All of the Elements…

Toastmaster of the Evening Stuart got the August 24 meeting of 21 strong off to a rousing start with a round-robin session – 15 seconds each identifying what the phrase ‘conscious living’ meant to them.

The warm-up was quickly followed by a very thought-provoking Table Topics session led by Everton, using the various elements of the weather as a theme.  Seven members were called upon at a moment’s notice to elaborate on the question posed to them, and all came across as if they were experts on rain, mist, snow, forecasting, and of course their favourite season.

The evening then moved on to the prepared speeches segment of the meeting, where there were three speeches delivered.  Alex was first up, giving his Ice Breaker – his first-ever speech at a Toastmasters Club – with confidence and conviction. Angela and Maria followed him with the same level of enthusiasm.  

Concluding the formal evening were four evaluations – one of each speech and one of all 7 Table Topics speakers. With little time to prepare, the evaluator’s role is both rewarding and challenging. Listening is the key.

Alistair, Club President, wrapped up the meeting and concluded with what we were all anxious to hear – as always  – who won ‘Best’ for the evening?

Best Table Topic – Tom Hostetler

Best Evaluator – Tom Hostetler

Best Speaker – Alex Bradley  

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom

‘Last year if someone had said let’s hold meetings on line all thumbs would
have pointed downwards. Now it seems that we are in the groove, and our screen meetings are running on enthusiasm.
Twenty-three attendees were with us this evening including Diane from Chiltern Speakers and Melanie from Reading Speakers. Clayton conducted the evening with his relaxed manner and vibrant Welsh tones.
We had our regular complement of three prepared speakers who were preceded by Table Topics. Lockdown issues threaded the theme together and gave plenty of scope for the speakers to expound.
Julie led the Evaluation segment of the meeting with a smoothness that would make silk look ragged. Excellent.
The best-prepared speaker of the evening was Rajeev with a succinct summary of his life influences, Melanie topped the charts with her teetotal Table Topic, and Steve was voted Evaluator of the evening. Another good episode in our Clubs online chapter.’

Humorous Speech & Table Topics contest – 23 Sep 2019

It was a great Humorous Speech and Table Topics contest held on the  23rd September, everyone who participated did a great job. Plenty of guests visiting the club went away very impressed by the evening. The standard was exceptionally high with lots of laughter in the room.

Contest Winners

For those of you who weren’t able to attend the results for the contests were…

Humorous Speech

  • 1st Kashmira  – Ah! The Little Devils !
  • 2nd Richard  – The Break Up
  • 3rd Naeem  – Mistaken Identity

Table Topics

  • 1st Doreen
  • 2nd Ian
  • 3rd Tony

Tall Tales of Maidenhead

Annual Tall Tales Contest 2019

A delightful evening at our President’s home to celebrate 35 years of Maidenhead Speakers Club.  We held the Tall Tales contest where the contestants told funny and wildly exaggerated stories.


There were 4 contestant for the Tall Tales competition which took place after a delicious Texan BBQ.

First up was Lorraine with a speech entitled “Squashed” where she enlisted dark forces to become the best squash player “in the world”.  Lorraine was followed by Maria who gave a very humorous tale about her special VW Golf that talked to her, guiding her driving and giving advice on avoiding dangerous shrubs.

Next was Tony with his heart warning yet dark tale about a pet tortoise that had died or had it?  Last but by no means least Steve delivered a very clever impromptu tale in which everything and everyone was named after a fish!

Lorraine emerged the winner but it was a very close contest with extremely strong entries from all competitors.

lorrain 2019 - tall tales


It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and our Club President Tom and his wife made all of us feel very welcome.  Everyone had a great time.  I’m really looking forward to our next social event around Christmas time.

Thank you for your hospitality

Annual International Speech and Evaluation Club Contest – 2019

Once again, this years International Speech and Evaluation contest provided members and guests with a spectacular evening. This years event was organised by Toastmaster Julie Farrell and what an evening it was.

The event was attended by no fewer than 30 people and everyone was extremely impressed with the speakers and evaluations.

The night kicked off with an unusual but highly interactive A-Z story that involved everyone taking turns to continue a rather bazaar story about a group of aliens that visited the Toastmaster club.

This led us into the speech contest where we where glued to our seats as 4 speakers and 7 evaluators took part in trying to claim those coveted wins.

International Speech Contest

We had 4 entries to the speech contest this year with brilliant performances from all. In the end Tom Hostetler took top honours with his heartwarming speech sharing his story and pride of his son.



Results for the 2019 International Speech

  • Tom Hostetler – 1st
  • Tony Searby – 2nd
  • Chris Boden – 3rd

Evaluation Contest

Next the audience was treated to a master class in speaking from our guest speaker, Eddie McGuire from Chiltern Speakers. He delivered an amazing, active, thought provoking speech about how our actions or words can sometimes cause offence and the importance of owning and recognising them.

We had 8 entries to the Evaluation contest but on the night, Tony Searby took top honours.


Results for the 2019 Evaluation Content

  • Tony Searby – 1st
  • Lorraine Hamilton – 2nd
  • Vidhya Nadarajan – 3rd

Well done to everyone that took part and thank you to everyone that helped arrange the evening.


Overall, an educational, fun-filled and enjoyable evening.


How to evaluate table topics

The role of Table Topics Evaluator (TTE) is a relatively new one for Maidenhead. Some people may be wondering how to do it. My first club, like many others, has this as a role at every meeting so I’ve had lots of practice. Here are my tips on being the TTE.

Scope of the role:

Give useful feedback to each of the table topics speakers.

But how ?

1_ConferenceEssentially the TTE role is very similar to the General Evaluator (GE). You’re giving feedback to a number of people in a short amount of time. Time is your enemy here, a good TTE, like a good GE will effectively use the time they have.

A struggling one will waffle on and waste it. You will have about 5 minutes to evaluate 6 or 7 speakers. This is why this role is so good to do – it teaches you to get to the point and be disciplined in your content.

What’s the key? Structure

Every speaker gets a Commend / Recommend / Commend (CRC). And nothing more.

For each speaker state one thing you

  1. liked (C);
  2. one thing you thought could be improved (R);
  3. then one other thing you liked (C).

Then move on to the next speaker.

e.g. Bob’s question was about his favourite holiday.

I like the way Bob came striding to the front, he really looked confident and that big smile put us all at ease. I’d recommend that Bob keep his hands out his pocket, it looks a bit too casual and fidgety, so try to gesture or keep the hands in a comfortable neutral position. What I really loved was the story Bob told about the waiter in Ibiza. It was really funny and the vivid language out us there with him. Next up was Charlene…”

Keep it short and to the point.

How long? 45 seconds per speaker. 15 seconds commend, 15 seconds recommend, 15 seconds commend. It’s longer than it sounds, but it will make you get to the point.

Some things you could look out for in your evaluation:

  • Did they answer the question? (That’s important)
  • Did they waffle a lot at the start?
  • Did they have any distracting nervous habits?
  • Did they spend all of their thinking time looking at the floor or the ceiling?
  • Did they tell a good story?
  • Did they use an effective structure?

Whatever you talk about, remember to be encouraging. Lots of people are very nervous about table topics so try to finish on a positive.

Things not to do:

  • Don’t evaluate the topics master. The GE will take care of that and it wastes time.
  • Don’t spend a lot of time talking about the first speaker. Do theirs quickly and move on. Many TTE spend loads of time talking about the first two speakers then realise they only have a minute left to do the other 5.

Now, sign up! Remember – stay focused, get to the point, don’t waffle, use CRC and enjoy yourself!

Chris Boden


The Toastmaster Promise – 12th Nov 2018

Turnout at the Nov.12 MSC meeting was again well over 20, and all were treated to an entertaining evening of varied speeches and evaluations.  Area Director Bret Freemen came to participate and hopefully was impressed with the organisation, attention to detail and camaraderie amongst the members.


Doreen, our steadfast Sargent at Arms, opened the meeting and led from the start with her enthusiasm and humour.  Chairing the first half of the meeting was first time Toastmaster of the Evening Kathleen, who set the scene.

Lorraine then followed with Table Topics under the theme of ‘The Toastmasters Promise’ and the members called up impressed us with their impromptu speaking ability, including new members Alex and Leanne.   Tony came away with the Best Table Topic award with his humorous view on the merits (or lack thereof) on speech preparation.


Prepared speech topics included an Ice Breaker on the subject of tasting a fine wine, a foray into the world of mnemonics, the value of education, and the fall of Troy.

Best Speaker Award went to James on only his second speech, delving into the mysteries of memory techniques.


In the evaluation section of the meeting, evaluators assigned to each speaker are given 2 minutes to provide a scintillating, detailed and thorough assessment of the speech, while another member evaluates the Table Topics speakers.

While seemingly a daunting challenge, all 5 were clearly up to the task, with Chris, who evaluated Table Topics, winning the award for Best Evaluator by appealing to each speakers’ unique characteristics while providing valuable feedback.

Closing the evening with the awards, all members were then reminded to RSVP Tom on the Dec. 8 Christmas ‘do’ and that the second half of the December 10 meeting will be social hour with food and drinks.


Humorous Speech Contest, 24 Sep 2018

‘Battle of the Sexes’, ‘Definitely Weird But Is It Funny?’ ,’Life Changing Events’.. just some of the humorous speeches delivered on the night.

Energy in the room was high when the S@A opened the meeting, the room was buzzing in anticipation.  As well as the regular members of the club there were 3 visitors from other clubs and 4 new guests.  For Club President Tom, it was his first meeting back after a holiday in the US where he had attended the International Speech Contest in Chicago and had seen the top 10 Toastmaster’s speakers in the world delivering there speeches to an audience of 1,500 – 2,000. He encouraged members to think about attending the next conference in Denver, saying it was an inspirational experience.


Contest Chair Clayton then opened the contest proper, assisted by Chief Judge Vidya.  He opened as always with an very amusing anecdote.  Then onto the serious business of the contest and he ran through the rules.

Humorous Speech contest first of all and Micheal was up first with his very funny speech entitled ‘Battle of the Sexes’ a story about when he had a sty removed from his eye.  Tony was up next with his speech entitled ‘Definitely Weird But Is It Funny?’ where he asked the ultimate question.. would we do anything for love?  Tony had some problems with his audio equipment which definitely added to the laughs.. Steve then delivered a speech ‘Life Changing Events’.. do you remember a life-changing event was the question he asked of the audience. His life changing event was parenthood.  Nick was the final speaker in the contest with he speech ‘Me and My Flannel’ , opening with a proverb..when in Rome do as the Romans do..but when Japan ??

Judging then took place, counters counted the votes and we broke for tea, coffee , biscuits and croissant.


We reconvened for the Table Topics contest;7 contestants taking part.  Angela was first up to hear the Table Topics question while the other 6 contestants where led out of the room. The questions was ‘ My friend was invited to a house with a 80 million pound super-car collection. If money was no object what would you collect and why?’.  The other contestants Michael, Chris, Tony, Doreen, Steve and Kathleen where brought into the room to give their response to the table-topic question in turn.

Judging then took place and award presented.

Humorous  Speech Contest Results

  • 1st: Steve
  • 2nd: Tony
  • 3rd: Nick

Table Topic Contest Results

  • 1st: Chris
  • 2nd: Doreen
  • 3rd: Kathleen


A thoroughly brilliant evening, well done to all who took part. A big thank you to those members who organised the contests, you did a brilliant job and thank you to members of other clubs who assisted in the evening.

Holiday Season, 20th Aug 2018

Holiday season is in full swing but that didn’t stop members from coming down and listening to some great speeches. With some of our regular committee members taking a well earned break, other members stepped in and held the meeting together. Special note to Steve who managed to take on 2 roles at once (timer and GE), not an easy task.

The table topics session was led by Ian, and what seemed initially as an easy ask, stumped a few regulars. Ultimately, a guest Speaker (but soon to be member), Alistair, was crowned the best Table Topic speaker for the night, with his ability to describe the useful, yet challenging position of telesales. Congratulations.

We then where treated to 3 prepared speeches from Jack, Riccardo and Cheryl .

Jack challenged the group with a powerful speech about how important it is that we have space to talk about topics that are difficult or risk creating space for those who are ignorant or not as honest as others to hold and sway the conversations.

Riccardo then took us on a tour of Opera and how it relates to your voice, how using Toastmasters provides a way to train your vocal muscles to help you deliver better speeches.

Finally, Cheryl took us on a magical tour of a recent experience she had in the forests of Bedfordshire. She told us how we can help ourselves to create a better connection to nature and open ourselves to listen.

Cheryl-1780-final-low res

Best Speaker – Aug 20th 2018

Our evaluators, Alan, Tony and Micheal then provided valuable feedback to the speakers with Tony taking top honours for best Evaluation.

At the end of the meeting, we closed with a general evaluation from Steve and awards where Cheryl ended up taking Best Speaker for the night.



New Committee, New Journey

Maidenhead Speakers New committee brings new ideas to the table

This years committee has started work on preparing and planning out the new year. Each year in July, club members are nominated to take up roles that help to keep the club running and aligned to the Toastmasters International mission.

We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

In fact, part of that missions ‘personal growth’ is directly related to gaining new experiences by taking part in the committee roles. Each role, challenges people to step into an area of skills they may have little to no experience in but allows them to learn in an open and safe environment.


Weather it be learning how to manage the finances of a club, running the PR activities or even running the whole club as the president does, each of these roles gives people the opportunity to learn and try out new things.

Who knows, maybe it sparks an interest in making a career change?