore. Six people collaboration for a successful session.

Angela Lansbury, B A Hons, CL, ACG.

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How I Won Best Evaluator ribbon for evaluating a first speech

I won the best evaluator ribbon for my evaluation of Fabrizio's Icebreaker first speech at Harrovian Speakers club, a Toastmaster International club. Date July 3, 2017 Monday at the church hall of St Lawrence's Church.

"Fabrizio, well done for giving the Icebreaker speech, and rehearsing it with your mentor, me. Fabrizio completed the objectives of the first project in the Speech Manual. He found skills he had, and demonstrated to us, a confident speaker whose speech flowed.

"He gave a speech which combined a first speech which introduces us to the speaker, and a later speech, on motivating an audience to succeed at something. He told us how he sought success, was a perfectionist, which is why he joined Toastmasters to improve his speaking. That's a goal we share.

"He began by engaging the audience with a question, put your hands up, those of you who want to be perfect and think you are perfect. Hands went up and down and people laughed. Nobody wants to boast.

"It's great to engage the audience with a question, and to make a joke.

"Now, I'll tell you a secret. I'm his mentor and heard the first version of his speech. They say there are three versions of every speech, the one you prepared, the one you gave and the one you wish you had given. His verist prepared version told us three things about him. Fist his Italian origin, which explains his name, and he goes on holiday to Italy. Secondly that he lives in Mill Hill. Thirdly that he has a Hamster. I'd have liked personal stories, of his success. Was moving to Mill Hill a success. Was keeping a hamster a success. Plus props. A map of Italy or a picture of Mill Hill or his Hamster. Maybe he had succeeded in finishing his speech by rehearsing it to his hamster.

"His ending quoting Mohammed Ali was good. But I've forgotten it already. In order for us to remember the quotation, maybe give it out as a slide or a handout, or a business card with a quotation.

"This speech can be used again later as part of a motivational speech. I'd love to hear it again as a revised first speech, with more details about his success. Well done, on completing a first speech."

To keep a record of ribbons I have won, and what for and when, this is what I do:
1I write out the details on a self-adhesive address label which I stick on the back of the ribbon.
2 I frame the ribbon.
3 I make a note when I have my evaluation recorded in my leadership manual.
4 I photograph myself receiving the ribbon.
5 I write a blog post about what I said to win.
6 I keep a tally in my diary of the number of ribbons won during the year.

I have more than 50 ribbons won in the UK where I belong to two clubs, HOD and Harrovians, which meet two or three times a month, so I go to a Toastmasters meeting four or five times a month. That is when I am in the UK.

I spend a lot of time in Singapore and also on at least two other overseas trips a year. In Singapore I belong to Braddell Heights Advanced Toastmasters Club. I have additional ribbons framed in Singapore where I attend a Toastmasters meeting almost every night for a month or more each year.

In the UK have run out of space for picture frames not he wall, and room in the frames for ribbons. Therefore I am slotting ribbons into spaces around pictures.

Angela Lansbury, B A Hons, ACG CL 

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Thursday, May 18, 2017


Humorous Speech on Singapore, Shoes and Shell

The first time I gave this speech at Harrovians Toastmasters on Monday May 15, 2017, I just clomped around pretending to be in men's shoes. The part of the speech people most enjoyed was my climbing about wearing imaginary men's shoes.

When I gave the speech the following Thursday, I thought, 'I should have brought with me a pair of men's shoes. Too late.'

On the other hand, there were men in the room wearing men's shoes. Several were unsuitable, white trainers, not what actually happened. I had been given a pair of men's large black rigid office shoes.

So I went up to the Toastmasters of the Evening in the middle of the speech and asked him, 'Can I wear your shoes?'

One person in the audience suggested on the feedback form the 'Evaluation Slip' that it would be better for me to have brought the shoes with me.

I thought that actually asking a man who was reluctant to help to take off his shoes and give them to me, would be more like the real situation. It was more realistic. More absurd. And funny.

The video doesn't show the positive reaction of the audience. Afterwards, the Table Topics master told me, "People were crying with laughter!"

Angela Lansbury, CL, ACG.

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Monday, May 15, 2017


Speech How To Catch A Taxi in England, America, Singapore, Japan and Cambodia - a humorous speech by Angela Lansbury

I'm going to tell you
how to hail a taxi in Japan and Singapore.
How to talk to a taxi driver in Singapore.
How to find a taxi in Cambodia.

I could sum it up:
1 I could say, you hail a taxi in Japan and Singapore like this:
2 I could say be positive, that you tell a taxi driver how much you admire Lee Kwan Yew, who is dead.
3 I could tell you just let your hotel order you a taxi in Cambodia.
But that would not be entertaining. So I'm going to tell you three, personal, entertaining stories.

In England you stop a car by standing in the road and raising your hand like this. Don't do that in Japan. they don't stop for pedestrians.

In Britain and the USA you beckon, with the back of your hand towards the approaching vehicle or person.

Not in Japan or in Singapore. You make a motion as if patting a dog.


The best taxi I had was at the airport in Cambodia. The taxi driver met us at the airport and insisted carrying both my wheeled bags across the car park, across a second car park, across a third car park and out into the street. I thought, he's going to hail a taxi. Or walk all the way because the taxi has broken down.

I demanded, "where's the taxi?"

He pointed down the road. "Here it is?" We walked towards a stretch limousine. I thought, I hope it's not that. It'll cost a fortune. We were met by one at Heathrow returning from our honeymoon. We thought it was a treat. It was a mistake. We spent weeks trying to prove we had not ordered a huge and hugely expensive car.

Behind it was past a big Mercedes. I thought, maybe.

Then a small rusting car with a missing wheel. No, it won't go.

Finally he stopped beside a motorbike pulling a cart; a rickety rickshaw big enough for two large midgets. It had a flapping canopy and open sides you could fall out of if you didn't cling on when it swerved around a corner, overtook at an angle, or did a quick U-turn across six lanes of traffic..

The tuk-tuk is old and traditional. It looks romantic from a distance of half a mile. Close up you can see that the paint has peeled off.

"My tuk-tuk," he said proudly.
(Show picture.)

He hoists four suitcases up onto the back ledge, unsecured. I now have to climb in. It's a bit like mounting a horse. A kind of running board like we had on cars in the nineteen fifties. A ledge you have to jump over. A narrow seat. A post to hang onto. No seat belt.

Inside, you can see that the interior of the roof it is romantically covered with advertisements for restaurants and tours in much smarter vehicles, such as air conditioned buses, a funeral carriage, and the airline to fly us back to where we came from.
He puts on his helmet. It's good to know he will be protected, if he falls off. Although we won't be.

We rev off. We have lift off. That's to say, my hat has lift off. I can either hold onto the pole, or hold onto the hat. I have to put the hat in my bag.

My husband's baseball cap from Italy rolls away under a nearby bus. after the bus passes the hat must have disappeared and done a runner, or a roll into a nearby ditch, because it is never seen again. My empty water bottle, goes the same way, adding to the litter left behind by tourists in Cambodia.

I thought this is a joke. It's about four miles. Towed along behind a motor bike. he is a very good driver. He manages to overtake two lanes of traffic and pull in second before we were about to be hit by an upcoming coaches going in both directions in the fast lane. He avoids other tuk-tuks doing you turns, women crossing the six lane highway with water buckets on their heads, groups of primary school children in pairs holding hands, a crawling baby, who mother is towing two more toddlers, and a posse of teenage goats zigging across the road, giggling, playing dare.

The roads signs are all in Cambodian. We have no idea whether we are going to out hotel or being kidnapped because when we call to him he can't hear. He can't hear because of the hooting traffic, music from the restaurants we pass, the braying animals, the creaking of the tuk-tuk, the helmet. In any case he doesn't speak much English.

By the way, I spell tok tuts T U K T U K. Spell checker keeps turning it into T U T  T UTS.

There are hundreds of tuk-tuks in Cambodia. In Siem Reap there are no public buses. We presume that is to preserve the jobs of the tuk-tuk drivers. If you want to be a taxi driver, go to Cambodia. You do not need the knowledge. You can probably find a tok-tuk on its side in a ditch. All it needs is a couple of wheel, buy yourself a helmet and you are in business.

You might think I would be glad to lose my tuk-tuk driver. We told out driver we wanted to meet him at the Ankor Wat temple gate where he left us.

He said he wasn't allowed to wait an hour. The police would move him on and sending him to a car park. He points to a car park. We exchange phone numbers. But our phone won't connect to the local phone network.He tell us we an ask any other tok-tuk driver to phone his number because tok-tuks are always losing their passengers. It happens several times a day.

The first time we came back, he was not in the car park. Even if he was, when we left him there were about twenty tuk-tuks. We could have walked along the line. When we came back an hour later, there were about two hundred tuk-tuks. They weren't even still. They kept moving around. Our driver, about five foot with a moustache and a black tee shirt. two hundred other drives with about five foot with a moustache, many with black tee shirts, disappointing, not hours, and others with different colour tee shirts, discouraging, can't be ours, unless he has changed clothing.

The next time I lose a driver is near a Buddha. I say that I'll meet him near the Buddha. I go into entrance A. But it is a one way system. I come out of entrance B. Where is the Buddha. Round th road to the right. After tone minutes of running I read the buddha. No a tok tok to be seen. It is a different Buddha.  I ask if there is another Buddha. Yes, they enthuse, many Buddhas.

If you can sell a tracking service for a tuk-tuk, you'll be in business.
Tracking already exists for saloon car taxis in Singapore. In Singapore there's an ap. When you call an uber driver, the ap shows you the progress of your taxi along the nearby streets on its way to collect you.

The morals are:
1 Keep track of your taxi.
2 Photograph the vehicle and driver.
3 Establish the time when you will meet and the name of your meeting place.

Angela Lansbury, member of Harrovians and HOD in London, England and Braddell Heights Advanced in Singapore.

Another Taxi speech
How to plan the perfect taxi trip to the airport.
Allow extra time for potential delays
Taxi / Airport Transfer Disasters
    On the way to Heathrow airport we were stuck behind a funeral procession, the hearse and two more stretch black limousines, all doing under 20 miles an hour. In front was a marching band, a brass band, the Salvation Army. Their headquarters was just around the corner.

Taxi Success
   Luckily our driver was able to turn right into a handy slip road and zoom up parallel, then cut back into the road ahead of them.
   I imagined trying to explain why we had missed our flight, "We were stuck behind a hearse!" No need.

Some countries' airports have fixed rate shuttles and taxis where you pay in advance and get a ticket. Look for these in Singapore and KL.

London - Heathrow and step free
What is the alternative to an expensive taxi?
From London Heathrow there are underground trains but you need luggage you can pull along the walk to the station, along corridors and up and down steps. London also has some all night buses but limited routes. If you plan on using these, either definitely or only in case of emergency or delay, find a hotel on the route.

Money change for taxis at Heathrow is expensive. It may be cheaper to get money from a machine or from your bank, but you may need to order money from your bank a week in advance.

In Singapore when drivers change over (twice a day) the new driver often has no change.

You do not tip drivers in Singapore nor in China. In fact it is frowned upon. Locals think you are queue jumping or bribing, being condescending, or in China they might lose their jobs for taking bribes. Australia also has a no tipping culture. People are paid a proper wage and do no expect tips.

You don't tip a bus driver or bus ticket collector in London.

In some countries drivers will be pleased to have American dollars. Some taxis take credit cards.

Could you be an uber driver? If you think it's not worth the money, the hassle, the stress, you might appreciate your taxi more.

Sorry, I have to go, my taxi's waiting.

To sum up, plan routes, payment, cash, tips and alternatives. Have a great taxi, or non-taxi trip.

Angela Lansbury B A Hons is a travel writer, photojournalist.

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Saturday, March 04, 2017


My Winning Table Topic (Impromptu Speech) on Following Rules versus Fun

Problem Darren Tay gave a session at Thomson Toastmasters club. When you are in a contest most speakers will opt for the conventional approach. If you can say the opposite you will stand out as different and original. (Plus memorable! Have been a judge many times, I know how important the memorable speech is when you go to pick the first place speaker. I shall write another post on judging competitions.) When I heard the table topic - fun or following rules, I remembered a recent death reported in the Singapore newspaper ('Today')I had an instant reaction of almost outrage. A little voice inside me was shouting, "NO, NO, NO!" I had been shy about pushing myself forward to speak. An official had tried to make me sit in the back row. I took that as a message that I should allow the club members, officials, and guests who were relatives and supporters of speakers to speak and be seen. But I had spoken to Darren in the interval, was wearing my red dress (to encourage myself more than be noticed.) To my surprise others opted for the choice of one of 28 numbers on the screen. I knew I wanted to answer the topic. My answer was: No - this is a recipe for disaster, Rules are there for a reason. How many of you read this week about the boy who died jumping over the barrier? (Hands went up.) I am a mother. How many of you are mothers? How many of you are fathers? (Don't you feel for the parents of the boy who died?) You are all potential mothers and fathers or grandparents and know how your parents would feel if you died. This accident would not have happened if the people involved had said: We should obey written and understood rules. Just ask yourself, would my parents do this? Would my teacher or had teacher do this. Would anybody in charge, an responsible person do this. If not, don't do it. There are many ways to have fun. You can play monopoly, play cards, do things which are fun but not dangerous. Live to have fun another day, have fun today, tomorrow, and your whole life. (Be safe, safety first.) Follow that rule. Tip To see Darren Tay's prize winning speech go to: Angela Lansbury, author and speaker. Member of Harrovian Speakers, HOD Speakers, Braddell Heights Advanced Speakers. Author of: Quick Quotations Who Said What When



Should you give positive or negative messages?

Problem I struggle with my natural caution to give upbeat messages. How do you turn a negative story into a positive one, such as a story about your deceased grandparent or parent? The same question arises for an uncle, child, friend, acquaintance, or stranger you read about in a newspaper. They are all strangers to the audience. But the speaker can depress himself or herself, as well as the audience. Stories 1 My Story I have come out of Toastmasters meetings and for at least five years after the deaths of my mother, uncle, and father, which happened in overwhelming succession, I found that even an apparently positive speech mentioning them revived painful memories. 2 An Icebreaker Speech Where The Man Telling His Life Story Cried I went to a Toastmasters International meeting at an in-house club in Singapore. We had only one speech. The speaker spoke about his parent who had encouraged him to travel overseas and saved to help him. That relative had died. He started crying in the middle of the speech. He sat down. After much encouragement to tell the rest of his speech, after a senior member said we would allow him a minute to recover, we momentarily moved on to another announcement by a senior member, then he got up and finished his speech. That's another challenge - what do the organisers do? Looking back on the event, I would say that a new speaker at a new club needs a mentor. Ideally first write the speech, then record it. Then read it three times. By this time, the speaker should have revealed if any part of the speech is too troubling. The vocabulary can be changed to more positive words. Or cut out the parts and only imply the death. For example, instead of saying: "Then my mother died. After that ..." Start a sentence positively. For example: "I still remember her last encouraging words to me ... :" The speaker telling their life story can contains events which upset the audience. Darren Tay's Take On Positivity I went to a training session run by Singapore' champion speaker, Darren Tay, who won the world Championship of public speakers in 2016, above 30,000 members of Toastmasters International worldwide. He had won his club contest, then the area contest, then the division contest, then the district contest, the semi-finals, and finally the Finals. He said at one point, "Many of you probably known this already, but my message will reinforce it." He told me that you end or focus on the positive message from the person who has passed away. (Passed away is a British phrase - American say passed on or simply passed - as if they have passed a gatepost or finishing line and are still on the other side.) Author Angela Lansbury, B A Hons, member of Harrovian Speakers in London, England, HOD Speakers in London, England, and Braddell Heights Advanced Speakers in Singapore. Author of: Quick Quotations for Successful Speeches. (Quotations by subject matter.) Who Said What, Where, When (Quotations by day of the year; plus birth and death dates and brief biography summary of people who on that day were born, died, married, or featured in a notable event.) See my books on and

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Fulfilling Objectives

Problem Somebody on linkedIn asked what other clubs would do about a member who completed the ten basic speeches without fulfilling objectives. Answers You could have a once a year meeting in which objectives are described for each member. The opening speech at each meeting could explain objectives. (For example, toastmaster of the evening could explain how the evaluator will introduce the objectives first, then the speech will be evaluated. You could devise a system of points, like a the judging criteria, which gives objectives. Then give a table topics session in which people demonstrate speeches fulfilling or not fulfilling objectives. Alternatively, each time you open a meeting, give a pep talk on meeting objectives, and ask evaluators to say whether the speech met objectives (as part of recommendations - still ending on a positive and encouraging note. Or ask the General Evaluator to speak at the beginning about fulfilling objectives. Or hold a session about objectives and how the club can improve. Ask the 'failing' member for their opinion. Once you know the reason, you can bring that up as an objection to following objectives, and get all the members to suggest ways - even to promise to try to fulfil objectives. Does the member actually have a manual (maybe they have lost it - or they are preparing speeches at the last minute - or they are preparing speeches for work which don't fit the manual. I think a sample of speeches fulfilling the objectives would be good. I might do this for my next table topics session. Angela Lansbury, author and speaker.

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