Are you Missing Out?

Members of Hull Speakers meeting online

WOW. Ok, that was our word of the day. But it is so apt. Hull Speakers, probably the most relaxed and welcoming public speaking group, held its second online meeting. And what a success. Should you be part of it?

Worldwide, Toastmasters meetings are increasingly held online for the immediate future. You may wish to improve your essential online skills. Why not join in one of our meetings to do this?

Perhaps you are already a member of the wider Toastmasters family. You may be a curious non-member wondering what goes on at a Toastmasters meeting? You may even be nervous coming to an online meeting with complete strangers! Don’t be. Be our guest at one of our meetings and be part of the fun.

Ping us a note if you are interested and come along as our guest. It’s so easy. You just need an internet connection, a computer with a webcam, audio and mic (whose hasn’t these days?) and you are away.

Here’s how it works and what we did last time:

Our Second Online Meeting Went Really Well

Lincoln: a very capable chair of online meetings.

Lincoln offered to be Toastmaster for the evening and his role was to follow the agenda and keep the meeting on time. Great work Lincoln – it went like clockwork and everyone had a great time.

What’s the Agenda?

Our agenda has two clear speaking sessions; formal speaking and informal speaking (Table Topics.) The formal speaking sessions are prepared, in advance, by the speakers and last about 7 minutes. The informal speeches involve talking on a topic given to them, unprepared, for up to two minutes.

Then we have formal evaluations. Every speakers receives some guidance from another member who has carefully observed them so as to help them improve. Members of the audience give feedback too; after all, when you speak, you want to know how an audience received your message – that’s the point! But it’s very constructive feedback rather than a caustic review.


We had two speakers tonight; Charlie and Alison. They gave their prepared speeches on two riveting topics

Charlie called on her vast experience of online meetings to guide members new to it on what to do.
Alison talked on how to move from problems to solutions. So practical and useful!

“Remote Meeting Mastery”

Charlie launched into a very impressive talk on online meetings – and very timely advice on how to use these techniques.

The guidance was content rich and riveting – the main recommendation for Charlie was to not look down at her own onscreen notes

Charlie went through all the key essentials including being at eye to the camera, the right background, managing meetings and action packed tips.

We hope Charlie will not write up her notes and share with other members as a valuable resource. Excellent and great presentation, Charlie.

“The Way to the Solution”

What a powerful performance. Alison had to use visual props – and chose slides.

She used slides very effectively to show three techniques to move from problems to solutions: 1. Questioning, 2. Models and pathways and 3. Creativity.

It flowed well but it was recommended that Alison use, what she mainly did, graphics rather than text to support her message.

This was Alison’s final speech from the Competent Communicator Manual – which she has now passed. Well done Alison.

Table Topics

Image of Johnny, Hull Speakers member
Johnny was Table Topics Master

Johnny was Table Topics Master this evening. The idea of Table Topics is to let members speak for up to two minutes on an unprepared subject. This develops impromptu speaking skills. Johnny chose topics relating to personal experience. Who can’t talk about that for two minutes? Fantastic topics, Johnny.

If you could make your own wish? Stephanie explored the every day things we could wish to be free of, at present. STEPHANIE: Being confined, can't go out, can't mix....being square eyed from TV and computers. These are personal. However, there are bigger issues. IF she could make a wish it would be to turn to address the biggest worry of millions of people about their loved ones; she'd wish for the virus to go so that happiness could be restored. RED: Who impresses you most? Red didn't have a particular person pointing out that life was too rich and big to choose one. Instead, she thought that many people can have an influence for different reasons. Red listed artists who were impressive. But, to answer who impresses you? Red said we shouldn't aim to be other people....just be ourselves. MELANIE: A Guest, who received her First Timer's Ribbon for speaking at a meeting on her first visit. Well done! What is Meanie's ideal day? Melanie said she's happiest with her boyfriend and her family. But she has a passion for 80s retro music too. Melanie - you are probably not alone for the music. You gave an excellent talk ... at your first meeting too. PAUL: Your greatest achievement. Paul said that in childhood, you dream of great things. Some deliver on those great dreams. Others, find other dreams; he did too. He explained that he likes campaigning - especially for people who really struggle. There are so many people. His greatest achievements are those from seeing the smiles on the faces of people when he's helped turn their lives around. That's what's truly rewarding. CLARE: What would you do if you won £1 million. Clare had no shortage of things to spend this money on. However, the thing that would give her greatest pleasure, if she had it, would be to spend it on a thank you party for those who fought the current virus. CHARLIE: When did you last try something new? Charlie explained that she loved to explore new things. For her, every new experience was a chance to learn and improve. ANDY: What was your best decision? Andy is our Regional President for Toastmasters - and an excellent one too. Andy explained that some time ago he was faced with a career change and moving to Doncaster. He's never regretted it. His life has been transformed. So moving to Doncaster did it. Perhaps we should all move there? JAN: What would you have done differently five years ago? Jan is a Distinguished Toastmaster. She also holds a string of other qualifications including an MBA. This has take a lot of time. Jan wishes she'd left some time for useful, practical skills like bakery. STEVE: What's your best childhood memory? Steve created a vivid picture. It was football. Steve is not only a successful sales representative who enjoys teaching others; but he extend this to being a football coach for youngsters. His first experience of football was attending matches as a kid. He explained the thrill of being in a large supporters crowd, the smells of pipe smoke...even Bovril. He even recalls some of the bad behaviour on the pitch. ALISON: What would you like to teach? Alison was elated by this question. As a professional projects manager who now trains others - she explained that this was what she loved doing. She loved empowering people by teaching them how to do things themselves; and to do it well and enjoy what they did. She does.


Every speech gets evaluated; how could you improve without feedback. Below explains the main evaluation roles.

Jan evaluated Charlie’s speech
Paul evaluated Alison’s speech
Murali evaluated the Table Topics speeches
Clare was the ‘Ah Counter’ whose role is to let you know when you use pointless filler words which detract from your speech.
Steve was the Grammarian whose role is to let you know when you come out with a great turn of speech or use impressive vocabulary.

Our Winners

Members vote for the best role holder. Often this is a close run thing. Tonight’s winners were:

Best Speaker: Alison

Best Table Topics Speaker: Stephanie

Best Evaluator: Clare

Don’t Forget the First Timer!

Well done to Melanie. She visited us for the first time and joined in with an excellent Table Topics talk. She gets the very impressive ‘First Timer’ ribbon!

Melanie gave a short speech at her first meeting!

Next Online Meeting

Our next online meeting is on Tuesday 28th April at 19.00 BST / 18.00 BST. If you’d like to join in as our guest let us know