Saving Kings

Embarking on my Toastmasters journey has been nothing short of a riveting adventure, a saga filled with challenges, growth, and triumphs that have shaped my narrative in unexpected ways.

Picture this: my first encounter with Toastmasters at university, navigating the intricacies of public speaking while wrestling with my own stammer. The journey began in the Holborn Speakers Club, where even uttering my name proved to be a Herculean task. But amidst the initial struggles, the supportive camaraderie of fellow club members fuelled my determination.

As fate would have it, the path led me to the Kings Speakers Toastmasters—a haven tailored for those, like me, grappling with stammers and social anxiety. I flourished in embracing this unique community, earning competent communication and leadership accolades. The club burgeoned to almost 50 members, necessitating a quest for a new meeting space and launching a dazzling website.

Yet, life’s twists took me to Cambridge, where attempts to replicate the Kings Speakers magic fell short. Three transformative years unfolded, enriched by the McGuire Programme’s wisdom, but a return to London brought unforeseen challenges. Mainstream Toastmasters struggled to comprehend techniques crucial to individuals like me, leading to psychological setbacks.

In the face of adversity, the prospect of rejuvenating the Kings Speakers club emerged. Undeterred by tales of closure, I seized the reins and assumed the mantle of its president. The vision? To rebrand as the Stammer and Social Anxiety (SASA) Toastmasters Club—a beacon for those seeking understanding and community. London’s pervasive loneliness spurred a mission: to forge connections, transforming strangers into Shrek or Ice Age-like families.

Join me on this exhilarating quest as SASA Toastmasters Club ascends to greatness. Let us redefine the Toastmasters experience, fostering a supportive environment where triumph over speech impediments is not just a personal victory but a shared celebration. Together, we shall conquer the challenges, rewriting the narrative of stammerers and those battling social anxiety in the vibrant tapestry of London life.

Vibesan Illampooranan
Kings Speakers

The Ancient Athenians

It was an immense pleasure to kick off our 30th anniversary celebrations in January at the Hop Poles, where we meet as London Athenians. This year, our club turns 30 and it is a big occasion! On the 1st October 1994, our club officially launched, so to celebrate, we will be putting on a celebratory event every month throughout this year until October. January marked the first of these, where past presidents and members were specially invited to walk down memory lane (enjoy our spoof video) and reminisce about their time in our club. Our club even had the privilege of hearing from a founding member, Keith Gautier, who gave a special address.
A special occasion with special guests to celebrate our very special club!
Priscilla Leigh
President, London Athenians 2023-2024

The Seven Cs of Effective Communication

Have you ever stopped to think about how much communication is a part of your daily routine? From writing emails to leading meetings, from participating in conference calls to creating reports, the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder that effective communication plays a crucial role in boosting productivity. Recently, I stumbled upon a video discussing the Seven Cs of Communication, and I found them to be incredibly useful. I’d love to share my insights with you.

Communication should adhere to the 7Cs, which outline the ideal way to convey information: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous.  Let’s break down each point.


When engaging in communication, ensure that your goal or message is clearly stated. Clearly articulate your purpose in communicating with the person to avoid any confusion. If you are uncertain, your audience will also struggle to understand your intentions.


To effectively communicate, it’s important to be concise. Get straight to the point and keep your message brief to engage your audience. Take a moment to review your words and remove any unnecessary adjectives or filler words like “kind of,” “literally,” or “basically.” Additionally, check for any unnecessary sentences or repetitive explanations. By doing so, you can ensure that your message is clear and impactful.


Crafting a concrete message allows your audience to have a crystal-clear understanding of your communication. By incorporating just, the right number of details and vivid facts, and maintaining a laser-like focus, your message becomes robust and impactful.


When it comes to effective communication, ensuring that your audience understands your message is paramount. One crucial aspect of effective communication is the absence of errors. To guarantee the accuracy of your message, ask yourself the following questions: – Do the technical terms you employ match your audience’s level of education or knowledge? – Have you meticulously reviewed your writing for any grammatical errors? (Remember, spell checkers may overlook certain mistakes). – Are all names and titles spelled correctly?


When your communication is coherent, it’s like a well-constructed puzzle. Each piece fits perfectly, and all the points seamlessly connect to the main topic. The tone and flow of the text remain steady, creating a smooth and logical reading experience.


When composing your message, it’s crucial to provide your audience with all the essential information they need to stay informed and, if necessary, act. Make sure to incorporate a clear “call to action” that leaves no doubt about what you want them to do. Additionally, ensure that you’ve included all relevant details such as contact names, dates, times, and locations. By delivering a complete message, you empower your audience to make informed decisions and respond accordingly.


Courteous communication is characterized by its friendly, genuine, and transparent nature. It steers clear of any hidden insults or passive-aggressive undertones. You always put yourself in the receiver’s shoes and demonstrate empathy towards their needs.

Remember to utilize the Seven Cs of Communication as a guide for all your interactions. This way, you can ensure that your messages are clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous.

Erika Oteri
Division C Director 2023-2024

The Spring Season of Renewal

The mid year District officer training event did allow me time to reflect on my leadership journey. Not many organisations have their mid year at the start of a new calendar year.

The genius of the Toastmasters year finally dawned on me, can you imagine all the chaos of June and July being in December and January? However it’s the opportunity to have a new beginning twice a year that really excited me. The season of Spring is upon us and we have to take advantage of it.

During my reflection at the Heathrow departure lounge, I was approached by Elizabeth Jordan, the D71 District Director and we had an insightful conversation about the history of D91 which was formed out of D71 a decade ago. I am enriched by our time together discussing Toastmasters leadership and my recent trip to her home county of Barbados to surprise my sister during her birthday celebrations.

I was adopted as an honorary member of D71 during the two day training, we shared a taxi from the airport after waiting for other member of the D71 leadership team Daniel Banks, Programme Quality Director and Mairead Dillon Club Growth Director to arrive from other airports. Great team planning and coordination I thought. I was glad to learn from Mairead that the District 91 aspiration for 18 new clubs this Toastmasters year was not too ambitious with D71 setting a goal for 25. Danny who I shared a cab back to the airport with was modest about is knowledge of many things.

All our leadership teams have face intended challenges that the Toastmasters programme presents at all levels of leadership from club to the international board. I am proud of the work our District D91 leaders are doing to support our members to grow their clubs and grow the Toastmasters community of clubs. We have added 1445 new members, the 3rd highest out of 130 Districts globally this Toastmasters year.

We have chartered 3 new clubs this Toastmasters year and added 6 new prospective clubs bringing our prospective club list to 9 with a promising new club leads.

It is our District 10th anniversary and Toastmasters Centenary celebration year. We have a tried and tested development programme, I will like to encourage you to share the benefits of our organisation and win some of the incentives our District has on offer.

  • Talk up Toastmasters Award by signing up 5 new members between 1st of February and 31 March
  • Net growth of 4 members on July base numbers after April renewals first 50 win £40.00
  • Net growth of 8 members on July base numbers after April renewals first 30 win £40.00
  • 20 + 80 Challenge Renew 20+ July base members and retain July base members 80%+ after April renewals first 25 clubs win £30.00

Open house boxes are available for your clubs to run a membership growth.  Contact me to request a box.

The above incentives can be won if you renew your membership early. It is time to take advantage of the Spring, It is the season of opportunity and as we look forward to our Bristol Spring Conference. Let us put a spring in our Toastmaster journey.

We can celebrate our 10th anniversary by each bringing a friend, colleague or family member to join the Toastmaster community or start a club where you work to bring the benefits we enjoy at Toastmasters to others.

Mo Dawodu

D91 Club Growth Director

Sharpening our Saw

As I write my newsletter entry this month, I realised that I am in danger of beating myself up and as such, I think the content is going to write itself. I wanted to do a video, but now I am out of time to hit the deadline. I wanted to add a relevant picture for a subject I had in mind, but I am out of time. This is an important leadership lesson for us all. Things do not always happen the way we would want them to. As leaders, we must re-plan and re-prioritise and at the same time, always remember that as volunteers while it is important that we carry out the role that we have agreed to do, we must accept that sometimes other life priorities like our work, family and health comes first.

I am going back to Stephen Covey again. He talks about sharpening our saw. We cannot sharpen our saw if we keep knocking ourselves about the fact that we let it get blunt in the first place. We must sometimes accept things for what they are and look to move on.

Last month I spoke about shining a spotlight on a future club or district leader and then encouraging them to run for office. How did you get on? Did you find someone, or did they say no to you. Is it worth supportively asking them again whether they would reconsider?

A few weeks ago, at the University of Law in London, we held our latest District Executive Committee meeting and afterwards held another round of District Officer Training to support the work of our Division and Area Directors. I thanked them on your behalf for all the work they do as District officers, and it was fantastic to see once again how talented and driven they are. But I also wanted to thank you, our members for all that you do. I know that we all join Toastmasters for specific individual reasons but along the way don’t forget about how you have helped by even just saying hello to a guest or explaining the agenda, or offering to be a mentor, or to sort refreshments for your club. Whatever you have done for others beyond your personal reasons for being in your club – thank you! This is the sort of selfless activity that gives our clubs and our program the quality we can all be proud of. In addition, congratulations to those members who have earnt one of the 851 educational awards since the start of the program year.

Talking of educational awards, one of the things that is asked regularly is “What news do we have about the new Pathways system?” The honest answer is that we do not know much. We have been told by WHQ that we are going to be given around 2 months’ notice which should give us enough time to support with training and messaging. But I can assure you that no one in the District Leadership Team is sitting on a secret pack of slides with all the answers of how it is going to work and when – we do know it will be in 2024 but we do not know when.

Finally, the very best of luck to all those members that have competed or are soon to be competing at the Divisional level contests – we look forward to seeing you in Bristol for the District Conference

With thanks again for all you do.


Steve Vear, DTM
Program Quality Director 2023-24