Archives for warrensheng

Andy Hammond: District Success Plan

Much of my focus this month has been on the District Success Plan (DSP) and the District Budget. The DSP sets our goals for the coming year, and in particular how together we will support the creation of new clubs and increase membership; how we will focus on serving current members to improve retention; and how we can support every club to deliver excellence to all our members. The budget provides the resources to support all that activity. Both the DSP and Budget will be submitted to the District Executive Council (DEC) and District Council in September. Details will be on our District website.

I did manage to get away from the PC for a little while, and travelled up to Worcester to join in the demo meeting run by Malvern Speakers, hosted by Worcester Mayor Jabba Riaz, a former Malvern member, and expertly managed by Steve Birch DTM. I also visited Sandwich Toastmasters in Kent on the very impressive Discovery Park. Thanks to President Simon Teague for the very warm welcome.

I am writing this in my hotel room in Chicago, where the District “Trio” are attending the International Convention. Ahead of the actual convention, we spent Sunday interviewing the 18 candidates for roles on the International Board so that we can be better informed when casting your clubs’ votes. Monday and Tuesday were spent receiving our training as District Officers. It is really valuable to share ideas and experiences with our peers from all over the world.

Read More

Florian Bay: The Heroes Journey 1 – 70 – 100

Recently I had the pleasure of seeing Nuala, of London Victorians, deliver her her first Club Officer Training (COT) session as Area Director. Also in attendance was our current club President Eleanor. Both joined at the same time in 2015. It was a true privilege to see both blossom into confident speakers and leaders through Toastmasters. Their club provided them with a safe space to undergo their Heroes journey into public speaking and leadership confidence. A safe and supporting environment made it happen, just like it also nudged them in pushing their comfort zone outwards month by month and year by year.

This Heroes Journey is one we would like each member to experience this year and in all coming years. This is why as a District, we set the 1 – 70 – 100 vision to enable everybody to do it!

You, our members are at the core of the vision!

Supporting each other in achieving more will inevitably leads to more members renewing their membership to continue their Toastmasters journey. It takes more than 3 years for someone to truly grasp the nettle of Toastmasters leadership opportunities. Which is why we would like you and your clubs to do whatever you can to retain at least 70% of your members every year.

We would like each and every one of you to achieve at least one educational goal every year. Sounds impossible? Not it’s not! It only takes 4 speeches to achieve Pathways level 1, just 4 speeches … Something that can be done in just 3 months. All of you can push yourself by setting yourself a goal and all of you can support a fellow member in achieving a goal.

Public speaking is at the core of Toastmasters but public speaking requires a supportive audience. Pushing oneself to achieve more requires a support network. Both things that successful clubs with 20+ members can provide. This is why we are encouraging every club to aim for Distinguished status or a membership strength of 20+ members. Successful clubs breed successful members.

Let’s all grow forward together by becoming heroes together this year!

The Explorer’s Cup has arrived in London

The Explorer’s Cup, a Toastmaster award, arrived in London carried by PMI UK Toastmaster Club members a few weeks ago. The award was created by District 91 to encourage club members to take part in leadership tasks enabling them to improve skills faster.

The Explorer’s Cup journey started in Sandwich at Toasted Sandwich Club followed by Gatwick Speakers, Chichester and Worthing and is now at its 4th home at PMI UK TM Club.

In order to claim the trophy, Nadya Hamedi, Alexander Marcondes, Cleber Ferrareze and Ola Durojaiye travelled to Worthing and after a warm welcome by Worthing Club members (established in a beautiful seafront hotel) took on meeting roles at the host club as General Evaluator, Table Topics Evaluator and Timekeeper respectively.

As part of the programme, the PMI UK TM Club is eagerly waiting to welcome the next club which will visit its venue to claim the trophy. Remember, to claim the trophy, you need 3 members to take meeting roles at the host club.

The PMI UK TM Club holds meetings on Aldgate High Street London EC3N 1AB every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month at 7pm. See

Angela Lansbury: What I learned from visiting more than 60 clubs in Singapore

Angela Lansbury has been a Toastmasters for more than 12 years. She was Warren Sheng’s mentor in 2006. Contact her at

Singapore has more than 350 clubs, so when I arrive I check the week’s options on “Find A club”, emailing clubs asking for a free slot. I visit clubs every night. If there’s a lunchtime meeting, I do two a day, but rarely three.

I plan my month’s meetings on an A4 sheet. I write dates in the margin, adding columns for club names, meeting times, postcodes, costs, nearest stations, club emails and phones. I keep club cards with officers’ contact details on the back, an A-Z of club agendas containing committee members photos and emails, and the district club directory 2016, alas discontinued.

Toastmasters Club of Singapore

The first three Mondays of the month are easy, because the biggest and oldest club which spawned the others is Toastmasters Club of Singapore. It meets at the glamorous 5-star Sheraton Towers Hotel. Beforehand, I look over the hotel balcony, admiring spotlit waterfalls below. Because of the huge meeting room’s cost and the mini-buffet and coffee, they charge visitors S$20, but this is less than the price of coffee and cake in the hotel.

This venue attracts about 50-70 people to meetings and has a stage. Their membership fee is the highest, about $500 a year, but that’s 3 meetings a month including a light supper. You get jugs of cold water, a Sheraton pen and minipad.

Two banks of chairs have a middle aisle. Visitors are asked to stand up and say their name and a sentence on topics like: Where did you spend Xmas? or, How do you spend your working day? (Smaller clubs let everybody speak.)

You often see Mr Chen, a club founder. He re-appears in the YMCA club which charges about $20 and is central. Totally different, small room, usually everybody around one big table. Visitors can buy his excellent book on public speaking. Members can borrow books from the club library.

Many public Toastmasters Clubs in Singapore meet in Community Clubs, booking the boardroom so everybody sits around a huge table in armchairs. In addition to the water dispenser, clubs give visitors a small bottle of still water (temperature all year in the nineties outside). The keyholder lets you in and switches on the air-con. Committee members provide pot luck suppers, with occasional extras from club sponsors, generous members, or visitors, especially on national holidays e.g. moon cakes in autumn! You pay for hotel Christmas dinners or Chinese New Year dinners. But distant suburban clubs have free food (like our pot luck Xmas dinner meeting at Harrovians in London).

Community Clubs are usually marked on maps in the nearest subway station. The CC buildings have Starbucks or Western food, or Chinese and Malay food downstairs or across the street.

Easily located clubs are opposite the Sheraton Towers Hotel at Cairnhill Community Centre, a Toastmasters hub with 9 clubs. Often free to visitors, especially if you’re a functionary. I enjoy the Vietnamese club, in English, on Saturday mornings. The monthly first Friday evening Francophone club members speak entirely in French, serving great cheeses.

The bilingual Saturday afternoon Malay club had few members, but the couple running it welcome families. Their offspring raced around the room giggling. Despite distracting noise, maybe because the challenge demanded voice projection, their determined mother later won the Singapore district championship. She and her husband agreed, if Darren Tay, A Singaporean Chinese, could win the World Championships in the USA, in 2016, and an Indian Singaporean, Manoj, won in 2017 year, 2018 it’s the Malay Singaporeans’ turn to try.

Braddell Heights Advanced: another Toastmasters hub, Braddell Heights Community Centre, has four clubs. I wanted a mentor for advanced speeches (mine is Kan Kin Fung, the fun can-do man) so I joined Braddell Heights Advanced TMC. I am their VPPR.

“You don’t have to start as an advanced speaker, but you must aim to advance to club contest, area, district and division.” Lots of workshops and briefings teach how to win contests. An individual evaluation of your speech is often followed by a group evaluation by the whole room.

In the UK I was called ‘the queen of props’. In Singapore I am deferred to as ‘our native speaker’. I’m writing a book on better English for speakers of “Singlish”. We meet the first Wednesday and third Saturday (other clubs on other Saturdays). Our club’s room has a schoolroom layout. Manoj, 2017 International winner, coached us and showed his book, The Mousetrap.

Many clubs hold joint meetings. Universities and polys have several clubs, sometimes four simultaneously in adjacent rooms, meeting in lobbies at breaktime for networking (unofficially speed-dating!)

In-house clubs in skyscrapers include accountants, IBM, banks. You pre-register your name, sign in, show your passport, which is photographed or unnervingly kept hostage in exchange for a pass. Club members escort you through ground floor security gates, the upstairs company’s Reception, and unlock toilets.

Short lunchtime meetings are opened by the SAA. Presidents rush in, give a speech, pay the pizza deliverer, dash off.

A long first-timers session is held monthly, with 5-8 icebreaker speeches and evaluations, (no topics, grammarian or GE).

Venues: A member of Thomson club joined them because they had a stage. Thomson’s SAA

writes on a large whiteboard the meeting section, speakers’ names, subject/topic and time. Latecomers, newcomers and daydreamers immediately see what’s happening.

My Most Memorable Meetings

Screens and Music

At Singapore Airlines TMC, the TME introduced each speaker or appointment holder with an informative description and complementary music. I was ‘Angela Lansbury from England, who speaks the Queen’s English,’ accompanied by God Save The Queen.

AIA (American Insurance Association) start by parading their banner. Behind their stage is a screen where they show slides for each meeting section, starting by projecting photos and names of last meeting’s ribbon winners.

The first time I attended their club I tried table topics. A recorded drum-roll precedes the winner announcement. I was astonished to see on screen my name, correctly spelled, with my photo edged by Union Jacks! Their SAA hunches over his laptop throughout the meeting, updating names, typefaces, photos, cartoons, quotations and borders!

Table Signs, Certificates and Gifts

Evaluators sit behind the acrylic EVALUATOR table signs. Evaluators and competition judges often receive a certificate of thanks. Judges nearly always receive a small gift, a notebook from a dollar shop, or pencil from Toastmasters international. One bank gave a handy notebook with an attached pen and the company name on the front.


At the meeting’s end, the clubs take a collective photo, looking professional, followed by a ‘fun shot’ with big grins, thumbs up, V for victory, leaning at funny angles.

In Singapore you learn something every day. If you are visiting, email me and check these:

Useful Websites

Braddell Heights Advanced Toastmasters Club Facebook

Francophone de Singapour TMC toastmasters francophone de singapour

Toastmasters Club of Singapore

MRT Singapore station map

Toastmasters International Find a club

YMCA Club, Singapore

Harrovians TMC


Angela on YouTube at Braddell Heights

Websites on speeches by Angela Lansbury on

Angela Lansbury books on

Angela is secretary of Harrovians, committee member HOD, UK, and VPPR of Braddell Heights Advanced, Singapore

Bindu Cardoza: Take that step

Bindu is ACS, ALB and Area Director – Area 10, Division J

I joined Toastmasters because I was looking for a club where I did not have to sell anything. I was elated after achieving my MSc in Human Resource Management from Cardiff University and the prospect of returning to employment was exciting. Initially I thought a Toastmaster was the person who rings the bell in the city centre and delivers public announcements. However, after my first meeting I realised that this was something else and I was hooked. A Toastmasters club is a place where you can learn to speak better, to become a better leader and practise these skills in a fun, safe environment. People from all walks of life are Toastmasters. I was amazed at how eclectic the club was. Everyone was very friendly, and I was quickly introduced to a gentleman who was in charge of membership. He explained the benefits of joining. My mind was buzzing; what was “table topics”? It all felt very mysterious. Suddenly a gavel was heard banging on the lectern and the front of the room. Everyone became very silent. The meeting began.

Several years later, I was elected President of Cardiff Toastmasters. To be the first female president was an honour and by then the members knew that I was passionate about equality. I was determined to increase the membership and make the club available to anyone interested in becoming a better speaker and leader. At the start of every meeting, I imparted a few thoughts on Toastmasters and made a point of welcoming every guest. I always made sure that the atmosphere was positive, jovial and encouraging. We had a variety of speeches delivered along with educational presentations and evaluations. It was important to keep the energy levels up and our enthusiastic warm-ups were enjoyed by all. The table topics sessions were great fun and guests were invited to partake. Throughout my year as President I received great feedback and many members achieved educational awards. It was a good year.

Becoming Area Director this year has been a wonderful achievement. My aim is to make sure all the clubs in my area increase in membership as well as attracting guests at every meeting. There is a new club opening soon and I hope to encourage more to begin. Delivering the message of Toastmasters to everyone is key to the success of this non-profit organisation. Social media, word of mouth, newspaper articles such as this can only demystify the enigma that is Toastmasters. I would encourage you all to visit a club and see for yourself. Take that step. I did.