Saturday, August 22, 2015


Dress to Impress - Colours For Travellers As Guests and Potential Guest Speakers

Always be prepared to give a speech. You might be invited to after you have told an acquaintance or friend that you give speeches. You might be invited to as a VIP guest or stranger at a small gathering. You might feel the urge to do so, seeing that the organiser of an event has not been thanked.

At a French informal banquet, as I spoke French, after a toast to the English travel writers from our French hosts, I was nudged by the person next to me, who said, "You speak French. Speak on behalf of all of us." I stood up while the photographer from the local French newspaper took a picture. My first thought was, am I dressed for dinner in France in sufficient and suitable chic for a chateau?

Am I wearing matching ear-rings, bracelet and ring to co-ordinate with my watch? Am I wearing matching belt, bag and shoes, matching in colour and fabric? Am I wearing suitable shoes (closed toes? Is black right for evening in summer? Are my bra strap and slip straps invisible and/or do-ordinating with my evening blouse?

Is my outfit contrasting with the colours of the wall paper. Am I wearing a clashing pattern, so I am a riot of roses, in red, swirling, looking loud, against a neat square geometric pattern in refined and muted rust colours conveying the historical and elegant atmosphere which I have invaded?

After enquiring amongst the committee, family, or organisers whether somebody else plans to give a speech or vote of thanks, so you don't duplicate or steal from their limelight, you could offer to do so ensuring that you are announced and there is quiet. You also have time to check on spellings and pronunciations of names. Are you dressed for the occasion, to give a speech and be photographed as the VIP or visitor?

Each traveller and each country has different likes and colour traditions. The most obvious examples are weddings and funerals. It is handy to pack clothes suitable for day and evening, ordinary daytime and luxury evening surroundings. Even when travelling on a budget to India I was on a flight delayed at Heathrow airport several hours and a fellow traveller invited me to his wedding, after several house of conversation and sympathy. By then I knew his name (Patel) but not the name of the bride and groom.

As a travel writer on press trips, I was often marched around a building site or camp site in the morning by the tourist board, then taken to a dinner opened by a speech from the mayor at the five star hotel which had offered us overnight accommodation or sponsored the trip. The promised time to change and shower in between before dinner often vanished during the traffic delay on the motorway.

I learned to have spare shoes in my tote bag, and a glamorous scarf and necklace or ear-rings to cover or enhance a plain black or white tee-shirt, or tee-shirt with embossed gold pattern or wording.

Wedding  Colours
Wedding colours in the UK, UK and many countries are white for the bride (copying the fashion set by Queen Victoria). White was not previously the fashion, which only the rich could afford.

If you visit costume galleries you may be surprised to see that in earlier times a bride wore her best outfit, which in days before washing machines would have been in a dark colour. Only the rich could afford a dress worn only once, liable to show stains, unsuitable for any other occasion.

Guests don't wear white if the bride is wearing white. It causes confusion. Why? Because, often half the guests are from the groom's side and don't know the bride, have not seen her for many years, or have never seen her before being distant (on the family tree, or distant by living miles away), relatives or work colleagues of her family.

As for waiters and photographers and bystanders, they are equally likely to be confused. And the bride wants to be centre of attention in the photos. Easier to find her in a crowd and greet her or say goodbye.

However, in Asia brides often wear other colours such as red. As for guests, why not white? White is used for the shroud in a funeral, for the dead to go to the afterlife pure.

As a speaker, may your words and clothes always make a good impression.

Angela Lansbury, travel writer and speaker.
Please look at and like my other posts here on travel as well as elsewhere on the net.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Dress to impress - colours or black and white or grey?

At Harrovian toastmasters I am asked a 'Personal question'. Why do you wear such bright colours?.

1 It keeps me awake.

2 I get attention when I walk on stage.

3 I am remembered.

4 In Singapore when I was teaching English as a second language, the head teacher told me not to wear the same colour scheme each day and not to wear black and white but different colours each day.

(I'll expand on this later.)
Angela Lansbury author and speaker.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015


My award-winning speech evaluation Aug 18 2015 of Thulassi's speech on diabetes

Thulassi has such a soothing voice I could listen to her all evening, even if I couldn't understand a word she said - I just love listening to her! I can see you and everybody smiling and nodding because you agree with me. Don't you? Yes!

Her subject, diabetes, is both technical and scientific and personal. I was interested because my late father had diabetes, so I might develop it. I wondered how many other people in the room were as interested as I was.

I thought she could have started by finding out, asking, 'how many people have a family member who has diabetes, or a friend or neighbour or colleague?'

Even if only one hand goes up, that proves, and she could say, everybody in the room knows somebody who is affected - the person who put up their hand.

I'd like to know and hear from her a statistic or generalisation. I received through the post this morning a leaflet from he Diabetes UK Society, saying that the numbers of people affected in the UK have doubled.

Doubled compared with what?  I can't remember. You have to be careful with half-remembered dramatic statistics. Doubled since when? The statistician in my family asks me, compared to what? This month versus last month, this month compared to the same month last year, this year versus last year, this year compared with ten years ago.

Her project was practising using slides. Her slides well researched. Very technical.

I suggest she needs to add a slide with the glossary of technical terms used. I didn't understand ........... (several technical terms and acronyms).

I'd always worried what went into drugs. She answered my worst fears. Insulin drugs used to be made with bits of pigs. However, now production is safer. You could also see the production workers'  safety masks.

The slide I liked most was the men in masks making insulin. She used the positive word safety. Reassuring.

To sum up, great delivery, of a subject which affects many of us - show us how many of us. Several great slides, just add one with a glossary.

Then you'll have perfected a well-delivered, well-researched, reassuring speech about how we can trust scientific advances to improve the lives of those in our community.

Her summary was good. Announce you are summarising. I could see when she started summarising everyone was sitting with their hands raised. Make sure, as you near the end, everyone's ready, prepared to applaud you.

One final tip, for your last line, your punchline, slow down, pause, emphatically, pick out one word in your sentence which is vital and make that word loud and clear. Put the most important word at the end of your last sentence, as I am now, so that people know, this is - the - end! Thalami, great speech!

(I smiled and nodded towards her and applauded, pausing, as the audience continued clapping) to shake the hand of the Toastmaster of the evening (TME).

Meetings Dates
Evaluation given at Harrovians Speakers' Club, meeting Stanmore at Glebe Hall, Glebe Road, usually on the first, third and fifth Mondays, except when a bank holiday changes the schedule. See website for details. Websites exist for individual clubs and Toastmasters International Find a club. Speakers' clubs are in more than a hundred countries worldwide, in many cities of the USA where the organisation started nearly a hundred years ago in 1924, as well as Europe and Asia and many parts of the world. If you don't have a club in your country, social group, community centre or workplace, you can ask Toastmasters International for help. If there's an experienced toastmaster in your country, they can get free starter kits for about 20 members to help you launch a new club.

Next month, September, is the time of the Toastmasters' International autumn contests, Humorous Speech Contest and Table Topics Contests. These contests are open to the public, occasionally free to contestants, often free to guests if held in a local community centre, sometimes a charge to members and guests because of the cost of hiring a large venue and catering.

Angela Lansbury B A Honours, past president of Harrovians' Speakers' Club,
author of:
Quick Quotations for speakers and writers;
Who Said What When (quotations for speeches every day of the year, featuring birthdays, famous last words, presidential speeches, anniversaries and events).

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