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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Excalibur Past Presidents Meeting 14th June 2017

Our resident Lawyer and SAA for the evening, Simon Cooper, called our Excalibur Presidents Meeting to order and introduced our esteemed current President, Lynne Cantor who set the energetic tone for the evening.  Lynne asked what would we say to a 19 year old Excalibur as we celebrated our 19th birthday with cake! Googled responses included:

1.      Speak less, listen more - the key to a good Evaluator
2.      Be yourself - those who matter will love you, and those that don’t, don’t matter!
3.      Quality reigns over quantity– and quality is what we have focused on all year

Celebrating 19 years of Excalibur

Ten of our Past Presidents were present for the evening;-  Bob Nisbet DTM (2002-3), Rod Sloane (2004-5), Bob Ferguson (2005-6), Simon Bucknall (2008-9), David Adams (2010-11), Carol West DTM (2011-12), Simon Cooper (2012-13), Andrew Bennett DTM (2013-14) who joined us by Skype!, Cat Kipling (2014-15), Immediate Past President Freddie Daniells (2015-16), plus Current President Lynne Cantor (2016-17).  Additionally we welcomed two very notable committee members David West and David Sellman.

From L to R:- David Adams, David West, Simon Bucknall, Andrew Bennett (on screen), Rod Sloane, Bob Ferguson, Carol West, Bob Nisbet, Lynne Cantor, Simon Cooper, Cat Kipling, David Sellman. 

Our 6 guests, including our President’s other half to find out what Lynne had been up to all year!, were warmly welcomed along with our newest member, Ian Brown.

Incoming Area Director Cat Kipling was our superb Toastmaster of the evening seamlessly moving between the different segments and expertly and knowledgeably introducing each speaker.
Bob Ferguson hosted the ‘Excalibur Shopping Channel’ Table Topics session where speakers were encouraged to persuasively sell us the benefits of different products. Carol West persuaded us to buy Robo-Mow, Guest Tadija Popovic sold us the Belty Automatic Belt, David Sellman sold us the Massage Me Vest, and Rob Sloane sold us an Ice Cream Lock winning the Best Table Topic in the process!

                                   Rod Sloane - Best Table Topic

Bob Ferguson, who during his Presidents reign introduced Instant Evaluations to stop Table Topics overrunning! We all love him for that!! He encouraged David Lennon, Janet Tarasofsky, Ian Brown and David Adams to focus not just on performance skills recommendations, but to also share a tip on how to improve, and to highlight good sales techniques in their feedback.

Our first prepared speaker was Freddie Daniells, speaking from The Humorously Speaking manual #5 The Humorous Speech “My Financial Bailout”, about his time as a Stockbroker when he got arrested in Jersey by 17 policemen …..he claims he had only had one drink!  Yeah right! President Elect Katja van Koten gave a structured evaluation.

Our second speaker was District 91 Speech Contest Winner Simon Bucknall, giving us his second speech for the World Championships in Vancouver “Twelve Sophomores & An Englishman” which led him to be Best Speaker of the evening.   David West was his thoughtful evaluator.

                                  Simon Bucknall - Best Speaker 

Lynne Cantor, our final speaker,  fed back the results on her year long High Performance Leadership (HPL) Programme “Excalibur, A Club of Excellence” with specific examples and anecdotes around our members!  Concluding that we are a bigger, stronger more focused club. 

By delivering this speech Lynne completed her HPL and her Advanced Leadership Silver and, having previously completed her Advanced Communicator Gold, has achieved the accolade of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).  She also achieves a Triple Crown by completing three awards in one year – congratulations Lynne! 

Cat Kipling Congratulating Lynne Cantor on her DTM and Triple Crown

Andrew Bennett, beamed in via Skype, was Lynne's expert evaluator and won Best Evaluator with his defined criteria of how he was going to evaluate and demonstrated with specific examples.

                     Andrew Bennett, on Skype, winning Best Evaluator

Prepared Suzi Fish facilitated the Open Feedback session for the speeches, expertly managing the commendations and recommendations from the audience and always ending on a positive note.  

Monika Swiderska ably and succinctly kept us to time.

The general evaluation was expertly delivered by Bob Nisbet, who evaluated how the meeting was run as a whole according to a club’s mission statement, rather than just those who hadn’t been evaluated.  And his verdict?  “Bl__dy great!” J  And as the Incoming President for his own club, he’ll be pinching some of our ideas!

Lynne Cantor, DTM!,  thanked all the Past Presidents and hoped to see them again next year. Special thanks to Cat Kipling for not only being Toastmaster but for organising this event for the 2nd year running!  

AND we finished the meeting to time ..........for the first time in Excalibur’s history surely?!!  And here’s the proof…..!!  

Dates not to be missed!

Our next and final meeting of the current year will be on Wednesday 28th June, 6:45 for 7pm prompt start at The Fitzrovia Community Centre, 2 Foley Street, W1W 6DL. 

To celebrate the end of our year we will have bubbly and nibbles!  Do wear a hat, to celebrate our Incoming President’s love of headgear!

To make our VPE’s job easier, kindly confirm your attendance on Easyspeak or via Thank you.

Don’t forget to book your ticker for “The Road to Vancouver” on Saturday 15th July where you will have the chance to hear four European District Champions practice their Semi-Final Speeches before they head to the World Championships in Vancouver. 

Members from other clubs who have completed at least seven speeches are welcome to experience Excalibur at any time and we are always seeking guest GEs.  Contact us at

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Please like, comment, tag photos and share our posts on our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter, thank you.  

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Everyone’s a BuddY or a Mentor

During District 91’s recent Spring Conference our International President, Mike Storkey, gave a presentation on ‘Everyone is a Mentor’ and it seemed timely to share some of those thoughts.

Everyone is a BuddY.  At Excalibur we’ve been calling it BuddY as we look to members to ‘BuddY up’ together.  Principally it is the same as a Mentor programme, just organised a little less formally.   David West has been gently kicking this off for the past few months.  Do tell him you want to be a BuddY or a Mentor to someone.  Do tell him you want to be a BuddEE or a Mentee (ie Buddied by someone else).  Contact David West on:

There is so much value in both being a mentor and a mentee.  Everyone at every level needs a mentor and everyone at every level can be a mentor.  That means YOU. 

·         Who is a mentor?
o   Someone you trust
o   Someone you respect
o   Someone you can confide in

·         What is a mentor?
o   Someone who is knowledgeable
o   Will challenge you
o   An active listener
o   Empathetic
o   An effective evaluator
o   A role model
o   Someone who is never afraid of developing their mentee to exceed their own capabilities

·         What is a mentee?
o   Someone with a thirst for knowledge
o   A desire to improve
o   An ability to learn
o   Has goals
o   Accepts evaluation

·         Types of Mentors
o   New club member mentor
o   Member mentor
o   More advanced member mentor….good for Excalibur members
o   Leadership mentor
o   Specific skills mentor eg humour, evaluation or table topics …..good for Excalibur members

·         Benefits for Mentee
o   Support based
o   Information based
o   Being challenged

·         Benefits for Mentor
o   A new challenge
o   Being part of their Mentees success
o   Involvement

Don’t delay, sign up today.  Be a BuddY or a Mentor AND be a BuddEE or a Mentee.  You won’t regret it.  

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Meeting Report 24th May 2017

What a warm meeting it was! Freddie Daniells called the meeting to order with his usual energy and handed over to the acting President Monika Swiderska.

Monika told us about us how she hoped to have some time free from her studies, but it never happened. She also used the quote from Woody Allen “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans” to highlight how challenging time management can be. Then, Monika greeted our guests and handed over to Odile Facih, who was our Toastmaster of the Night.
Odile introduced a theme of the night- meanings of names and a word of the day, which was “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, a truly challenging one! Our Toastmaster suggested that “superb” is an easier synonym, but as we are Excalibur, a club of excellence, and we like a challenge, we should try to use “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.
Then, Odile introduced Prakash Patel, our Timekeeper, whose name comes from Sanskrit and means “bright light”.
Mustapha Hanafi, in Arabic “the chosen one”, was our Table Topics Master. He asked a variety of questions based loosely on transferable skills. Freddie Daniells told us what Disney character he would like to be and was evaluated by Irene. Then, Monika Swiderska was to think outside the box by answering (or not answering!) the question which celebrities she would like to invite for a dinner. She was evaluated by Hannah can der Deijl. Our guest Rhona told us about porridge in Tenerife and was evaluated by Tony Winyard. Adam explained why he would take a laptop, flipchart and pen to the island and was then evaluated by Marcin. David Lennon told us what a lovely child he was and got some comments from Chinkata Okpara. Finally, AJ explained why he is the best person to play in the movie. He was evaluated by Katja van Koten.
We heard 3 speeches this time. Our 1st speaker was Tony Winyard who told us about his trip to Norway and how a snowbank saved him from falling off the cliff. It was project 1 from The Entertaining Speaker manual.
Our next speaker was Marcin Tolysz who gave his 1st speech at Excalibur! Marcin was telling us about his experiences from Toastmaster conferences, trying to convince us that these events are brilliant. It was project 4 from Speaking to Inform manual.
Our last speaker was Brian Skelton, who was a very effective Bank Training Manager for the night. He was introducing us, bank employees, to Toastmasters and Persuaded with Power that we should all join the new club.
Irene Bradshaw gave Tony commendations on how effectively he achieved the objectives of his speech by telling us an entertaining personal story. She also liked his fluidity and the use of humour, especially the information about a town named Hell. However, she noted that Tony’s gestures were a bit tense and he tended to be static. She suggested he should use the stage more.
Hannah van der Deijl evaluated Marcin. She spotted that he owned the stage and was very confident. She also liked the information he presented. Her suggestions for improvements were to work on the structure to make it clearer, make sure that visual aids completely support the message and maybe focus on more technical information.
Katja van Koten commended Brian on his knowledge about Toastmasters and his credibility. She also felt that he was very passionate about this project and he sold the idea very effectively. Katja recommended that Brian could have used less information. She also suggested that he could pause more after asking questions.
Open feedback session was led by Chinkata Okpara. Our Toastmaster of the Night confessed that she couldn’t find the meaning of Chinkata’s name in Google, but there are 9 people in the world with this name.
The meeting was General Evaluated by the very efficient Andy O’Sullivan, Past Division B Governor, and current District Chief Judge.
The winners of the competition were: David Lennon for Best Table Topic, Tony Winyard for Best Speaker and Katja van Koten for Best Evaluator.

Monika then mentioned the dates to save in the calendars:
14th June – Past Presidents meeting & 28th June – the last meeting of TM year with a bit of a party! With hats!

Finally, we made our way to the corner pub!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Monthly Newsletter - May 2017

  • The 86th Annual Toastmasters International Convention
  • Magazine Subscription
  • Dates not to be missed

The 86th Annual Toastmasters International Convention
Featuring renowned speakers, incredible networking opportunities and more—all set against the backdrop of beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. You can book now and save $50 on registration with early bird pricing.  The District 91 International Champion, Excalibur’s own Simon Bucknall, will be competing for the third time at this level.  Why not book and go along and support him.  

Inspirational Speakers The Convention features an amazing line-up of inspirational speakers, highlighted by Delatorro McNeal II, who will deliver the keynote address. Plus, don't miss Freedom Writers Foundation founder and this year's Golden Gavel recipient, Erin Gruwell.

International Director Candidates  The Toastmasters International Leadership Committee is pleased to announce the 2017–2018 nominees for international director. Elections for regions 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13 will be held during the 2017 Annual Business Meeting this August in Vancouver, British Columbia.  (District 91 is in Region 11)

Exhibitor and Sponsorship Opportunities Have you, or someone you know, written and published a book they'd like to promote? The 86th Annual Toastmasters International Convention is a terrific opportunity to share products with Toastmasters from all over the world. See the 2017 Exhibitor and Sponsorship Prospectus to learn more.

Magazine Subscriptions
Now that the Toastmaster magazine is online, you have instant access to timely educational content. Don't need the print edition? You can opt out of it, update your address and manage other preferences by logging in to your My Toastmasters profile.

Dates not to be Missed
Excalibur Meetings 6.45pm for 7pm
o   Wed 24th May – Standard meeting
o   Wed 14th June – Past Presidents meeting – Do join us for this auspicious occasion
o   Wed 28th June – Standard meeting – theme of Hats (for a bit of end of term fun!).   

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Meeting Summary 10th May

Marcin Tolysz, efficiently called the meeting to order, handing over to President, Lynne Cantor, who joined toastmasters 10 years ago today. Congratulations!

Lynne linked her introduction to recent presentations from international president Mike Storkey and focused on 'Step Up, Step Out and Seize the Opportunity'The two guests were then welcomed with a few more joining us throughout the evening.

Being election night Lynne handed over to the Chair of the Nominating Committee, Cat Kipling, who smoothly and professionally took us through proceedings. 

Its Double Dutch!!! With President Katja Van Koten and VPE Hannah Van Der Deijl.

Congratulations to all the 2017/18 Club Officers, some new, some returning.  From L to R back row: David West (automatically elected) as Buddying / Mentoring, Freddie Daniells as VPM, Chinkata Okpara as Treasurer, L to r front row: Paul Andrea as Secretary, Hannah Van Der Deijl as VPE, Brian Skelton as SaA, Katja Van Koten as President, Monika Swiderska as VPPPR, and Lynne Cantor (automatically elected) as Immediate Past President.

VPE and VPM were contested positions and voted on by the members. All others received 1 vote by the nominations secretary on the night, Lynne Cantor, in order to make the ejection official. 

Katja gave a short acceptance speech saying how much she was looking forward continuing the great work of the current committee. She joined Excalibur due to the wealth of knowledge within the club, the quality of the evaluations being received and in learning to give.  She congratulated the amazing and diverse new committee with both current and new members. With both her and Hannah being Dutch there was humour around keeping one foot firmly in the EU!! 

We very much look forward to Katja kicking off her year on Wednesday July 12th. 

Cat handed over to president elect Katja as ToastMaster. 
Hannah was our succinct Timekeeper. 
Returning member Lyn Roseaman was Table Topics Master with the theme of politics and elections. Member to be (he's handed in his form) Ian Brown, won best TT and David West who gave a recommendation on content won best TTE. 

The speakers, evaluators and topics were;- Bob Ferguson on issue based politics, evaluated (E) by Simon Cooper, Carol West on fake news E by Paul Andreas, Chinkata Okpara on my fake story, E by Mustspha Hanafi, Errol Williamson on ballots E by Irene Bradshaw, Marc Lottig on fiddling expenses E by David West and Ian Brown on annoying elections E by Anne Bingham. 

There were two speeches this week. The first by Lynne Cantor from the PR manual, speech 5, crisis management, based on a true story on ‘Rats at Asda’. 

Monika Swiderska did speech 3, the non-technical audience, from the technical presentations manual with the intriguing title 'What was the optimum pub crawl for my requirements’. 

Tony Winyard evaluated Lynne commenting on the fact that it was probably the Morris dancers that killed the rats!! (They were dancing and jingling their bells outside at the time).  

Prakash Patel did an admirable job giving feedback on Monika's speech. 

The open feedback was run by Brian Skelton who got plenty of CRC's in for both speakers within the time. 

Lynne closed the meeting with many thank you's and congratulations with a special mention to Andrew Bennett who joined us by FaceTime. 

Join us in two weeks for a standard meeting. An opportunity to practice TTE that are everything except delivery recommendations!  Lynne will be back on the 14th June to see progress!!!

14th June is our Past Presidents meeting - does anyone have AV ability so we can link in Andrew more easily into the meeting? 

28th July will be the last meet of the TM year with a bit of a party. A few nibbles, a bit of bubbly and a theme HATS as our president elect loves them and always wears one, so come wearing yours. If you wish to bring some nibbles to share then please contact Cat.

Cat asked if anyone wanted to be Assistant Area Director during her term of office as area director starting  In July.  Please speak to her directly. 

Lynne closed the meeting requesting that everyone likes us on Facebook. Excalibur Advanced Speakers London.

Meeting closed.   See you all in two weeks.  J