It has been only 10 days since our Toastmasters District D91 experienced the exhilarating Div A Autumn Conference in Southampton. This full-day event brought the Toastmasters community together for a day of speeches, learning, and laughter, showcasing the talent and camaraderie that defines our vibrant community.
The morning kicked off with infectious laughter during the Div A Humorous Speech Contest. Contest Chair Alex Spencer-Hill skilfully orchestrated the proceedings, creating an atmosphere of joy and camaraderie. The improvisation skills of our Table Topics contestants, crafting inspiring and entertaining masterpieces prompted by Alex, left us in awe. The impeccable Chief Judge, DTM Barbara Saph, a Past Div A Director, led a team of impartial and incorruptible judges and functionaries, ensuring the smooth flow of the event. Master of Ceremonies Matt Roseblade, dipped in his Stand-Up Comedy background, using his art to dissipate tension and infuse the conference with energy. Hamwic Speakers played a pivotal role in supporting this event held in beautiful Southampton and only the support of Dave Collins, our Hybrid Coordinator, and George Wellers, Area A1 Director made it possible to run a meeting so smoothly, not to mention the incredibly experienced and always helpful Kit Barrit.
The quality of the contests soared, a testament to the fierce competition seen in the earlier Area Contests and reinforcing Division A’s #Amazing reputation. Congratulations again to Philip West, from Northavon Speakers (Winner of the Division A Humourous speech Contest) and Carol Bausor, from Shilling Speakers (Winner of the Div A Table Topics Contest), who will represent our Division at the District Conference, on the 3-5 May 2024 in Bristol, another pearl of our division.
Moreover, true icing on the cake was DTM Pedro Casillas double workshop about Table topics where we all learned how to deal with fear and how to deliver better Table topic Evaluations.
As we reflect on this successful conference, let us look ahead to upcoming events. The Toastmasters Leadership Institute on January 13th promises to be a valuable opportunity for learning and growth. Mark your calendars for the Div Spring Conference on March 23rd, where we will hold our International Speech and Evaluation Contests. Encourage members to step up as contestants or volunteer for a role- would you like to be our next Chief Judge or Contest Chair? Get in touch!
In the spirit of Toastmasters, let us continue to learn, grow, and support each other on our public speaking journeys. The success of the Div A Autumn Conference is a testament to the strength and vitality of our community, and the best is yet to come.
Division A Director 2023-24
While Toastmasters is giving us a development platform to excel in our communication and leadership, we receive appreciation and gratitude by showing up for others.
I like to SHOUT OUT my appreciation and gratitude to my DUTCH mother, for not only giving me a VOICE to share but also for being so brave to adopt 3 children at the ages of 5, 7, and 9, my father left behind in Turkey from a previous marriage.
…and, yes, I was that little 5-year-old.
You can say I am lucky to have 2 mothers and 3 birthdays:-)
But it’s not that simple because:
1. My DUTCH mum passed away far too long ago and has missed seeing my beautiful girls grow up into ladies with their own unique VOICE…
2. and as to my TURKISH mum however beautiful she is, the lack of not being able to communicate in the same language, nor living in the same country, makes it hard to connect…
Why am I talking about this you may wonder…
Well, this month, 24 years ago I gave birth to my oldest daughter, and I am feeling sad not to be able to share this with my mothers.
It was my daughter who sparked this off last week by saying “Mum, I really like to celebrate my birthday with you” a question I have never been able to ask my mothers.
I feel blessed… that I can jump in the car to be with my daughter in London to celebrate….
I feel blessed…that I can jump in the car to be with my Toastmasters family to celebrate our Humorous and Table Topics winners to the next level, this month.
What are you most grateful for?
P.S. …as to the 3rd birthday, that’s a story for another day. 🙂
I am the Division K Director, a member of Toastmasters for nine years and a professional copywriter. Below are my tips to creating compelling content to promote your Toastmasters club, help attract potential members and engage your current members.
- Know your audience
It is crucial to have a clear understanding of your target audience and tailor your content to them. Who are you trying to attract to your club? What are their needs, interests, and pain points? For example, if your club primarily targets professionals, focus on addressing their career-related concerns and aspirations in your content.
- Craft an engaging hook
The headline and beginning of your content should grab the reader’s attention and build their curiosity. This could be a thought-provoking question, a surprising statistic, or a powerful quote. For instance, “Did you know that public speaking is the number one fear in the world? Imagine conquering that fear and becoming a confident speaker.”
- Highlight the benefits
Clearly communicate specific benefits of joining your club. Potential members want to know what is in it for them. Will they gain valuable communication skills, boost their confidence, or expand their network?
- Showcase success stories
Sharing success stories and testimonials from members can be incredibly persuasive. Real-life examples of how your club has positively impacted individuals can demonstrate the value of joining. For instance, “Meet Sarah, a former timid speaker who, with the support of our club, now confidently delivers presentations at work and has landed her dream job.”
- Provide a glimpse of your club activities
Give potential members a sneak peek into what they can expect. Share photos and videos from meetings to help them visualize it. For example, “Our meetings feature impromptu speaking and also prepared speeches; check out this video clip from one of our recent meetings to see the learning and fun in action!”
- Include a call to action
Always include a clear and compelling call to action (CTA). Tell your readers what you want them to do next. Make it easy for potential members to take the next step. For instance, “Ready to transform your communication skills? Join us at our next meeting this Thursday at 7 PM. RSVP now!”
Division K Director 2023-24
Thanks Toastmasters, for giving me confidence in my public speaking!
Before joining Toastmasters, I had set my sights on becoming a solicitor, specialising in office work.
Whilst the Bar was mentioned as a potential route whilst I was at University, I never really felt it was for me. In fact, only one other person from my cohort had committed to this path.
I assume as most of my classmates thought, that Barristers were scary and intimidating individuals with unstoppable self-confidence. It was the advocacy element which mostly put me off, the feeling of talking for extended periods of time, trying to sound in control, and most importantly, trying to persuade the Judge and Jury of your client’s case.
Around three years ago, I was given my first spoken law assessment. I had to speak for 15 minutes on criminal law and answer to Judicial intervention.
As a natural introvert, I could not recall speaking for more than 30 seconds at a time, never mind 15 minutes, not to mention in an assessed environment.
I was terrified. The palms of my hands already starting to sweat.
Naturally, my first step was to Google my symptoms.
A video on YouTube provided my medication. Dan Lok, a hugely successful entrepreneur, shared how he had utilised Toastmasters to overcome his severe anxiety while speaking in public. I would encourage you to watch it:
I then Googled Toastmasters and came across a local club in my hometown of Farnham, and, in October 2020, joined Farnham Speakers’ Club.
I was a part of the ‘Zoom’ generation. Whilst seen as an unpopular necessity for most, conducting my first few speeches online, in hindsight, proved to be a blessing in disguise.
I was not walking into a large hall for the first time, delivering a speech. I was not having to project my voice so those at the back could hear.
I was in the comfort of my own home, behind my laptop screen. While still undeniably nerve-wracking at first, I found this to be a less intimidating way to start my public speaking journey. (For those new to public speaking, I would encourage you to join a hybrid or online-only club, at least for your first few speeches).
Gradually, and with the unwavering support of my Toastmasters mentor, Janet Alkema DTM, I worked my way through my first pathway – ‘Engaging Humour.’
Using humour was a great tool for me to break the ice, and my confidence gradually grew and grew.
By the time I had finished my undergraduate degree, less than a year into my Toastmasters journey, I made the decision that I would become a Barrister.
I was transformed, and in July 2023, I was called to the Bar of England and Wales!