Sunday, April 24, 2022


Is it fair and helpful to belong to two clubs? And a speech contestant in two clubs?

 Dual memberships can benefit members. It is important if you are the second dual club not to criticize the 'rival' club, or the member for still being a member of the other club, or to blame them for just joining you to enter a contest. Any member who joins your club should be invited to every meeting. If they cannot attend, follow up with phone calls so they still feel part of the club. 

If you act like their constant friend, they will want to see you. If you act like you have forgotten them, they may forget you. You have a member. It is easier to keep a member than find a new one.

I have heard somebody complain that a member just joined their club to enter a contest and then left. 

Angela Lansbury with trophy from Division S, District 80, Singapore.

1 Repeating speeches is one way to improve and finalists have often given their speeches at many clubs. This person didn't just come to practice his speech without paying at your club. This member paid you. I have seen two contestants who gave dreadful speeches at a club but after doing the same speech again at other clubs were completely transformed into winners at the next level and beyond.

2) Many good clubs either train their contestants, or hold a public feedback session before the contest. Did you do this? If so, everybody benefitted.

If not, you still benefitted if you asked your members to watch their member competing, got them interested in contests, and encouraged them to consider entering, or judging, or just watching contests and learning.

3) The same or other clubs might hold a debriefing session where the contestant who goes on to compete again gets feedback. So every time a contestant competes, they are improving from feedback, and other members improve by observing.

4) You can use your member's win in publicity. If you coached your contestant, they can write on Facebook how your help enabled them to win.

Did you invite them to rehearse the speech at your club the week or month before? Maybe your feedback helped.

Even if you said nothing, the practice of being on time will have helped.

The club where they were a winner can place news of 'our member's win' on Facebook, fliers, websites and elsewhere.

(People in the other club can also say that their member won, because their member has come to meetings and given feedback about what it is like at different levels of contests, and tricky things such as keeping to time, being audible.)

Did you invite the winner back to speak after the win to speak at the club about their success?

If not, or they were too busy, you can still analyze what your current, or past member, did to win a contest.

5) If you congratulate your winner privately and publicly and make a huge fuss of them, they might want to stay in your club. I was a member of two clubs and often won the second time. Maybe it was because I learned from my mistakes the first time.

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Monday, March 21, 2022


Look Co-ordinated - like The Vietnamese National Costume and Toastmasters Colours

When you are speaking, standing on stage, in a group photo, or sitting down, it is good to have a distinctive colour costume. Ideally it should co-ordinate with your complexion and hair or eye colour, or lipstick, or hat, matching belt, jewellery and accessories. Many big organizations have a uniform. This enables customers to identify staff. Think of airlines. And Supermarkets. Toastmasters has three colours which you can find on the Toastmasters International website. They sell tee-shirts with their logo. I have a red one. This goes with red lipstick. I should wear a red hair band. A scarf interferes with the logo or text by falling across it. ) I have noticed President and Toastmaster Shan Shan, who I see at many meetings wearing a blue Toastmasters tee-shirt with a button neck. 

I am not a fan of the open button neck. To me this is too casual. fine for the outdoors. I think Toastmasters International should present a more formal and official look. The motto is Where leaders are made. I think a leader should look like a leader.

At a big meeting, when you are lost and need help, directions to a room, or empty seat, it helps to identify the ushers who usher you in quickly.

Yes, you can see spare seats conveniently alongside or left empty in the front row. But the seat occupant might have slipped out to the toilet or to collect a prop or answer a phone call.  

That empty seat in the front row might have a paper on it saying, Reserved for President, Reserved for Speaker. So it helps to find an usher who knows which apparent empty seats won't cause you to play musical chairs throughout the meeting.

A plain colour outfit is a good background for a badge of the organisation, or a card with your name. A lanyard is also neat against a plain background, rather than obscuring a pattern on a dress.

Vietnamese Traditional Dressw
The Vietnamese traditional dress for ladies (and gentlemen - especially on formal occasions such as national days and weddings) is a long split sided tunic, in white, with matching white trousers, and a co-ordinating, and a conical (pointed centre) flattened (low and wide) coolie hat.

But why white! Yes, it looks clean, like a white shirt, like a white apron. 

But what happens when we are eating standing up at a cocktail reception? Or drinking coffee at a club meeting or conference at break time. You have to be careful not to spill or splash food and drink. Maybe you are careful. Then somebody backs into you! 

Even if you rush to wash off the stain, you may be left with a patch of darker colour from the liquid. Later you may see a faint stain has been left.

So, how about a Vietnamese outfit in a colour? 

Many clothes are imported from China, by enterprising entrepreneurs. I have nothing against that. It is all promoting the Vietnamese style, advertising trips to Vietnam.

Nowadays, similar outfits in various colours and fabrics are sold small shops along the shopping streets in the main cities of Vietnam. (I visited the second city, a base for visiting beautiful HaLong Bay.)

I was quite a large lady at that time, so a black outfit was more slimming. The colour looked better on me. Showed creases less.

Hid the fact that my top half is slightly lopsided. Looking in the mirror, some patterns drew attention to this. (Everybody is slightly different, left to right. With me this is accentuated by the fact that I was indina a car accident damaging my ribs and collar bone. Later another accident damaged my right arm).

Now that I have visited Vietnam, I can recognize the Vietnamese style. If I see one, reasonably priced, I try it, and maybe buy it. I add it to my stock of co-ordinated outfits for special speaking occasions.

Wikipedia gives you the spelling and pronunciation:
The áo dài (English pronunciation: /ˈˈd, ˈɔːˈd, ˈˈz/Vietnamese: [ʔaːw˧˦ zaːj˨˩] (North)[ʔaːw˦˥ jaːj˨˩] (South))[1][2] is a traditional Vietnamese national garment. Besides suits and dresses nowadays, men and women can also wear áo dài on formal occasions. It is a long, split tunic worn over trousers. Áo translates as shirt.[3] Dài means "long".[4] The term can be used to describe any clothing attire that consists of a long tunic, such as "nhật bình".

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Judging Good and Great Table Topics (Impromptu Speeches) and how yours could improve

My Club Experience As An Evaluator

I have been a project evaluator at many meetings, and an evaluator of table topics. (To enlighten those who are not Toastmasters, table topics are impromptu speeches, lasting two minutes. The subjects used to often be picked from the table at a physical meeting. Nowadays more often table topics are on a theme, on a numbered set of mystery slides when online). 

In a contest, every contestant receives the same topic.

My Contest Experience As A Judge

I have also been a judge and a tie breaker judge at many contests. 

I came second in an evaluator contest at Division  level, which is the third level, club, area, and then Divison. So I have given many speeches, judged many speeches, and listened to others giving prepared speeches, impromptu speeches and evaluations. (My win was on Saturday March 19th, 2022.)

My Experience As A Speaker

I have been a Toastmasters Member since 2004. I achieved  and have completed all 11 Pathways, each of which has 14 projects. Total 154. A few of these involve giving two speeches. Add 5 speeches per pathway. Another 55. About 200.

I have also attended several club officer trainings, workshops.

And watched the prize winners on YouTube.

What have I learned about table topics, and the winners and runners up and participants who weren't placed and judges?

1 The Questions

Great Questions - Challenging Questions

Cultural Questions - and Complicated Idioms

Americanisms - such as cookout

Watch out for words such as cookout. Unknown in the UK. Most of the world calls it a barbecue. In North America they have one word for food eaten and cooked outdoors, which is cookout, which is often cheap food such as hamburgers. However, it is different in the Deep South of North America. For them a cookout is exclusively cheap hamburgers and sausages. A barbecue is grander and lasts longer. A whole animal is roasted all day long, beef or pork, cometimes chicken as well. Deck chairs are provided to sit around - a grand occasion. Southerner invited to a BBQ expects solid meat, not cheap cuts mixed up with fat and bread. 

We had one question, if you were invited to a cookout, what would you bring. I thought the first contestant was asked, if you were invited to cookout, what would you bring. 

I could tell by the delay in answering that the people were considering. One responded: I don't know what a cookout is. When invited to a social event, I always take perfume. " I thought she mean as a gift. No. She continued, "I like to wear perfume to be sure I smell good. I would not want anybody to say, "Oh, you smell terrible."

Oh, dear, I thought. This is supposed to be a discussion of food. It has turned into a talk on body odour.

However, she continued, 'I would make sure that I wore something good. I have read that the best thing to wear is a smile. To sum up, I would always bring a smile and perfume."

In my opinion her answer was the most amusing and original.

I would have discussed how American and British English languages differ.

Let's look at other difficult questions.

2 The Disasters

At a Toastmasters meeting what could go wrong? Sometimes, as Language evaluator, I have photographed myself against a drawing of the Word of the day. Unfortunately, the text is reversed left to right. 

Seeing Red

You start with a welcome slide. It is in the club colours. Red. Unfortunately this signals 'stop' to all the speakers. 

Birthday Sounds At Country Club

We booked a country club. The country club asked: 'Do you need microphones?' 

The president over-ruled my cautious view that we should have them. He said, "We don't need them. We are Toastmasters."

On the night, the venue, which had told us we were the only booking, had two late bookings, one for a birthday and the other for a wedding.

Happy Birthday

The birthday party started singing Happy Birthday To You in chorus in the middle of a novice speaker's speech. The birthday party were happy. The contest speakers next door were unhappy.

After that, the wedding group started playing dance music.

Weddings. What could go wrong? Music? Dancing? Music?

MC At Wrong Wedding

At a hotel we had a French group visiting. 

I offered to translate.

We welcomed on stage a man in a red coat. 

I translate. I had a speech on wedding customs and I was dressed in white.

I translated, He says, 'What a pleasure it is to preside over our wedding. Where is the bride?"

I smiled, I said, 'He is speaking in French. He has a great sense of humour. He thinks I am the bride."

He insulted me, "You are the bride's mother? Mademoiselle Mathilde Lebranc. Grand ballroom." 

I told him, "Small ballroom. Wrong room. Pas ici.Not a wedding. Pas un mariage ici."

Candle Alight For Baby Blessing

Then our Hindu guest gave a speech about blessing his newborn baby. He walked around the table three times, after lighting a fire on the table. I didn't like this. The flames grew higher and higher. Then the fire alarm went off.

You could not hear anybody. Security appeared at the door. Everybody out. 

The fire brigade sirens appeared. 

An entire wedding group evacuated the restaurant. We waited half an hour.

The chef looked woebegone. I said, "sorry about that."

He said, "We have to cook the whole thing again."     

Upside Down

One contest speaker spoke upside down.


A test speaker was on mute.

The speaker could be heard clearly, but we saw the ceiling.

Not Seen

Another speaker spoke clearly. But we could see only the carpet.

Sports Centre

Another contest in the UK was in a health centre. At half past the hour the classes changed over. A parade of women - wrapped in towels - walked past the back of the improvised stage. 

The male master of ceremonies was open mouthed. He looked like he was watching a tennis match. 

He kept recovering, then another woman appeared, clutching a slipping towel.

Children's Ballet Class

Another Toastmasters meeting above a pub in London ran over time. 

A ballet class had booked the room. As the president tried to present the best speaker award, little seven-year-old girls filled up the spaces around the outside of the room. They took off their coats, and dresses, and revealed their ballet costumes. They took off their boots and revealed their tights. They began their warm up stretches.

The President continued talking, not the least bit distracted. He was the only person not distracted. 

Our meeting video was still running. I prayed, 'President, please stop the meeting We are about to be arrested by the police.'

Such is life. If I didn't attend another meeting, I would still have a lifetime's memories and stories.

I would love to win this contest. But winning or not winning a contest, is just one wave, in the ups and downs of life. If your favourite doesn't win, there's always another year. Learn from other people's mistakes.

If your family is watching, I apologize. I am going to tell you two things, which are - uh! - a little rude.

 If I do proceed to the next round, hope I shall remember to remove the lapel microphone before going to the toilet. One speaker didn't. During the interval, we heard tinkling, and flushing. She came back, beaming, ready to start her speech, and said to the stoney faced chairperson, 'What's the matter - am I late?'

The chairperson said, "I'll tell you the problem, later.'

Another contestant unmuted and told her, "Your lapel microphone was broadcasting to us from the toilet."

The French Prince's Revelations

The French Prince who showed us group of journalists around his chateau. He said we had only time to see the front.

 I insisted, We must see the back, absolutment. 

He told everybody, I hope you liked the front of the house. Angela has insisted on seeing my backside.' 

I muttered, backside is what you sit on. You mean the back of the house. 

He did not understand me. But said, 'Angela definitely wants to see my backside. You can sit here and rest, while Angela follows me to see my backside.'

Table Topics Challenges

You are sometimes asked daft questions: what colour would you like to be? Which animal? (I'm not Hindu.)

What is your greatest fault? 

I'm not telling you that! 

If you insist. My greatest fault is avoiding answering the question.


What is the best sex you have ever had? 

I can't remember. 

Never mind the past. Let's talk about tonight!


At one contest, the challenging question was,

"How would you advise your boy scouts to use contraception - without describing any body part, nor using any technical term?" 

The winner said, 

"Boys, if you bought a new car you were very proud of, you would keep it covered by a waterproof jacket to protect it. When you mature as a man, you have a new gift, a body part, which you are very proud of, so you must always protect it, with a waterproof jacket."


I arrived late, with the help of my satnav, which I removed from the car so it would not get stolen. I sidled into the front row and sat down. As the proceedings resumed, they were interrupted by a robotic voice from my tote bag: 'You have reached your destination!'

The Hobby Horse Neighing

I gave a humorous speech about fear, using as my props a scarecrow and a horse which neighed when you pulled the ear. The trouble was, I forgot whether you pulled the left ear or the right ear, whether you pulled once or twice. I got the horse to neigh. Then I resumed my speech and it neighed again. I turned it off. Silence. I pressed again to be sure and it weighed again. In the end, I had to race over to the waste bin in the far corner where it continued neighing to itself at intervals. My horrified expression and the constant neighing had the audience in stitches.


On a serious note, a recent table topic was, be like water, adapt. Of the six contestants, two of them identified the fact that the quote was from Bruce Lee. I had forgotten that, although I have written two books of quotations, and Bruce Lee is one of my favourite film stars and heroes. 

I often use the judging forms to judge a speech, whether of not I am the real judge. It is good practice for when you are a judge, and reminds you of what to do in contests when giving a speech. I gave them both as extra point for identifying the quote.


Some of the speakers talked about water and how changing the course of water affected the landscape and flooding. Others talked about being in Toastmasters. I was listening for somebody to explain the transition or link between water in a river, and human life. I was also listening out for a personal story. Not just a lot of generalising.

'Of course, this is good. This is what we should all do. I agree with this statement. This applies to everybody." 

These statements could apply to any question and could be said by any speaker. If three people say variations on this, you are not learning anything new about life, or the speaker, or how the saying could affect your life. 

What you need are 1 A personal story or two. 2 A comment on the origin of the saying, and that it is now a metaphor or symbol. 3 A call to action. A summary ending with a powerful and decisive and specific call to action.


What if you can't discuss it? The subject is football, about which you know nothing?

Once the topic was football. We had three equally good or bad similar speeches about the pleasures of watching football. But the winner was a man who knew nothing about football. 

He was passionately against it, and its dominating TV. He described how he had tried to have a meal out with his wife. The pubs were full of people watching football. The seats were full. The TV was noisy. The audience kept shouting. They tried a restaurant. The restaurant had brought in a TV, especially so the customers - and staff - could watch the match. The man ended up going home to eat. 

He ended by listing all the things he would rather do than watch football. The last one was having a meal in a restaurant without having football on the TV.

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Monday, October 18, 2021


Halloween's Happy Prize-winning, Memorable Speech From Angela and Scary Stories from Others at Nee Soon South


Angela Lansbury in Halloween hat with black bats. Photo selfie by Angela Lansbury.

Halloween was the amusing subject of the questions in the table topics (impromptu speech) session at Nee Soon South Toastmasters Club online on Zoom. The President, Chan Ah Cheng had prepared interesting and challenging topics including: Share a scary incident; What would you offer as a healthy treat instead of sweets? What would you wear to a Halloween party. All three speakers were voted best speaker, the best evaluator was Isabella Tham and I won the vote for best table topics.

My questions was, What would you do with a pumpkin?

I answered: '(1) I would cut off the top using a pumpkin cutting kit bought from the nearest supermarket. Scoop out the inside to make food and drinks.

(2) Cut holes for the eyes, nose and mouth and set up a light inside - a candle. (I should have suggested a safer electric torch.)

(3) Then I would make a pumpkin fruit drink, pumpkin hot soup, and pumpkin pie. I would invite all of you to a pumpkin party!

(4) If we can't meet because of Covid, we could all party online, wearing orange. And I would have a vote for the best costume, to add interest and attract people along to our Halloween theme meeting -

(5) And the following meeting.'

Jolly TMD
Toastmaster of the Day, Lim Tong Lee, beamed with his usual bonhommie. He managed to make the usually serious President laugh. I wish I could remember his quip.

Language - Alliteration
Although I was not the language evaluator I did record two of his alliterations: 'humorous and heart-warming', and 'enriching and empowering'.

During the evening I noted only one grammatical oddity, the use of starting a sentence, Anybody wants? Whilst other languages can frame a question by taking a statement and adding a question mark at the end,The usual way to phrase a question in English is like this: Does anybody want ...?

The meeting had support from stalwarts such as Hakim. He spoke about how to keep children happy: by helping them to Zoom to parents who are away working, or isolating because of Covid.

Scary Army Night Walks
He also revealed that in the army the Night Walks for recruits are occasionally used as an opportunity to test their resolve or build boldness and team spirit by pranking them with a challenge. For example, a scary ghost sound or sight.

The reverse can also happen. A suspected prank can turn out to be a real emergency.

The table topics questions and speeches from Hakim and others helped me to recall the winning story from another meeting. A recruit sent on a relay run through a cemetery heard suspicious moaning. Should he run on? Was it a ghost? Or a prank - an ambush. He nerved himself not to run on, but to be fearless and practical, to investigate the source of the sound. The groaning noise turned out to be the genuine moans and calls for help from another cadet. The injured person was not from his group, but from an earlier team relay. The unlucky cadet had fallen in the dark. (Into a newly-dug open grave.) The injured man was grateful to be rescued! By our courageous cadet.

Facing Fear - Bank Robbers On An Island
I now, in retrospect, remember another favourite story I read in Singapore's newspaper, The Straits Times. Bank robbers in Malaysia carried off the money and stole a boat. They arrived with their loot on what they thought was a deserted island.

They did not know the island was used as an army cadet training ground.

Cadets, sent out on games, had been told to camouflage themselves on the beach.

The three (armed, desperate and dangerous?) bank robbers landed their boat. The robbers were shocked to suddenly be surrounded by a group of lads with machine guns!

The three army cadets, still believing this was just an exercise, acted tough. Having secured the miscreants, they proudly marched the three 'captive bank robbers' back to their commander.

He was astonished. Mission accomplished. By the brace cadets. They had passeded the test, succeeded beyond the widest dreams of themselves - and their commander.

Moral: Do not land on unmarked apparently deserted islands. Especially not around Singapore. you never know when conscripted cadets are playing capture the enemy.

One day I shall win a table topic or contest with this story.

The Next Nee Soon South Speakers' Meeting
Come along to the Nee Soon South club's next meeting, as usual the third Monday in the month, on November 22nd - it will be their contest evening with prepared and impromptu speeches in three exciting contests.

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Monday, September 27, 2021


Best Table Topic on Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud

Rainbow from Wikipedia

 I won best table topic speaker jointly on Friday September 24th 2021 in a Singapore Online Dynamic speakers' meeting. My topic was be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. I said:

We all want to be a rainbow in somebody else's cloud. And we'd all like somebody to be a rainbow in our cloud. Unfortunately, some people are clouds in our rainbow. My rule is three rains and you are out. I can't be a rainbow when somebody else is a perpetual cloud. Now the weather in the UK is variable. Cloud rain, cloud rain. But how do you distinguish a friend from an enemy? A friend is more rainbow than cloud. If somebody is a rainbow all your life, and you are their rainbow, then one day a cloud falls, you are ready to go to help. If they are a double cloud, they blot out your rainbow and you are no use to anybody. If you are one rainbow, you brighten one day. the next day they are in the cloud again. If you give a little extra, a double rainbow, enough is left over to brighten their tomorrow.

Sometimes complete strangers step in to help. I'd rather be a rainbow with somebody else's rainbow and make a double rainbow. 

Wouldn't that be gorgeous. I hope my speech is more rainbow than cloud, so I'll say the word rainbow twice, rainbow, rainbow, double rainbow. 

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Sunday, September 26, 2021


Humorous ideas of the week

Wiki. Public domain.

I considered starting a speech with. This is not me. I am a hologram. Or I am really a robot.

A travel section of a newspaper included an account of a self-flying plane. I had heard of autopilot. I am familiar with the monorail to the World Travel Market in London having no driver. (Saves strikes, trains not running because drivers are sick, and demands for more money.) I know planes can fly on autopilot. But imagine being in a plane with no pilot when something goes wrong and the automatic message keeps repeating or talking nonsense.

Imagine hearing the message: This the automatic pilot speaking speaking. We have not been granted permission to land land land. We are flying on to south North Korea. Correction, correction, correction. North Korea. 

In a UK synagogue magazine I found a list of amusing errors from schoolchildren. 

In case you are too tired to see the origin or English is not your first language I include in brackets afterwards what the child meant or confused.

The more memorable ones include:

 King Solomon had many wives and porcupines.  


Having one wife is called monotony. (monogamy. )

About the Author

Angela Lansbury, is a semi-retired travel writer still researching bucket list countries and seeking out the special, unusual, people, places,  landmarks, hotels, museums and trails, fabulous foods, recipes, clothes and online souvenir shopping.

Angela Lansbury is a member of Toastmasters International.

About the Author Angela Lansbury

The Author - Quick Quotations

Angela Lansbury B A Hons  is the author of ten books by regular publishers plus another ten self-published books. 

About Angela The Speaker & Trainer

Angela Lansbury is a teacher of English and other languages to Toastmasters clubs and businesses.

Braddell Heights Advanced Toastmasters Speakers Vice President  Public Relations, Immediate Past President. VPPR
Former Area Director S3. Club Coach for Nee Soon South Toastmasters Club.
Also Member of: TCA Toastmasters Club; Singapore Online Dynamic; Harrovians UK

Past meetings have included Garen Tee on using story telling in business, on . 

Recent meetings of BHA included an educational session on using Powerpoint for posters.
Next BHA meetings, always first Wednesday evening, 7 pm Singapore time. Next meeting is  the third Saturday afternoon, June 19th 2pm Singapore time.  Inauguration of the new committee was by the incoming Director of S, plus a lively speech on teamwork.

Next meetings will be on these dates (unless a national holiday in Singapore or worldwide)
Themes and word of the day are tentative

Theme/WOD Jubilant
WORKSHOPS & EDUCATIONAL SESSIONS (based on level one of Pathways)
1 Your first speech or role EASY ENGLISH LANGUAGE (Articles A and The, Plurals, Tenses, Pronunciation, Singlish)
Wed July 7th 
Saturday 17th
July 4rh American Independence Day.

1 Pathway Level 1 Introductory Speeches
2 Evaluations
Wed 4th
Sat 21

Wed 1st
Humorous Speech Contest
Table Topics Contest

Wed 6th
Sat 16th

Wed 3rd
Sat 20th Wed
Diwali Hindu Festival of lights Nov 4th.
Nov 25th American Thanksgiving.
Hanukah starts 28 Dec 8 days until Dec 6. Jewish Festival of lights, celebrated by Jesus.

Wed  1st (Hanukah if not previous month. Festival foods.)
Sat 18th
Speech on 

Wed Jan 5th New beginning - forget the past
Sat 15 Long-term plans = for the future/Chinese New Year (CNY for short)

Theme Love and romance - Chinese New Year
Feb 1st and 2nd are holidays - do we move this Feb 2nd meeting date?)

Wed 2nd (Valentine's Day Mon Feb 14)
Sat 19th

Wed 2nd
Sat 19
March 1st is Christian Pancake day. 

Wed 6th
Sat 16th
Muslim Ramadan 1-30 April.
Jewish Passover (Seder meal=Last supper) April

Wed 4th
Sat 21

Wed 1st
Sat 18th

Jul 6, Jul 16, Aug 3, Aug 20, Sept 7, Sept 17, Oct 5, Oct 15, Nov 2, Nov 19, Dec 7, Dec 17.
Angela The Blogger 

Angela has several blogs speeches, comedy and song writing and organizing, writing intermittently, but writes almost daily on these three:

See many varied posts such as the post on sculptor Tom Harvey.

Please share links to your favourite posts. 

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Wednesday, September 22, 2021


London Underground

What to see

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Monday, September 20, 2021


Going Overtime - how the speaker and meeting host can prevent this

Speakers On Radio Programmed Must Keep Time

I often go out of time at meetings. I have not pinned the timer.

At a meeting of a club outside Toastmasters it is up to the chairman to tell the speaker the allocated time and when they should wind up. The speaker needs to have a quick final line.

When I used to speak on radio, they would stop on the hour for the news.

At every something o'clock I had to stop. No chance of going over time. The news was on the hour. My microphone was switched off and they went on to the news.

I learned to ask for a signal from the interviewer, and to have my final remarks ready. I also learned to give out my message, such as the contact details of the museum or restaurant I was promoting, well in advance of the end. Or to mention it at the start, and ask the interviewer to ask me for it again just before the end.

Contest Speaker Over Time

In a recent contest as a speaker I went over time. 

I was not asked to pin the timer.

I told the Contest Chair that he should have asked all the contestants to pin the timer.

The Contest Chair who was new to the role, argued, 'It is not in the rule book.'

I did not pin the timer. I tried to.

My husband says, "If you practised your speech enough, you would not go over time".

In District 80, Singapore, the contest chairs are meticulous about asking everybody, 'are you ready?' Then the contest chair asks each contestant to pin the timer. 

There are two ways to pin the timer. You can go into gallery view and select the three dots on the person listed as timer.

Or look in the participants for the timer. (And pin them?)

The meeting host can also pin the timer. The SAA should make sure the timer is labelled, listed on the program, or everyone is informed of the timer's name, so it is known to the contestants. 

In the breakout room you cannot see the timer. Then you go into the contest and are introduced immediately to do table topics. If the timer is away during the break, you cannot do anything as a speaker unless the contest chair tells you who is the timer, which may have changed to timer 2 at half time.

The VPE or Contest Organizer should pin the timer for everybody. Also known as spotlighting the timer.

SAA and TImer

What should the contest SAA do? Pin the timer for everybody.

Useful Websites

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My winning answer to table topics question: which one sense would you rather keep if you had to lose all but one?


At Harrovians Speakers' club in London (on Zoom on the internet), September 20th 2021 I replied:

Sight, definitely. Because I am clumsy, and inclined to fall over, too, I need my sight to see where I am walking, outdoors and indoors. 

Also on Zoom at Toastmasters meeting I can follow what is going on with the ticker tape speech to sound at the bottom of the screen. If I have to speak the same can happen. 

I admire Helen Keller. She was able to give speeches when she was both deaf and blind.   People tend to hear and see less well as they get older. /Most people lose some of their sight or hearing as they get older.

My parents both lost some of their hearing when they got older. So did my beloved uncle, but he was able to play the violin. 

I use some sight now to understand what people are saying. You know that if you put me on mute or if I simply mouthed thank you, you could see what I was saying. The same applies (offline) when driving. You can see if another driver mouths thank you. Or another two word message, when I shall describe as get lost as families may be watching. 

So, to sum up, sight is what I would rather keep.

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