News and Events - D91 Toastmasters UK South

Luke Shaw: You really should join a Speaking Club

There are so many reasons NOT to join a Speaking Club, but are there any good reasons to join a Speaking Club?

Public speaking is a bonafide superpower

This is a superpower you can actually have.

I have been a member of Farnham Speakers for over three years. I have gone from timid, repressed, socially-awkward ‘wallflower’ to a confident leader of men, almost. I’m still socially-awkward and quite repressed but I definitely have a new confidence and an ability to speak clearly and confidently in so many scenarios which would have been impossible for me back in 2015 when I first visited the club.

I’d set a goal back then to improve my speaking skills after my presentational ineptness lost me business opportunities. I was terrified at the idea of public peaking. I love the way the Toastmasters gently educate and encourage new members to take baby steps towards getting more used to public speaking. I’m still losing business opportunities, but now I do so with panache, verve and aplomb.

Visiting a Speaking Club is a cheap fun night out
For guests, the evening’s meeting is completely free. Where else can you spend two hours hearing fascinating talks, participating in speaking exercises, while getting essential speaking practice, building your confidence, making new friends, and enjoying refreshments in the bar afterwards?

Joining a Speakers Club will change your life

You’ll learn so much. Each meeting is a rich and entertaining learning experience. I’ve learnt so much technically about how to conceive ideas, how to structure presentations, how to write captivating details, how to use my body and face and voice and props and slides.

I’ve seen others progress and improve through speech after speech, and are now being offered promotions and partnerships at work, are developing their own brands, are being invited as paid-speakers to perform before large audiences.

Toastmasters clubs have nothing to do with red coats, white gloves or speaking loudly to guests at a reception – and everything to do with slowly getting better at talking in public with a friendly and supportive group of fellow learners, sharing experiences, laughs and biscuits.

You really should join a Speaking Club.

Come along, visit Farnham Speakers Toastmasters Club at Farnham House Hotel, GU10 5ER). Visit

Shaheen Jamshed Mufti: Superb Systemisation

A member of a team has been working hard at a company. The year has started off well. The team is driven, everyone knows what they’re doing and things look like they’re going great.

Suddenly, that team member feels unwell. They take a week off. When they’re fit and well, they return to work…only to find total chaos! Their team members are relieved to have them back and the team’s returning member soon help get things back on track again.

Is this you or someone you know? The moment you (or someone in your team) step out of the picture, do things fall apart? Could something like this happen in your Toastmaster club?!

If so, you need to introduce systems into your club! Having systems in place will help your leadership team members and club members run your club smoothly and efficiently, making sure that it continues to function without your (or any other member’s) regular personal intervention.

Think of running your club a bit like running a business. Most successful businesses have effective systems built in. Can you imagine a CEO of a Fortune 500 company going on holiday for a fortnight and their company then collapsing? I think not. Why? Because of teams making use of systems.

These companies work well because they factor in the possibility of company personnel changing, moving on, passing on as well as moving into different roles. And your club is no different.

Where do you start in your own club? Ask yourself: “If I had to take a month off, what would need doing and who would do it?” Based on that, you can begin rallying your team together and building systems accordingly. To effectively achieve this, you can do some of the following

  • Share skills with fellow embers so that there is a pool of skills to draw from when the time comes
  • Create easy-to-follow role guides for meeting functionary roles specific to your club. Make sure these are accessible by all of your members
  • Create easy-to-follow leadership role guides so that your leadership team successors will have your knowledge to take pointers from (and refine themselves)
  • Introduce a leadership mentoring process where members of your leadership team can take on members as ‘mentees’ and get them to assist with roles. This will provide them with a taste of what things will be like on the leadership team.

During my time as President of Early Bird Speakers, one of the things I had on my manifesto at the start of the year was ‘Leadership Focused Mentoring’. I realised that our club already had solid mentoring systems in place to help our members develop as speakers (and in other meeting roles), but I wanted to do something to bolster the leadership team aspect of mentoring and get ordinary members involved in leadership roles so that they too can get a taster of what the roles are like and thus, consider taking on a leadership role in future.

Our VP Membership, Cindy, took on two members who supported her with the weekly VP Membership role tasks. At one point, Cindy was away. However, with the effective systems put in place (the two supportive members now had the skills), business could continue as usual without Cindy. Cindy (alongside the two members) had expertly created a system to support the club.

As an added bonus, both of the members who supported Cindy are now members of this year’s leadership team at Early Bird Speakers! With the skills they procured during their time supporting Cindy, they were able to be part of the new leadership team with the advantage of having already had some experience. What if your club already has great systems in place? As per our Toastmasters creed, there is always room for improvement! Listen to your club members (guests too!) and refine your existing systems. You’ll soon find that there are many areas for improvement and that those little regular tweaks can go a long way, slowly transforming your club into an efficiently run and well-oiled machine run by great members for all your members.

Also, as new things are introduced to your club (such as GDPR this year), you will need to effectively implement that into your club whilst working with the relevant leadership team members to create appropriate systems that will take care of that area. Factor in the relevant people, technology and other elements involved. Get your team and entire club on board! Collectively, you’ll all keep the cogs of your great club turning.

To see where I can refine a system, I sometimes like to sketch out a flow-chart, listing the different ‘steps’ of a particular event. If there is a gap in the flow-chart or the relevant personnel have not been listed, I can clearly see what needs doing to improve it. Small example:

Guest visits TMI website (guest)>

Guest finds Early Bird Speakers and wants to attend (guest) – Meeting/venue info up-to date >

Guest emails club about visiting (guest) >

Email received in shared Leadership Team email account (all/part LT have access) >

VP Membership (or supporting members) reply, providing meeting info (VPM) >

VP Membership adds guest name to attendance list (VPM) >

VP Membership (or support) prints the attendance list on Wednesday night (VPM/support)

Now that you have an idea of building systems, go forth and bolster the systems in your club.


  1. Build systems for your team to use so that your club can run without you/one specific person
  2. Create easy-to-follow role guides for meeting roles and club leadership roles
  3. If/when you have systems in your club, refine, refine, refine!

Have a fun time working alongside your team as you collectively build superb systems into your club. See you again in a month!

Shaheen Jamshed Mufti is Immediate Past President, Early Bird Speakers

Notice of DEC Meeting 9th September 2018

Dear DEC members,

I know you already have the date in your diary, and this is the formal Notice of the District Executive Committee meeting on Sunday 9th September 2018.

The meeting will start at 11:00 and the end time is scheduled for 15:00.

There will be tea and coffee from 10:30 and a working sandwich lunch will be provided.

The venue is the Copthorne Hotel Slough-Windsor – details here:

The formal agenda will be sent a week in advance, together with supporting papers, and will also be posted on the D91 website. It will include the following items:

  • District Success Plan
  • Update on May 2019 District Conference
  • District Budget
  • Division Directors’ Reports
  • DLT Updates
  • Review of Motions for Council
  • Arrangements for Virtual Council Meeting
  • Any Other Business

Please let me know if you have any items for AOB, and if you are aware of any potential Council Motions.

Also please let me know if you are unable to attend, and if any Assistants will be attending.


Andy Hammond

D91 District Director 2018-19

20 To 20 Membership renewals challenge

Membership renewals season is starting earlier than usual this year and we are inviting you to take part in it as early as you can. In order to create a bit of competitive spirit, District 91 has created the 20 to 20 challenge for membership renewals.

The first 20 clubs to renew a minimum of 20 members by September 15th will be able to claim back £50 from District 91 coffers to organise a pizza party celebration for their members and guests. Just imagine your usual vibrant club meetings with high calibre speakers, analytical evaluators, fun table topics and FREE pizza and refreshments on the top. Amazing eh?

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District Council Meeting First Notice

District Council Meeting Notice 15 September 2018 First Notice (Click link for PDF format)

Our first District Council Meeting of the new Toastmasters year will be a virtual one, taking place on Saturday 15 September from 10.00 to 12.00. As this is the first time we will be holding the meeting this way some items need to be confirmed at a later date.

Members of the District 91 District Council are Club Presidents, Club Vice Presidents Education, Area Directors, Division Directors and District Leadership Team members.

Motions: Any motions should be sent by Wednesday 15 August to me at or

Voting: In order for our District Council to conduct business, there needs to be a quorum of a third of all Club Presidents and Vice Presidents Education (VPEs). So, it is vital that each President or VPE either attend. Proxies for virtual meetings are not permitted.

Registration: All voters for the District Council Meeting must register with the Parliamentarian  in order to get credit for their vote. Details will follow as to the way this will be managed.

Alison Morris
District 91 Administration Manager