Persistence turns failure into victory!

Roland, acting president this evening, told the meeting about the “method of loci”, a way to memorise a speech. That method was first described by Cicero, a famous Roman speaker and statesman. The speaker must associate speech elements with a symbol, e.g. a sword for a battle or a pan for cooking. Then he arranges the symbols in correct order in a familiar area, like on his favourite walk. Thereafter, the speaker just has to walk through his mental landscape, discover the symbols he placed there and tell his story.

Grant was table topics master and provided a varied and exciting collection of topics like: “If you could travel back in history and change a single thing, what would it be?”, “What is the biggest lie of which you wish it were true?” and “What do you think about people who do extremely dangerous sports?”.

Mike evaluated the table topics session and Shane, our toastmaster, injected lots of energy into the meeting.

In the second half, Abdullah, a guest from Kings Cross Speakers, delivered his speech “Failure = Success”. After completing his engineering degree in the UK, there was only one company in Saudi Arabia that could possibly have employed a specialist like him – but didn’t. He was not discouraged, managed to get into a PhD programme and now pursues a much more fulfilling carrier.

Shane described the panic he felt when he ran out of oxygen during a swimming event in brown muddy water in a lake near Blenheim Castle. He thought of Churchills saying: “When you are going through hell, keep going” – and managed to keep going and finish the race.

Hugh from London City Speakers provided a detailed and thoughtful general evaluation of the meeting.

Awards were received by Mike as best table topics speaker, Abdulla as best speaker and Grant as best speech evaluator.

See you all at the next meeting.

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Flu jab, Blue whale, and How to be yourself.

After the Royal Wedding in the UK the previous week, Trang, the President spoke about the meeting between the leaders from North Korea, South Korea, and the USA. Taking inspiration from the multilateral negotiation, apparently, communication skills are vital not only in political context but also in normal daily lives. Trang urged members and guests to keep on improving their skills at Phoenix Speakers.

Mike opened the meeting with a series of questions about what is the best, what’s worst, your favorite thing, etc. Members and guests enjoyed themselves in this session. Robert talked passionately about the blue whale, a creature he considered wonderful and mysterious. Xavier’s favorite film of all time is the Gladiator starring Russel Crowe. He thought that it was an incredible character with strong determination and a hero. Georgie chose her favorite song: I want you – Bob Dylan that she practiced in her piano classes. For Bryan, the most impactful events in the 20th century were the abolishment of Apartheid and the release of Nelson Mandela. Jorge, a guest talked convincingly about the pragmatism of the Netherlands, which he liked very much. The best table topic speaker award went to Jeremy who chose a surprisingly simple medical invention as his favorite one, the flu jab.

In the 2nd half of the meeting, Rupert started his toastmaster journey with his Ice Breaker speech titled How to be myself. He bravely revealed the journey that he has been through. When he was young, he was ambitious yet incredibly shy. The shyness did not go away in his teenage years. Luckily he met an amazing therapist who helped him tremendously through his life. Now he runs a successful business with a wonderful family. Drawing from his experience, for him, true happiness is in the journey. Rupert looks forward to more fascinating experiences that life has to offer. Followed up was a lovely wedding speech from Georgie. The audience was entertained with all the adventures and mishaps that Georgie shared with her life-long friend Snee (her nickname)

Despite doing the evaluation for the first time, Robert won the best evaluator award with his passionate and insightful observations on Georgie’s speech.

See you at the next meeting, Wednesday 13 June 2018

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How do you perceive health? You are when you eat, and Bricksey

Trang, the president of Phoenix Speakers, started the meeting with a story about Bill Gates. Despite being a computer geek, Gates worked hard at public speaking. It was useful to him when he was trying to sell Microsoft a long time ago and even more so now as a public figure. Drawing from this example, Trang urged members and guests to keep working at speaking in front of people. Indeed, hard work pays off.

Shane, the Toastmaster, led the meeting with zeal and enthusiasm.

Jeremy, the Topics Master, asked the audience questions based on an excerpt from the famous poem.

IF – by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise


Members and guests answered these topics with humor, creative imagination and wonderful personal stories. The best table topic speaker award went to George Peden who shared with the audience about his grandfather. George wished to meet his grandfather and to have a conversation about his colorful life.

In the 2nd half of the meeting, Aaron started his toastmaster journey with his Ice Breaker titled: How do you perceive health? There were 3 pieces of jigsaw throughout his life. The first one, as a young boy, with his mom at his elbow, his dad at his ear, he was talked into eating vegetables. He never stopped eating vegetables. He then moved on to the time when he was a footballer, he met an amazing coach who inspired him to stay healthy to keep ahead of the game. Last, from his trip to Uganda, he was amazed by the quality, the richness and the freshness of the cuisine there. Thus, he vowed to make the best use of food to maintain a healthy body and a brilliant mind.

Follow up was Brad doing his advanced project – To inform the audience. The audience was intrigued by the title: You are when you eat. Brad explained the history of healthy eating when human mainly ate non-processed food. Afterward, he introduced intermittent fasting to the audience, how to practice it and its effects on health. In conclusion, he advocated healthy eating as a habit, not a goal, a lifestyle not a mere diet and of course, after consulting the doctor.

Finally, Shane delivered a moving speech for his friend’s eulogy – Mark Bricksey.  Having met each other at a business school, they quickly became friends even though Mark was considered the odd one. In his own words, Mark did an MBA to get away from his wife. Despite leading a life with lots of ups and downs, Mark had always been a positive person, a young spirit regardless of age. Shane made the audience felt for Mark’s life and personality. He won the best speaker award.

See you at the next meeting.

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  • Where

    We meet in The Chapel at the Grange Wellington Hotel, 71 Vincent Square, SW1P 2PA (centrally located between Victoria, Pimlico and St. James's Park tube stations). See map.

    Guests are very welcome to turn up - no booking required.
  • When

    We meet every second and fourth Wednesday. Meetings start promptly at 7pm, why not arrive a few minutes early and get a drink!

    Next meeting Wed 27th Jun