Award winners for 5th June 2017 - Dorothea Babatunde (best speaker) and Salem Al-Damluji (best evaluator & best Table Topics)

Club meeting – 5 June 2017

What an Empowering evening we had!

Our public speaking club meeting had our usual mix of activities.  People practicing speeches that they had carefully prepared, helpful feedback and a fun opportunity for impromptu speaking.  What was unusual was our venue.  We were still at The Winchmore, but not in our regular function room.  This meant that things were a little more cosy than usual and we had a little background noise, but that all added to the atmosphere.  I do wonder what people in the bar thought about all the clapping, cheering and laughter that was emanating from our corner of the pub.

Graeme was our Toastmaster of the evening and expertly guided us through our purpose: to help people develop their confidence, communication and leadership skills through public speaking.  Graeme also introduced Barbara as our grammarian, providing insight into our use of language.  Lee was the Timekeeper for the evening.  We also welcomed Arlene as our newest member of the club.  Arlene kindly volunteered to provide us all with feedback on our use of “filler-words”, such as ah, erm and … well, and…

Then we got started with our prepared speeches.  This is where the speaker has used the Toastmasters International Education Programme to help them craft their speech.

Prepared speeches

Dorothea leaped to her feet and entertained us all with her speech entitled “Take a step”.  This was Dorothea’s first speech at the club, and she certainly impressed us.  So much so that we awarded her Best Speaker for the evening.  She spoke about how a visit to “Go Ape” with her husband had inspired her.  We learned the importance of overcoming fears and experiencing something new.  It was a topic to which everyone in our Toastmasters speaking club can relate.  I was privileged to provide an evaluation of Dorothea’s speech.  I particularly liked her evocative language and alliterative phrase of being bold, brave and brazen.

Next up was Sinita, who encouraged us all to use our imagination.  She vividly described an experience from her past.  Her use of language and encouragement for us to “imagine” meant that we could share the experience with her.  Sinita shared with us how taking “two deep breaths” is something that can help us all to feel calm and more focused.  It provides an opportunity to live in the moment, rather than thinking about the many things in our lives.  Graeme praised Sinita’s speech.  He commented on how Sinita’s calm and measured delivery had enhanced the overall impact.

Wendy then treated us to a thought-provoking speech about our attitudes to time.  She crafted a great metaphor – comparing Newton’s theories of time with those of Einstein.  She encouraged us to think of time being relative, where our attitude affects how quickly time passes.  Wendy even shared with us a quote, attributed to Einstein:

“When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”

Salem provided feedback to Wendy, in his usual constructive and witty style.  He commended her on the structure of her speech and made some suggestions about how her speech could be made even better.  The quality of Salem’s feedback meant that we voted him as the best evaluator for the evening.

Impromptu public speaking

We had our usual networking break, with an opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones.  Then we had Table Topics.  This is our chance for impromptu or off-the-cuff public speaking.  In life, we’re often asked to speak briefly on a topic.  Whether that’s providing an update at work or speaking to a teacher at school, this is an important skill.  At our club, we make the development of this skill as fun as possible.

Wendy led use through this part of the meeting, with some good questions that could really get us talking.  Some were very philosophical and prompted reflection, such as how you would live your life differently.  Some provided an opportunity to share passions, such as what we would say if we could get a message across to a large group of people.  One person was simply asked, “what makes you smile?”  We certainly had fun.  When Salem was asked about “existing vs living”, his answer was so good that we awarded him the Best Table Topics award.  Kavita then took the stage to provide each of our impromptu public speakers with encouragement and advice for the future.

What next?

It was certainly a fun evening of learning and empowerment.  I use the word “empowerment” advisedly, as Barbara had challenged us all to use that word during the evening.  I  always value my visits to Winchmore Hill Speakers as it’s great to see how everyone supports each other.  At the end of the evening, Rosy, our club president summarised what we had achieved.  She also encouraged all of us to invite our friends, families and colleagues to come and join in the fun.  Come along to our next meeting on June 19th!

Award winners for 5th June 2017 - Dorothea Babatunde (best speaker) and Salem Al-Damluji (best evaluator & best Table Topics)
Award winners for 5th June 2017 – Dorothea Babatunde (best speaker) and Salem Al-Damluji (best evaluator & best Table Topics)

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What is Gavel Club?

Gavel Clubs are affiliated with Toastmasters International and provide a supportive and structured environment for members to develop their public speaking and leadership skills.

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What's in it for me?

Gavel Club will give you the skills and confidence you need to effectively express yourself in any situation. Whether you are a tenured manager, student, young professional, someone looking to advance their career, or someone hoping to make an impact in your community, Toastmasters is the most efficient, supportive, enjoyable, and affordable way of gaining great communication skills. By learning to effectively formulate and express your ideas, you open an entirely new world of possibilities. You’ll improve your interpersonal communication and be more persuasive and confident when giving speeches.

Joining Toastmasters can help you achieve your personal and professional goals. Is one of your goals listed below? Click on it to see how we can help you accomplish it!



  1. Build Confidence for Public Speaking: Gavel club present speaking opportunities at every meeting. Whether you present a prepared speech, participate in Table Topics®, or fill a meeting role, you can get the valuable practice needed to build confidence for public speaking. And Toastmasters’ safe and supportive club environment means there’s no pressure, so you can work at your own pace.
  2. Become a more effective speaker: An integral part of Toastmasters is giving and receiving feedback. When you speak at a club, a fellow Toastmaster will provide you with feedback to help you grow your public speaking skills. With the Pathways learning experience, you will have access to an education program that will teach you the skills required to become a more effective speaker.
  3. Improve my presentation Skill: Gavel Club isn’t only for improving your public speaking or communication skills. By giving speeches and working through a learning path in the Pathways learning experience, you will learn how to structure your presentation and incorporate tone and body language to truly engage with your audience.
  4. Improv my Leadership Skill: Since Gavel clubs are run by members, each club offers volunteer leadership positions. When you combine this with the leadership skills you can learn through the Pathways learning experience, you can not only build skills, but can gain valuable experience leading a team.
  5.  Meet my professional Goal: By improving your communication, public speaking, and leadership skills, you are building a better version of yourself. Whether you are hoping to land that big promotion or simply want to feel more confident when communicating with coworkers, Gavel Club can help teach the skills you need!
  6. Increase my fluency in a Language: By improving your communication, public speaking, and leadership skills, you are building a better version of yourself. Whether you are hoping to land that big promotion or simply want to feel more confident when communicating with coworkers, Gavel Club can help teach the skills you need!
  7. Network With Others and Build Social Communication: Gavel come from all walks of life. Over time, attending meetings will allow you to build social connections and network with others that you may not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. In a Gavel club, you’ll find likeminded people who are working hard to build similar skills as you!


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What can I expect in a meeting?

In Toastmasters, everything revolves around the club meeting. With over 15,000 clubs in almost 150 countries, each club is unique in their own way. While clubs all feature the same structure, some are more formal, feature a theme, or have criteria for members to join. We encourage everyone to visit several clubs until they find one that fits their needs. To learn more about the basic structure of a Gavel Club meeting.

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Don’t just take our word for how great being a Gavel Club is. Hear from members from around the world who have used the Toastmasters program to learn new skills, solve problems, and grow as individuals.

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How do I learn and grow?

In addition to the supportive learning environment in the club, there is a structured education program called Pathways.

What is the Pathways learning experience?
Pathways is Gavel’ exciting, interactive, and flexible education program open_in_new. It focuses on five core competencies: Public Speaking, Interpersonal Communication, Strategic Leadership, Management, and Confidence. With 11 paths to choose from (and more in development), you have the option to pick which skills you want to focus on.

How does Pathways work?
Sign into Pathways and take the online assessment, which will suggest a learning path based on your goals. As a Toastmasters member, you will receive one free path when you join. Progress through your path by completing projects, giving presentations at club meetings, and implementing feedback, all done at your own pace. Each path has five levels and you’ll start by mastering fundamentals before working your way up to demonstrating your expertise. Best of all, Pathways is available online or in print and is translated into eight languages!

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Ready to experience the ultimate source in public speaking and leadership? For 90 years, the Gavel Club  has provided practical information and inspiring stories, with a range of in-depth articles and helpful tips written by industry experts and experienced members. You’ll gain tools for improving your speeches, advice on growing your leadership skills, and deeper insight into your strengths. Plus, look forward to online exclusives every month!

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