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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Excalibur Meeting Report, 10th January 2018

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Welcome to the first meeting in 2018! Newly-elected President Chinkata Okpara opened the meeting with enthusiasm and ambition. Cat Kipling warmly introduced guests Maria, Ben, and Division L Director SeemaDavid Adams called the meeting to order.

Toastmaster of the evening, Simon Bucknall introduced the meeting energetically in spite of his broken leg. Timekeeper Monika Swiderska explained the time rules in detail.

Toastmaster of the evening: Simon Bucknall

Welcoming Guests: Seema, Ben, and Maria

Table Topics session
Carolina Castillo conducted the session with interesting questions. In the beginning, Cat Kipling confessed her preference for dogs than cats. David Adams recommended paying attention to the audience preference since he likes cats. When it comes to the weather in London, Prakash Patel shared his traveling experience for preventing himself from freezing winter. Freddie Daniells enjoyed his senses of humor about the bad weather following him to the south. Tadija Popovic stated as a clod person he needs a heater all the time. Eva Yang suggested adding body movements while describing the cold feeling. Speaking of Rome, Lynne Cantor said that it was definitely built in more than one day. Simon Cooper appreciated her storytelling skills. Concerning the best contribution in the UK, Monika Swiderska chose the international educations system because she benefited from it a lot. Ian Brown recommended paying attention to the eye drifting while thinking. Our potential member Ben Starling talked that he has been left high and dry for a day. Marcin Tolysz was fascinated by his twists of boat experience. Finally, Anne Bingham mentioned her friend who is always economical with the truth. Chinkata Okpara liked her humor in the story.

Table Topics Master: Carolina Castillo

Prepared Speeches! 
Paul Andreas summarized the interesting stories in the last conference with the topic “GRIN.” Evaluator Marcin Tolysz enjoyed his confidence and recommended to be aware of time. Eva Yang told of an embarrassing experience and delivered a humorous love story with the title “Be unique with your heart.” Freddie Daniells enjoyed the twist in the beginning and recommended to use the third person to explain the complex concept. Tadija Popovic described his personal experience of getting forced to do a thing four times with the topic “As in the number 4!”  Ian Brown was his insightful evaluator and loves his courage to confess the symptom. 

Paul Andreas: GRIN

Evaluator: Freddie Daniells
Open Feedback: 
Simon Cooper clearly and succinctly guided us through with commendations and recommendations for all speakers. Moreover, Division L director Seema Menon was pleased to become the general evaluator and found the meeting full of quality and laughter.

Open Feedback: Simon Cooper

Monika Swiderska was confirmed as VPE and David Adams as Treasurer. Here is the new list of the Excalibur officers in 2018: 

President: Chinkata Okpara*
VPE: Monika Swiderska*
VPM: Freddie Daniells
Secretary: Paul Andreas
VP-PR: Eva Yang*
Treasurer: David Adams*
SAA: Brian Skelton
IPP: Lynne Cantor

Treasurer (David Adams) & IPP (Lynne Cantor)

Finally, Chinkata Okpara closed the meeting by announcing the winners: 

Best Speaker:  Tadija Popovic. 
Best Evaluator: Ian Brown. 
Best Table Topic: Ben Starling. (Guest)

Best Speaker:  Tadija Popovic

Best Evaluator: Ian Brown

Best Table Topic: Ben Starling

Last but not the least, as Simon Bucknall said, “Break a leg!” 

Next Meeting on Wednesday 24th January!  

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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Excalibur Meeting Report, 13th December 2017

Colorful agenda, Delicious food, and Festive clothes. The last meeting in 2017 was celebrated with lots of fun, festive activities and Monika's delicious hand-made chocolate cookies. With the tinsel queen Lynne Cantor, everyone was adorned with shiny tinsel. 

Chocolate Princess Monika and Tinsel Queen Lynne  

Our President Monika Swiderska opened the meeting by singing lovely Polish Christmas songs. Monika introduced guest Alina Ghionoiu. 

Toastmaster of the evening, Bob Ferguson wore a Christmassy tie and introduced the word of the day “Festive”. Timekeeper Cat Kipling wearing a bright red jumper and tiny Xmas hat shared the importance of respecting time.

Table Topics Master David Lennon adapted several well-known Christmas carols and songs into table topic! Cat Kipling talked about the institutional bullying of the reindeer Rudolf. Mustapha Hanafi her instant evaluator appreciated her passion and recommended her to slow down. Nick Westall asked about Good King Wenceslas’s pizza joint talked about his childhood experience of jumping into the snow. Chinkata Okpara liked his body language and recommended to talk more about the King. Anne Bingham delivered a fluent story on Santa Claus coming to town. Tadija Popovic found her full of imaginations. Alina Ghionoiu mentioned the place she wants to go on a Sleigh. Monika Swiderska liked her smile and recommended to talk more about friends to go with. Paul Andreas explained that technically the shepherds wouldn’t have been watching their sheep at night. Brian Skelton enjoyed the facts about Xmas and recommended to use more of stage. Eva Yang explained how to cook a Partridge with steam in a fast and easy way. Marcin Tolysz recommended to add more details in how to deal with the bird.

Great story-teller Anne with tinsels

Prepared speeches! Brian Skelton wore a super reindeer jumper and shared some interesting experiences with the topic “Have a Nice Day”. Evaluator Eva Yang recommended to open up with a question first and later on greeting. Monika Swiderska talked about her intimate hater with the topic “Scouting around”. Tadija Popovic enjoyed the twist that her hater and her collaborated in the end and recommended to use only two characters’ names. Lynne Cantor presented an Interview about networking that she is going to deliver for real on Friday!  Chinkata Okpara was her insightful evaluator and enjoyed her confidence. 

Super festive reindeer Brian

Open Feedback: Mustapha Hanafi clearly and succinctly guided us through with commendations and recommendations for all speakers. Moreover, delicious chocolates were distributed to the members who got correct answers to the questions from Harkmaster Marcin Tolysz.

Elections were held for President and VP-PR. Newly-elected President Chinkata Okpara said he will lead Excalibur to succeed. New VP-PR Eva Yang said she wants to record her Toastmasters journey in London. 

VP-PR Eva wants to record her TM journey

Thanks were given to retiring President Kata van Koten for helping us ‘Aspire to Excellence’ for the first half of the year. Thanks and a small gift were given to Monika Swiderska for taking on three roles when Kata had to step down: interim President, VP-PR and VPE (the role she retains). Congratulations also went to Marcin Tolysz who has taken on an Area Director role as well as being President of two clubs. 

Area Directors Marcin and Cat

Finally, Monika Swiderska closed the meeting by announcing the evening's winners: 

Best Speaker: Monika Swiderska. 
Best Evaluator: Chinkata Okpara. 
Best Table Topic: Nick Westall. 

Best Speaker: Monika Swiderska

Best Evaluator: Chinkata Okpara

Best Table Topic: Nick Westall

Season greetings to you all. 


Dates not to be missed! Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 10th JanuaryTo make our VPE’s job easier, kindly confirm your attendance on Easyspeak or via

Kick-start your new year by joining our Division L Toastmasters Leadership Institute workshop day on Saturday 13 January, where we have a stellar line-up of presenters from across the Division and beyond. 
Please register for your FREE ticket at here.

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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Excalibur Meeting Report, 27th September 2017

We might have had a few last minute changes and been short on the ground but that didn’t stop us from having an enjoyable and entertaining meeting with enthusiastic Excaliburgers!

Our President Katja van Koten “the show must go on”, opened the meeting reminding us to “aspire to excellence”.

Timekeeper Tadija Popovic shared the importance of respecting time in a personal story about his wife being very late for a christening, and promised to keep us to time with tribal noises but “chickened out” when it came to it!

Our 4 guests from Taiwan, WIBF, Epsom and First London Speakers were all recognised on stage at the beginning of the meeting.  No hiding in the shadows for our guests here at Excalibur!

Toastmaster of the evening, Freddie Daniells was his normal exuberant self and effortlessly led us through the different components that makes up an Excalibur meeting.

Our Table Topics session was run by Ian Brown who had apparently come all the way from Wales to be with us!

Suzi Fish explained that she was more of a night owl rather than a morning lark and was instantly evaluated by Giovanna Vasaturo who liked her energy, enthusiasm and rhythm.

Guest Eva explained the Taiwanese culture towards charity giving and came to the conclusion that giving 1p per email at work was actually a good idea.  Cat Kipling was her instant evaluator and loved her enthusiasm and passion.

Simon Bucknall shared his three steps to heaven or was that the stars?!: be true to yourself, develop and nurture relationships, and have fun.  Our “not so good at multi-tasking” Timer Tadija Popovic was called upon unexpectedly to evaluate but still managed to give a recommendation which was to repeat the three steps in the conclusion so he would have heard them all!

Guest Nadine Wagner then explored which of the six nations rugby countries she would like to live in but decided on Germany!  Freddie was her evaluator.

Guest Frank shared his idea of an act of bravery and was evaluated by Katja

Finally, Chinkata Okpara shared his favourite of the seven sins: gluttony!, and was ably evaluated by guest Charlie.

On with the prepared speeches!

Katja then explored the importance of taking control of our self-talk with the model “Stop, Observe, Shift” in S.O.S. ‘Self Talk’ #5: ‘The Motivational Speech’ from The Professional Speaker manual, reminding us that “every problem has a solution”.

Giovanna gave her second evaluation of the evening, recommending the imagined fruit should have been a peach because it’s so much nicer than an orange!

Cat Kipling then ‘Presented The Results’ #2 from her High Performance Leadership manual.  She was pleased to achieve her mission of “smiley happy faces” here at Excalibur!  Chinkata was her insightful evaluator.

Second in the World Championships of Public Speaking (will it ever get old saying that!) Simon Bucknall clearly and succinctly guided us through the Open Feedback session (for the very first time!) with commendations and recommendations for both speakers.

Our guest from WIBF Nadine Wagner generally evaluated us and liked our strong online presence, meeting structure and great energy.

Congratulations to Simon, the winner of Best Table Topic.

Cat was winner of the Best Evaluator.

With just two speeches we did not vote for best speech

Katja summarised the meeting as “low in numbers but high in spirit”, and keeping to Excaliburger tradition, we then continued down the pub!


Dates not to be missed!
Our next meeting will be on Wednesday 11th October, 6:45 for 7pm prompt start at The Fitzrovia Community Centre, 2 Foley Street, W1W 6DL. 

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

Members from other clubs are welcome to experience Excalibur at any time and we are always seeking guest GEs.  Contact us at

The Division L Contest will be on Saturday 14th October 1:30-5:30pm at the London Business School, NW1 4SA.  Last year’s D91 Humorous Speech winner Dallas Leigh Martene, and our Simon Bucknall, Second Place Winner in The World Championship of Public Speaking 2017 will be the keynote speakers.

The District 91 Autumn 2017 Conference “Let Your Speaking Fly”, which includes the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Finals, will be at the Hilton London Gatwick Airport, South Terminal, RH6 0LL on Saturday 4th November 2017.  

Regular price tickets at £59 can be booked until Monday 30th October, with ‘Late Booker’ tickets available thereafter.  Limited tickets will be available for purchase on the door.

Social Media:
To keep up to date, kindly  like, comment, tag photos and share our posts on our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter, thank you. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

Humorous Speech and Table Topics contest, 13th September 2017

It was another fantastic night with the long-awaited 2017 Excalibur Speakers Humorous Speech and Table Topics contests! 

Our President, Katja van Koten, opened the meeting with some innovative exercises involving imagining being in various scenarios and clapping hands and shoutingBy the end, we were all truly warmed up. 

Then she handed over to the Humorous Speech Contest Chair, Simon Cooper. He confirmed with our Chief Judge (and amazing Area Director) Cat Kipling that the judges had all been briefed and that everyone knew what they were doing.  

Nick and Suzi were timing the meeting. 

And then the Humorous contest was underway! 

First up Marc Lottig told us about his shopping trip and some rather interesting customer experiences he had enjoyed. The 2nd contestant was Lynne who told us a story of her Sicily holidays and 110 mosquito bites. Then, we listened to Freddie who explained to us the importance of gentleman’s underwear. The 4th contestant was David West who had a wonderful time as a salesman for Brexit Motors, while explaining the future of self-driving cars. And the final contestant was Chinkata Okpara, who told us about his love for red wine and all the unexpected places it had taken him. 

Humorous Speech Contestants with Certificates of Participation
After the Humorous Speech Contest, we had a 10 min break when our Chief Judge Cat and ballot counters Monika and Brian counted the votes.
After the break, Katja took over responsibilities for being Contest Chair for the Table Topics Contest. Again, we had 5 contestants  Chinkata Okpara, David Lennon, David West, Lynne Cantor and Freddie Daniells. The question asked was: What is it that you speak passionately about? 

Table Topics Contestants with Certificates of Participation
After the votes were collected and the Chief Judge left the room, Katja ran a quick session of Table Topics.  

Then, Cat announced the winners. They were: 

A very happy David Lennon with Chief Judge Cat
For the Table Topics: 
1st place - David Lennon 
2nd place - Freddie Daniells 
3rd place - Chinkata Okpara 

Young David West wins another Excaliburgers contest!
For the Humorous Speech: 
1st place - David West 
2nd place - Freddie Daniells 
3rd place - Lynne Cantor 

And then, in true Excalibur style, we all went to celebrate in the pub! 

Both 1st and 2nd place winners will be going forward to represent the club at the Area contest. The Area contest will take place on Wednesday 20th September at The Plough, 27 Museum Street, London WC1A. The contest will begin at 7pm Please come along to support our contestants if you can.