Enter The Evaluator

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Evaluation Workshop

We listened to and engaged with an impressive evaluation workshop orchestrated by Katia Hougaard.

(The Prepared Speakers and Evaluations sessions were part of Katia’s two-hour workshop.)


Katia outlined her objectives and asked us to remember why we were venturing in the quest to become a better public speaker in the first place.

We discovered ways to improve our skills not only as an evaluator but also as a communicator in general. We also found how improving ourselves could strengthen our relationships with peers, especially if we find ourselves mentoring or evaluating someone.

Learning to speak with Toastmasters seems to be one of the best ways to become a better evaluator, public speaker, leader, and, ultimately, person.

Audience participation

What were the audience’s raison d’être? Katia encourages the audience to give reasons for wanting to learn more about the art of effective communication.

Chuka said he wanted to be more confident in all aspects of life. He wants not to have to repeat himself due to poor enunciation.

Thuraya, an Imperial College alumnus, meets with five Toastmasters clubs! Joining that many clubs would significantly advance her potential to lead a remarkable life!

Rahul is inspired by those who are communicating change and “making an impact” for the better. Despite being a motivational speaker for a year, he thinks that Toastmasters can be a “transformational experience” for him.

Rakesh wants to inspire at a more “practical” level. He also wants to be more well-spoken.

Journey of Improvement

Any person who joins Toastmasters (or wants to grow as an effective communicator) will undergo a speech journey or, as Katia describes it, a “Journey of Improvement”. This process is not linear; it is cyclic.

First, the evaluator monitors the behaviour of the speaker when they give a speech. The evaluator provides feedback to the speaker. Then, the speaker implements their evaluator’s feedback to their next speech. And so on.


Evaluators should:

  • acknowledge desires and not reveal too many negative comments at once;
  • suggest improvements instead of criticising constantly;
  • help the speaker overcome their fear with tact and sensitivity.

At this point in the meeting, Katia invited everyone to fill out a brief survey to evaluate an aspect of Imperial College Speakers. Even when we are doing something as seemingly simple as filling out a survey, we are acting as evaluators.

Toastmasters Evaluators

Toastmasters is unique because the community and environment nourish self-esteem and fuel personal growth. She has been a Toastmaster for seven years now, but there was a time that Katia was always talked down whenever she was caught talking up excessively. Today, she recognises the strengths of being a great Toastmasters Evaluator.

So, Evaluators should also:

  • be genuine;
  • provide a positive direction;
  • recognise improvements;
  • create a climate for motivation;
  • avoid value judgements (like criticising based on the speaker’s beliefs).


The evaluator

The evaluator should demonstrate genuine interest and that they care about the speaker.

Ideally, the evaluator and speaker should be paired to maximise the potential impact the evaluator can have on the speaker. For example, they could both have similar interests or goals.

The evaluator should personalise their language to maximise the speaker’s acceptance of the feedback and the likelihood that the speaker will implement said feedback. Avoid addressing the speaker in the second person.

The speaker

The speaker should clearly communicate their goals with their evaluator. This will help the speaker achieve faster growth because their evaluator can better define and refine speaker objectives.

The speaker must be sufficiently prepared so they do not waste the evaluator’s time. It is not for a battle with “an adversary” as the evaluator is, generally, friendly and helpful.

The speaker should adopt a growth mindset. If you believe that your intelligence can be improved by hard work and perseverance, you have a growth mindset and understand the worth of the circuitous path to (speaking) success.

Prepared Speakers

Martin told us a humorous series of stories before telling us how joining Toastmasters has helped him realise how one carelessly spoken word can influence the direction of a situation.

He told stories about this person he knew who was a “typewriting” genius and his ventures in the cold of Winnipeg or, as Martin jokes, “Winterpeg”.

When he joined Toastmasters, he learnt an important lesson. Words are extremely influential. So, when considering whether “to speak or not to speak”, we should know exactly where we want to take the conversation and how we want the receiving party to feel.

Philipp presented a speech about how we should drop our backpack “full of expectations” so we might live a more fulfilling life.

“Who is that sexy boy” donning that heavy rucksack? It was Philipp with a dramatic speech about letting go of expectations.

Hid dad would often hold back his potential saying things like, “Philipp, you must do better. Philipp, you must concentrate. Philipp, you must win!” Then, Philipp did the unexpected. He had a “difficult concentration” with his dad and changed courses. His grades improved and he made his dad proud!


Craig evaluated Martin’s speech.

Martin’s opening was clear.

He should “try not to look to the sides of the camera” but directly at the camera.

From Craig’s slideshow, Craig spotted Martin’s use of emotional, suggestive, descriptive, suggestive, and prompting gestures and stances!

Kenny evaluated Philipp’s speech.

Philipp’s speech was brimming with evocative body language.

He could have developed his speech into “more of a story”. For instance, what did he want to study and how did that compare to his dad’s expectations?

His linguistic devices made for a more interesting speech.

Audience participation

Katia asked if any of the audience agreed or disagreed with the evaluators or whether they had a different opinion entirely.

Panos believed Philipp’s evaluation needed to be solely about winning a speech competition as outlined in his objectives.

Harshit agreed with Craig that Martin’s body language was too fast and appeared like a “blur”.

Chuka spotted the attention-grabbing way both speakers introduced their speeches: with humour and a quote. Also, Philipp’s analogy of a filled backpack to represent the expectations of life was executed expertly.

Finally, Marian liked Philipp’s use of props and call to action.


Katia invited us to consider three things we can do to improve based on the lessons from her workshop.

To facilitate changing our behaviour, she recommends that we:

  • decide what we want to change;
  • recognise the benefits of change;
  • put the change into action;
  • make it a habit;
  • never stop improving!

A new light shines

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 BST on Thursday, May 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.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

She received a stroke of serendipity when the essay she was revising the day before showed up on her exam!

Table Topics

We listened to an inspiring variety of Table Topics hosted by Faruk Miah.

Saurabh was experiencing poor Internet reception while he was giving his Topic. It seemed like he was passionate about sharing more posts on LinkedIn, however.

Rahul believed that there is an opportunity to learn in “every failure” and only the successful acknowledge this.

“Kites fly against the wind, not with it.” Rubab used this saying as her mantra throughout her Topic. Her brother, despite being visually impaired, attended a “normal” school. He eventually became the “only blind engineer” at the University College London.

Pragya was criticised on her use of the English language and her cooking skills. Her moral is to “take criticism for its positives.”

Kenny reminisced on the days when he used to watch his friend “in envy” because his friend was “very eloquent.” His lesson is that “if you lack a dream, you will always be envious of others.”

Martin claimed that its better for both wins to share a win than to win in an argument at the expense of the other party.

Prepared Speakers

Do you drink coffee? Kasia Chelińska assessed the coffee-drinkers in the audience – as well as herself – in ‘I quit coffee a year ago.’

Most people form the coffee-drinking habit at university because they believe coffee can artificially give them more energy. Kasia explains that she has been on a “long journey of quitting coffee.” She sold her coffee machine in 2015 and tried decaf coffee to see if she would become less addicted. Decaf coffee “does not taste good,” though.

Eventually, she went from 250 mg of caffeine per day down to around 6 mg! She uses cacao powder sporadically and claims she feels “good” in the mornings. She has been absolved from her dependency on caffeine! She would like us to join her podcast to celebrate “not drinking coffee.”

Saurabh Ghandi travelled ‘Around the World in Lockdown.’ Like Kasia, he started by asking the audience a question: what do we all do during lockdown?

There are very few major industries unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the “heroes” that have saved many lives are working incessantly to protect us from the clutches of the disease. Therefore, we should do what we can to help our doctors. For example, “we should not touch our faces” and “wash our hands frequently with soap.”

Interestingly, in China, “they are not saving the older people” as much. We need to quickly – albeit carefully – take action so that there is not too much “economic slowdown.”

In his dramatic performance, Nandan Dharani engaged ‘Martial Arts with Manager’.

He had been completing an “almost impossible task” with his team. When his boss waltzed in and began using “demeaning” words against him and his colleagues, it behoved of Nandan to speak up! To the shock of his colleagues and his boss, Nandan ferociously ranted at his boss on behalf of his team.

Upon being cautioned by the vice president of his company, Nandan realised that “how you speak is much more important than what you speak.” Nandan leaves us with a “4-point formula” of attentiveness, empathy, communication, and problem-solving.


Lenka evaluated the Table Topics.

Saurabh started with his passion and role model, which he could have explained.

Rahul delivered a “very motivational” Topic with “great structure.” What was his personal success story.

Lenka “liked” Rubab’s personal story and “personal connection.” She could have looked directly at the camera.

Pragya gave two examples with her speech. As a “challenge,” Pragya could try experimenting with vocal variety.

Deepa “loved” Kasia’s speech.

Deepa could tell that Kasia didn’t just recycle someone else’s speech and employed a more personal story.

It would have been useful for Kasia to have elaborated on what there was “to gain from quitting coffee.”

Kasia made a good attempt at making her speech “as interactive as possible.”

Chane evaluated Saurabh’s speech.

He admired Saurabh’s extensive interactivity with the audience at the beginning of his speech.

He could have improved his role-play by having a “higher tone” for the care workers, for example.

Saurabh had “very adequate examples and data to support” his research analysis.

Patrick evaluated Nandan’s speech.

Nandan “killed it” with his body gestures and movements.

To make it even better, he could add more humour.

His hand gestures were wide, expressive, and energetic. It was a treat to watch his speech!

Craig acted as our General Evaluator.

He acknowledged the Timekeeper for using virtual backgrounds to display the ‘green,’ ‘yellow,’ and ‘red’ time windows.

We should be invited to change our usernames to include the roles we will be performing for the duration of a meeting.

Sweet, sweet memories

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 12:15 BST on Sunday, May 10! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition: the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

Let Imperial College Speakers be an oasis of sincerity when you may feel anxious.

Table Topics

We listened to a picturesque theme of Table Topics hosted by Katia Hougaard.

Saad showed us a photo of him at the Dubai Mall. The world-renowned tourist attraction meant his “speech motivation and confidence was so high.” This was because he could practise speaking to a thousand random passers-by.

Stephen showed an image of him and his wife in Canada. To him, his wife is his “partner in crime and partner in life” in whom he can share all his interests and secrets. Stephen also has two children. His loved ones makes his life experiences “easier” and “more fun.”

Linda showed us a series of photos of her ziplining in Costa Rica. Her expedition to the idyllic resort was an “adventure of a lifetime” for her. Of all the things she experienced, though, her “favourite of all was this: ziplining!” It was so thrilling, especially as there were times she thought wasn’t going to make it!

Petra made a colourful painting of a temple. She finds the “serenity” appealing. However, there is clearly a paradox to be settled: can you have fun in calm and stoicism? The answer is a resounding yes, according to Petra! She argues that “to learn about anything, you have to make it colourful; make it fun.”

Kenny was so sure he would not be admitted to Imperial College London, that he would tell everyone who would listen that he was destined to study at University College London, whose admission criteria were far less strenuous. He showed us a screenshot of one such encounter with a friend of his. He met the criteria for both universities, in the end! The moral is that we should not try to predict outcomes before they arise.

Pragya has a husband who “was a complete foodie.” However, Pragya did not enjoy the art of cooking as such. This meant that Pragya would “sometimes” cook and “make what he loves.” Other times, her husband must tiresomely prepare whatever he can. She notes that, when she does prepare his favourite meals for him, her husband is overjoyed and reminded of their mutual love.

Prepared Speakers

‘Negotiation,’ as John F Kennedy famously said is something we should never do “out of fear.” Sadia takes his quote apart in her presentation.

Using a real-life example, Sadia explained the process of negotiation. First, she did some research on the other party and considered how they could benefit. Then, she formulated an ideal outcome. Later, she connected with the parties to ensure they wouldn’t “go back on their word.”

As she elucidates, there are a few ways to win a negotiation. Personally, Sadia will employ collaboration for the “first 5 minutes” and compromise in her “I statements.” This strategy should demonstrate her enthusiasm and understanding.

In ‘The Last Supper,’ Nishant unveiled his “surprise party” for a very special person.

Nishant began by role-playing how his son was pestering him about his mother’s birthday. Then, Nishant explained his strategy for designing the best surprise birthday party for his wife! He needs to perfect the venue, the 40 gifts, the 250 invites, and the food!

Eventually, Nishant’s wife grew suspicious of him and thought he might be “having an affair” or something! Fortunately, the big day was almost upon them. In the end of Nishant’s story, he talks about the great time they had and the (figurative?) tears of joy on his wife’s face. Personally, I don’t think Nishant will be throwing another party of such grandeur any time soon!

Kasia inspired us with a quote from “Benji” Franklin in ‘Speaking Poise.’

Speaking Poise is something Kasia has been planning for several months. It is a Facebook group designed to empower people to address and face their fears in public speaking. Kasia’s goal, as she told us, is to grow her page “by 100 likes every month.”

She has learnt that the naïve strategy for marketing is to try and “reach out to everyone” and that the process of finding the right audience is a “very tedious process.”

She also considered the means by which she is promoting her campaign and the timing. She thinks that her monthly planning strategy is a very “strong structure” and she feels safe trusting it. Kasia is very optimistic for the future of her campaign!


Rahul evaluated the Table Topics.

He honoured Saad’s courage for speaking in a public area with many people. It would be even better if he could start with a question.

Rahul also admired Stephen’s strong reflection of his matrimony with his wife. He could have showed his picture first so that we could better see his expressive body language.

Linda is a “natural storyteller” and flawlessly used all of her body and linguistic style to convey emotion. She could have closed with a “What Next?” conclusion.

Petra sounded “joyous” and had a “childlike voice.” She could have better placed her camera for maximum emotional impact.

According to Rahul, Kenny’s body language “speaks” confidence. There may have been a technical difficulty or something that prevented Rahul from seeing the images Kenny was showing.

Pragya was able to vividly describe the unique way she reminded her husband of her love for him. She could try placing the camera further away from her so we could see more of her expressive body language.

Ruslan evaluated Sadia’s flashy presentation.

Sadia’s speech was well-organised and clearly “divided into 6 parts.”

She could try to “make the words bigger” as she could not see small script.

She started with a quote and “ended perfectly.”

Chuka evaluated Nishant’s story.

Chuka drew a graph to make his points as given below.

Nishant seized the rapport of the audience with his question to them.

His structure could have been improved to make his speech more memorable.

Evidently, Nishant developed his story brilliantly and kept the audience engaged with humour.

Kenny evaluated Kasia’s speech.

Kasia broke down her speech “very nicely into 3 main points.”

However, it was lacking in a suitable or reliable methodology.

Her body language was “sublime.”

Petra acted as our General Evaluator.

Petra comes from a Toastmasters club in Thailand where the Toastmaster introduces everyone.

To contrast, our meetings are “no-frills” and “right to the point!”

She thinks the Table Topics and Prepared Speakers sessions were a “little bit long.”

There was an “encouraging” and “helpful” hint of “compassion” in the voice of the Evaluators.

In general, an Evaluator should have 4 attributes. They should be confident, assertive, sincere, and habitual.

D91 Conference is tomorrow!

This weekend, Toastmasters District 91 is holding its first Online Conference. Get your tickets here now!

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 BST on Thursday, May 7! Click on this text to join the chat room.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Definition: kept secret, especially because it would not be approved of.

Example: He made a surreptitious recording of his lecture with his mobile phone.

Table Topics

We listened to a nostalgic and educational theme of Table Topics hosted by Paula Vila.

Rahul’s favourite genre of books is the autobiography because it gives you a “perspective which nobody else is able to give you.”

Pragya spoke about the book titled “The Present.” Every time she reads it again she gets to renounce depression and “learn how today is more important.”

While Zahid admitted to not have read much since after “leaving school” and getting “out of university,” he believes his “horizon is getting bigger.” He accredits his reading habit to Toastmasters!

“The focus is not on doing” Table Topics, rather, it’s “how we relate our answer to the audience.” Panos was inspired and, in turn, inspired us with the book Impro by Keith Johnstone, the “grandfather of improvisational theatre.”

Farzan told us that he is from the “financial domain” and reads books that employ a mix of imagination and creativity as well as non-fiction, which is the “bedrock” on which other genres are made.

Chuka’s favourite fictional book is Of Lions and Unicorns by Michael Morpurgo. It was a sensational treat for him during his high school halcyon days.

Prepared Speakers

After Kasia Chelińska joined Toastmasters over 5 years ago, she was “very surreptitious.” Now – as she expounds in ‘Giving Back’ – she is much more experienced.

Now, it behoves her to share as much of what she has learnt over the years as she can. Her knowledge and wisdom, as she explains, has simply accumulated to be “too much” to keep to herself!

This is why she invited the audience (and you, reader!) to join her Facebook group: Joy of Speaking. Kasia aims to inspire her fans just like her mentor, Maciej, inspired her many years ago.

Chuka Nwobodo crafted a webinar of epic proportions! In ‘GO defeat COVID-19 with nanotechnology,’ he attempted to educate, update, and inspire, all in one 20-minute speech (though, there was a 5-minute Q&A session).

Before the meeting, we may have not even known what nanotechnology was! After Chuka’s ‘edutaining’ crash course, however, we could recall how nanotechnology is revolutionising medicine and helping NASA make better spacesuits, among other things.

Chuka takes pride in his degree at Imperial College London as it keeps him at the “forefront” of the frontier that is nanotechnology, nanomaterials, and nanomedicine.


Mayur evaluated the Table Topics.

The Table Topics were “mindboggling” (in a good way!) and intriguing.

Rahul “quickly jumped into” his topic but could have given us “one or two (auto)biographies he read” to elaborate his point.

Pragya was “confident as she went from one topic to another.” She needs to try and have a “strong conclusion.”

Zahid successfully connected his Topic to Toastmasters, which was the epitome of relatability for the audience. As a challenge, he could “try to reconnect conclusion with opening.”

We were able to discern how the book Panos was describing had impacted him. However, he should always “commit to speech” and not get distracted by factors outside of his control.

Farzan spoke on the same topic at great length. He also had an “abrupt ending.”

Chuka’s choice of word is breathtaking! Some words Chuka used included “entranced” and “interlaced.” He could “reiterate” his main point in his conclusion.

Mevlut evaluated Kasia’s motivational presentation.

Kasia delivered a very practical speech and injected motivation into the audience.

She should try not to be fazed by distractions and try not to break unnecessarily in her presentation.

Panos evaluated Chuka’s informational webinar.

Chuka’s dissemination of information was “immense.”

Chuka should try and make future presentations more universal by using audience participation to greater effect.

Panos used the Webinar Triangle©. “Picture in your mind: Effectiveness – Efficiency – Engagement, as the sides of an equilateral triangle.

Effectiveness relates to the dissemination of information, followed by absorption and retention in the audience’s memory.

Efficiency refers to the intuitive arrangement of the content (structure), your use of time and adding adequate supportive material for taking things a step further (references, sources etc.).

Engagement comprises selecting an appealing topic (sparks audience’s interest), relating it to the audience’s current needs and involving them by ample interaction.”

Melbin acted as our General Evaluator.

Kudos to us for starting “precisely” on time!

Although, there did seem to be confusion involving the Sergeant At Arms. Melbin suggests we stick to the agenda next time.

He appreciates that the rules were announced at the start of the meeting.

Zoom to other continents!

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 BST on Thursday, April 29! We are meeting on Zoom! Click on this text to join the chat room.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Let us replace chaos and despair with peace and unity.

Prepared Speakers

“The harder you work, the luckier you get,” Rubab’s mum would sometimes say. Well, Rubab Rizvi took this very seriously and ended up being the “queen of straight As,” as she tells us in ‘An Oil Lamp.’

However, she acknowledges that the problem is “not choosing between Oxford or Cambridge.” She acknowledges that we cannot let ourselves be the metaphorical “torch with no batteries.”

“London Bridge is falling down” is what Rubab thought when she began applying for jobs and faced rejection after rejection. She notes that she needs to be an “oil lamp” for others. This is the key to success, according to her story.

Have you ever failed an interview without knowing why? Ronnie explains what key ingredient to interview success he was missing in ‘Urgency.’

According to Ronnie, there are “three powerful benefits” worth noting if we are to adopt a sense of urgency in interviews.

The first benefit is the opportunity to the “plan early.” The second is essentially Parkinson’s Law: the fact that we are susceptible to procrastinate until the last minute. Finally, urgency bestows a proclivity to make a better impact “on the people around you.”

Wondering what Patrick’s friend did to get himself into the best university in Malawi, Patrick Kalonde tells a compelling story. That story is ‘The Mentor Next Door.’

His friend once told him that he could be “aiming for the stars so that if I miss, I will still land on the Moon.” This advice segued into his main topic: mentorship.

One professor was an invaluable mentor to him during his time in Malawi and allowed him to become a “better citizen of this world.” Additionally, a Toastmasters mentor advised him that “no-one can climb the ladder of success with their hands in their pockets.”

Isn’t it amazing how plants can defend themselves despite being unable to move? Fortunately for us, Katia is a great science communicator. We saw just how great she was when she presented ‘Plants Under Attack!’

Plants must be “strong and stoic,” Katia begins, though Katia will only “focus on biotic threats.” She continues to explain the different defence strategies plants may have to combat threats.

“Trichomes” can deter pests from walking on their stalks. Trichomes can be little sharp or poisonous hairs. Secondly, they can produce an aroma to warn predators or other plants. Additionally, “stress” can increase the strength of aroma.

Is my bad handwriting causing problems for me? Mayur tells the story of his life as a result of his sloppy writing in ‘How I wish I had good handwriting.’

He first explained how some “naughty activity” with some classmates led him “straight to the principal’s office” when a note he had addressed to his friend went instead to his teacher, who had a similarly spelt name!

Then, he spoke about that time his bank teller had to always bring him to the bank as his signature seemingly kept on changing! Hopefully, his handwriting classes will come in useful.


Chuka evaluated Rubab’s rather theatrical speech.

Her lightbulb analogy suggested “unity” as it was used multiple times in her speech.

She could have used more evocative expressions to better convey her message.

Her enthusiasm was infective and helped her secure the attention of the audience.

Joseph evaluated Ronnie’s urgent speech.

Ronnie provided three proposals which were “excellently done.”

He could have made his speech “a bit more spiced up” by using statistics.

At any rate, Ronnie was “eloquent” and his words flowed naturally and at a good pace.

Xiaolei evaluated Patrick’s assuring speech.

Xiaolei quickly noted that Patrick’s speech was very relatable since we must all have mentors at some stage of our lives.

She thinks his organisation and delivery could be improved. The two examples he gave may have sounded “repetitive.”

Overall, Patrick delivered a “very proactive message:” do not be afraid to find mentors.

Allison evaluated Katia’s informational presentation.

Allison admired Katia’s speech and observed “an attempt to try to deliver it to laypersons.”

She thinks she might have been “a little bit too fast” for some. This is where she could have employed “purposeful pauses.”

Allison remembered and recalled the key points of Katia’s presentation. This suggest she met the criterion of explaining her topic to “laypersons.”

Ronnie evaluated Mayur’s poignant diatribe.

Mayur’s “storytelling was really good.” Ronnie believes that “we can connect with what he says.” That’s how relatable it was.

Uncannily, Ronnie advised Mayur to add “a little bit more spice” in his speech. Anyway, Mayur could have shown us just “how bad” his handwriting was!

Martaza acted as our General Evaluator.

Martaza was thrilled to see that everyone was early to the meeting.

Toastmaster Nuttawut could have been “more proactive” but he did give quick “complementary comments.”

President Ronnie addressed those who were not official members of Toastmasters. This helped ensure that everyone felt welcomed.

Zoom to Skype and back!

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 12:15 BST on Sunday, April 26!

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Global affairs have resulted in an inflexion in the state of the human mind.

Table Topics

We listened to a highly practical and interactive theme of Table Topics hosted by Katia Hougaard.

Ashley received a “card all the way from Canada” from a girl she stumbled into one time. That card ended up being a marriage invitation!

Rubab is the youngest in the house but owns the oldest items in it! She has treasure bags filled with, among other things, a “progress report card” from nursery!

Nishant showed us a picturesque portrait of him and his wife. According to him, it was a gift to put up on the wall and it serves as a reminder of their matrimony!

What is a curio you own? Patrick of Malawi talks about his unique collection of poems from Africa.

Mica visited the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia on governmental business. During her 3-month stay there, she unintentionally was caught “puking” in the car of “His Excellency!”

The Toastmasters D91 Conference is soon! Chuka explains how he has been working on the promo video for the two-day conference.

Prepared Speakers

He was a guest speaker; he presented a (pretend!) “Student of The Year” award to Katia; and he still loves his wife! Nishant Mehta gave ‘A Toast for Imperial College Speakers.’

Nishant started (and almost ended!) his toast describing the award laureate. He used evocative descriptions such as “hardworking” and “intelligent” to describe this mystery winner.

Meanwhile, it was slowly becoming clearer whom to which he was referring. Who could this woman be? Any guesses from the audience? Of course, it is none other than Katia Hougaard!

‘The End Is Just the Beginning,’ as Sadia Zaman had demonstrated in her valedictory speaking project for the Dynamic Leadership path.

One of the first things she is quick to point out is the need for an outline. Her outline was so clear and concise, yet so complex and intricate. She meticulously cherrypicked a few objectives to speak about.

For instance, the first was communication. She remembered a time – while she was in her youth in her public speaking journey – of feeling she was in her comfort zone. She told us she would eventually be “facing my fears head on.” For better or for worse, Toastmasters has “forced” her to adapt to the stage and to stop feeling embarrassed.

Nishant isn’t the only one capable of giving toasts! InA Toast for Imperial College Speakers,’ Adolfo Tunon celebrates three things about our club.

Firstly, he would like to “raise the bar” for our club and encourages us to “double the efforts” we are taking. He said all of this notwithstanding the repercussions of the global pandemic!

Secondly, he congratulated us for being a proactive club to have “raised their hand” to go online. Finally, he commemorates the fact that we continue to hold a “passion” of helping people becoming competent communicators and better leaders.


Kenny evaluated the Table Topics.

Katia’s Topics were well-received by the audience; an innovative success!

Ashley’s story flowed beautifully. He should be cautious of his time, though.

Rubab was very enthusiastic! She could have overdone it, perhaps.

Kenny noted Nishant’s use of hand gestures. If only his mellifluous story was longer.

With a “happy” tone, Patrick spoke about his short book: “Smiles in Africa.” His speech did not have to reflect its shortness, though!

Mica‘s story was “very interesting” though it was punctuated with fillers!

Chuka’s speech was the epitome of one that is good and “flowy.” Everyone should try to practise their inflexions, Kenny recommended.

Katia evaluated Nishant’s speech.

She noted the build up towards revealing the Student of The Year.

“When one hints at something,” she cautions, one should use examples to back up what they are trying to say.

Katia acknowledged Nishant’s professional-looking attire and makeshift trophy.

Rubab evaluated Sadia’s speech.

“If your actions inspire others,” Rubab began, “then you are a leader.” She congratulated Sadia for being committed to developing her public speaking skills and converting the art into her “forte.”

Rubab would have loved to have heard how she celebrated her achievements.

She also admired how she won the rapport of the audience and made them “stay connected through her visual representations.”

Chuka evaluated Adolfo’s speech.

Adolfo was very clear at the onset when he declared that the “type of speech” he was giving was a toast.

He could try implementing more inflexions where appropriate.

His toast was “vibrant and interactive” and Chuka greatly enjoyed the “virtual cheering.”

Adolfo acted as our General Evaluator.

He liked how the Table Topics Master, Katia, was able to successfully and seamlessly “leverage the online meetings.”

The acting President, Chuka, could have made people aware of the most important “commands” for using Skype (as opposed to Zoom, for instance).

He did appreciate his “warm welcome” though.

Happy clouds in the Skype

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 GMT on Thursday, April 23! Here is the link: Join Skype.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

The sounds from our online meeting today were particularly mellifluous.

Table Topics

We listened to a “dreamy” theme of Table Topics hosted by Chane He.

Our work lives may be moved online (if they haven’t already)! Nishant entertained the future of cloud computing in his speech.

The Cloud has facilitated the job market and will continue to do so, according to Chuka.

Harshit identifies some drawbacks of the Cloud. What if data is lost or stolen?

At the same time, the blow of COVID-19 may present itself as a double-edged sword. Rakesh argues that perhaps it “helps” us get closer to Cloud integration.

“If I let my imagination go wild,” begins Kasia, technology may “flow” better and “technical support” may develop faster. We may even get “interactive video” so get ready for that!

Nkenge envisions a time where pen and paper will be an archaic tool of the unproductive past! Ye, the future students will be “responsible digital citizens” equipped with iPad, Chromebooks, and laptops, oh my!

Prepared Speakers

“Speaking was tough, speaking was scary, speaking was something to be afraid of…” Emotional speeches seem to be Kenny’s thing.

In ‘Mistakes Were Made,’ Kenny explored his misadventures from his stutter therapy to the real world. If speaking on soapboxes on the street and talking to strangers scare you, just remember the golden rule of stutter therapy: “What happens in stutter therapy stays in stutter therapy.”

This may explain why Kenny “was an outrageous liar” to his coach! He would stutter like the “king of” stuttering. With his coach, though, he would never be able to admit stuttering due to fear and shame.

After 6 months with his coach, he would certainly regret jeopardising his success of overcoming his speech difficulty. So, he challenged himself repeatedly. Now, even though “we’re no longer defenceless,” he successfully has overcome his former ways and is now a formidable Toastmaster!

Have you ever been a co-President or anything similar? Sadia explores what it is like now that she is assuming this role in ICSM Heart (a Society at Imperial) in ‘Experiences and Future for ICSM Heart.’

Now that Sadia is sporting a new leadership role, she seems to be learning fast. She enjoys speaking with new people and working in teams, though it has been a notable challenge!

She mentions taking a 360-degree evaluation. This entails Sadia receiving feedback from her committee and making a self-evaluation.

“Did you know” as much as Katia does ‘All About Sloths’? She amazed the audience with her enthusiastic tone and inexhaustible knowledge about the “adorable creatures” that are sloths!

Did you know, an orange and black mark signifies a male sloth? She explains this is to show his “virility” to the female. Did you know that sloths share a common ancestor with aardvarks and anteaters despite having very different nose lengths? Or did you know their favourite food was cecropia leaves?

Well, neither did we. That is, until we listened to Katia’s speech! The least we can do now is support and protect this remarkable species. Go on, donate to save the sloth and be recognised as a sloth hero!


Katia evaluated the Table Topics.

She enjoyed Nishant’s insight on cloud computing. As a challenge, he could try improving his structure for next time.

Although his argument was sound, Chuka’s hesitant tone may have jeopardised his chances of securing rapport.

Harshit had a “great introduction.” He should try and make his words flow more smoothly and less like a “staccato” rhythm.

Katia liked Rakesh’s “conversational style”. It could have been better if he didn’t try to cram in so much content!

Kasia was “dignified” but her ending was unclear.

Nkenge “deftly” developed ideas. She might have gotten too excited and provided too many examples!

Rakesh evaluated Kenny’s speech.

Kenny mellifluously delivered “personal and emotional speech.”

He seemed to dwell on the shortcomings of his past for the majority of his speech. It would have been a nice denouement to talk about the positives.

Kenny connected to the audience with emotion. Rakesh explains that audience rapport is facilitated by emotion. Good job, Kenny, and keep up the good work!

Paula concisely evaluated Sadia’s speech.

Sadia had good pacing.

She could have improved her structure, though.

On a personal level, Paula enjoyed Sadia’s use of pictures and “visual representation” for her speech project.

Nishant evaluated Katia’s demonstrative talk.

Katia injected her majesty and colour in her speech.

We could not see her body language, though, as she was sharing her slide. This could have been problematic, especially if her body gestures were

Let us “enjoy the simple things” and the niceties of nature that give us joy. For Katia, sloths are a precious animal without comparison.

Our General Evaluator was Chuka.

He loved the President’s introduction. He especially enjoyed Katia’s explanation of Imperial College Speakers and where we normally convened for our meetings.

He recommends anybody to refrain from apologising, regardless of their role.

The Table Topics was well-received by the audience and it ran seamlessly. Chane’s topics were challenging but not daunting and he entertained a brief silence before selecting candidates to speak.

Happy Easter! 🌺

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 GMT on Thursday, April 16! Here is the link: Join Skype.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

The sanguine children of the light will forgo the darkness.

Table Topics

We listened to a variety of Spring-related Table Topics hosted by Xiaolei Zhang.

Nkenge reminisced on the pleasures of kite-flying.

The Gregorians shifted Spring to Winter making the festival of Chinese New Year the original springtide festival, Feiwu explained.

Would you like some deviled eggs? Katia tempted us with her irresistible descriptions.

Or perhaps you prefer poppy seed cake? Kasia suggests you try this Polish delicacy (or the roulette version!) at a shop near you (ideally not during a pandemic).

Green or yellow, milkshake or juice, the exotic mango truly is a versatile and delicious fruit. Saurabh toyed with our salivary glands with this one!

Kai loves to “walk around” and enjoy the “beautiful scenery” in Hyde Park. When he gets the chance, he would like to see the “cute animals” again!

Prepared Speakers

Abhishek delivered an interesting speech about the coronavirus. Did you know that Chinese people still travelled to India despite the concerns about the virus?

Kasia told us how sanguine she is about tweaking her personality. She wants to be more direct without seeming “cold” and “unfriendly”.

In through one nose, out through the other… Jayaprasad explains how yoga can act as a powerful tool to stay active during lockdown.


Anand evaluated the Table Topics.

Nkenge’s kite-flying speech was sensually stimulating.

Feiwu’s knowledge of the history of the original festival of Springtide was quite remarkable.

Katia is an expert of interesting vocabulary and “colourful language.”

Kasia shared a message which was very relatable indeed.

Anand enjoyed Saurabh’s recommendation of the Polish shops.


Allison evaluated Abhishek’s speech.

He demonstrated great knowledge.

Allison introduced a new term for many of us. OSFR, or Objective Scope Finding Recommendation, is a methodology for structuring an analytical or informational presentation.

Abhishek, and the rest of us, should keep this in mind when we are preparing to speak to inform.

Saurabh concisely evaluated Kasia’s speech.

Kasia’s speech:

  • was well-structured;
  • lacked vocal variety;
  • checked off her speech goals.

Chuka evaluated Jayaprasad’s demonstrative talk.

“At this juncture,” yoga may be the solution for those who can no longer implement physical activities thanks to governmental lockdown. Jayaprasad’s speech was seamless and highly practical.

His summary was comprehensive. Perhaps, however, it went on for too long.

Remember though, it is a lockdown, “not a lock-up.” This was a pleasant touch of humour.

Our General Evaluator, Craig noted our use of Menti.

Instead of saying the speaker “could have improved on,” the evaluator should “recommend” or “challenge you to”.

Also, he found it quite distracting when background noises such as those from “the kids” interrupted the flow of the meeting.



A quote a day

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 12:15 GMT tomorrow! Here is the new link: https://join.skype.com/COv8qLm2i1sI.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Remain optimistic during times of doubt and you will persevere!

Table Topics

We listened to a welcome variety of book-related Table Topics hosted by Kasia Chelińska.

She chose Miracle, Feiwu, Saad, Hang, Neil, and Katia to talk on her Table Topics.

Prepared Speakers

Chane delivered his Icebreaker ‘What Speech Means for Me.’ He won the rapport of his audience with his poetic language and meaningful message.

Katia explained ‘How to Stand Up For Yourself’ with her role-play with Xiaolei Zhang. She made it very clear right from the start, with her analogy of a swaying palm tree.

‘Some leaders are born women’ was an empowering talk that challenges the paradigm of almost all aspects of society. Kasia delivered it with the confidence and authority of a recognised leader.


Paula evaluated the Table Topics.

Katia, Harshit, and Xiaolei evaluated Chane, Katia, and Kasia, respectively.

Saad acted as our General Evaluator.

Honourable guests…

Wonderful news! We are meeting at 18:15 GMT on Thursday, April 9! Here is the link: https://join.skype.com/aKlWceFNzKWG. Also, the International and Evaluation Contests are this Saturday, April 4.

Our last meeting’s Word Of The Day was:

Our memories are shaped by a chronological accumulation of our knowledge.

Table Topics

Kenny escorted us down memory lane by asking us to describe personal experiences during a random year.

Chuka recalled his mischievous self and how he smashed a window in 2004.

Paula vividly described what it would be like to leave the womb for the first time.

1980 would be the year Priya “would rule the world.”

Miracle entertained us with vivid descriptions of a place she visited in 2019.

Kai reminisced the year 2011, a year in which he hopes to continue improving to ultimately pass his exams.

Prepared Speakers

Habib Oladepo gave his ‘Icebreaker’ on his homeland (IléIfẹ̀) and mother tongue (Yoruba).

Paula Vila chronologically took us through her Toastmasters journey in ‘A Journey of Reflection’.

Harshit Agrawal taught us – through his experience – how to ‘Lead Your Life Through the COVID-19 Crisis.’


Chuka Nwobodo evaluated the Table Topics.

Paula was imaginative but could have added a little more colour in her descriptions.

Priya ended with a crescendo of enthusiasm that may have contributed to her exceeding her time limit.

Miracle did not disappoint us with her accurate descriptions. As with Paula, she would have benefitted with more vibrance in her intonations.

Kai structured his speech well and methodically outlined how he aimed to improve. More pauses will help him organise his thoughts better.

Xiaolei Zhang evaluated Habib’s Icebreaker.

She delighted in his structure. His flow always had the sense of “what will happen next.”

He was showing his nerves at the start of his speech. Fortunately, he recovered quickly from this.

He showed us his hat to demonstrate its significance in matrimony. The use of props made this exposition more memorable.

Rishi Kumra evaluated Paula’s speech.

Her energy at the start demonstrated that she had overcome her former shyness.

She could have used more storytelling.

Her structure was clearly defined as a “journey of being a Toastmaster.”

Kasia Chelińska evaluated Harshit’s speech.

Kasia marvelled at Harshit’s transition from the “Fear Zone” to “To-Do Zone” and “Learn Phase” to “Growth Phase.”

The audience may have benefitted from hearing Harshit’s preferred leadership style.

He conducted “great” eye contact with the camera.

Katia Hougaard was our General Evaluator.

She advises those with roles to ensure their microphones are working before they need to speak to avoid embarrassment.

Participants should unmute their audio as the clapping sounds are an effective motivator.

Toastmaster should spend some time to introduce “who we are, what we do, and what people can expect.”