What’s in the Box?

Meeting of 22 May 2018  
Murali talking at Hull Speakers
Club President, Murali Podila, as Toastmaster

Murali was Toastmaster and facilitated the meeting this evening.

We had an Educational slot by Andrew to help members identify which  where on the spectrum they are: nervous to excessively confident.

Lincoln gave a first class formal speech on the benefits of being in TM from the Advanced Speaking Public Relations manual.

Jessie gave us a mystery impromptu ‘Table Topics,’ as members chose an object hidden inside a box.

Read on……


What's Your Position?

Andrew Hodge - Speaking Coach.

Andrew Hodge, who is a professional trainer when not at Hull Speakers, gave us another fascinating exercise to-day.

In the past, Andrew has encouraged members and visitors to come to the front and take part in exercises which he outlines to them beforehand. Previously, these have included better speaking posture, gestures and vocal exercises.

To-day, Andrew set out three speaking positions and asked – where would you like to be?

The exercise involved a degree of honesty from the speakers. Three positions were marked out: Quiet, Middle and Loud.  Speakers started at a position. They explained why they picked it. 




We had a range. The two extremes were overly confident and overly nervous. Interestingly, few were in the middle point.

Andrew then asked them where they would like to be? Different speaking situations require different techniques and different levels of assertiveness.  This led to a discussion and Andrew made recommendations to each speaker as to how to position themselves on the line with suggestions on how to be comfortable taking different positions as the speaking situation required.

Thank you Andrew for another inspiring session.

Double Winner - Well Done Lincoln!

Lincoln won Best Speaker….and….Best Table Topics too!

Lincoln was speaking from the Advanced Speaking Series – Public Relations. His first speech was taking Toastmasters as an example and talking to a group on the benefits of joining.

He made the case well and even included the three persuasive concepts: Pathos, Ethos, Logos.

At one point Lincoln started quoting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and, half way through, calmly took out a paper and continued reading. In fact, Lincoln later admitted, he forgot part of the quotation. But, instead of flustering, he calmly referred to the notes and did it so well no-body realise that this was unplanned.  Excellent application of speaking techniques for when things go wrong.

Clare evaluated Lincoln’s speech using her skills as an advanced speaker to sharpen further some of Lincoln’s  speaking strengths.

Lincoln’s winning Table Topics speech is discussed below.


Lincoln Smith Hull Speakers
Lincoln (R) Won Best Speaker
Clare Crowther evaluated Lincoln's speech

Best Evaluator

We  had joint winners to-day. Steve was combined Ah Counter and Grammarian. The Word of the Day was, “Fantastic.” Steve went into great detail on each member and has listened very attentively. The feedback given to members by evaluations. like Steve’s, really helps members become aware of their strengths and the areas in need of improvement.

Paul went on to give a detailed analysis of the Table Topics which are discussed before. 

Table Topics - What's in the Box?

Can you talk for up two minutes on a subject you have no clue is coming up? That’s the challenge to Table Topics – to help you do what most people dread.

Jessie gave us a first class challenge in the impromptu speaking session –  Tale Topics.

Jessie presented a box and speakers picked out, without looking, an item from within it. They then spoke for two minutes on the object. So what did the box contain? 

Becky chose a toy.
Steve chose tape
Craig chose binoculars
Clare talked about lamas

First time visitor, and speaking for the first time too, Becky took to the stage first!

Becky had a toy fairy. What can you do with that? She turned it into a speech entitled, “Sarah’s Magical Journey.” It was full of imagination and had us gripped. Becky was calm and used gestures very effectively. For example, to describe the long, black tail of the horse in the story, swishing as it took to the sky.

Outstanding Becky! First time, first speech and going first.

Next was Steve.

Steve picked sellotape out of the box. He asked, “What would you like to do with it?” Then went through how, at home, his family would make lots of suggestions. 

To keep the flow, Steve employed several techniques. The main one (remember, this is impromptu speaking on a subject you don’t know is coming up) was to keep asking questions. Question to Answer kept his speech structured and helped him reach the full time.

Next up was Craig. He selected binoculars.  Craig, a new speaker, started by exploring what he could speak about. Then it clicked. He and his family like star-gazing and he talked about this. Good topic Craig. It’s best not to think too hard; the topics are simply to get speakers started and it often works to talk generally rather than to become fixated on the actual item. We are looking forward to your next talk.

Clare chose a mug with “Tony” written on it. She managed to turn this into a story – about a lama….but how?As it happened, Clare had been away one weekend and went on a walking session….in a lama park. The lamas walked among the hikers. Plenty of photograph opportunities. Clare gave us the story about one of the lama’s, Tony, and hence the mug had a direct link.

Well done Lincoln – our winner!

Lincoln picked a yellow candle out of the box. He then developed this into a talk on safety around the home – particularly on fire safety. Lincoln did we’ll to keep focussed on the subject.  He was composed, used gestures and voice tone to support his speech and kept eye contact with the audience.  

Murali gave and entertaining talk about blue eye-shadow. He went on to explain the difficulties of buying gifts for his wife and how it was easier to just get anything….probably not what she wanted….but it fixed the problem.

Paul picked a remote control and went on to debate the issue – do children have too much exposure to technology rather than books. He concluded that technology was the future and should be encouraged – but parents could teach youngsters the value other activities to give them balance.