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Bloomsbury Speakers met on Monday 13th November at Wedge Issue Pizza for their latest regular meeting. Three inspiring speeches and a hilarious table topics session later, we were onto the pizza!


President of the Club Peter R welcomed everyone to the meeting and pointed out that Toastmasters is not just about talking in front of people, but also strengthening our ability to express ourselves and interact with others. Toastmaster Scott took over and introduced Timekeeper Sarah. In the absence of a Grammarian, Scott declared “wedge” (after our lovely venue) to be the word of the day.

Prepared speeches

First to speak was James with his Ice Breaker Speech “Living the Dream”. James gave us an insight into his determination and how fear of heights had pushed him to start a skydiving club. We felt we were there with him as he described the plane taking off and flying higher and higher as he was getting ready for his first jump. We are all looking forward to James’ second speech!

The second speaker was Chantal was her Competent Communicator Speech #9 “Eat More Green”. Chantal used powerful persuasion to convince us to become “flexitarians” and gradually cut meat out of our diets. Meat-heavy diets have a negative effect on climate change and on resistance to antibiotics, and if we all started to diversify our diets we could help tackle these two challenges.

Last to speak was Margarita with her Storytelling Speech #4 “The Second Life of Optimus”. To add a bit of storytelling to the Christmas atmosphere, she took us back in time to faraway Moscow, where a boy (Margarita’s brother) rescued a mouse from an evil magician, and the two forged an unlikely friendship. Mouse Optimus and her brother became inseparable! A very inspiring story of friendship and loyalty.

Peter R then led the guest introductions.

Table Topics

After the break, three members of the club evaluated the evening’s speeches – LuisaRupert and Swarajit.

Table Topics Master Yamina then organised a great impromptu session, during which Rupert, Winsome, Margarita, Sofia, Lewis, Peter R, Stella and Scott discussed the topic of the night – dreams. Highlights included Rupert’s advice to dream small so as to avoid disappointment, and Winsome’s confession about being queen of the snooze!

Sheldon evaluated all table topics speakers.

Finally, visiting General Evaluator Lewis evaluated our club and the meeting.


Best Speaker: Chantal

Best Evaluator: Luisa

Best Table Topic: Rupert

Next meeting

The next regular meeting will take place at Wedge Issue Pizza & Beer (91-95 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1R 5BX), on Monday 27th November 18:30-21:00. Come over to practice your public speaking skills and enjoy delicious free pizza!

Please feel free to get in touch at [email protected] if you have any questions.



Dear all,

Welcome to the first Bloomsbury Speakers newsletter for 2017! Below you’ll find information about upcoming workshops, meeting dates and speech slots; you’ll also find links to speaking resources that we’ve found really useful, as well as an opportunity to be mentored by some of our club’s most experienced speakers.

This year we’ve seen a new Bloomsbury Speakers committee take over, as well as many of our members completing their manuals and honing their skills as communicators. Sadly, we’ve also had to say goodbye to several members who have now left the UK for home; you’ll all be missed!


Meeting dates and speech slots

Our meeting dates for the rest of this calendar year are:

13 November
27 November
11 December

The speech slots on 13 November are all taken; however, we’re still accepting bookings for prepared speeches on 27 November and 11 December. If you’re a member and you’d like to take up a slot for a prepared speech, either sign up on Easyspeak (www.toastmasterclub.org) or email our Vice-President for Education, Atul Chauhan ([email protected]).

If you’d like to do impromptu speaking, just turn up at one of our meetings (the impromptu speaking slots are open to both members and non-members).

We’re always looking for members to fill our functionary roles (Evaluator, Grammarian, Timekeeper, Topic Evaluator, Sergeant-at-Arms and Toastmaster), so do get in touch with Atul if you’d like to take up one of these slots at any of our meetings.

All of our meetings take place at the same location:

Wedge Issue Pizza (downstairs), 91-95 Clerkenwell Road, EC1R 5BX.



Our mentoring program is up-and-running; if you’re a member and you’d like a mentor, email me ([email protected]) and we can assign you an experienced speaker to guide you through your next speech and beyond. A mentor can read drafts of speeches, offer advice on nerves, preparation and length, and provide feedback during meetings. Mentors can also tailor their assistance to any aspect of speaking you’d like to work on (pace, body language, speech content, and so on), so feel free to get in touch if you’d like one.

If you’d like to be a mentor, you’re equally welcome to get in touch. Becoming a mentor is a great way for someone who has spent a short while in the club to learn coaching and evaluation skills.


Workshop in late November / early December

We’re planning to host a speaking workshop in late November or early December centred around introductory public speaking principles. The workshop will be open to members and guests. More details to come – watch this space.


Christmas meal 

Every year Bloomsbury Speakers holds a Christmas meal with the local clubs around us; last year we went to Mem & Laz in Islington, and it was pretty great. This year we will be meeting on Friday 8 December: the meal is open to both members and guests. Just register your interest by e-mailing me ([email protected]).


Speaking resources

We thought it might be useful to compile some links to online material for generating speech structure and content, as well as great speeches and book recommendations. Below are some of the things that I’ve found really helpful (you may notice that two of them are TED-inspired):


That’s all for the time being; we hope to see you at our next meeting (13 November) at 18:30 at Wedge Issue Pizza, Clerkenwell Road. Until then, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about the club. I’ll leave you with a quote I quite like:

“Nothing is so unbelievable that oratory cannot make it acceptable.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Peter (President, Bloomsbury Speakers)



Bloomsbury Speakers held their latest regular meeting on Monday 9th October at Wedge Issue Pizza. Four brilliant speeches were followed by a table topics session which got us laughing from beginning to end!


The meeting kicked off with a welcome speech from the President of the Club Peter R who reminded everyone that Toastmasters is about learning to communicate, but also to interact with people and to inspire others. Toastmaster Matt then took over the reins of the meeting and introduced the theme of the evening – “danger”. He started by describing a near death experience he had on a plane to Panama but stopped abruptly and invited us all to be present for his next speech in November to find out more! He introduced Grammarian Andy and Timekeeper Swarajit.

Prepared speeches

The first speech was by Yamina with her Competent Communicator Speech #3 “All is Knowledge”. She questioned what knowledge is and whether it really all boils down to what we are taught in school. We can learn a great deal from family, oral traditions… even bad dates! Knowledge is all around us and we should accept it in whatever form it comes to us.

The second speaker was Luisa was her Competent Communicator Speech #4 “The Power of Now”. Luisa explored the causes of modern stress and gave us some tips on how to deal with it. She recommended that we all integrate some mindfulness into our lives to give ourselves a break from our constant internal monologue.

Next to speak was Raymond with his Competent Communicator Speech #5 “Things Can Only Get Better”, who described the worst day of his life. After injuring himself during a hiking accident in Canada, getting fined for drinking a pint and walking for miles with a blood-drenched shirt, he went to sleep in his tent happy that the day was over… before a bear entered to steal his stuff!

The last speech was Competent Communicator Speech #7 “Why Good Food is Good” by Julian. Julian took us on a multi-sensory journey whilst recalling the best meal he ever had, which was in Bali at a French-Indonesian restaurant. We were left feeling very hungry indeed! Julian also gave his official goodbyes to the club, as he would be moving to Australia at the weekend – good luck Julian!

Lei then led the guest introductions.

Table Topics

After the break, we heard from the four speech evaluators – SheldonHelenRupert and Michelle.

Chantal then led a fantastic table topics session, in which Andy, Sheldon, Leanne, Julian, Rupert, Ed and Matt participated. Highlights included Sheldon’s explanation of the meaning of the word “bumfuzzle” and the biggest mystery ever existed according to Julian, i.e. who founded the Wedge Issue Pizza all those years ago!

Lei evaluated all table topics speakers.

Grammarian Andy then updated us on  how many times  the word of the day “apocryphal” had been used – unsurprisingly…. not many!

Finally, visiting General Evaluator Alex evaluated our club and the meeting.

To say we did not enjoy the meeting would be an incredibly apocryphal statement!


Best Speaker: Raymond

Best Evaluator: Helen

Best Table Topic: Leanne

Next meeting

The next regular meeting will take place at Wedge Issue Pizza & Beer (91-95 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1R 5BX), on Monday 23rd October 18:30-21:00. Come over to practice your public speaking skills and enjoy delicious free pizza!

Please feel free to get in touch at [email protected] if you have any questions.



Bloomsbury Speakers held their latest regular meeting on Monday 25th September at Wedge Issue Pizza. The quality of the prepared speeches was high and the table topics session was particularly funny!


The meeting started with a welcome speech from the President of the Club Peter R who commented on how being part of a Toastmasters club is useful and inspiring at the same time. He introduced Toastmaster Sheldon who announced that the theme of the meeting would be “competition”: he pointed out that although many of us get a kick out of competing to win, Toastmasters is all about pushing ourselves and supporting each other in the process. He introduced Timekeeper Chantal and Grammarian Margarita.

Prepared speeches

The first speaker was Sofia with her Ice Breaker Speech “Sofia’s world”. Addressing who she is, where she comes from and where she is going, Sofia gave us a personal insight into their life growing up in China, her professional and personal interests, and her dream to spend 30% of her time working and the remaining 70% travelling, playing music and coaching people.

The second speaker was Agnes with her thought-provoking Competent Communicator Speech #9 “Testosterone”. She argued that the world needs more women in leadership positions, as too much testosterone can result in bad decision-making. She clarified that she wasn’t suggesting castrating male leaders (!) but that we should be teaching young girls that they can do anything they want.

The last speech was Competent Communicator Speech #2 “My Daily Happiness Routine” by Lei, who asked us whether any of us followed a daily happiness routine. She commented that we are so busy pursuing what we don’t have that we sometimes forget to notice and appreciate the little things that happen during the day that make us happy, such as good weather and being part of a friendly and supportive environment at Toastmasters.

Luisa led the guest introductions.

Evaluations and Table Topics

After the break, we heard from the three speech evaluators – Peter RRaymond and Yamina.

Then Rupert led a great table topics session focused on the general theme of the meeting – competition – and Sebastian, Eva, Margarita, Danielle, Ed, Peter R, Luisa and Yamina participated. Highlights included Sebastian’s account of the worst competition he has ever participated in (i.e. a Toastmasters one!) and Margarita’s interesting view on whether cheating during exams is acceptable (is wearing a short skirt to impress the male examiners cheating?).

Swarajit evaluated all table topic speakers.

Grammarian Margarita then presented her report and updated us on the use of the word of the day “invigorate” throughout the meeting.

Finally, visiting General Evaluator Anthony evaluated our club and the meeting.

One thing is for sure: we all felt much more invigorated after the meeting!


Best Speaker: Lei

Best Evaluator: Peter R

Best Table Topic: Yamina

Next meeting

The next regular meeting will take place at Wedge Issue Pizza & Beer (91-95 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1R 5BX), on Monday 9th October 18:30-21:00. Come over to practice your public speaking skills and enjoy delicious free pizza!

Please feel free to get in touch at [email protected] if you have any questions.



On Monday 18th September, Bloomsbury Speakers hosted their official Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest during which members and guests witnessed the club’s funniest battling it out for a place in the Area Contest on 27th September.


The contest started with a speech from the President of the Club Peter R who gave a warm welcome to everybody before introducing the Contest Chair Swarajit. Swarajit talked people through the order of the evening, the rules of an official Toastmaster contest and gave some humorous advice on which topics are best to cover in a speech (basically anything except racism, sexism and homophobia… unless of course you are a white straight man, in which case you can do whatever you like!) He introduced Chief Judge Simon.

Prepared speeches

The first contestant was Margarita with her speech entitled “Midnight Dancer”.  As a result of her love of Irish dancing, Margarita injured herself whilst practicing at home and paramedics were treated to a scene of two Russian girls (Margarita and her flatmate) lying on the floor with a frozen bottle of vodka pressed against her ankle and Irish songs playing in the background!

Next to speak was Yamina with her speech “The Perks of Being a Late Bloomer”. Yamina used to dislike early bloomers but has now come to appreciate that, as a late bloomer, she actually had the time to enjoy her childhood in the south of France. Growing up without a computer helped her to develop her imagination and, as a neuroscientist, she sometimes catches herself daydreaming about her Nobel Prize acceptance speech!

The third speech was “I Love Holidays” by Atul, who confessed to hating airports and has in the past spent time in airport stores when he hasn’t even needed to buy anything. He also questioned the usefulness of the barrage of announcements flyers are subjected to before, during and after the flight – don’t we all know how to fasten a seat belt already??

The fourth contestant was Helen with her speech “The Dinner Bill”. What is the protocol when first daters go out for dinner and the bill arrives? Helen found out the hard way with her date “Dick”, who was baffled when Helen offered to split the bill and then proceeded to lecture her on the fact the men are meant to take care of women. Helen left us wondering whether we should tolerate benevolent sexism.

Swarajit then led the guest introductions.

Table Topics

After the break, we heard from the table topic contestants – Helen, Peter R, Sophia, Lei, Scott, Atul, Margarita and Andy – on the contest question “How has technology changed your life?”. Highlights included Peter’s disdain for social media which has caused a 7 year void on his Facebook profile, and Andy’s admission that technology has not just changed his life but effectively taken over!

A round of friendly table topics followed as the Contest judges finalised their evaluations.

Awards for Speech Contest

First Place: Helen

Second place: Atul

Awards for Table Topics Contest

First Place: Peter R

Second place: Margarita 

Third place: Andy

Next meeting

The next regular meeting will take place at Wedge Issue Pizza & Beer (91-95 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1R 5BX), on Monday 25th September 18:30-21:00. Come over to practice your public speaking skills and enjoy delicious free pizza!

Please feel free to get in touch at [email protected] if you have any questions.