Life after lockdown

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 BST on Thursday, July 23! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room. If that doesn’t work on your device, the Meeting ID is 631 522 4568 and the password is speakers.

We had a lot of fun this academic year, and we are excited to transition into the next one. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we need to assemble a committee of dedicated, lively, and trustworthy students. If you will be an Imperial student or staff next year and you wish to be in the committee next year, please apply by clicking the button below.

If you wish to apply, please briefly explain why you would like to serve Imperial College Speakers and which role you would like to be considered for. The following roles are still available:

  • Vice President of Membership
  • Sergeant At Arms
  • Secretary

Descriptions about the roles outlined above can be read by clicking the button below.

Table Topics

We listened to a variety of contemplative Table Topics hosted by Harshit Agrawal.

Chuka looked forward to the day that he can, once again, order things online!

Habib would like to visit the “British Museum” after the lockdown.

Even though his country has lifted lockdown rules “for over two months now”, Umar was delighted to see his friends and family.

Katia reminisced the days she would do latin dancing at her university. Thankfully, she said “I really enjoy gardening”.

Consistency is key. Miracle “decided to take up running” and believed that “this lockdown pushed me to run for more than a week”.

Nehad wanted to travel, and she looked forward to when she can “arrange, again, a holiday to the US.”

Afifa believed lockdown was a blessing in disguise because she could “learn about sustainability”.

Prepared Speakers

Ruslan Saleh practised her leadership skills by giving some Toastie English Topics.

Nehad Ali entertained us with anecdotal strategies on How To Live A Meaningful Life.

Evaluations

Sadia evaluated the Table Topics.

Chuka was “very fluid” but he should “avoid repetition of words or phrases”.

Habib was “very succint” but perhaps too much so!

Omar seemed “very comfortable” but may have been overly formal.

Sadia praised Katia’s hand gestures. She could try using humour.

Sadia acknowledged Miracle’s “use of figures” but was disappointed by her “lack of visual input”.

Nehad’s pacing was beautiful but she should work on her “eye contact”.

Afifa had a “vibrant” “tonal variety” but should augment her speech with hand gestures.


Chuka evaluated Ruslan’s speech.

She was highly “animated” during the majority of her speech.

She didn’t start off this way, though. It is arguably more important to start with a bang than to end with one for forming a rapport.

She used vocal variety and humour effectively to convey moods.

Miracle evaluated Nehad’s motivational speech.

Nehad “opened with an intriguing question”.

Her eye contact “was there, but she wasn’t there”.

The motivational quotes and “messages definitely played on our heartstrings”.


Kinga acted as our General Evaluator.

She felt there was a “wonderful atmosphere” at our club.

It seemed that promotion of our club was lacking, though.

Everyone was well-prepared.

Clearer is better

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 BST on Thursday, July 9! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room. If that doesn’t work on your device, the Meeting ID is 631 522 4568 and the password is speakers.

We had a lot of fun this academic year, and we are excited to transition into the next one. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we need to assemble a committee of dedicated, lively, and trustworthy students. If you will be an Imperial student or staff next year and you wish to be in the committee next year, please apply by clicking the button below.

If you wish to apply, please briefly explain why you would like to serve Imperial College Speakers and which role you would like to be considered for. The following roles are still available:

Vice President of Membership
Sergeant At Arms
Secretary

Apply for a role!

Descriptions about the roles outlined above can be read by clicking the button below.

Role descriptions

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition: Not harmful or offensive; innocent.

Example: The innocuous bird gently landed on the finger of the young boy.

Table Topics

We listened to a theatrical and stimulating variety of Table Topics hosted by Umar Farooq.


This is your Heart and you should never let it rule your Head. Sharell told us that there should be a balance of empathy and intellect to “communicate with someone” effectively.

Happiness can be found in the darkest of hours only if you can remember to switch on the light! Nikita recalled how the darkness surrounding her grandad’s death was replaced with light once her family recalled the moments of happiness.

Things you own end up owning you. Whenever they travelled “in the air” together, Gundala and his wife felt blessed. Gundala felt like he was owned by his wife during these times.

Every life comes with a death sentence. Lalit joked about the first time he was Ah Counter saying that there needed to be an Ah Counter report just for him! Eventually, he won a Table Topics Contest! He encouraged us to make the most of life while we can.

The night is darkest just before the dawn. Fettah (Best Table Topic) captivated us (before he even arrived on the virtual stage!) with his memory of the sunset at a beach in Miami.

Prepared Speakers

Kenny Macheka implored Imperial College Speakers to propagate Sunday meetings into the future instead of being Closed on Sunday.

In the 1500s, people would “literally hope” mail found their target well! In the 1970s, people started to communicate via phone for the first time. Now, as COVID-19 “took the world by storm”, Imperial College Speakers continues to help people with communication using Zoom.

What is the future of these online meetings? Especially our Sunday ones? “Overwhelmingly”, people want to keep on having meetings. However, Kenny admitted that it would be “a real shame” if we did not continue Sunday meetings. He proposed we have a monthly Sunday meeting well after lockdown rules are lifted.


Patrick Kalonde was Searching for Dr. Lawrence Hayes in his speech. We listened with bated breath…

Have you ever felt inspired after watching a movie? Patrick unpacks the interesting character of Dr. Lawrence Hayes that featured in San Andreas. He was inspired by the level of knowledge he had about the fault line that passes through the city of San Andreas.

Patrick was inspired and believed we should also be inspired. The Red Cross provided humanitarian aid to the UK; however, 5% of data is analysed due to a lack of analysts. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” so we should volunteer to help with analysing these data.


“All of us need to work together!” Alyce-Ann Crump (Best Speaker) invited us to use each of our senses to help those who are suffering in society.

“Imagine walking on the beach” and hearing something strange. You turn round, confused. You hear it again: “Help!” You freeze for a moment, and “frantically look around” again, but you see nothing. “Help, I’m drowning!” Now, you see the drowning man in the water and rush out to save them.

You rescue him and perform CPR on him, praying that he is still alive. At the last moment, he begins to cough! He’s alive! If you had the chance, would you save a life? Alyce-Ann pleas that we need to save society.

Evaluations

Chuka evaluated the Table Topics.

Sharell was easy to understand but could have avoided sounding repetitive.

Nikita’s story was touching and the ending was “innocuous” but it felt disjointed.

Gundala was fluid and relatable but he should not have apologised at the start as it could diminish his apparent confidence.

Lalit had a clear call to action but could have elaborated on his Toastmasters journey!

Fettah incorporated rich emotions into his verbal language. He may have spoken a bit too fast and could have collected his thoughts better.


Paula evaluated Kenny’s speech.

“He used a time machine at the start” along with “the power of three”. Incorporating literary devices can bolster attention and engagement.

He was somewhat lacking in evidence.

His speech was very relatable since “everyone” takes online meetings.

Rishi (Best Evaluator) evaluated Patrick’s speech.

Patrick engaged the audience.

His body language was weakened by his virtual background.

Basing his speech on a film sparked curiosity.

Chane evaluated Alyce-Ann’s speech.

The descriptions Alyce-Ann made implied that “we should really offer our hand” to those in need.

She should try and describe the different aspects of the scene so the audience may have a more complete picture in their mind.

Her speech was inspirational.


Jolly acted as our General Evaluator.

The evaluators were “immersed so seriously” in their constructive feedbacks.

Background noise was distracting at times. Perhaps, there could be a role for muting any members that are causing a distraction.

SWITCH!

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 12:15 BST on Sunday, June 28! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room. If that doesn’t work on your device, the Meeting ID is 631 522 4568 and the password is speakers.

We had a lot of fun this academic year, and we are excited to transition into the next one. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we need to assemble a committee of dedicated, lively, and trustworthy students. If you will be an Imperial student or staff next year and you wish to be in the committee next year, please apply by clicking the button below.

If you wish to apply, please briefly explain why you would like to serve Imperial College Speakers and which role you would like to be considered for. The following roles are still available:

  • Vice President of Membership
  • Sergeant At Arms
  • Secretary

Descriptions about the roles outlined above can be read by clicking the button below.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition: excellent.

Example: you look fantabulous today!

Table Topics

Rahul Jain completed a Pathways project by facilitating Table Topics Master. What is a Pathways project, you might ask? Find out by clicking this sentence.


Chuka said that he had more time for his family due to lockdown. “SWITCH!” He acknowledges that many people may be depressed or worried because they can no longer do their normal activities.

Raj claimed that when we have online meetings “we are just sitting” and unable to properly simulate the sense of physical interaction. “SWITCH!” Sure, there are pros and cons to everything, and some people will certainly prefer the added convenience of online meetings.

Rubab (Best Table Topic) believes that money is vital, for example, to treat the disease of a loved one, or to look after your basic needs well. “SWITCH!” “Poor people on the streets” can still be happy. In general, Rubab believes we should make the most of what we have to be happy.

Beatrice believes that CEOs “need to look good” so they are not paid too much. In fact, they may not be paid enough! “SWITCH!” This is a problem because Beatrice feels she isn’t paid enough either, and she’s not a CEO.

“Social media has improved human connections.That’s why we’re having Zoom meetings, argues Umar. “SWITCH!” Echoing Raj, the impact and energy are different compared to in a physical meeting.

Prepared Speakers

In Dialogue in the Dark, Seema Rizvi replaced her apprehension with gratitude. In hindsight, she encouraged us to count our blessings.

First she tested our listening skills by asking us to raise our hands. This was to grab our attention so we could better envision the very special experience that changed her outlook. The Dialogue in the Dark exhibition in India was extremely exciting and nerve-racking.

To experience a completely pitch black world with a white cane and guide was difficult for Seema, and she did try to sneak a little torch as a crutch! Soon, her son held her arm and asked, “Mama don’t you want to see my world of darkness”? Suddenly, Seema felt “very, very blessed” and now believes that “gratitude is an attitude”. We need to teach our children to have a growth mindset.

Rishi Kumra delivered a captivating – yet somewhat controversial – motivational speech with the goal of Redefining education.

Who would have preferred to go to Cambridge or Oxford? Why, though? If not being at Cambridge or Oxford makes you feel not good enough, stop! Rishi warns that this is a “dangerous thought process” . “Our conception of human capacity” should not solely be determined by what we have been able to achieve academically.

Children “learn far quicker” because they may be the most creative innovators. Yet, education “is stifling creativity” hence it is difficult to be appreciated for a creative passion. The problem is that science and humanities are often treated as more valuable than arts. Now, degrees are worth less because employers are taking a more holistic approach to the hiring process.

Lead Your Own Path. Jenny Haka (Best Speaker) told her remarkable story in leadership. Toastmasters played (and continues to play) a major part in her success.

Jenny invited us to close our eyes and reminisce about our first Toastmasters meeting. Then, she asked us to flash forward and be grateful for all the conferences attended, roles taken, and people met. Her beginning was typical. She had a “fine” job that got boring over time. She tried some new things like dance and gym, but they didn’t last. Then, she discovered Toastmasters.

After trying it out (after all, she had nothing to lose), she realised how “fantabulous” it was and it soon became her “favourite hobby”! The best thing about the Competent Manual, for instance, was that she only ever received positive feedback. After completing her second Icebreaker, she noticed an opportunity to challenge and develop her leadership skills. She started competing in Contests and she organised events. She is still growing and was the first club in her District to go online after the COVID-19 outbreak was announced in the UK.

Evaluations

Kenny evaluated the Table Topics.

Chuka had plentiful content. SWITCH! He could have injected more emotions when he was talking about the cons of his proposition.

Raj “didn’t really falter”.

Impressively, Rubab sounded like she gave a prepared speech!

Beatrice used “powerful” repetition when she said CEOs are miserable, miserable”.

Kenny could not see Umar’s body gestures properly. Perhaps he can try positioning his camera better.


Miracle evaluated Seema’s speech.

She had a “catchy opening, body, and conclusion”.

SWITCH! She could have “made a strong statement first” to “entice” her audience.

SWITCH! “She also began with a personal anecdote.”

Judith evaluated Rishi’s address.

Judith resonated with Rishi’s topic.

SWITCH! Perhaps there were too many quotes, and he could have made his speech more concise.

SWITCH! His speech was very current and relevant.

Rubab (Best Evaluator) evaluated Jenny’s story.

Her energy, clarity, and delivery were all fantabulous and kept Rubab “hooked”.

SWITCH! She could have used visual aids such as a PowerPoint with a few slides and pictures to amplify the impact of her story.

SWITCH! Her structure was… well… “well-structured”!

Sadia evaluated Rahul’s performance during his Table Topics session.

His “pace and timing” were “timely” and “consistent”.

SWITCH! Hand gestures would help him feel more “animated and more engaged”.

SWITCH! He commented on the speakers and appeared to demonstrate genuine interest.


Paula acted as our General Evaluator.

She particularly liked the Table Topic Master’s novel “Switch” mechanism.

She was impressed by the Timekeepers flashing red background to indicate the speaker had exceeded their upper time limit by 30 seconds.

She remarked on the use of list or “power of three” used by the third evaluator. It is a simple but highly effective tool that anyone can use.

Constant change

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 BST on Thursday, June 25! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room. If that doesn’t work on your device, the Meeting ID is 631 522 4568 and the password is speakers.

We had a lot of fun this academic year, and we are excited to transition into the next one. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we need to assemble a committee of dedicated, lively, and trustworthy students. If you will be an Imperial student or staff next year and you wish to be in the committee next year, please apply by clicking the button below.

If you wish to apply, please briefly explain why you would like to serve Imperial College Speakers and which role you would like to be considered for. The following roles are still available:

  • President
  • Vice President (VP) of Membership
  • VP of Education
  • VP of Public Relations
  • Sergeant At Arms
  • Secretary

Descriptions about the roles outlined above can be read by clicking the button below.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition: a stylish, original, and very confident way of doing things that makes people admire you.

Example: she spoke with great panache.

Prepared Speakers

Why can you think of Change As A Turning Point In Life? Nehad Ali answered this question in her Icebreaker.

“Change is common, but radical change in uncommon.” This is an important adage for Nehad as it effectively captures her journey to becoming a speaker.

She realised she was not happy with her current situation while on holiday one time. So, she followed “the voice of change” and updated her knowledge by embarking on an entrepreneurship course at London. She discovered that public speaking was a challenge to her since English was not her native language. “It’s time to turn weaknesses into opportunities” with the help of Toastmasters!


Should you Serve your community? Xiaolei Zhang tried to empower academicians so they feel less lonely.

Xiaolei felt she was in “extreme” academic isolation. She would often encounter an episode of depression or “loss of hope”. Fortunately, Toastmasters came to the rescue to help her regain confidence and energy.

Xiaolei adamantly believes that students that do not engage in formal research collaboration will tend to communicate less. This is why she builds academic-focussed communities for PhD students to feel less depressed. Finally, she empowered us to “be part of the solution”!


What are Dreams Made Of? Chuka Nwobodo entertained a decade of experience playing games to answer this elusive question.

What have a Game Boy Advance, Wacky Warehouse, and a bike that talks have in common? They were all part of Chuka’s childhood, which he recited fondly in his speech.

Why is Pikachu so iconic? What differentiates people with high creativity from those with low creativity? Chuka believes creativity is a skill that can be trained by drawing, writing, or telling jokes more often. Obviously, playing video games can also help!


Paula Vila told us What I Have Learned in 4 Years at University. Congratulations on your recent graduation, and we wish only the best for you!

Before she even got into university, Paula was so excited that she researched all of the societies at Imperial College London. However, Paula dropped “everything” (which included 16 societies!) right before exam season.

As a result, Paula decided to focus only on what was important. In addition, growing and maintaining her connections are some of the most valuable things she gained from her time at university. “Sometimes, less is more”, but the best time to network is arguably at university. Cultivate only the best connections to avoid being overwhelmed!


Katia Hougaard (Best Speaker) showed us how she works as A Leader in the Lab: Being a Supervisor. Do you consider yourself a coach, a pacesetter, or an innovator?

All of us have leadership roles, whether we signed up for them or not! Katia explained that there may be three defining leadership styles.

With a coaching style, Katia encouraged her students to acquire original and more advanced research. With a pacesetting style, she could “maximise productivity” by training students to use equipment and software. She should also set the bar high by showing up to work daily, doing her research, and abiding to proper lab etiquette. “Innovation and science go hand in hand” and the job of an innovative leader is to acknowledge that there is “no such thing as a stupid question”! To conclude, a “real-world leader must be adaptable.”

Evaluations

Chane evaluated the Nehad’s icebreaker.

Nehad did well to “guide the audience with her pace”.

Nehad could try to make the quotes she cited sound more inspirational by changing her voice.

She motivated why she wanted to become a better public speaker.

Kenny evaluated Xiaolei’s speech.

“She was very fluid and natural.” She reminded Kenny of the founder of Toastmasters!

“Keep your segues a lot more clean” to avoid inhibiting flow with distracting noises, for example.

Her vision for forming a Society was empowering and evocative.

Harshit evaluated Chuka’s speech.

Chuka modulated his voice to express his love for games.

He could have clumped similar topics into the same slide so he could use fewer slides.

He had very good body language and facial expressions.

Martin evaluated Paula’s speech.

Paula should consider involving “personal issues” in this kind of speech to avoid it sounding too bland.

She engaged participation with the audience. Twice.

Miracle (Best Evaluator) evaluated Katia’s presentation.

She “really liked how Katia explained” the three roles she discussed.

Did Katia receive feedback from her students? She could have mentioned the effectiveness of her strategies.

“She came across as very soft.”


Subhajit acted as our General Evaluator.

The second Evaluator used many quotes that he thought would help the speaker improve.

“A conclusion is necessary” to facilitate retention.

The fourth Evaluator “showed” how a speech could be improved by including props and anecdotes.

Engaging expressions

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 12:15 BST on Sunday, June 14! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room. If that doesn’t work on your device, the Meeting ID is 631 522 4568 and the password is speakers.

We had a lot of fun this academic year, and we are excited to transition into the next one. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we need to assemble a committee of dedicated, lively, and trustworthy students. If you will be an Imperial student or staff next year and you wish to be in the committee next year, please apply by clicking the button below.

If you wish to apply, please briefly explain why you would like to serve Imperial College Speakers and which role you would like to be considered for. The following roles are still available:

  • President
  • Vice President (VP) of Membership
  • VP of Education
  • VP of Public Relations
  • Sergeant At Arms
  • Secretary

Descriptions about the roles outlined above can be read by clicking the button below.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition: present, appearing, or found everywhere.

Example: iPhones and the Internet are ubiquitous technologies.

Table Topics

Chuka Nwobodo completed a Pathways project by facilitating Table Topics Master. What is a Pathways project, you might ask? Find out by clicking this sentence.


Kenny said he was notoriously bad at art, but he can still be appreciative of it as it is the “ultimate reflection” of human expression.

Conversations are the most expressive form of art, according to Anand, as they are “usually impromptu” and closest to the heart.

What do you see in the following image?

Subhajit saw concentric circles that reminded him of electrons or atoms. However, he acknowledges that there will be many interpretations for this painting.

Srinivasa showed us the figurines he sculpts in his pastime during lockdown. He also notes that we have some unique mixture of 64 types of art styles.

Mounica (Best Table Topic) believes art is beneficial to help inspire creativity and generate happiness.

Prepared Speakers

Would you rather have Dreams or Goals? It’s a trick question! Ruslan Saleh explained how, ultimately, they “are related”.

Ruslan wished she knew this when she was younger, as she was guilty of making some mistakes. For example, she didn’t care which college she went to or which course she took. As long as she got a good job, she thought that was all that was necessary.

She spent a year looking for a job before finding one as an English teacher… secretary! Ruslan now advises us that we “shouldn’t start dreaming small” lest you become a zombie with “no dreams, no hopes”. The positive cycle of having lofty ambitions and achieving them, by learning languages for instance, will create more and more happiness.


In Fire and Ice (not a Game of Thrones reference), Murtaza Zee describes the traits of “fiery” and “cool” people.

A cube of ice in a glass of water on a hot Summer’s day has no regard for its form and is content and stable with whichever it takes. Similarly, “cool, calm, and calculated” people go with the flow of life and do whatever it takes to please everyone. A fiery person, on the other hand, is typically aggressive and is “maybe a leader”.

However, they may probably “lack friends” whereas cool people “get along with everybody”. Cool people may not be able to put forth their feelings in fear that they might upset others. The solution is subjective. Sometimes we need to be fiery, sometimes we need to “agree to disagree”.


The World Needs You! Li Xian Yip (Best Speaker) donned her graduation clothes to inspire us to venture into the world not in pursuit of the destination but to fall in love with the epic journey that awaits us.

You are about to become the newest cohort of alumni. How do you feel? Now, we might have thought that Li Xian was “supposed to dispense tidbits of wisdom”. However, she became a singer, not a teacher. In fact, Li Xian didn’t even go to university to study music theory or anything like that.

Nobody ever knows for sure where their destiny will take them. We need to open up a little and understand that anything can change. It’s the journey that matters. The end is “utterly insignificant”; just show up! Thirdly, “it’s not about you”! Well, it is about the world, and the world needs you, so it kind of is, albeit indirectly. This is “a free and empowering truth.”


Evaluations

Belinda evaluated the Table Topics.

Kenny successfully “tied” his experience with art with his appreciation for it.

Belinda was surprised by Anand’s unexpected answer to his question!

Subhajit gave a good interpretation.

Belinda is delighted Srinivasa likes his own artwork, instead of a clichéd famous painting.

Mounica ended with a “good take-home message”.


Kenny evaluated Ruslan’s speech.

Her hand gestures were “very good and captivating” and expressed her passion.

She could work on her English language. For example, “dream high” was supposed to be “dream big” or “aim high”.

Her vocal variety demonstrated an energy that showed she wasn’t a zombie!

Anand evaluated Murtaza’s essay.

The metaphor of fire and ice was “thought-provoking”.

He could consider adding (but not forcing!) humour.

His vocal variety was “vibrant”.

Subhajit evaluated Li Xian’s parody.

Subhajit especially liked her expressions and eye contact. After all, how can we be motivated if she didn’t radiate energy?

The personal examples she could have used had to be lost due to the speech being shortened.

Well done for taking the speech seriously and wearing the outfit to complement it!

Nazaruddin (Best Evaluator) evaluated Chuka’s performance during his Table Topics session.

Chuka demonstrated that he listened attentively by summarising the speaker’s message at the end.

He did not spend the same amount of time introducing each speaker. A good idea would be to use two or three sentences for each introduction.

He also shared his emotional response to each speaker, which made each summary more personal.


Mounica acted as our General Evaluator.

Kudos to Ronnie Zhang for facilitating three roles at once! Fortunately, President, Sergeant At Arms, and Toastmaster were a good combination of roles to perform simultaneously.

Everyone should aim to arrive early to “check technical issues”.

The Timekeeper did a great job at showing the times of each speech alongside the time frame allotted for each speech.

Our lives matter

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 12:15 BST on Sunday, June 14! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room. If that doesn’t work on your device, the Meeting ID is 631 522 4568 and the password is speakers.

We had a lot of fun this academic year, and we are excited to transition into the next one. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we need to assemble a committee of dedicated, lively, and trustworthy students. If you will be an Imperial student or staff next year and you wish to be in the committee next year, please apply by clicking the button below.

If you wish to apply, please briefly explain why you would like to serve Imperial College Speakers and which role you would like to be considered for. The following roles are still available:

  • President
  • Vice President (VP) of Membership
  • VP of Education
  • VP of Public Relations
  • Sergeant At Arms
  • Secretary

Descriptions about the roles outlined above can be read by clicking the button below.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition: a natural ability to do something.

Example: soon enough, she began developing an aptitude for engaging humour.

Patrick Kalonde completed a Pathways project by facilitating Table Topics Master. What is a Pathways project, you might ask? Find out by clicking this sentence.

We are what we repeatedly do, and “we are what we repeatedly eat, according to Chuka.

Hey, Kenny! Is the cup half empty or half full? Perhaps, this is just a “semantics” question. Full or empty of what, anyway?

Can you overcome procrastination? Paula believes that everybody can. Her method is finding a way to reward herself after she has completed a task.

What positive changes had Faruk made “during this pandemic”? Firstly, he has started to “study something”. Secondly, he is “cutting unnecessary spending”.

Katia’s mum was proud of how Katia has made the most of her time during lockdown. Katia said she, “ended up teaching myself many new skills” to redesign her PhD.

Prepared Speakers

Chane He moved his audience with a romantic story about his elder sister. He often quarrelled with her, but the ending of Same Hands, Same Feet was bittersweet!

1.66 metres tall with “long strong athletic legs”, his sister would often be told off for being too aggressive on her little brother. Nevertheless, Chane was the one who often “lit the fight”. In fact, he once left a scar on her leg! Chane asked if we had ever had a sibling about whom we may have been jealous.

During his pre-university education, Chane often had to wake at 5:30 am and study for 12 hours. At this point, the outcome of his exams could define his future! Still, he felt lonely after three months of this, but he said his sister “encouraged me a lot”. He received a present from him, and every time Chane would see the “luxury” eye drop on his desk, he would be reminded of her. Doesn’t this remind you of the Chinese song, 同手同腳 (Same Hands, Same Feet).


Are you someone who gives help or seeks it? In How to be an Effective Mentor, Harshit Agrawal argues that we do both depending on the situation. He shares his own journey of having a mentor.

What are the qualities of a good mentor? Firstly, the mentor must be empathetic. This means that they must make their protégé comfortable. William Ward claims that “excellent mentors inspire”. Also, “John C. Crosby once said” that protégés need a “push in the right direction”. It is up to the mentor to provide that push. Harshit’s mentor told him once that “every public speaker” experienced the nervousness he did. This made Harshit feel assured.

Secondly, mentors are methodological. They understand that the newly budding protégé can have an irrational sense of positivity. For example, one time, the focus was on eye contact, and Harshit was asked to treat the audience in quadrants and focus on each quadrant one at a time for five seconds each time. Another time, his mentor encouraged saying four or five words in a row before taking a pause. In the end, Harshit recommended the audience to “be the mentor you wish you had”.


“Do you see what I see?” Chuka Nwobodo’s A Silent Speakerwas a powerful parody to Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech, updated to reflect recent affairs.

“We have witnessed greatness in this world, but we have also witnessed great suffering.” The theme of his speech is hopeful. Chuka hoped that his speech will evoke emotions similar to the ones felt by King’s followers that day. What makes Chuka’s speech different was that it was more relevant to the circumstance of today. Namely, he implied the revitalised Black Lives Matter movement. His speech is particularly relevant as it acknowledges that people cannot (or, at least, should not!) be protesting outdoors or in masses.

Chuka, of African descent, sees “the light of salvation in the darkest skin colours”. He believes that the whole world should embrace peace and unity”. After all, “each one of us is overflowing with the colours of our unique personalities”.

Evaluations

Subjahit evaluated the Table Topics.

Chuka shared some good examples but could have ended on “a more positive note”.

Subjahit liked Kenny’s “semantic” twist. Kenny could have made his Topic a little more concrete, though.

Paula covered a lot of content, but repeating the Topic made Subhajit think that she was trying to remember it.

Faruk shared an anecdote about how he “saved money”. It may have been more impactful if he explained how.

Katia also shared a “personal story”, catching audience interest. Where was her conclusion, though?


Tim evaluated Chane’s narrative.

What an “expressive face” you had there, Chane! Tim also liked his vocal variety.

It would have been more impactful if he had stood up because he would have been able to clarify his body gestures.

Time enjoyed his “You’re a sponge” metaphor. It made that part of his speech feel more concrete.

Kenny evaluated Harshit’s speech.

Harshit “exhaustibly defined” the qualities of a mentor.

He might have taken the advice to pause after every few words too literally as his speech sounded dull. He could engage the emotions by speaking faster and hone in on a point by speaking slower.

Nevertheless, “his pausing was brilliant” and “consistent”.

Martin evaluated Chuka’s address.

The speech was out of this world! Martin suggested points to make it even better.

He could have used silence to greater effect. He could have also engaged eye contact better.

Next time, he could try standing further from the camera and using a prop, for example, when he said, “I see the light”.

Rishi evaluated Patrick’s performance during his Table Topics session.

His questions were practical.

He was “a little bit monotone”.

Rishi acknowledged Patrick’s use of slides for clarity in case people couldn’t hear him (especially since his Internet connection was poor).


Murtaza acted as our General Evaluator.

Anything can change!

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 BST on Thursday, June 11! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room. If that doesn’t work on your device, the Meeting ID is 631 522 4568 and the password is speakers.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition 1: perfectly clean, neat, or tidy.

Definition 2: free from flaws.

Example 1: look at his immaculate study desk!

Example 2: she is wearing an immaculate white shirt.

Prepared Speakers

Seema Rizvi made her debut speech. Her Icebreaker focused on the power of dedication.

How many of you remember your teacher fondly? Why? Did they mentor you in some way? Perhaps they praised and encouraged you for your uniqueness as Seema’s teacher did to her.

Despite her son being born with an “incurable eye disease”, she ensured that he would receive only the best education. As such, he graduated from top institutes and is now excelling at a top job!


Mevlut Sapmaz was wishing for A Light in the Darkness. Now, he is one!

“Have you ever had a problem with your hostess?” Well, in the UK, Mevlut’s host family agreed on certain rules with him. That seemed to go well. One day, however, his friends took him to dinner, and Mevlut arrived later than was stated in the rules with his host family.

His hostile hostess did not allow him back into the house that night! Fortunately, he encountered a taxi driver who helped him massively to locate the police. Clearly, Mevlut owed that driver “big time”. All the driver wanted him to do was to help a British person in need…


Martín Lerma was Born to Serve. He diagnosed himself with an affiliative leadership style.

“Have you ever…?” (Introductory questions seem to be popular right now!) Martin was in a car accident 9 years ago and forgot he was tired! Don’t worry: I wasn’t going to ask if you have ever been a car accident, though. Hopefully you haven’t!

Martin discovered his leadership style in Latin America when he realised he was always being asked to help his family. An affilative leadership style is denoted by someone who lives by example, as Martin explained.


AlyceAnn Crump was called something unpleasant by a man that just met her. He told her “God said: ‘You are going to be my wife’”. AlyceAnn replied: “God Lied to You”!

She met her husband 36 years ago in a way you’d least expect! You see, AlyceAnn was at church when she met him. However, it was because she was asked to look for help from this man.

She shouted, much to her embarrassment, “He can’t even dress! How can he help me?” He called her Alyce, when she specifically told him to call her AlyceAnn! Yet, he insisted that they will inevitably exchange marriage vows! Obviously, God doesn’t lie.


Katia Hougaard (Best Speaker) is Passing the Torch of Science to the masses with her presentation.

What makes a great mentor? For Katia, her greatest mentor, Dr. Stanley Roux, inspired her to become someone who wants to help empower future generations.

Dr. Roux is the “perfect combination of old-fashioned and modern”. “Every researcher matters”, and it is important for Dr. Roux to “captivate” his audience with his blackboard. Students are viewed as junior researchers. Katia values the “sense of integrity” that arises from this style of teaching and is inspired to imitate him.

Evaluations

Kenny evaluated Seema’s speech.

Her hand gestures demonstrated her desire to be a teacher.

She could have used more vocal variety when she said “my hopes were shattered” to show how “shocking” and “dramatic” it was.

Her “pausing was really, really good”.

Harshit evaluated Mevlut’s speech.

He transformed the darkness of speech very well.

He was rather slow at the beginning. This could have been distracting.

He “especially liked the title of his speech” as it reflected the ray of hope that was the theme of his speech.

Chuka evaluated Martin’s speech.

He used a question at the start of his speech, which is a very effective way to attract attention.

He could work on his speech organisation. For example, he could have paused at times to clarify his speech structure.

He used many examples, all of which were relevant to his speech.

Chane evaluated AlyceAnn’s speech.

Her title aroused curiosity.

She could get closer to microphone.

Nevertheless, she is “so good at” changing her tone perhaps because of authenticity of emotion.

Ronnie (Best Evaluator) evaluated Katia’s presentation.

Katia started her story with a very relatable question.

At the end of her speech, we were still wondering why passing on the flame is so important.

She introduced her mentor in a unique and effective way.


Tim acted as our General Evaluator.

Once again, we started on time. Now, we’re on a streak!

We could consider having the General Evaluator introduce Evaluators instead of the Toastmaster.

The meeting had a great flow.

I wanna inspire you!

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 BST on Thursday, June 4! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room. If that doesn’t work on your device, the Meeting ID is 853 4330 9159 and the password is speakers.

If you are enjoying our online meetings, please fill out this survey! Your feedback will help us, and our Toastmasters Area council, better structure future meetings, elections, etc. This means we can help deliver our services to you in a more effective and efficient manner.

Definition: indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events.Example: they sat down together to reminisce their childhood.

Table Topics

We listened to an intriguing variety of Table Topics about life during lockdown hosted by Katia Hougaard.


Often is the case that Kimberly would sit in traffic for more than half an hour to get to work. Since she does not have to commute anymore, she is very happy.

Seema used to wake up early every day when she had to go to work. Now, she says she has “no discipline” and that she uses “more and more time on technology”.

Strictly speaking, you do not have to be in an office to be productive. In fact, Rubab (Best Table Topic) tells us that she is more productive at home, due to all the distractions in the office.

For most, our work lives are not normal. However, Pragya claims that doing business online “saves a lot of travel time” and can save the economy a lot of money.

Where does Tim prefer to work? Is it in his home office? No, it is in his barn with the horses. For the past 15 years, Tim “used to be a trainer” for businesses.

Prepared Speakers

What should I do with my litter? Patrick Kalonde discusses Why We Should Talk about Litter Pollution.

One day, Patrick had a chat with his mother about mask dissemination. That’s when he became more aware about the awful problem of waste in his beautiful hometown in Malawi.

Only 33% of waste is treated in an environmentally-friendly way. Patrick is using “data and science” to implement changes “to tackle the problem”. He ended his speech by acknowledging that “we have to raise awareness about this problem”.


Lenka Tarábková revealed How to Speak so People Would Listen to Us. Do you commit any of the “seven deadly sins” of listening?

If you are not present in your listening, judging instead of listening, or being negative, you are doomed to lose your rapport with the party with whom you speak. In addition, ensure you do not complain, make excuses, exaggerate, or confuse facts for others’ opinions.

Instead, Lenka suggests being present and open in your interactions with others. In other words, if you love your interaction with others as if you were interacting with your best friend, then you are on the successful path to winning friends and influencing people.


“Would you drive a car at 30mph without brakes?” The Brakes in Our Lives can help us go faster, according to Rahul Jain (Best Speaker).

If your car is missing brakes, would you dare drive it? Similarly, how would you get from A to B in life without some amount of “people brakes”, “situation brakes”, and “conscious brakes”?

A “people brake” is someone who is a “devil’s advocate”. They care for you but will always challenge you. A “situation brake” is a novel environment or context that challenges you. Finally, a “conscious brake” can be the “moral compass” that influences your decisions.

Evaluations

Adrija Menon evaluated the Table Topics.

Kimberly could have elaborated on how she felt due to not having to commute.

Seema expressly made her Topic relevant by stating how she became “addicted to the Toastmasters meetings”.

Rubab packed a “lot of information” into her speech and presented well.

Pragya gave the audience a “nice thought” to consider.

Tim showed us some of the contents of his house


Rubab evaluated Patrick’s presentation.

“A picture paints a thousand words” and Patrick’s lucid descriptions achieved the same effect.

“Some of us may not be accustomed” to his accent, so he could slow his pacing and pause more.

His talk was well-researched and thorough. Well done!

Katia (Best Evaluator) evaluated Lenka’s speech.

Lenka used plenty of vocal variety to express her emotions and influence the mood of her audience.

Her talk had a somewhat negative tone about it!

Her content was engaging and, coupled with her slides, awesome!

Chuka evaluated Rahul’s talk.

His analogy with the car greatly assisted understanding and improved audience attention.

He could have used real-life examples or presentation slides in the body of his speech.

The way Rahul spoke more slowly and with greater emphasis on certain words at his conclusion was reminiscent of an inspirational speaker.


Kenny acted as our General Evaluator.

We started on time! Kenny added, “I believe that’s a first!”

The Toastmaster (Harshit) should follow his role description more carefully.

The Table Topics Master shouldn’t exclude members just because they have meeting roles.

Tipping the scales

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Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition 1: done without good reason; uncalled for.

Definition 2: done or given free of charge.

Example 1: enough of this gratuitous violence!

Example 2: the NHS gives gratuitous healthcare to UK residents.

Table Topics

We listened to an inspiring variety of Table Topics on “hypothetical questions” hosted by Rubab Rizvi.


Kenny was asked what he would do if he won half a million pounds. He said he would invest and spend as he believed the question was fundamentally a “false dichotomy”.

Katia would rather sign 100 autographs than be a CEO. She believes that fans are more interested in someone, such as herself, that can act as a “good influence” to them. However, she would rather sign books as opposed to self-portraits!

Would you rather be crowned as a beauty pageant, such as Ms. Universe, or with the highest civilian award? Pragya would rather be a beauty pageant! She believes that people are more influenced by beauty pageants.

When asked whether he would rather win an Oscar or the public speaking champion award, Chuka claims it’s a “no-brainer” that he would choose to win the public speaking award, as public speaking would pave the way for great acting.

Anand would like to work at Apple, obviously; he wants that money! Seriously, though, he would probably work hard at a tech startup. Who knows? The startup could even become bigger than Apple!

Ruslan would rather have a small ceremony with her family than the greatest party in town. She believes she would “feel much happier” surrounded by the ones that share mutual love.

Prepared Speakers

Lenka Tarábková revealed how she overcome her “dark story” in Master your Story.

Lenka was “excited” to start her new job. She was so good at her work that she got promoted a year later. Her colleagues seemed so nice and welcoming. Except when she felt “omitted and underappreciated” when she completed a difficult project.

One of her colleagues plagiarised her work! This caused Lenka to begin doubting herself. Now, she empowered us to overcome our own “dark stories”. We need to listen to them, analyse them, and let them go.


Name three Logical Fallacies, right now! Go! Well, Suneel Rathod can name more.

People unknowingly use logical fallacies all the time. For example, declaring the “wind is invisible because I can’t see it” would be a circular argument.

Suneel defines a slippery slope as “drawing a conclusion based on the premise that” one thing can induce a downwards spiral of events. A strawman argument is made when someone “misrepresents someone’s statement”. Impress whomever you speak to by avoiding these logical fallacies.


Patrick Kalonde explained why we should be interested about My Time Working with Humanitarian Drones in Malawi.

Drones “conquered” the skies of Malawi when research communities collaborated on the gargantuan project. This was the first of its kind in all Africa and a “dream come true” for Patrick when he was a student.

The project, although in its “infancy”, will “suppress mosquito progression”. Patrick finishes with the visionary flourish of Steve Jobs: drones need not be a toy or a technology of the future; they shall be a technology of the present.

Evaluations

Rahul evaluated the Table Topics.

Kenny was “precise” about how he would use his winnings, but he chose the “diplomatic” option, which was “easier”.

Katia structured her “thought process” effectively. She could experiment with “dramatic” voice modulations.

Pragya took the unpopular choice, which meant she may have had to think a bit harder. She, too, could have had more vocal variety.

Chuka clearly knew which he’d choose, but he should speak slower and more deliberately.

Anand’s reasoning was clear. However, he, like Kenny, chose both options of his hypothetical question.

Ruslan also gave clear reasoning, but her ending was abrupt.


Chuka evaluated Lenka’s speech.

She exercised mastery of rhetoric as described by Aristotle.

She could have used incorporated more pathos by using her body language to greater effect.

However, her ethos and logos was unrivalled.

Sean evaluated Suneel’s speech.

Suneel provided excellent examples to facilitate understanding of his technical topic.

Sean said Suneel did not need to thank the audience after his speech.

Suneel showed how “significant events” produce “significant results”.

Katia evaluated fellow science communicator Patrick’s speech.

Patrick was lively and made us feel as though we were sitting right next to him!

However, the “first 30 seconds” were quite confusing. This was particularly notable since the introduction is very important.

Katia applauded Patrick’s attempt to connect the importance of drones to humanitarian aid.


Lenka acted as our General Evaluator.

She noted the “excellent” format of questions the Table Topics Master, Rubab, posed to the audience.

Time management was a notable cause for concern (albeit, not just for Rubab).

Rubab also repeated the questions in case they were missed.

Celebrate cerebrating

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Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition: think deeply about something.

Example: I have to cerebrate on my lecture slides so I can ace my upcoming exams!

Table Topics

We listened to an inspiring variety of Table Topics on ‘one word’ hosted by Kasia Chelińska.


Shahariar spoke about time. He would travel the world if he had the time to.

Seema spoke briefly about being brief (see what I did there?).

Manish explains to us how we can be selfishly kind.

Edelia states that some important values are to be respected and to be loved.

“Common sense is not common”. Rubab shows us when to let decisions be run by logic and when by emotions.

Pragya entertains sadness as the “most deep emotion”.

Prepared Speakers

Faruk Miah revealed that he used to have glossophobia (fear of public speaking) in ‘Choose Your Company Wisely To Unleash Your Potential’.

Faruk made no mistake about it in his Icebreaker: he “did not do anything wrong” joining Toastmasters.

We must be like a bird who is trying to learn to fly. Faruk invited use to “keep flying, keep trying” in the first speech of a (hopefully) long journey.

What is happiness? Murtaza Zee discussed this elusive question in ‘Unlocking Happiness’.

Murtaza recognised that he used to be the opposite of happiness. His friends and family would ask him to do fun things and he would say, “No, thanks”.

A Nobel laureate proposed three ways to unlock happiness. Find meaning, ty new things, and appreciate imperfection.

Paula Vila showed us how to ‘Speak Like A Professor’… or not?

I know it’s 9 am and most of you are half-asleep, but I am about to monotonously read to you these 200 lectures slides. This was how Paula started her speech, but, afterwards, she replaced her monotony for vocal variety, and continued making improvements after that.

Paula empowered us to realise that even the most “boring and informative” of speeches could be made engaging.

Evaluations

Harshit evaluated the Table Topics.

Shahariar made some good suggestions but could improve the transitions between them.

Seema delivered a practical message, but, honestly, she could have spoken longer!

Manish produced a list of three when describing his points! Harshit could barely name one improvement: improve eye contact.

Edelia began with a question. A rhetorical one, to be precise! Her Topic could have benefited from better gestures and expressions.

Rubab and Pragya both gave engaging personal anecdotes and examples from their lives to support their points. Kudos to both of them!


Chuka evaluated Faruk’s speech.

He thought Faruk spoke in a “very motivational” manner.

He should step back from the camera because some of his exuberant hand gestures were offscreen!

He repeated the main theme of his message to consolidate understanding.

Martin evaluated Murtaza’s speech.

Since his speech objective was to apply feedback from his last speech, Martin asked Murtaza how he felt now. It seems like he met his objective!

For next time, instead of telling us some anecdotal definitions of happiness, Murtaza could have asked, “What is ‘happiness’ for you?”

When he was talking about his childhood friends, his usage of ‘nah’ in place of ‘no’ sounded more natural.

Panos analysed Paula’s keynote.

She assessed her audience and adjusted her speech to maximise her chances to win rapport.

She should have used the Toastmaster of the evening “to her advantage”.

We’re glad she didn’t actually put us to sleep with her intro, but Panos was particularly happy she did not end her speech with a Q&A session.


Rahul acted as our General Evaluator.

The Toastmaster, Kenny, always transitioned smoothly between parts.

There should have been a theme to the meeting to improve the sense of connectedness throughout the meeting.

Still, the Table Topics Master gave simple, yet novel Topics, keeping the audience engaged.