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Read about some of our previous meetings below.

Meeting on 2 March 2015, at Monte Carlo restaurant

By Albena Gadjanova, VP Public Relations

With 28 participants, 16 members and 12 guests, we had an enthousiastic and warm yet studious evening. Marc Yoshikawa, president of Paris Speech Masters, kicked off the meeting by having our 12 guests introduce themselves: Ian Brown (2nd-time guest), Jack and Cynthia from TM Paris, Marie-Françoise, Rachid Labrik, Sylvain, Stéphanie Canovas (2nd-time guest), Sofya, Ismaël Bamba,Siddharth from India, Jean-François/Jeff (2nd-time guest), Moaaz from Syria.


He then invited Shelley Mullon, area A4 governor to announce the area A4 and A5 International Speech and Evaluation Contest on 21st March. Shelley called for quick registration as we have only 40 places available for the four clubs of area A4. "10 euros for a full afternoon of speeches" is really worth of it, she said. For questions and registrations, contact Shelley: shelley.mulon@free.fr.

Shelley also announced that Paris Speech Masters was awarded 50$ by District59 for its best ratio members/education.


Marc Yoshikawa then stepped aside in favour of the Toastmaster of the evening Ciara Halloran who had selected as theme of the meeting: “The Best lessons I Never Learned".


Word of the Day

Alisson Finneran chose discernment : "see and understand people, things and situations clearly and intelligently".


Speech Tip

Juan-Pablo Chaclan shared how to start a speech and have a good introduction by telling a personal story, explaining "why" the subject is important to the speaker, thus creating a relation of trust with the audience.



Peter Kenton told the incredible anecdote of a talking labrador who was a CIA spy, sold for only 10$ by his owner because "he's a liar that didn't do anything of that stuff".


Prepared speeches

Mark Finneran's speech "Youthful Errors" - project n°6 Vocal Variety from the Competent Communicator manual - was on the irresponsible behaviour of youngsters, vandalising VeloLibs, and the naive Justin in love with Marine for whom he was ready to do everything even procuring marijuana and finding himself in jail. Marine was a cop... a true story.

Sean Ryan presented a project from "The Successful Club Series - 10 - How To Be a Distinguished Club".

Table Topics led by Fabian Nieber on the theme “The Best lessons I Never Learned".

Introducing the TT, Fabian quoted Winston Churchill: “There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.”

Heli Aru, gave examples of the way she disobeyed her parents' advice. Karim Awad told us how he ignored a common good advice in restaurant industry. Ian Brown spoke about passion and patience in music answering Fabian's question "One key lesson: patience is a virtue. Why then impatience is a virtue too?"  Rose Burke related her reaction to the boyfriend her teenage daughter brought home and whom she didn't approuve at first.


Albena Gadjanova commended Mark Finneran for the quality of his voice which was friendly, natural, full of vitality, expressive and not monotonous, easily heard and well articulated. His pitch was high expressing Mark’s enthousiasm. Well timed pauses and silences. On the contrary, she found that the topic could have been different, calling for more vocal variety which should reflect the thoughts that are presented and where voice could add meaning and interest to the message. Also she suggested to avoid saying “The point I want to make … and to illustrate it I…” and instead go straightforward and just make the point and... illustrate it. 


Carol Bausor pointed out that Sean's speech was exhaustive, full of precision and details. However she found that Sean could have better explain the WHIFM=What's There For Me?, and how the club should feel involved and impacted.


Ash Brown wrapped up the meeting as general evaluator, making a bunch of specific observations on the two evaluators. Ash suggested that we could applause a bit more and observed that two of our newest members, Pablo and Alisson, had held their first roles. Well done, Ash!


Ribbon Winners 

Best Speaker: Mark Finneran

Best Evaluator:  Albena Gadjanova

Best Table Topics:  Karim Awad

Ciara Halloran, Toatsmaster of the meeting,

distributed the Award Ribbons at the end of the meeting.


Meeting on 16 February 2015, at Monte Carlo restaurant

By Mark Finneran, General Evaluator of the meeting, and Albena Gadjanova, VP Public Relations

With thirty-six participants we had an energetic and vibrant crowd that contributed to a fun and educational evening for all. Marc Yoshikawa, president of Paris Speech Masters, kicked off the meeting by having our 17 guests introduce themselves.

As Toastmaster of the evening Fabian Nieber selected the theme “the Head and the Heart” because as he put it, “these 2 worthy adversaries, the head (our logic) and the heart (our emotions, or gut feeling), are often in opposition when we need to make difficult decisions. Over the course of the evening all speakers were given the chance to provide insights into when they tend to listen to their head and when they tend to listen to their heart.


Word of the Day by Sean Ryan


Speech Tip by Julien Clément


Toast and prepared speech n°1

Albena Gadjanova gave a combination of a heartwarming speech - project n°1 "Mastering the toast" from the Advanced Manual Special Occasion Speeches - and the toast of the evening. Before jumping litterally into her toast, she explained the custom of giving a toast dating back to ancient Rome and Greece; while the English gave them on bended knee and Scotsmen stood on chairs and put one foot on the table, the French brought civility  to the custom with a bow. In her toast-speech, dedicated neither to a special occasion, nor to a person, but to the Heart, Albena told us that parents, with our best interest in mind, often advise us to listen to reason, but the best choices come from listening to our hearts.

Prepared Speeches n°2 and n°3

Susanne Kischnick presented a project "The Folk Tale" from the Advanced Manual Storytelling. Susan, who is very passionate about folk tales, told us the old German version of Brothers Grimm fairy tale, “The Frog Prince”. Suzanne’s objective was to tell a folk tale that is entertaining and enjoyable for a specific age group. Before starting, Fabian relayed Suzanne's request that we all take on the personas of curious 5 year olds ready for a bedtime story.

Richard Rheindorf's speech  “The Surprising Cause of Cardiovascular Diseases” was for a project from the Advanced Manual "Persuasively Speaking, Addressing the Opposition". Richard’s objectives were to present a talk on a controversial subject; persuade the audience to accept or at least consider the viewpoint; appeal to the audience's logic and emotions. Fabian noted that these objectives tied in nicely to the theme of the evening!

Table Topics led by Heli Aru

In Fabian’s introduction of Heli Aru, Table Topic Master, he explained that Heli tries to find a balance between head and heart to keep her on the right track in longer perspective. Just listening to one’s heart, Heli explains may get you into trouble just easily as doing only rationally calculated choices. Heli also shared a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt -"To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart."

Heli based her table topic questions on the theme of the evening “using the head or the heart” to make small and large decisions ranging from making impulse purchases to major life decisions concerning career choices and romance.  Five people were able to participate in the table topics: Natalie Cernecka, Ciara Halloran, Francisca Perez-Cocomina, Peter Kenton and Elaine Rothman. Peter, never ceasing to surprise us, shared a tale from his life in Paris as a young man. He concluded by saying at least once in a lifetime everybody should make a major decision for a love. The climax of the table topics section came when Ciara invited us all to go on vacation with her!


In Antoinio Meza‘s evaluation of Albena Gadjanova’s speech he praised her mind, because it helped her to speak about her heart!  Antonio felt that Albena spoke warmly and friendly to the audience, she developed her point of view by citing personal stories and she explained the history of the tradition of "the toast". 


Carol Bausor began her evaluation of Susanne's reading of "The Frog Prince" by telling her own fairy story about ... Susanne giving another speech in a beautiful red dress! That speech was in German but the meaning shone through (even for non-German speakers!) She commended Susanne's delivery in terms of voice range and earnest eye contact. Carol felt that the sitting down posture did not best lend itself to commanding attention, and recommended using rhetorical questions to gain the listeners' interest: "And .... what do you think she found in the well ....?"  Carol would have liked to hear different voices for each of the main characters. The story is unusual in that fairy story princesses are normally the heroine of the story, whereas this princess is really .... not very nice!


Karim Awad was impressed by the way Richard Rheindorf used reason and passion to develop his arguments. Karim said it was both precise and risky: carefully constructed but with occasional interactions with the audience that could have easily led us astray. Karim was also inspired by the way Richard managed to slowly bring us to a surprising conclusion based on a little known anecdote and achieved the main objective of his speech: to make us consider a different point of view.


Mark Finneran, wrapped up the meeting as general evaluator.


Ribbon Winners 

Best Speaker: Richard Rheindorf

Best Evaluator:  Carol Bausor

Best Table Topics:  Ciara Halloran

Meeting on 2 February 2015, at Monte Carlo restaurant

By Albena Gadjanova, VP Public Relations


We had 28 attendees at this meeting: 14 guests and 14 members. The meeting started with Marc Yoshikawa, president of Paris Speech Masters, introducing the Toastmaster Peter Kenton, a "genial host" because... "I have to be genial", Peter said. The theme of the meeting was Groundhog Day and Peter explained why he chose it and introduced the guests: Christophe LancelotLaurence BreuillacAlison Finneran, Ariel Danski (visiting TM from South Florida), Rebecca Buechel, Ian Brown (TM from London), Catherine Philippe (from TM of Paris), Francis Colomina, Juan Pablo Chaclan, Marie-Françoise Caussin, Elaine Rothman, Frédérique Lafontaine, Rachid Labrik, Antoine Lortie.


Mark Finneran followed with a toast to actor Bill Murray, in the spirit of the theme of the evening Groundhog Day.


Word of the Day

Fabian Nieber gave us the word of the day: "superstition". He explained his role and the meaning of the word - excessively credible belief, irrational - and gave an example: "She touched a locket for luck; since then she had a baby". 


Speech Tip

David Logan's tips were about how to get rid of filler words (the hum's). When you hesitate, use a pause, he said. And make sure your speech is of correct length. Haste make for waste. Be seemlessly smooth.

Prepared Speeches

Julien Clement gave his first speech as a Toastmaster, the Ice Breaker. He described his main goal in life: to be remembered! Julien shared his progress towards this goal, from being a shy teenager who had “school-o-phobia”, to being a PhD student who tries to share his work and passion with others. He will have many occasions to make speeches in his professional life, and he hopes TM can help him make them memorable.

Rose Marie Burke gave her first advanced speech from the Specialty speech manual, Project 4, « Read Out Loud. » All in keeping with the project, she introduced the novel she read an excerpt out loud. In this speech project, there is no need to memorize the material and Rose read from the written word a chapter from a remarkable new novel entitled « Tita, » about an 8-year-old French girl growing up in the south of France in the late 1950s. The book was written by a French friend of Rose, Marie Houzelle who has always written in English. Curiously enough she was also raised in the south of France in Toulouse.Tita is the girl version of Le Petit Nicolas. She is precocious, stubborn, a difficult eater, and is discovering her voice and the world around her. At the same time, traditional France is starting to break away too. 

Karim Awad gave a speech, project #3 from the CC manual "Are we greedy? Are we bad?" In the wake of the financial crisis, it would seem easy to answer yes but a growing body of research unveils the hidden truth about our natural tendencies for cooperation. Though a superficial glance at Darwinian theory could convince you that greed makes sense as part of the "law of the jungle", research has shown, through the concept of mirror neurons, that we are actually hardwired to feel empathy for our fellow man. Additional data on the Ultimatum Game also sheds light on our natural tendency to treat people fairly in basic economic transactions. This research spurs us to rethink man's natural human tendencies and come to the conclusion that he isn't really bad to the bone.


Table Topics

Ash Brown stepped up as Table Topics Master and engaged an entertaining session inspired by different wheather related phenomena. We had 5 speakers. Mark Finneran spoke about whether he considered repeating the same thing is a curse or a gift. Feeling becoming better, more professional is certainly a gift he said while not feeling challenged is a curse. Rebecca Buechel had then to answer the following: winter can be long and hard, why should we celebrate it then? Nice to reflect on, especially for a Californian who is still working on enjoying winter and would prefer a bottle of wine and a nice meal to stay at home rather than going outside. For Ciara Halloran, her coldest winter storm was when she was in college, on the US East coast, when she decided that it's important to persevere regardless the weather. Laurence Breuillac had to predict the weather for the next 6 weeks: windy days... hoping spring will come soon. Heli Aru had to speak about the way she broke her legs skiing...instead she said that the best medecine is a combination of swimming, sauna and skiing.

Speech Evaluations

Ciara Halloran then evaluated Rose’s speech: excellent introduction that gave an enticed interest, related to a book Le Petit Nicolas, commended Rose on her wonderful delivery of the innocence of a child, excellent eye contact even though it was a reading project and seemless moving from one page to another. Rose's voice tone moved in various modes of vocal variety. Suggestions for going further on, on a higher level: attenton to the style of delivery as this is a 7-year old girl, slower, more pauses; age of discovery and innonce - play more with that. Sean said that Julien's IceBreaker was excellent, meeting the ojectives of this speech project; the description of the shy 13-year old boy hating going to school and doctor Richard helped learn a lot about Julien who used a lot of speaking techniques: no notes, pauses, jokes, humour, gestures, careful listening. Susanne Kischnick liked the way Karim started his speech with a question "Are we bad by nature?", his humor and the fact that Karim answered his own question in 3 points: Darwin, neurones, managing nervousness.


Fabian Nieber followed with the wordmaster and grammarian report, pointing out some beautiful expressions used during the meeting such as "butterfly flying information" (Peter Kenton), "to err is human" (David Logan), "the difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer" (David Logan), “school-o-phobia” (Julien Clement) for which there is a synonym: didascalonia. He concluded by a phrase, he found a bit strange "the French are the most skiing people in the world" (Ash Brown).

General evaluation

The meeting closed with Ian Brown, a guest, experienced TM from London who was our General evaluator. Ian suggested that we could applaud a bit more! He commended Fabian Nieber for his keen ear as grammarian and his meticulous description of his role and pointed out that Fabian could have prefer not to read the definition of the Word of the Day. Ian found that keeping it personal is a very good tip, exactly as David Logan did it. He then recommended Rebecca not to cross her arms and legs which is quite defensive. "Don't look down while thinking", he said about the Ciara Halloran presented her Table Topic. He underlined the enthousiasm and sincerity of Sean Ryan's evaluation and the "scientific" structural approach of Susanne Kischnick's evaluation reminding at the end the CRC method that evaluators can use: Comment - Recommend - Comment.


Ribbon Winners

Best Table Topics: Mark Finneran

Best Evaluator: Sean Ryan

Best Speaker: Julien Clement


Peter Kenton gave out the awards and asked for guest feedback before handing back to Marc Yoshikawa to close the meeting.



Meeting on 19 January 2015, at Monte Carlo restaurant

By Ciara Halloran, General Evaluator


The meeting started at 8.00 with Marc Yoshikawa as president introducing the Toastmaster Rose Burke.The theme for the meeting was commitment and Rose explained why she chose it and introduced the guests: Christophe LancelotLaurence BreuillacAlison Finneran, Marie-Françoise Caussin and Juan Pablo Chaclan. Rose carried out an induction ceremony to welcome the new 5 club members who joined the club recently: Julien, Karim, Richard, Suzanne and Ciara.  She introduced each new member giving a short background and then led the new members in a commitment ceremony where they stated their commitment to the club and Toastmasters. Club members were also engaged to make a commitment to the new club members to help in their growth and club experience.


Ash Brown followed with a toast to puppies and told us her story as a child wishing and begging her parents for a puppy.


Word of the Day

Fabian Nieber gave us the word of the day: ". He explained his role and the meaning of the word using it in sentences such as to “engage the gear of a car” and to “engage in a fight”.


Speech Tip

Marc Yoshikawa gave us the speech tip PREP to help us with speech construction. PREP stands for:

Point – what do you think about a topic

Reason – Why do you think it / selling the idea

Example – give an example or tell a story to illustrate

Point – conclude and wrap up linking to the beginning and subject/topic again


We then went into the speech portion of the evening with Rose Marie Burke introducing and bridging between speakers.

Prepared Speeches

In his third speech from the Interpersonal Communication manual “Defusing Verbal Criticism”, Sean Ryan began by saying that we face verbal criticism every day from loved ones, friends, colleagues and even complete strangers. Most of us have a natural inclination to do one of three negative responses: withdraw, rationalize (agreeing with the person) or even counterattack. But there is a positive way to maintain self-esteem, respect for each other and even solve the issue. Sean shared five techniques that we can use: listen with an open mind, acknowledge and recognize the criticism, ask questions of the other person, paraphrase in one’s own words and agree if the person is telling the obvious truth. He then did a role play to use the techniques with Bob Mohl acting as a client criticizing Sean’s work. The audience was able to give feedback during a facilitated discussion.

Fabian Nieber gave his first speech at our club and his second speech in the advanced manual Humorously Speaking (the Humorous Speech). Titled 'With Friends Like These...' Fabian introduced us to his French friend Pierre, who will later find out is in fact his dog! We found out through the speech that Pierre is expensive, filthy and manipulative, and with friends like these, who needs enemies? The speech attempted to communicate, through exaggeration, a funny series of events involving dog grooming, personal hygiene and house training, topics not for the squeamish!

Carol Bausor gave her last speech towards her Advanced Communicator Silver award: from the Advanced Manual Interpretative Reading, Project "The Monodrama". A monodrama can be a poem or a soliloquy, in all cases only one person is speaking, either to themselves or to an unseen audience. Carol chose to read a text originally performed by the English comedian Joyce Grenfell "The Free Activity Period" in which she "became" a harassed Nursery school teacher, on a day when she is being inspected by a Mrs Hingle, and whilst she attempts to explain the benefits of the "Free Activity Period" on the children's creativity and self-expression, they choose to ... express themselves by wreaking mayhem. It was a highly theatrical project and one that she obviously really enjoyed performing.


We had a 5mins break then.


Table Topics

Julien Clement stepped up for his first role as table Topicsmaster and engaged is an entertaining session on commitment. We had 3 speakers. Marie-Françoise Caussin spoke about how she felt about commitment and linked to the commitment a volunteer makes and called on all of us to commit to a better and more sustainable environment. Alison Finneran delighted us in a story of her conundrum to commit to paying for her to study abroad as it is something she really wanted but took commitment to achieve on her part. Christophe Lancelot told us about his unfortunate story of committing to the Swiss Franc which turned out to be a bad investment and a learning experience. Juan Pablo Cachlan was asked whether he believed in the commitment made by companies to sustainability. He had a clear opinion: companies make fake commitments to make themselves look good in the eyes of the public.


Speech Evaluations

Rose Marie Burke then moved us into the evaluation part of the meeting starting with Antonio Meza who evaluated Sean’s speech. Antonio started with – “Are you ready for some criticisms?” and read out the objectives Sean was to achieve. He gave Sean good constructive feedback and suggestions referring to having 5 points and making them clearer for impact. Jean Delaunay who evaluated Fabian then followed. He touched on the suspense Fabian built throughout his speech but particularly in the beginning when he started to tell us his story which had the twist of being about his beloved dog. Fabian had the audience enthralled as he told us how manipulative his beloved dog Pierre learned to be and how he forgave him with the look on his face and asked the audience if we too would forgive such a lovely dog staring and asking for forgiveness. The audience was wowed by both Fabian and Pierre so the answer was YES. Mark Finneran evaluated Carole’s speech and explained to the audience what was atypical about the project and the objectives Carole was to achieve. The monodrama Carole gave painted a real and true picture and Mark explained what was unique and different about Carole’s delivery. He explained that the use of eye contact is not a requirement for this project which was helpful to the audience and his recommendation to Carole was to build to a bigger climax in the monodrama. It was a well-chosen piece for this project.  


David Logan followed with the wordmaster report – word used at least 4 times.


Karim Awad did an excellent and quick, as we were tight on time at this point, timer’s report giving everyone their red and yellow cards for timekeeping on the night.


General evaluation

The meeting closed with Ciara Halloran as General evaluator who suggested that the sergeant at arms be named on the agenda so everyone is aware who to go to for assistance with props etc.  She also recommended that introductions to speakers and meeting roles think about setting the stage for the next speaker to follow for example if it’s a humorous speech tell us something humorous about the speaker, tell a joke and make the audience laugh thus warming up the audience for the speaker.

Ribbon Winners

Best Table Topics: Juan Pablo Cachlan

Best Evaluator: Mark Finneran

Best Speaker: Carol Bausor


Rose Marie Burke gave out the awards and asked for guest feedback before handing back to Marc Yoshikawa to close the meeting.

Meeting on 5 January 2015, at Monte Carlo restaurant 

By Albena Gadjanova, Vice President Public Relations and General Evaluator of the meeting


Our President, Marc Yoshikawa, opened a festive New Year's meeting in our new venue at Monte Carlo restaurant, close to Etoile. He introduced our 14 guests who came from all over the world: Japan, Syria, USA, Spain... and France. Our Toastmaster of the Evening, Sean Ryan, chose as a theme of the evening "Fireworks", a magnificent symbol of joyful and explosive celebration erasing the sadness of the last year ending Sean said.


Julien Clement gave the very first, enthousiastic toast of the year about our lists of resolutions and the things we would like to change and also about the things that we'd like... to keep the same. As for example being open and being stuck in a community at the same time. Keeping both, the thirst for change and the constancy, produces real fireworks in one's life.

Word of the Day

Marc Yoshikawa chose "serendipity" as the word of the day, or serendipitous meaning auspicious, bringing chance. 


Speech Tip

Inspired by a TM member Florian Mueck's book "PlusPlus", Rose Marie Burke presented several ways to start a speech with a bang: begin with a colourful word, quotation, question or personal anecdote. To grab attention, use fireworks, she concluded.


Prepared Speeches

Our first speaker Mark Finneran presented his project #5 "Your Body Speaks" from the CC manual, "One Immigrant's Story". On the 15th of December, François Hollande inaugurated the Museum for the History of Immigration in Paris. The museum actually opened seven years ago, but without a formal inauguration by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy. On this occasion Hollande spoke of the benefits of immigration and urged the French not to give in to "scaremongers and prophets of doom, who dream of a smaller, spiteful, retreating France – a France that is no longer France.” Inspired by Hollande’s call, in his speech, Mark gave his personal account of "One Immigrant's Story".

The speech of our second speaker "Nobody can be uncheered with a baloon" (#6 "Vocal Variety" from the CC manual), Heli Aru, was inspired by Winnie the Pooh story which Heli re-discovered recently while looking for stories to read to her baby son. Besides being a very loveable bear adored by children, Winnie the Pooh's wins adults' hearts too with his clear-eyed wisdom. Heli's speech reminded us that little things in life matter like giving a gift to gloomy Eeyore on his birthday. 


Third speaker Ash Brown helped raise our knowledge on UX design with her speech "User Experience? What's That? (#4 "How to say it" in the CC Manual). Ash explained the basics while recalling her recent trip where she met Courtney, a woman in publishing who didn't know what User Experience was. Learn not in 11-hours, like Courtney, or even 11 minutes, what User Experience is, what the difference between a good and bad experience is and even how UX can mean the difference between life and death when you fly!


Table Topics

Inspired by our "fireworks" evening theme, Jean Delaunay's questions were particularly colourful and explosive. Seiko Hoshikawa aswered the first one "Which colour of the Japanese flag would you choose to put on fireworks?" Blue, she said, because of France, otherwise her favourite one was green. Marie-Françoise Caussin then had to answer the following "Many big cities have fireworks in New Year's eve. How do you explain that fancy which marks after all the irrevocable passing of time?". This releases our nerves, was the answer. Alison Finneran said that as a child the first time when she saw fireworks she was scared by the noise but after all she loves them. Finally, Francesca said that yes, definitely she would spend money to enjoy a meal at Fouquet's.


Speech Evaluations

Rose Marie Burke appreciated the body language of Mark, the way he occupied space and for her his speech achieved  the objective of CC#5. While Heli really modulated a lot her voice, which was the goal of her CC#6, Bob Mohl found that she could play even more with caracters' voices and sizes, vary the rate and make more pauses. David Logan who evaluated Ash's speech, praised her skill to present a technical subject "clearly, accurately and vividly" using some rhetorical devices as snippets ans "easy as a pie".


General Evalution

Albena Gadjanova led a discussion on the choice of the venue which was approved by the audience (besides some lights at the back which were a bit disturbing) and the change in the agenda (eating before and no pause). Some members and guests felt that it would be better to have a 5' pause. She urged evaluators to be more creative in their conclusions and to avoid the trivial "I'm looking forward to your next speech".

And though Albena is not a fireworks addict because of their high cost, she congratulated Sean for the perfect organisation of the meeting and his habitual enthousiasm.


Ribbon Winners

Best Table Topics: Alison Finneran

Best Evaluator: Bob Mohl

Best Speaker: Ash Brown


And to conclude the meeting, President Marc Yoshikawa thanked everyone for such a serendipitious and explosive meeting with a wonderful bunch of guests.


Meeting on 15 December 2014, chez Le Royal Opéra

By Rose-Marie Burke, Vice President Membership (general evaluator of the evening) and Albena Gadjanova, Vice President Public Relations


Our President, Marc Yoshikawa, donning a Santa hat, opened our festive Christmas meeting. He introduced our eight guests who came from all corners of the world: the U.K., Germany, The Netherlands, and Japan, and not to forget, Paris. Our first-time Toastmaster of the Evening, Mark Finneran, who credited Charles Dickens, author of "The Christmas Carol" as the real Father Christmas who created the notion of Christmas spirit and goodwill. He gave the podium to Songmaster of the Evening, David Logan, who led us in a specially written carol for the evening (to the tune of We Three Kings): "Speech Masters Of Paris We Are."


Word of the Day

New member Julien Clement, picked "resplendent" as the word of the day, recounting how he had been searching for synonyms for the overued word "beautiful."


Speech Tip

DTM Dominique Carrasco, who recently won the District 59 English-language Humorous Speech Contest in Lyon, shared with us how he developed his speech that took the prize, which featured a ukulele! The Frenchman said he was daunted about competing with native speakers, and thought his best chance might lie in using a prop. When a friend told him that he recently purchased a ukelele, Dominque knew he had found his prop. That didn't stop this advanced Toastmaster to go back to his Competent Communicator manual, making sure he covered all the basics—a tip worth remembering.


Prepared Speeches

Our first speaker was CC Albena Gadjanova, VP Public Relations, who was working on her first speech in the Communicating on Video manuel, "Straight Talk." Her job was to deliver a short 3-minute TV spot which she dedicated to a Chinese Canadian entrepreneur, Bruce Poon Tip, who created one of the most successful ever independent travel companies. He reveals the secrets of his success in his recently published book "Looptail", an intelligent mixture of DREAM, PASSION and VISION.

The second speaker, ACB/ALB Ciara Halloran, gave her first speech at our club with a speech entitled "A Bright Lights Christmas". She is working from the advanced manual storytelling and this was project 4 the objective of which was to arouse emotion. Beginning by evoking the emotions of sadness, loneliness and empathy through her story of her first Christmas away from home and family, she went on to tell us about a new Christmas tradition she discovered with friends when she lived in Vancouver, Canada. The speech culminated in drawing happy, joyful and inspirational emotions as she described her visit to the Vancouver gardens and their Christmas lights display and festive show, a truly touching speech and story.


CC David Logan gave us an 'After dinner speech' (Project 5 in the AC Series; Entertaining Speaker Manual), after dinner! Three old friends and Toastmasters had such a good time at their club’s Christmas gala night that they had perhaps a little too much Christmas cheer. There was a crash! Mr Rosenstein, an antique dealer and collector of ancient  pink marble statues lost his marbles. Rosemary Sage, an ailing herbalist finally ran out of time, and Chip Oakwood, a local cabinet maker missed his plane. They really had a smashing Christmas! With that speech, David earned his Advanced Communicator Bronze! Congratulations David!


Table Topics

Sean Ryan prepared holiday themes for partipants. Susanne Meza, pretending to be a leader of turkeys, had to give the birds a pep talk. Karim Awad talked about the importance of a white Christmas. Richard Rheindorf played a reindeer who had to convince Santa to choose him to lead the slay, as Rudolf had come down with a bad cold. Ash Brown had to defend her choice of career in promoting Christmas all the time.


Speech Evaluations

Ash Brown, in her evaluation of Albena's speech, appreciated the passion that she brings to everything she does. Fabian Nieber, in evaluating Ciara's speech, examined how she built emotion into the speech, and talked about various techniques for doing so : through setting, characters, and conflict, and using all of the senses to obtain gut-wrenching emotion. Bob Mohl, who evaluated David's speech, lauded his word play and ever-present use of puns.


General Evalution

Rose Marie Burke called it a splendid and respendid meeting indeed. She praised how speakers worked in the theme, and echoed and made reference to other speakers, which gives a meeting a sense of unity and coherence. In the spirit of Christmas, she was hesitant to find even one fault in the evening!


Ribbon Winners

Best Table Topics: Ash Brown

Best Evaluator: Fabian Nieber

Best Speaker: David Logan



And to conclude the meeting, President Marc Yoshikawa and his elves thanked everyone for such a splendid meeting, resplendent in its warm colors and good cheer! O come all ye faithful to the next meeting on Jan. 5, 2015, at a new venue, the Monte Carlo! Happy New Year!


Meeting on 1 December 2014, chez Clément (St Michel)

By Albena Gadjanova, Vice President Public Relations and Ash Brow, Sergeant-At-Arms (general evaluator of the evening)


Our President, Marc Yoshikawa, welcomed our guests (10 of them!) before handing over to our genial Toastmaster of the Evening David Logan, who introduced the program and the theme of the evening “Advent”, which means the arrival of a notable person or thing. The evening was indeed a notable arrival of fantastic guests! Their enthusiasm and participation in the evening brought joy to the chilly, suddenly winter, evening. David confidently explained the evening’s proceedings, and called on Karolin Frizzi Krüger to tell us a joke or give us a toast (or both). Karolin chose to simply distribute Christmas cookies.


Word of the Evening
Mark Finneran
 chose “Secular" which is the opposite of religious (laïc in French).


Speech Tip

Jean Delaunay pointed out the danger of copy-pasting texts from different sources while preparing a speech. It’s much better to use one’s own words and style.


Prepared Speeches

Our guests, along with all members, enjoyed a speech by Rose-Marie Burke entitled "Women! Speak up!" (Competent Communication Manual #10 - Inspire Your Audience). This speech was so inspiring that members referred to it throughout the evening and more than half of Table Topics participants referenced it as a source of inspiration! In her speech, Rose-Marie shared some startling new research just published this year in the U.S. showing how society continues to disregard and even stifle women's voices. To remedy the situation, she asked men to refrain from interrupting women and give them more "air time." And inspired women to dare to speak up and find ways to make their voices heard. Now if only Toastmasters would challenge itself to develop more woman power. Only four female World Champions of Public Speaking in the past 90 years? Women, one-half of humanity, need to be seen and heard for the human race to make real progress.


The evening was then graced by uplifting and humorous speeches by advanced communicators Antonio Meza and Marc Yoshikawa.

In his speech entitled “Kak dela?” (Storytelling Advanced Manual #4 - The Touching Story), Antonio spoke about being a teenager in Mexico and developing a friendship with Konstantin, a boy from Ukraine. They learnt each other’s language and Antonio learnt about Konstantin's happy stubbornness that helped him thrive. Later in his life, Antonio learnt to appreciate even more Konstantin's happy stubbornness as he tried to make his life in a new country.

Marc Yoshikawa then told a dramatic story, “The Moment of Truth” (The Entertaining Speaker Advanced Manual #4 – A Dramatic Talk), about starting years ago a real estate development business in California teamed up with his friends, Salvatore, Robert and Yuri (Italian, Chinese and Russian American, Marc himself Japanese). One day, millions of dollars of the company disappeared, and Mark was regarded as the culprit by a magnate (Shadow Shogun) of the local community. He pointed a gun at him and demanded, "Where's the money!" It was the moment of truth! Marc was petrified, with tears in his eyes, he said, "I know nothing about this, I didn't steel the money!" Then people rushed to the room saying "Surprise!" It was a practical joke, alas. They staged a surprise party to celebrate Marc’s birthday. The moment of truth told him that he was a gullible, goofy goose!


Table Topics

Bob Mohl led a session on impromptu speaking, with the help of a particularly original advent calendar invented by himself: every speaker had to open a tab hiding a picture which was to inspire the subject of his/her table topic referring to the past.

Bob first called upon Susanne Meza who described her graduation day, skillfully slipping to a presentation of her business today as a professional photographer. Karim Awad talked about creating of a business related to nurseries in order to appeal to women. Janette Six made a hilarious speech about stains on her trousers and kitchen window, and her addictiveness to hot chocolate in the middle of the night. Eric Egounlety spoke about cats and dogs even if he admitted not to be a big fan of animals but having nevertheless respect for them. Julien Clement talked about his 3-year study period in Rotterdam driving a beautiful yellow Fiat which made the others assuming that he’s a French drug consumer. Arabella Edwards spoke about ‘lost and found” section in a nice scenery landscape.


Speech Evaluations

Marie Gaynor complimented Rose-Marie Burke on her inspirational speech.

Albena Gadjanova congratulated Anotonio for his vivid speech, art of storytelling and perfect pace, and pointed out several improvements such as showing instead of telling and better fitting to the specific objective assigned by the manuals to every speech project. She expected to feel arousing in her emotions provoked by Antonio’s speech – as was the objective of this speech project - while finally she felt it was more like a humorous speech than a touching story.

Peter Kenton appraised the highly dramatic suspense that Marc achieved to create with his speech.


General Evaluation

Ash Brown made a very detailed report and was particularly impressed by the impact of Rose’s speech to which many referred during table topics and evaluations.


Ribbon Winners

Best Table Topics: Our notable guest Karim Awad won Table Topics for the second meeting in a row.

Best Evaluator: Marie Gaynor and Albena Gadjanova 

Best Speaker: Rose-Marie Burke


And to conclude we all cheered club member Bob Mohl once more for his 3rd place finish at the Division level for the Humorous Speech Contest.

Meeting on 3 November 2014, chez Clément (St Michel)

By Albena Gadjanova, Vice President Public Relations


Mark Yoshikawa, Club President, welcomed members and the 7 guests to the meeting and as Toastmaster of the Evening he also announced the theme of the meeting: " The Best Years Are Yet To Come!"

Word of the Evening
Rose Marie Burke
 chose “Optimist, Optimistic". Optimist says we live in the best possible world. Pessimist is afraid he's right.

Speech Tip

David Logan pointed out the importance of timing and not to runover. If you have to speak for 7 minutes, this means your text should not contain more than 700 words. This is a good average to start a script.

Prepared Speeches

Ash Brown’s speech, #3 from the CC manual, “Do you want to be healthy, wealthy and wise?” Who doesn't? Then try the yoga way! With the 900+ physical postures of yoga you will build strength of body to bring health, clarity of mind so you appreciate your wealth and calm of mind and body to cultivate wisdom. Healthy, wealthy and wise - the yoga way!

Bob Mohl practiced a new humorous speech he may use at the Division Contest on November 15. It's called “Stranger in a Strange Land” and describes the adventures as an American in Paris learning French.

Jean Delaunay is working on the Technical Presentations advanced communication manual. His #3 speech project entitled “The Golden Ratio” was about a number remarkable by its properties, and its wide occurrence in man-made and natural structures. The Fibonacci sequence is defined. Many flowers have a Fibonacci number of petals. The Golden Ratio is calculated starting from the Fibonacci sequence. Many famous monuments have been built based on the Golden Ratio; example: the Pyramids. The Golden Spiral, related to the Golden Ratio, is presented. The Nautilus shell, the vortex of a hurricane, the whirls of some galaxies fit a Golden Spiral. The Golden Ratio is one of the most awe-inspiring of all numbers.

Table Topics

Fabian Nieber led a session on impromptu speaking, related to…, and called upon Shelley Holubek who described how her life will be better in one year because she intends to join the "Sitting Kills" movement by moving more and sitting less; Nita Wiggins who said with 30 extra minutes a day, she devote the time to learning more nuance in her French language skills; Julien Clement who announced that if he could move to any country, he'd pick an English speaking one, namely Canada; Tamara Messenger who said she would grow within herself and become the person she wants to become, like Buddha and, finally, Rose Marie Burke who was too optimistic to accept the idea that the best years are not ahead, so she cited her husband's attitude towards global warming. His professional research confirms that it's coming, but he still leaves the lights on.

Speech Evaluations

Mark Finneran complimented Bob Mohl on his talent as a storyteller with a very honed sense of humour. In her evaluation of Ash's speech, Karolin Frizzi Krüger underlined with enthousiasm the super delivery of Ash and the relevant choice of the subject: yoga. Albena Gadjanova congratulated Jean for his inspiring speech and pointed out several improvements such as better connecting to the audience and getting it more involved as this was one of the objectives of #3 Technical Presentations.

General Evaluation

Peter Kenton was particularly attentive to audience's feedback and suggestions for improvement.


Ribbon Winners

Best Table Topics: Shelley Holubek

Best Evaluator: Karolin Frizzi Krüger 

Best Speaker: Ash Brown

Registration to the Division A Spring Conference APRIL 6 is now open!

Spread your wings, dare to become great!

Listen to great speakers, learn new things, meet new Toasties, maybe even sing?

Paris Speech Masters and Les Ailes are proud to announce that:


  • Registration for the Division A Spring Conference is now open!
  • Act now for the discount price of 30€ using promo code CONF2019. Good for the first 50 who purchase before March 22. Price includes lunch. Price rises after March 22
  • For full price info, more about the event, and to book click here: https://urlz.fr/96ZL
  • Book now for the April 6 conference, a Paris-wide party bringing together all 28 clubs of the Division. Don't miss out on the fun, chance to network and great speeches too!

Question ? Ask Rose Burke - Division A Conference Chair


Paris Speech Masters is looking for a new home

Hello Paris Speech Masters,

Our club is looking for a new home. We will try out 3 different venues during our last 3 meetings of the year 2016-2017.
These are the meeting dates and venues that we will be trying out.

Monday, June 12th - Le Manoir
34 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris

Monday, June 26th - La Belle Poule
18 Avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris

Monday, July 10th - Spirit Café
11 rue Rameau, 75002 Paris

Here is a map of the 3 places that we will be visiting: http://bit.ly/mapLast3Meetings

list of venues to visit
Toastmasters - Paris Speech Masters Club is looking for a new club

Paris Speech Masters featured in the Toastmasters Magazine

Toastmasters Paris Speech Masters Club Article in Toastmasters Magazine by Linda Cohen

The Magic of Paris

I celebrated the City of Light by visiting a Toastmasters club.

By Linda Cohen, ACB, ALB


This will be my 10th year as a Toastmaster. I learned about the organization by accident when a stranger overheard me giving a sales presentation at a Starbucks coffee shop and recommended that I check it out. I’ve stayed all these years ­because I believe it’s one of the best personal-growth organizations in existence. 


Last year, while serving as president of my club, I volunteered to be the target speaker for several Speech Evaluation contests at other area clubs. It was valuable for me to receive a variety of speech evaluations from members of different clubs. Visiting multiple clubs was so enlightening that when our family planned a vacation to Paris in the spring of 2016, I decided to visit a club there. 


Paris has several English-speaking clubs. I contacted two and realized one was within walking distance of the apartment we had rented near the Pompidou Center. The meeting of the Paris Speech Masters took place at a lovely French restaurant in Le Marais, a historic district in Paris. At the request of the club’s vice president education, I served as general evaluator. We met on an upper floor in a cozily lit room, and it was a leisurely meeting, lasting almost 2 1/2 hours with a break in the middle for dinner and wonderful red wine. This was France, after all. 


The 15 or so members in attendance, who spoke excellent English and came from a variety of other countries, created a highly interactive and inclusive meeting, punctuated by laughter and camaraderie. When I delivered my general evaluator report, I shared a story. While in Paris, I’d had two experiences related to turning on the sink water in the bathroom. (Many sinks there have foot pedals to do this.) The first time, while I was struggling to ­figure out how to get the water on, a stranger kindly showed me where to step. The second time, in the bathroom during the break at the Toastmasters meeting, I was able to help someone else who apparently was as clueless as I’d been. While I playfully demonstrated my story for the group, including hand and foot motions, I shared my own sense of humor. 


Peter is an amazing ­example of what’s ­possible if we decide that age doesn’t ­determine our ­opportunities.


I offered my compliments to the club. The members had made me feel so welcome; many had even given me advice about activities our family could enjoy while in Paris. I also offered the group a few suggestions for improvement. All feedback was warmly received.

One of the highlights for me was meeting club member Peter Kenton—a 91-year-old DTM. Peter grew up in New York and joined Toastmasters after a visit to California, where his brother invited him to attend a Toastmasters meeting. The chemical engineering company Peter worked for sent him to Paris in 1959, and he loved the city so much he never left. 


Peter eventually joined a Toastmasters club in Paris when he was in his 60s and earned his DTM when he was 73. He belongs to three clubs in the city and has given speeches in English, French, German and Hungarian. Peter is an amazing example of what’s possible if we decide that age doesn’t determine our opportunities.


No matter where we go in the world, when we are with other Toastmasters we are part of the same family. I encourage you to find a club on your next travel adventure, and if that happens to bring you to the Portland, Oregon, area, we’d be delighted to welcome you to our club, Toastmasters for Speaking Professionals. Don’t let the name scare you: All visitors are welcome, speaking professionals or not, and we have as much fun and as many laughs as any club I know!


Linda Cohen, ACB, ALB is a ­member of Toastmasters for Speaking Professionals in Tigard, Oregon. The author of 1,000 Mitzvahs: How Small Acts of Kindness Can Heal, Inspire and Change Your Life, she speaks to associations and businesses on how to cultivate a culture of kindness. Learn more at lindacohenconsulting.com

Toastmasters - Paris Speech Masters full Article
Full Article in PDF Version
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Registration Area A4 Contest



Area A4 Spring
International Speech and
Evaluation Contest


  • When : Saturday March 26th, 2016
  • Time : 8:30 am to 1:00pm
  • Where : Forum 104. 104 rue de Vaugirard, 75006, Paris Room: Nympheas
  •                                                      Line 4: Saint-Placide, Line 6, 12, 13: Montparnasse)
  • Participation : 10 € Early bird (until Friday March 18th) Regular :15 € (from March 19th)
  • Registration information : laurence.breuillac@gmail.com

Registration : http://bit.ly/contestA4

Payment methods: 


To the order of, Paris Speech Masters.

Send your check to: Karim Awad 8 rue Edmond Gondinet, 75013 Paris


Bank tranfers:

Paris Speech Masters

IBAN: FR76 1820 6004 1760 2745 9691 292 


Division A Fall 2015 Contest (Part of District 59)

The Division A Fall 2015 Contest was held today, Saturday, October 31, 2015, organized by two of our sister clubs: Toastmasters 75 and Club Expressions. 

Let's see who the all the winners were, who will be going on to Amsterdam in a few short weeks, and especially who is in the Paris Speech Masters Winner's Circle!! 

The Preparation!

The Contestants!

A lot of work went into preparing for these speeches! Here are the Contest Masters and Contestants!

(You can click on the photos to enlarge.)

The Winners!

We are very proud to report that our club had a fabulous day at the Division A Humorous and Table Topics Contests with our members winning FIVE PRIZES out of the 14 available. Yes, over a third or 36 percent of the prizes (for those of us who like numbers). Our members excelled themselves in THREE LANGUAGES: English, French and Spanish.

The full list of winners were:


English Humorous:

1. Carol Bausor, 2. Mark Finneran, 3. Aude Armanini 

English Table Topics:

1. Carol Bausor, 2. David Martin, 3. Shelley Mulon

French Humorous:

1. Stephane Gantzer, 2. Aude Armanini, 3. Alain Petillot 

French Table Topics:

1. Patrick Udwedk, 2. Daniel Kervarec, 3. Albena Gadjanova 

Spanish Humorous: 1. Juan Pablo Chaclan 

Dutch Humorous: 1. Alexandra Dimian

Carol, Juan-Pablo, and Alexandra will be representing Division A in their respective contests at the District 59 Contests on November 13 - 15 in Amsterdam.

Albena gave a very good speech in the French Humorous Contest while Sean competed in both the French Humorous and the French Table Topics.

Thank you to those of you who came yesterday to support us as it was a great comfort to see familiar faces among the 100 Toastmasters and guests.


Join me in giving our encouragement and support to Carol and to Juan-Pablo as they prepare for Amsterdam. I would like both to reach out to us so that they can get feedback and any help needed to improve their speeches.


I know a number of members have signed up to attend the conference so they will have vocal supporters in the audience!


We are truly putting our motto into practice where Good Speakers Become Great.

See you in Amsterdam!

Sean Ryan,

Paris Speech Masters Club President

Many Thanks to our Organizing Team!!


Area 4 Humorous Speech & Table Topics Fall Contest

See more photos from the last Toastmasters SPECIAL EVENT, held on Sat., October 17, 2015 was AREA 4's Humorous Speech & Table Topics Fall Contest. Our sister club, La Defense Toastmasters, organized and hosted the event. Speech Masters was so glad to be part of the fun! 

Congratulations to all the Paris Speech Masters Winners!!! So proud of you!


Congratulations to Mark, Carol, Albena, Juan Pablo, & Sean!
So many Speech Master winners!!

New photos just upload by our wonderful club photographer, Gabriella Benko!  Thanks for all your hard work Gabriella!  You told a wonderful story of our Area 4 contest! 

And the winners are...

Humorous Speech Contest (English)

1st place: Mark Finneran (Paris Speech Masters)

2nd place: Carol Bausor (Toastmasters of Paris)

3rd place: Shelley Mulon (La Défense Toastmasters)

Humorous Speech Contest (French)

1st place: Albena Gadjanova (Paris Speech Masters)

2nd place: Sean Ryan (Paris Speech Masters)

    Table Topics Contest (English)

1st place: Carol Bausor (Toastmasters of Paris)

2nd place: Shelley Mulon (La Défense Toastmasters)

3rd place: Juliet Meere (Toastmasters 75)

    Table Topics Contest (French)

1st place: Sean Ryan (Paris Speech Masters)

2nd place: Albena Gadjanova (Paris Speech Masters)

Humorous Speech Contest (Spanish)

1st place: Juan Pablo Chaclan (Paris Speech Masters)

Pictures Worth a 1000 Words

Thanks again to all those participants who have worked so hard to get here!

Good luck in the next round!

Thanks also to our new club photographer, Gabriella!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who made it happen behind the scenes, participated, and joined in the fun!

The Speech Masters Team



Antonio Meza in the October 2015 Clarion, District 59's monthly magazine



We are so very proud of our Past President, and fellow Speech Masters member, Antonio Meza!


Article taken from the October 2015 issue of the CLARION. Reprinted with the kind permission of the Executive Editor, Pedro Marcelino.

Antonio Meza, the District’s champion of public speaking, was the first person being interviewed by Clarion. It was a pleasure to have him as our first guest, not only because he is a reference speaker of our District, but also because he did a special effort to make room for us and speak with us by Skype.


Toastmasters since 2012, member of the Paris Speech Masters, Antonio represented our District in the last World Championship of Public Speaking. In Las Vegas, Antonio went to the semi-finals, making all of us proud. By the time this interview was made, Antonio was in China and he was 7 hours ahead of us, that were in Portugal. However, that didn’t stop Antonio to speak with us and share a good moment.


Pedro: Antonio, first things first, what are you doing in China?


Antonio: (Laugh). In China I’m working in two different capacities. I was invited to participate in some seminars as a graphic facilitator. That’s one of the things that I do and there are two different seminars that I’m collaborating. One is called Transcom and it’s a seminar about hypnosis. The other one is called Success Factor Modeling and it’s a seminar based on a book I illustrated. I know the trainers very well since we’ve been working together about one year and a half, so when they are teaching, I’m drawing in my iPad based on what they are teaching. Then, they show the drawings in the next day as a way to review what I’ve been taught, but also to express the experience that people are having. Sometimes I do cartoons of the participants or some illustrations about questions they asked. This way people recognize the experience they had on the day before and it helps them reconnecting with what they learned. A lot of people like it so I also enjoy doing it. When I was invited to visit China I was really happy because I never thought that this kind of work would make me travel so far!


Pedro: It’s amazing… I never heard about such a ‘job’. Do you always use your iPad to draw?


Antonio: Actually, there are a lot of ways to do it. Sometimes I use a whiteboard. I do it often in Paris during seminars. Usually they call it graphic recording, so I’m representing with cartoons and words what is happening and in the end they have this record of the seminar. Other times I do it like I’m doing now, with the iPad. I have special apps and pens to do it, so it’s a fine solution to draw.


Pedro: Great! But Antonio… You said you’re participating in a hypnosis seminar? Can you talk a little more about it?


Antonio: Sure. I’m a trainer in neurolinguistic programming (NLP) and inside of this is included a little bit of Ericksonian hypnosis. It’s a very good tool for coaches and therapists, in fact, to anyone who’s working in supporting people. It enables us to connect with people and to bypass the objections of the rational mind. Then we can understand what people really, really want and have a conversation in a different level, the level of people’s deepest values and believes. In that way, the other person allows himself to explore what they really want and it’s holding them back. In this seminars we have a lot of people who’re coming to learn and use this tool in their professional life, as well as people who want to work on themselves.


Pedro: Is coaching your main occupation?


Antonio: We could say that I’ve two main occupations. If you asked me one year ago, I’d say that I’m a coach and in my spare time I do illustrations. Today, I’d say that illustrations, and as a complementary activity I do coaching. It has been changing because the work I’m doing as illustrator and graphic facilitator has been developing a lot. Now I’m illustrating books and different things, so it takes most of my time and it’s my main income source.

Pedro: I start feeling that my life is boring… Antonio, how did

you end up in a Toastmasters club?

Antonio: As I said I’m a NLP trainer and I was working on my communication skills. I was already offering workshops on body language and then some people that I know told me about Toastmasters as a very good tool for public speaking. I got curious and I went to Paris Speech Masters, that had an announcement on a Meetup page. As I was offering also my workshop on Meetup, I decided to give it a look and I liked it.

  I thought it was a really good way for me to receive feedback. That was something that I immediately felt that could be useful for me, because Toastmasters could give me feedback about my speaking skills but also about my use of the English language. I’m not a native English speaker, so I needed feedback because when I was training no one would give me feedback. I was the ‘teacher’ so, unless it was a big mistake, nobody would say something. Although I live in France, I work in English almost all of the time so that was a very important point for me. That said, I started as a Toastmasters in 2012 and I’ve been President of Paris Speech Masters, a club founded by Bob Mohl. Bob was my mentor and he has been coaching a
lot of people that I can describe as accomplished speakers. He was the mentor of Olivia Scofield, Jon Seidel and other people than are the proof that Bob knows what he’s doing. He’s always generous with what he knows and I really appreciate that.

Pedro: What is the secret to make champions?

Antonio: A secret to make champions… I don’t think that there’s just one secret. It’s more like a recipe that uses different ingredients. One of those ingredients is to have a purpose, a really strong why for what you’re doing. Another ingredient is the practice. You really have to practice and work a lot to achieve what you want. It’s about commitment. The third ingredient is your capacity to receive feedback. That’s why you need a mentor, people around you who can help you; but when I say receive feedback, in fact it’s more about filtering feedback. This is very important because a lot of people will give you feedback but not all the feedback is good or is the feedback you need. It’s like you’re giving feedback to Rafael Nadal and saying that he should do this and that. But you’re not Rafael Nadal, so what works for you doesn’t necessarily need to work for him. That’s why you have a coach, to help you filtering feedback. The fourth ingredient is to have fun. If you don’t enjoy, there is no reason to be there. I just can spend so much time in this because it’s fun for me. I love when I can touch my audience and they come up to me saying what inspired them.

Pedro: What was your purpose in Porto, when you won the District contest?

Antonio: In Porto my purpose was to deliver the best speech that I could. I really wanted to give a message and touch people. In my opinion, this contest doesn’t make sense if you don’t believe in what you’re saying. So I had a message that I wanted to share it with as many people as possible.

Pedro: I still remember the guacamole falafel… Antonio, do you have any framework when you prepare your speeches?

Antonio: For a competition, normally I write the speech and I integrate it. One of the World Champions, Darren Lacroix, defines this in a very fine way: “you don’t memorize your speech, you integrate it and then you relieve it”. What it means is that I write the speech, I repeat it a lot and then I don’t care exactly about the words. I can forget the perfect repetition of the words, I connect with the experience that I’m telling about and then I share it as if I’m living it now. This makes the emotion authentic. But I do repeat and rehearse a lot so that I don’t have to worry about remembering what I’m going to say. It’s very important that I repeat until I feel comfortable. When I do my speeches I’m also worried about the structure. I write it all and then I find the

structure that it has. Then I rewrite it taking into account that natural structure and finally I put that structure in the space and in the stage. When I’m repeating I consider this and I use the space. Consequently, when I’m delivering the speech, my body knows where to move. This works as reinforcement because the space also helps me remembering, so this is a very embodied experience.

For instance, in Porto, I really wanted to communicate the idea that you’re identity can be much more open. When you accept that idea, you also accept the idea that the identity of other people can also be much more. That for me is empathy. You see the other one as more similar to you. This is the first step. Finding the message, the idea. Then, you need to think about the stories you can share to illustrate that. Finally, it’s about organizing them in a structure that can have a nice conclusion. When I’ve the structure, I can focus in the details, in the humor. So when I’m reading my speech, I try to imagine that I’m reading the speech of another person and I try to make jokes about it. Then I can have fun with the speech and I can integrate that in my speech.

Pedro: It seems like a sculpture...

Antonio: Yes, definitely. I also think that as a cartoonist I always can have a fun approach and look for the right angle to make it fun. I like to put that little cartoons in my speeches, like the guacamole with the falafel. It’s a cute image that I don’t need to draw, I can draw it in your mind. Right?

Pedro: Yes, it worked with me. How was your experience in the World Championship?

Antonio: It was fantastic! I’ve never been in a worldwide Toastmasters conference before and it’s really a good experience. You can learn a lot and connect with people from all over the world. It was amazing to compete there, it’s very rich, very challenging and stakes are high. You need to keep your mind in a health mindset, you have to take care of your physical being. It’s important to sleep well and eat well to be in good shape for the competition. I had the opportunity to arrive to the United States almost three weeks before and that was good. I knew that I was out of jetlag for sure and I’ve also the luck to had my wife with me. She was an important support for me and she was always taking care of me. Another important aspect was that before going to Vegas we did this event called ‘Road to Vegas’. I got together with Thomas Rose, who was the champion from District 95, and we practiced speeches in different places, like Brussels, Paris and London. So we were supporting each other and teaming up. That was really cool. I love collaboration and that for me was a great opportunity to collaborate with Thomas. Now I’ve a very good friendship with him, he’s a great guy and I’m very happy about that. I was also very happy in the day of the competition. The room had about 300 people inside, which is a good audience, and they were receiving the speech in such a good way… They were laughing at all the right places and even more (laugh). I think my deliver was even better than in Porto but I was unfortunate to be a little overtime. That was an important lesson because I feel I was a little bit overconfident. Every time I was delivering my speech, consistently, I was doing 6 minutes and 45/50 seconds, so I thought I was really in a safe song. Like I didn’t need to worry about that and that’s what went wrong. For me it means that you can never be too confident. It’s okay to be confident and to believe in yourself, but I went a little bit too confident. By the moment I paid attention to the timekeeper, I saw the red card I understood that something could go wrong. However, I can say that it was the best deliver I did so far and that makes me happy.

Pedro: The way you are describing you’re whole experience, I feel the real Toastmasters spirit, which is about friendship, connecting with people and improve ourselves.

Antonio: I totally agree. It’s about supporting each other, like what happened with Thomas, it’s about sharing our learning and it’s also about enjoying.

Pedro: I’m happy to know about that. It’s the way I imagine it should be. Antonio, it’s time to go, I know you’ve a busy schedule, so I just want to thank you for your time and say that I hope to meet you soon, in Amsterdam.

Antonio: Thank you. I hope to see you in the Conference too (or in Portugal)!

For those who are interested, Antonio will be participating in a TedX Conference, next 17th October in Clermont-Ferrand (South of France). This time the challenge is to present the same speech he used in Las Vegas but… in French! Adapting a speech for a different language it’s always a challenge, so if you want to see how to do it successfully, just be in Clermont-Ferrand!

Stay awesome!

by Pedro Marcelino (pedro_marcelino)

Executive Editor of the Clarion



Humorous Speech and Table Topic Contest, Oct. 5th, 2015

And the winners are...

As most of you know, the Paris Speech Masters have been busy preparing the Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest which took place tonight. We had a fantastic turnout!  If you weren't able to join us, let us announce the winners for you.

Without further ado, congratulations go to:

Humorous Speech Contest (English)

1st place: Mark Finneran

2nd place: Sean Ryan

3rd place: Heli Aru

    Table Topics Contest (English)

1st place: Sean Ryan

2nd place: Peter Kenton

3rd place: Carol Bausor

Congratulations go out to all the other contestants for showing their courage as well!

(Albena Gadjanova, Juan Pablo Chaclan, Karim Awad, & Amy Cresap)

As you know, the 1st and 2nd place winners will go on to compete in the AREA contest and then hopefully the DIVISION, and then even the DISTRICT contest. Keep your fingers crossed!

We hope you will be able to join us for at least one, if not both, of these exciting events!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who participated and joined in the fun!  And a special thank you to our newest member, Gabriella, who may just become our club photographer!! 


The Speech Masters Team


Meeting on October 20, 2014, chez Clément (St Michel)

By Albena Gadjanova, Vice President, Public Relations

Mark Yoshikawa, Club President, welcomed members and the 10 guests to the meeting and called upon Bob Mohl to be the Toastmaster of the Evening who announced the theme of the evening “Milestones: Toastmasters Turns 90”.

Toast of the Evening
The toast of Albena Gadjanova was for the 90th anniversary of Toastmasters, created in 1924, October 22, in Santa Ana California, by a group of men led by Dr Ralph Smedley who gathered in the basement of YMCA (the Young Men's Christian Association) to practice their speeches. That evening only a few people showed up. Nowadays there are more than 300 000 men and women in 126 countries who continue to meet, speak, learn and grow. 

Word of the Evening
Jean Delaunay chose “tried-and-true"” as the word of the evening which means "proved good, desirable, feasible".

Speech Tip
Mark Yoshikawa pointed out the importance of knowing oneself and learning by imitating. To improve your speaking skills, record your voice and look at yourself in the mirror, he said.

Prepared Speeches
Antonio Meza
’s speech "Darling, we need to talk" (Project 3 of the Advanced Communication Manual: Storytelling) was about Armando, a single young man in Paris who fells in love and gets married. He soon starts learning about the ups and downs of married life when his wife says "Darling, we need to talk". But paying attention to the wisdom of animated movies, he rediscovers his capacity for communication, opening his mind to support his wife while getting into a new "diet". Little did he know, the new "diet" will be an adventure to discover wonderful new ingredients of French cuisine. Armando learns that "a happy wife... can mean a happy life".

Our VP Education, Sean Ryan, is working on the Public Relations advanced communication manual. In his speech entitled Smell Me he sought to used some persuasive approaches to convince the audience to understand and use their body odours so that they could be more influential and powerful; and be more attractive and sexy. He proposed a new advanced manual: Advanced Body Odor Manual or ABOM!!

He began with a quote from the British-American poet, W.H. Auden: "A man has his distinctive personal scent which is wife, children and his dog recognise. A crowd has a generalised stink. The public is odourless." He asked the audience to smell their neighbour to find out. Using both humorous and persuasive techniques he encouraged everyone to adopt five projects: be aware of your own body odours, get feedback from others, get comfortable with personal hygiene, eat appropriate foods and research fragrances that suit your body odour. He concluded by saying that he was wearing Obsession from Calvin Klein with its powerful sensuality. He invited everyone to say the words of the rappers LMFAO: "I'm sexy and I know it."

They had just thrown my mother through her bedroom window! With these shattering words David Logan opened his dramatic  speech as Project 4 of the Advanced Communication Manual: The Entertaining Speaker. He vividly described the events of one terrible night over fifty years ago in London. It was a childhood nightmare. 

Table Topics
Ash Brown led a session on impromptu speaking, related to the 90th anniversary of Toastmasters, and called upon 
Fabian Nieber who spoke about Felix ash can, Albena Gadjanova about proposing a marriage, Richard about the most memorable anniversary, Julian about the next milestone PhD, Peter Kenton about women voting, Mark Yoshikawa about Dr Ralph Smedley best moment and Marc Finneran about TM and sports.


Speech Evaluations

Rose Marie Burke complimented Antonio on his talent as a storyteller and found that he was particularly inspired by his personal experience and recent mariage. In his evaluation of Sean's speech, Fabian Nieber underlined the importance of the three blocs of persuasion: logic, emotion and self-interest. He regretted the lack of data evidence, images and examples. Peter Kenton congratulated David Logan on his very successful dramatic speech.


General Evaluation

Mark Finneran was particularly attentive to audience's feedback and suggestions for improvement.


Ribbon Winners
Best Table Topics: Fabian Nieber
Best Evaluator: Fabian Nieber
Best Speaker: David Logan



Concluding Remarks
The Club President Mark Yoshikawa thanked everyone for such an enjoyable evening and especially the Toastmaster of the Evening Bob Mohl.


Meeting on September 1, 2014, chez Clément

By Albena Gadjanova, Vice President, Public Relations

Mark Yoshikawa, Club President, welcomed members and the 2 guests to the meeting: Shelly MulonArea 4 Governor, and Pankaj Pradhananga from Toastmasters in Kathmandou, Nepal. He invited Shelly to the lectern to present last Toastmasters novelties. Shelly announced the following:

  • the theme of the year is “Share and Support”
  • the Area humorous speech and evaluations contest will be on October 18
  • the Division contest will be held on November 15
  • the District contest will be held in Lyon on November 15
  • International Spring contest will be on March 21, 2015
  • Officers’ training will be in June 2015.

Shelly called upon our support to the Val de Marne Toastmasters Club. She also expressed  her hope to see every club having a Membership evening to bring more guests to become members.

After Shelly left the lectern, Mark Yoshikawa called upon Sean Ryan to be the Toastmaster of the Evening.

Joyfully, Sean Ryan announced the theme of the evening “Back to school” calling the toastmasters present “Boys and Girls!” which certainly took away several years from our whitening heads.

Toast of the Evening
The toast of Ash Brown was for the teachers who inspired us at school.

Word of the Evening
Sean Ryan chose “Catalyst” as the word of the evening.

Speech Tip
Rose Marie Burk
pointed out the bad habit to say “Thank you” at the end of a speech and adviced to try to avoid doing so. In the CC manual on icebreaker speech it is clearly stated : “Try not to say thank you!”. Rose said, that this “thank you” habit reminded her of “The End” or “Fin” of the old movies while movies nowadays show the end but do not write it on the screen. In conclusion, she said that at the end of a speech, one should acknowledge the toastmaster, shake hands and… enjoy the applause.

Prepared Speeches
David Logan
’s speech “Look before you eat!”, project n°2 from the advanced manual “The Entertaining Speaker”, was dedicated to our food, quoting a multitude of personalities such as La Fontaine, Reagan, Obama, Thatcher and Einstein, concluding that we should go back to school and do a research about what we eat.

How to expand our comfort zone? Mark Finneran found out that there are 3 easy steps to do so, which he revealed in his speech “Expanding Your Comfort Zone”, project n°3 from the CC manual. How? Accept the risk of looking like an idiot; take tiny, baby steps to push your limits and when you are out of your comfort zone , relax!

Peter Kenton’s speech “O tempora! O mores!” was about the social, health and financial impact of… changing sex. He concluded : Carpe diem! Live it as it comes.

Table Topics
Jean Delaunay led a session on impromptu speaking and asked a series of questions:

·         Shelly Mulon said she never feels weary during holidays.

·         Ash Brown said that she felt happy going back to school because thus she was meeting people and could compare her pencil box to those of other kids.

·         Peter Kenton spoke about the way he could immediately guess which teacher he could admire.

·         Albena Gadjanova spoke about the way she could treat a teacher she hated.


Speech Evaluations

Shelly Mulon complimented David on the clear message, the great start and ending of his speech, vocal variety and body language. She recommended to use some probs, for example, while speaking about La Fontaine’s fable “The fox and the crow”, he could use “some cheese”. She underlined the importance of the eye contact and the personal stories that provoke emotions.

In his evaluation, Mark Yoshikawa underlined the excellent job of Marc on the question “How” to cope with our limits. He said that Mark could improve his speech by telling a story, a kind of a saga about how to overcome nervous situations, juxtaposing small steps to giant leaps. He suggested that Mark should avoid saying often “OK” and all the filler words (uuh etc.)

Pankaj Pradhananga congratulated Peter on his speech, relating an anecdote about Mahatma Gandi.

General Evaluation

Albena Gadjanova pointed out the excellent job of Sean Ryan as Toastmaster, his contagious good humor and usage of original probs: sun glasses and casquette.

A suggestion: for more comfort for the speakers, put the word of the day at 2 places: on the lantern and on the wall facing it.

Ribbon Winners
Our winners of the evening were:
Best Table Topics: Ash Brown
Best Evaluator: Sheley..
Best Speaker: Mark Finneran

Concluding Remarks
The Club President Mark Yoshikawa thanked everyone for such an enjoyable evening and especially the Toastmaster of the Evening Sean Ryan.


Next Meeting
Our next club meeting will take place on Monday evening, September 15, 2014 in Chez Clément, 9 place Saint André des Arts, 75006 Paris

Meeting on May 19, 2014 at Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Sean Ryan, Vice President, Membership


Antonio Meza, Club President, welcomed members and guests to our meeting. He began by congratulating two of our members who took part in the District 59 International Speech and Evaluation Contests in Krakow, Poland the previous weekend.

Bob Mohl came second in the final of the Evaluation Contest and was also a finalist in the International Speech Contest. Meanwhile, Carol Bausor won the French Evaluation Contest. She also took part in the first round of the French Speech Contest and the International Contest.

“A big congratulations to you both,” said Antonio, “we are proud that you are members of our club.”

He called upon Rose Marie Burke to the lectern to be the Toastmaster of the Evening. One of her roles is to decide on the theme of the evening. A couple of weeks ago, when it was raining a lot, her mind started wandering and reflecting. Suddenly she had an idea. The theme could be daydreaming.

Toast of the Evening
In his toast, Mark Finneran said that daydreaming was important. Even the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell because he was daydreaming of how to improve the telegraph. “Live in the present moment and be attentive to your surrounding environment,” he urged, “but let yourself daydream and your mind to wander.”

Word of the Evening
Elisabeth Dancet chose ‘Serendipity’ as the word of the evening. The word means making fortunate discoveries, valuable or pleasant things by accident.

Prepared Speeches
Karolin Kruger was doing a speech project #6 Vocal Variety from the Competent Communication Manual.  She spoke about how her fiancé recently proposed to her in Parc Monceau surrounded by their friends. Using her voice she expressed the shock, surprise, joy and excitement of the most important event in her life.

When asked by an editor of an exclusive subscription based travel magazine to write about Paris Heli Aru found the experience very challenging. In her speech entitled ‘Searching for the right words about Paris’ (project number four How to Say It in the Competent Communication Manual) Heli said that she didn’t identify with the many features of Paris that visitors experienced such as high fashion, perfume, museums or even wine. Her Parisian delights were much more private such as eating the meals cooked by the mother of her boyfriend, playing chess with strangers or sitting in cafés with a live music concert.


In the end she decided that Paris was a photographer’s heaven so she sent some text and her own photographs to the editor. However, the editor had a better idea to have Heli’s article and photographs of a famous village in her own native Estonia.

Benoit Sarazin lived for seven years in Silicon Valley in the bay area of San Francisco during the 1990s. In his speech using Prezi he shared with us his experiences of working for HP and what it was like to live and work in now familiar places of Palo Alto and Cupertino plus the many different technology companies that have emerged since that time: Sun Microsystems, Apple, Google, LinkedIn, eBay, Cisco, Yahoo. When he analyzed these successful companies on how they were able to succeed he came to two main conclusions: they were open to ideas and they liked to have fun plus they just did it.

Table Topics
Jean Delaunay led a session on impromptu speaking and asked a series of questions:


  • Antoino Meza said that the favourite quality in a woman is her smile.
  • Bob Mohl said that his favourite hero in fiction was Don Quixote who spent a lot of time daydreaming and tilting of windmills.
  • Elisabeth Dancet said that her favourite qualities in a man were communication, openness to other people and lack of ego.
  • Our visiting Toastmaster from Toronto Shu Liang said that her idea of happiness is something that she likes to smell and to do what she really enjoys doing particularly Toastmasters.
  • For Rose Marie Burke her idea of misery was two weeks previously when she thought the Paris winter would never end.


Speech Evaluations
Bob Mohl complimented Karolin on a wonderful speech with a good story that was suitable for vocal variety. He recommended that she could have used a different voice and accent for her fiancé and that she could use more eye contact with the audience.

In his evaluation Antonio Meza spoke about how the audience could identify with Heli’s situation of trying to write about Paris. He suggested that she had opportunities to make her different points more humourous and that she should practice more in advance particularly on some word pronunciation and having a more definite conclusion.

As an experienced public speaker and consultant Benoit is used to using visuals aids so Elizabeth Dancet focused on what he could improve. She gave a few ideas including zooming in on specific examples of meeting people who had ideas and which turned into successful products or services. In addition, when using Prezi, Benoit could use more images. And last, assume that things will go wrong so come early to ensure that the technology setup is done in advance so there is no long void of time before giving the speech.

General Evaluation

Shu Liang focused her evaluation on each of the meeting roles and said how much she enjoyed the evening and could bring home many new ideas.

Ribbon Winners
Our winners on the evening were:
Best Table Topics: Shu Liang
Best Evaluator: Bob Mohl
Best Speaker: Benoit Sarazin


Concluding Remarks
The Club President Antonio Meza thanked everyone for such an enjoyable evening and especially the Toastmaster of the Evening Rose Marie Burke. He complimented her on her improvisation skills learned from her time doing radio shows at university. These came in very useful as she had to fill a void of nine minutes as the technology was being set up for a speech. She shared some personal experiences of daydreaming which was the theme of the evening. 


It is a valuable lesson for all TMEs so that we are ready to deal with unexpected situations during a meeting and to be able to improvise!

Next Meeting
Our next club meeting will take place on Monday evening, June 2, 2014 in Chez Clément, 9 place Saint André des Arts, 75006 Paris.


Meeting on May 5, 2014 at Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Sean Ryan, Vice President, Membership


Club President Antonio Meza welcomed everyone to the evening and he explained the choice of the theme of the evening : Cinco de Mayo. It commemorates the 1862 Mexican Republican’s win over Napoleon III’s army in Puebla. It is an important holiday in the US among Mexicans but is little celebrated in Mexico itself.

Benoit Sarazin was the Toastmaster of the Evening and he hoped that everyone would be able to fight the fear of public speaking during the evening.

Joke of the Evening by Peter Kenton
“In the United States there was a new young Indian chief who was not sure of himself. It was getting cold so he advised his tribe to go and collect more firewood and to keep it under the teepee.  He called the US meteorological service to check on the weather forecast. They told him that it would get colder. He then asked his tribe to gather even more firewood. He again called the weather service who told him that their studies showed that it would get even colder. For the third time the chief asked his tribe to collect more firewood which filled their teepees. He then called the weather service a third time. They told him that the forecast was for a very cold winter as they had never seen so much firewood being collected by Indians in that area of the country!”

Word of the Evening
David Logan introduced the word of the evening: Gumption. He began by saying that Napoleon Bonaparte had it; Queen Victoria had it; and Forest Gump had it. Gumption means having guts, spank, will, determination, being dynamic and having a sense of purpose.

Speech Tip
In his speech tip Bob Mohl gave advice on how to reduce stress before speaking:

  1. Do it often. Speak more and more.
  2. Prepare and rehearse so that you are more comfortable.
  3. Visit the room and see the stage so that you are more familiar with both before you give your speech.
  4. Picture your speech in your mind.
  5. Do some breathing exercises such as breathing deeply and relax so that you are consciously more calm.
  6. Let yourself enjoy the moment.

Prepared Speeches
We had three prepared speeches by members of the club.

New member Mark Finneran gave his first speech in the club: the Ice Breaker. His objectives were to speak before an audience; use existing speaking skills; and introduce himself to fellow club members.

In his speech entitled ‘Who am I and why am I here?’ Mark said that he grew up in Ohio from third generation Americans but moved to France 25 years ago in search of adventure and new challenges. After many years as an English teacher he joined a company to become the University Manager where he develops training programs for clients and consultants. He gave a few pieces of advice based on his experiences: to have an interesting life it is necessary to take risks and be empathetic to the needs of others.

Marc Yoshikawa is a very experienced Toastmaster having been a member of a number of clubs in Japan and is now based in Paris where he is a member of three clubs. He came second in the District 59 Humorous Speech Contest in Budapest, November 2013.

His speech ‘Persistence Pays Off’ focused on using his body movements. He spoke movingly about getting medical treatment for his mother in Tokyo. After an initial false diagnosis from a doctor he had to get not only a second opinion but a third opinion. The third diagnosis saved his mother’s life. Based on this experience Marc said that we need to have gumption (intelligence, determination and courage) to protect loved ones.

The third speaker Elisabeth Dancet was giving a speech from the advanced Storytelling Manual. The objective of ‘Bringing History to Life’ is to use storytelling skills developed in previous projects to tell a story about an historical event or person. Elisabeth told the story of Louise Michel, the Red She-wolf, who was a teacher, anarchist, feminist and leader of the Paris Commune in 1870 – 1871. She was deported to French New Caledonia but returned in 1880 after an amnesty and she died in 1905. Her funeral was the second largest at the time after Victor Hugo. Today, there is a metro station in Levallois-Perrot named after Louise Michel.  
Table Topics
In keeping with interesting and lesser known holidays in May Rose Marie Burke led the Table Topics part of the meeting. She mentioned that May 2 was Scurvy Awareness Day. May 5 is also Wash Your Hands Day. She asked a number of people to pick a card and to give their thoughts.

Longy Agoha on May 16: Love a Tree Day
Ash Brown on May 18: No Dirty Dishes Day
Carol Bausor on May 30: Water a Flower Day
Karen Frey on May 25: Move a Bit More Day

Speech Evaluations
We then had the evaluations of the three prepared speakers.
Sean Ryan, in his evaluation, complimented Mark on his preparation, using no notes, facial expressions, humor, body movements and interaction with the audience. He recommended that Mark give equal weight to the two themes announced at the beginning of his speech. Also, that when he couldn’t remember particular points just take a pause until the idea comes back.

Karolin Kruger said in her evaluation of Marc’s speech that she liked his story of the crisis in his family and that he used the word of the evening, gumption, very well. The speech project was ‘Your Body Speaks’ and she recommended that he use more facial expressions and move around the stage.

Nicolas Stricher praised Elisabeth for capturing his attention from the beginning of her speech. He found it to be very powerful; had strong articulation of words; had many climaxes; and there was a strong conclusion. For improvement he recommended that Elisabeth had slower climaxes of important moments so that they would be even more powerful and impactful.

General Evaluation
Jean Delaunay gave the general evaluation pointing out what he thought went well and what could have been better.

Ribbon Winners
The winners of the ribbons were:
Best Table Topics: Ash Brown
Best Evaluation: Sean Ryan
Best Speaker: Elisabeth Dancet

Concluding Remarks
The Club President Antonio Meza gave two announcements. The District 59 Conference was taken place on May 16 and 17 in Krakow, Poland. Two of our members would be taking part : Bob Mohl in the English Evaluation Contest and Carol Bausor for the English International Speech, French Speech and French Evaluation.

The fifth Italian National Toastmasters Conference would be taking place on June 28 to 29 in Rome. One of the workshops would be given by Carol Bausor.

Next Meeting
Our next club meeting will take place on Monday evening, May 19, 2014 in Chez Clément, 9 place Saint André des Arts, 75006 Paris.


Meeting on April 21, 2014 in Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Sean Ryan, Vice President, Membership

The Club President, Antonio Meza, welcomed members and guests to the meeting which was held on Easter Monday.

He began by asking each guest to say where they were from and why they were at the meeting. We had a very diverse range of guests from India (via the United Arab Emirates), Hungary, an American from outside Paris, a Spaniard from Barcelona, a Ukrainian via North Africa and a member of the TM75 Club.

Antonio introduced the Toastmaster of the Evening who happened to be himself! The theme of the evening was to be Easter. He gave out the awards to the winners of the Evaluation Contest which was held two weeks previously on April 7:

  • Elisabeth Dancet (third prize)
  • Antonio Meza (second prize)
  • Bob Mohl (first prize)

Antonio and Elisabeth went on to take part in the Area 2 Evaluation Contest on April 12 (as Bob was already representing Toastmasters of Paris).

Visiting Toastmaster from TM75, Amir Toly, gave a joke which he had heard at one of the club’s meetings. “This guy was previously married to a woman. He rubbed on a lamp and a genie appeared. The genie said that he would grant three wishes but would be double for the man’s wife. The man wished for a house and he ex-wife got two. The man then wished for US$1 million and his ex-wife got US$2 million. So, the man asked for this third wish for the genie to scare him half to death!”

Heli Aru provided the Word of the Evening. As the topic of the evening was Easter or new beginnings, hope, promises the word was to be auspicious.

The Speech Tip of the Evening was giving by Elisabeth Dancet. She advised everyone that when we prepare our speeches that we should first think of the end. We should think of message that we want to leave with the audience and that we have a call to action.

Prepared Speeches
Rose Marie Burke in her speech entitled ‘The Fastest, Most Efficient Workout Ever’ demonstrated not only her research capabilities (as this was the speech project Research Your Topic from the Competent Communication Manual) but also her physical fitness. She explained that in just seven minutes with 12 exercises that significant fitness can be attained. She presented various results of her research to prove that it does work.

After receiving the Competent Communication Award Sean Ryan is now embarking on the advanced communication speeches beginning with the Public Relations Manual. His Goodwill Speech ‘Speaking with Impact’ he introduced the audience to public speaking and some techniques that can be used. The purpose of the speech was to promote the benefits of joining a public speaking club to gain these skills. Indeed, his speech was so well received that many of the guests spoke to him after the meeting to learn about Toastmasters.

The third prepared speech was Bob Mohl who used the opportunity to practice his competition speech ‘The other side of trust’ which he would give at the Division N International Speech Contest on April 26. He told the story of how some misunderstandings and the making of assumptions has led to a severe lack of trust in some personal relationships.

Table Topics
As the theme was Easter Fabien Nieber called upon a number of those present to tell us what type of egg could be brought by the Easter Bunny:

  • David Logan would be the golden Easter egg
  • Antonio Meza saw his inspiration in Willy Wonka and in particular ice cream eggs
  • Heli Aru used her native Estonia to mention having colored Easter eggs and being a chicken
  • Naim Drid illustrated new beginnings by having an animal from the Sahara desert

Speech Evaluations
Antonio complemented Rose on her speech, her research and the progress that she has made from her first speech. He suggested that she specifies what is in it for each member of the audience and to use more personal stories.

In his evaluation Jean Delaunay highlighted the positive aspects of Sean’s speech and in particular how to overcome the fear of public speaking and of being an introvert.

David found that Bob’s speech was balanced, well developed and well-acted.  He recommended that Bob had more eye contact with different members of the audience, have different voices for each character and to be more engaged.

General Evaluation
Elisabeth Dancet led the general evaluation discussion which concluded that:

  • Let the audience know when there are changes in who is doing a meeting role
  • Speak with a stronger voice when there is noise
  • Use short questions for the Table Topics

Ribbon Winners
We had an unusual situation as we had ties for both the Best Table Topics and the Best Speaker:
Best Table Topics: David Logan and Antonio Meza
Best Speakers: Sean Ryan and Bob Mohl
Best Evaluator: Not given due to two time disqualifications


Next Meeting
Our next club meeting will take place at Chez Clément, 9 place Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris on Monday, May 5, 2014.


Club Contest on March 17, 2014 at Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Antonio Meza, President


On March 17 we celebrated our annual Spring Club Speech Contest. We had a full house with guest from different clubs attending and supporting with different roles. Our VP of Education Nicolas Stricher worked hard on the organisation, although he couldn’t join on the evening. Marc Yoshikawa did an elegant job as Contest Master and Karolin Frizzi-Krüger was the Chief Judge for the first time. Congratulations and thanks to all of them.


Congratulations to all the contestants! They were, in speaking order:

  • Antonio Meza - 2nd prize
  • Carol Bausor - 1st prize
  • David Logan
  • Benoît Sarazin
  • Peter Kenton
  • Bob Mohl – 3rd prize

Two speakers from our club have the right to advance to the next step in the Toastmasters International Speech Contest. Carol and Bob have decided to represent other clubs so Antonio and Peter will represent Paris Speech Masters at the Area Contest on April 12. We hope that you will go and support them!


Next Meeting - Evaluation Contest

We hope to see you in our next session on April 7 for our Spring Evaluation Contest. For this particular evening we will have a different venue:


Restaurant Les Noces de Jeanette (on the corner of 14, rue Favart and 9, rue d’Ambroise)

75002 Paris.


The cover will be 27€ and it includes an apéritif, entrée, main course, dessert and wine. We look forward to seeing you there!


Meeting on March 3, 2014 in Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Antonio Meza, General Evaluator

Sean Ryan was our Toastmaster of the Evening with the theme of Mardi Gras, the "Fat Tuesday". Twenty-two people attended the session with 13 members, guests and VIP guests: Danaë Margerit (Area N2 Governor who is based in Toulouse) and Colleen Shaughnessy-Larsson (Assistant Division N Governor Education & Training and Immediate Past President of the TM75 club in Paris).


Jean Delaunay, our Wordmaster of the Evening proposed the word of the day "recondite" which means "incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge". 


Even if we still need to improve coordination with the restaurant, everybody helped to make the evening as smooth as possible. Thanks for your participation!


Peter Kenton amused us with his joke. "Madame, we are afraid to report that we have confused your husband's medical analysis and we don't know if he has HIV or Alzheimer's. So we suggest that you drive with him and leave him in a place far from home. If he comes back, then don't sleep with him!”


Jill Jacquot participated remotely with the speech tip of the day. She sent her speech tip and Antonio Meza presented it. Try to avoid the use of superlatives like always, never, get rid of, absolutely, ever... Instead, Jill proposes to soften the use of superlatives by using conditionals such as ‘I believe’, ‘in my opinion’, or ‘some times’.


Prepared Speeches
June Allen delivered her Icebreaker entitled Speechless. She shared with us her path as a visual artist, how did she got there, what has she been doing and what is doing now.
Heli Aru offered a speech that she will use in her professional life to describe the education policies in Estonia: ‘The challenges of making change happen’.


David Logan offered a tale charged with wisdom: "The great commander and the little slave girl".


As usual, we had great evaluations!

Rose Marie Burke evaluated June's speech in a kind and paused manner in a very connected way with the speaker and with the audience.


Benoît Sarazin evaluated Heli's speech with very concrete suggestions on what to do better next time.


Carol Bausor showed us again that an evaluation is also an opportunity to craft a speech within the universe of the evaluated speaker. She offered the whole group a gift with her style and pertinent feedback.


Table Topics
Our Table Topics Master Marc Yoshikawa prepared themes related to the evening's topic of Mardi Gras.
Anna Mandel spoke about the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.


Fabien Nieber chose the color gold of power over purple and green.


Colleen Shaughnessy-Larsson remembered the austerity of Ash Wednesday and the joys of the carnival.


Ribbon Winners
And the winners of the evening were:
Best Table Topic: Fabian Nieber and Colleen Shaughnessy-Larsson
Best Evaluator: Carol Bausor
Best Speaker: David Logan


Next Meeting

We hope to see you in our next session on March 17 for our spring speech contests: International Speech Contest and Evaluation Contest at Chez Clément, 9, place St André des Arts, 75006 Paris.





Meeting on February 17, 2014 in Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Antonio Meza, President

We had a lovely evening with the subject of improvisation!

Our TME Marc Yoshikawa improvised smoothly through the evening leading us on a night of discovery and surprises.

Jean Delaunay, improvised an impressive word of the day “in the gloaming” which means the twilight, sunrise or dusk.


Bob Mohl offered the speech of the day in three points: when you are a speaker do not act out, be yourself, and relive the content of your speech.

Prepared Speeches
We had three excellent prepared speeches.
Albena Gadjanova improvised with her computer to get acquainted with visual aids, and she told us how having the right partnerships and enough passion you can setup a business that gets you all the way to sunbathing.

With a ribbon winning speech, Sean Ryan told us the story of how he went from being a caterpillar (introvert) to a butterfly (extrovert) with the help of Toastmasters during the past year.

And Antonio Meza offered a speech on How to become Mexican in five simple steps combining, Mariachi Music meditation, believing in « tomorrow », take it easy, make a difference, and adopting the spirit of « fiesta ».

Table Topics
Peter Kenton improvised the table topic sessions by bringing elements of his kitchen that had very suggestive forms. He asked our speakers to imagine the specific use of each element which were not obvious.

Heli Aru evaluated the speech of Albena with precision and giving us a demonstration of how many elements one can find in a speech to make it even better.

David Logan evaluated Sean’s speech with his usual powerful voice, admiration and imaginative suggestions.

And Bob Mohl evaluated Antonio’s speech making emphasis on the importance to follow the projects guidelines and reminding us of the power of jokes "after the speech".

Ribbon Winners
Best Table Topics: Mark Finneran
Best Evaluator: Bob Mohl
Best Speaker: Sean Ryan


Guest Comments
Here are some comments from the guests who attended the meeting:
“Really enjoyed the meeting especially evaluations.”
“Had a great time. Very casual and (the club) is a home for everyone.”
“Interesting and inspiring.”
“Glad to be here. Can be imaginative and creative.”
“Enjoyable evening. Evaluations were of good quality.”
“Here on holidays from a Toastmasters in Togo and wanted to visit this club.”

We are a couple of sessions from the club contest and we will have at least seven who want to participate. It is going to be great!

Next Meeting
Our next club meeting will be on March 3, 2014 and will take place at Chez Clément, 9, rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris.


Meeting on February 3, 2014 at Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Sean Ryan, General Evaluator

The President Antonio Meza opened the meeting and welcomed everyone to our new venue, Chez Clément. Discussions have been had with the management to have a formula that comes to a maximum of 20 euros. He then invited guests to tell us why they decided to come to this evening’s meeting.

Jean Delaunay, Toastmaster of the Evening, introduced the theme of the evening: Chinese New Year or the Year of the Horse. Jean began with a joke. A Chinese man was walking down a London street with his English friend. “See all those flags it makes me proud of my country,” he said. “But you are Chinese,” his friend replied, “the flags are British”. The Chinese friend then said: “But take a look at the labels that say Made in China.”

Albena Gadjanova gave her joke of the evening: “The famous filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock was in his kitchen where his wife was preparing a cheese soufflé. She put the cheese soufflé in an oven and Hitchcock couldn’t see what was going on inside. He was very worried and often asked his wife, “What is going on there? I cannot see anything.” He whispered as he was afraid that if he spoke too loudly then something wrong might happen. Fourty-five minutes late his wife opened door of the oven. She took out a perfect cheese soufflé. By this time Hitchcock was exhausted and could hardly breathe. “Listen, my dear, next time when you are going to bake another cheese soufflé please have a glass door on the oven. I cannot support the suspense!”

David Logan noted that the theme of the evening Chinese New Year and Year of the Horse was quite a challenge. He proposed “bridle” as the word of the evening. The word means to restrain and to guide in different situations.


In her Speech Tip of the Evening Carol Bausor, Assistant VP Education for leadership, explained the importance of the leadership stream and that is runs in parallel to the communications stream and not afterwards. She reminded all members that they should bring the manual to each meeting so that they can get it signed for the role that they do during the meeting.


Prepared Speeches
New member Longy Agoha gave his first speech at Paris Speech Masters but the fourth one of the Competent Communication Manual: How to Say It. In his speech “How I Wish” he spoke about growing up in his home country when he won a class competition to recite a poem at his primary school. He had no Toastmasters at that time when he had a mental blank and forgot to recite the words in front of the whole school assembly.

In his fifth speech of the Competent Communication Manual Ed Cameron used his body movements to explain the rules of cricket. Hailing from Australia where cricket is a national sport Ed was able to go through all the basis of the sport while at the same time demonstrating the different moves of the various players.

Carol Bausor, in the first project in the manual Interpretative Reading read us a story about a dinner party that she was at with friends in England. An outlandish betting game ensued between the host and one of the guests about what type of wine was being served.


Table Topics
Karolin Krüger led the Table Topics part of the meeting focusing on the theme of the evening. She had asked each speaker what their year of birth was so as to determine which animal they could speak about:
Fabian (guest): Monkey
Albena (member): Pig
Mark (guest): Ox
Bob (member): Horse


Benoît Sarazin evaluated Longy Agoha’s speech. He complimented Longy on his personal story. There were pauses, gestures and suspense. The stage was used effectively. Benoît said that for improvements that Longy could remove duplications. Second, the introduction could have been shortened and the audience more involved. Emphasize the number of people who were in the school assembly waiting to hear Longy recite his poem.

Marc Yoshikawa evaluated Ed Cameron’s speech. He said that the project objectives were achieved. It must have been a biggest challenge to explain cricket in such short time. Ed was very natural in his movements and used eye contact. Marc made two suggestions for improvement. He was time constrained but could have used some pauses to enable the audience to take in what Ed said. And, a second point for Ed to use some personal stories and how Ed enjoyed playing cricket.


In his evaluation of Carol Bausor’s interpretative reading Bob Mohl gave the following evaluation. He thought that the story was fantastic and a good choice. He was completely engaged and that Carol had done a good job in engaging the audience. He said that she could choose wisely to do the reading in less time and use more voices differently.

Sean Ryan began his general evaluation by saying xie xie (thank you) and ni hao (hello). He used two elements of China to structure his evaluation: myths and characters.

Our Toastmaster myths:
Our meetings should start on time
We should be energetic during our meetings
We need to bring our leadership manuals to meetings
We tell stories in our meetings


Characters (people not written characters):
We had the Hitchcock joke of the evening
We had animal characters: horse, monkey, ox, pig
We also had meeting roles for Timekeeper, Word of the Evening
In his final remarks Sean said Kung hei fat choy (Happy New Year in Chinese)


Ribbon Awards
Best Table Topics: Fabian Nieber
Best Evaluator: Bob Mohl
Best Speaker: Ed Cameron


Next Meeting
Our next club meeting will be on February 17, 2014 and will take place at Chez Clément, 9, rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris.


Meeting on January 20, 2014 at Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Nicolas Stricher, General Evaluator

Our President, Antonio Meza, welcomed two new members to the club: Longy Agoha and Albena Gadjanova (Efremova).

Longy used to be a member of Toastmasters of Paris but he finds that because Paris Speech Masters finishes earlier in the evening he can travel home to Chartres at a reasonable time. Albena is also an experienced Toastmaster and was previously a member of the OECD club.


Our Toastmaster of the Evening, Bob Mohl, introduced the theme “Emotions” which he chose based on the prepared speeches of the evening. Throughout the meeting he took the time to explain each role.

Wordmaster June Allen introduced the word of the day “Fervid” which is an adjective meaning intensely enthusiastic or passionate, especially to an excessive degree. It also means hot, burning or glowing. The word stems from the Latin fervidus, from fervere ‘to boil’. The word was said by many members and guests throughout the evening.

VP for Education Nicolas Stricher gave an educational tip on the benefits of using examples in speeches, evaluations and in a professional environment.
Once we had our drinks Peter Kenton gave a Toast and a very creative joke.

Prepared Speeches
Karolin Krüger delivered a speech based on project 5 in the Competent Communication Manual: “Your body speaks”. Entitled “Stereotypes help us understand cultural differences” she talked about her favourite cultural dimensions based on the book of Geert Hofstede, Cultures and Organisations – Software of the Mind. She illustrated the dimension of collectivism versus individualism with the example of her first meeting of a large Indian family during a recent trip to India. She used the centralization in France to show the high degree of Power Distance of the French culture. And finally, Karolin shared her enthusiasm for the concept of the cultural relativism that creates a judgment-free space.


Karolin’s speech was evaluated by Peter Kenton.

Jean Delaunay’s speech “Unrequired Love” was based on the Storytelling advanced manual project 4: “The touching story”. He gave a story of a young man, shy and clumsy, whose first experience of real love remains unrequited. After feverishly courting a fine young woman, she tells him that she has a fiancé.

He was evaluated by Antonio Meza.

In her speech “Sam and Uncle Jack” Elisabeth Dancet was also doing speech number 4, “The touching story” from the Storytelling advanced manual. She recounted the relationship between her unclde and dog Sam. Her uncle was a child when he got Sam as a puppy. The story happened during the war when Sam actually saved her uncle’s life. The bond grew even stronger and lasted until Sam’s death.


She was evaluated by Marc Yoshikawa.


We then had a short dinner break.

Table Topics
David Logan was the Table Topics Master and used the theme of the evening asking members and guests about emotions.

  • Longy (member) talked about Love
  • Albena (member) about Joy
  • Anna (guest) about Anger
  • Karim (guest) about Hate
  • Cyrille (guest) about Fear
  • Antonio (member) about Embarrassment


We then had a second dinner break.

June Allen provided interesting grammarian feedback as she is an English teacher. Anna Mandell, a guest from Toastmasters in Boston, provided the timer report. Nicolas Stricher provided the General Evaluation report and asked the audience for suggestions on how we can make the best use of this new venue.


Ribbon Awards

  • Best evaluation: Peter Kenton
  • Best table topics: Anna Mandell
  • Best speaker: Elisabeth Dancet


Next Meeting

Our next club meeting will be on February 3, 2014 and will take place at Chez Clément, 9, rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris.


Meeting on January 6, 2014 at Chez Clément (St Michel)

By Bob Mohl, General Evaluator


Our first meeting of 2014 and our first time at Chez Clément! We had a great way to start the New Year in a warm and cozy room upstairs just off the fountain of St Michel. We all enjoyed a three-course dinner with wine and coffee. The Theme of the Evening was, “This year will be the first time I...”


Our elegant and distinguished president, Antonio Meza, opened the meeting welcoming our ten guests to introduce themselves: Milie (a visiting Toastmaster from Vancouver), Karine (sister of Milie), Sue (a Toastmaster of the OECD club), Longy, and Marc and Pierre (sons supporting their father Benoît Sarazin who was giving a speech).


Toastmaster of the Evening, Carol Bausor led the meeting with her masterful panache. She announced a number of first time achievements some members were looking forward to in 2014:

Competent Communicator

Travel to Prague
Client surveys
Trying out his new digital camera


Matching names to the experiences is an exercise left to the reader:

Longy stepped up without a moment's notice in David Logan's absence to give the Toast of the Evening to a wonderful year ahead.


Our ever so perspicacious Wordmaster Marc Yoshikawa showed impressive perspicacity in offering the Word of the Evening. Were you equally perspicacious, dear reader, using your ability to understand quickly, to guess the word of the evening? “That's right,” as Marc says, it was Perspicacity.


Here's a joke for the blog in keeping with the Theme of the Evening:
A sale representative stops at a small manufacturing plant in the Midwest. He presents a box of cigars to the manager as a gift. "No, thanks," says the plant manager. "I tried smoking a cigar once and I didn't like it."


The sales rep shows his display case and then, hoping to clinch a sale, offers to take the manger out for martinis. "No, thanks," the plant manager replies, "I tried alcohol once, but didn't like it."


Then the salesman glances out the officer window and sees a golf course. "I suppose you play golf," says the salesman. "I'd like to invite you to be a guest at my club."


"No, thanks," the manager says. "I played golf once, but I didn't like it." Just then a young man enters the office. "Let me introduce my son, Bill," says the plant manager.


"Let me guess," the salesman replies. "An only child?" 


Speech Tip (from Ed Tate via Antonio)
The first step when you start a speech is to break the preoccupation of the audience. They are not all tuned in to you yet. Some are checking their smart phones, some are looking at the schedule, some are thinking about lunch, etc. Before anything else, Break Preoccupation with something that gets everyone's attention.


For an example, see Rose Marie Burke's prepared speech below. Just as she was beginning to speak, she suddenly realized she'd misplaced her notes and went through a frantic moment searching and “cursing.” She captured everyone's concern and empathy... until we realized this little drama was performed to introduce her subject: cursing.


Once you have the audience's attention, the second step is to Frame the Message, ie. let the audience know where you're going with your speech, so they don't get distracted wondering what you'll be talking about.


Prepared Speeches

In her project number 6 “Vocal Variety” Rose Marie Burke illustrated her speech with various ways of saying some swear words. She shared three tips on when using swear words in polite society. First, spell the word and even whisper it e.g. s-word, f-word or F U. Second, say the word bleep e.g. I cannot bleeping believe it! Third, use euphemisms or near swear words such as darn it. There are also a lot of synonyms like dog gone, confounded, dumb it.  


Benoît Sarazin posed the question, “Why do established companies fail at innovating?” He took the example of Nokia which has been extremely innovative with many diversified businesses. When launched the Nokia mobile phone was seen as very innovative but when Apple launched its iPhone in 2007 Nokia rapidly lost market share. The mobile phone business was sold to Microsoft. To succeed a small company needs to be innovative but a large company has to be disciplined.


Using a projector to illustrate his speech with visual aids Sean Ryan said that despite the proliferation of new ways of communicating – emails, text messages, mobile phones and social media – the overall quality of writing has decreased. People are not paying attention to what they are writing. This can be extremely damaging as the credibility of companies and professionals are at stake. He gave a number of tips to take into account when writing various communications.


Table Topics

Karolin Krüger, our resolute Table Topics Master, provided each victim with a new resolution for the New Year.


The book Sue resolved to write was a murder mystery in a Toastmasters setting, to be finished in 2014 and self-published if necessary.


Marc S' world tour took him to Papua New Guinea with a whole Toastmasters division to learn a new language.


Longy's new musical instrument to learn was the guitar, which he chose because he could do it on his own. He liked being alone and entertaining people. (Hey, it's Table Topics!)


Pierre resolved to learn a new language to add to the three he already knows. Languages four, five and six would come from the eight on Papua New Guinea.


For a new career Cyrille chose to become an artist, combining photos and media.


Elisabeth Dancet evaluated Rose's speech, demonstrating by example how to increase vocal variety (having the unfair advantage of the French accent which stresses every other word. Syllable? Letter?).


Nicolas Stricher evaluated Benoit's speech giving three favorable points and three suggestions for improvement. It was great to see one non-native English speaker correcting the pronunciation of another non-native speaker.


And finally, Jean Delaunay evaluated Sean, commending him for using PowerPoint but recommended more legible slides.


Ribbon Winners
Best Table Topics: Sue Kendall-Bilicki
Best Speaker: Benoît Sarazin
Best Evaluator: Elisabeth Dancet


Next Meeting

Our next club meeting will be on January 20, 2014 and will take place at Chez Clément, 9, rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris.


Your Turn
Please make this blog interactive by adding your own comments below!


Meeting on December 16, 2013 at Café du Pont Neuf

By Sean Ryan, Wordmaster of the Meeting

Our Club President Antonio Meza welcomed members and guests to the club’s Christmas Party held in a new location at Café du Pont Neuf beside the art deco Samaritaine building and overlooking the river Seine.

The theme of the evening was very fitting for the season. As members donned festive red and green hats our Christmas evening was introduced by Toastmaster of the Evening David Logan, resplendent in his green Ghanaian formal outfit.

Wordmaster Sean Ryan explained his role as combining grammarian, stumble catcher and providing the word of the evening, Merrier or Merry. Peter Kenton asked everyone to raise their glasses in a toast to Christmas. He also said the following joke:

“A man walked into his bank and asked to borrow $5,000 as he wanted to go on a vacation to Tahiti. On checking that the client was, in fact, a billionaire the bank agreed to the loan but asked for collateral as security. The man handed over the keys to his $250,000 Ferrari which was then put into the bank’s underground car park. On his return the man paid back his loan plus interest of $23.07. Curious to know why he asked for a loan when he could clearly afford it, the man replied that it was well worth it. ‘Where in New York can you get car parking for $23.07?’”

In his speech tip of the evening Bob Mohl gave a number of ideas of how to interact with the audience. He cited three: ask questions followed by pause particularly who, what, where, and how; test to see if they are awake; and get them to do an energizer.

David introduced another innovation for the club: Speech Masters Christmas Bingo. Everyone received a card at the beginning of the meeting and whoever had heard and crossed out 15 words shouting out Bingo they would win a present.

Prepared Speeches

Even though he is an advanced Toastmaster and came second in the District 59 Humorous Speech Contest in Budapest, Marc Yoshikawa shared with us some insights about himself in his Ice Breaker speech. We learned about his life growing up in Tokyo, Japan and his love of city centres, cats, cars, Christian education, concerts, culture, and learning communications skills among convivial people.

Heli Aru shared with us about how her fellow Estonians celebrate Christmas or Jöulud. Traditional foods such as pork, meat jelly, potatoes, sauerkraut together with vodka and beer are consumed. Before receiving their present children must sing a song, recite poetry or do another performance. Candles are lit for relatives and there are visits to cemeteries. Heli ended her speech with a very apt remark, “Merry Christmas is what others do for you, while a Happy New Year depends on what you do for others!”

Nicolas Stricher’s life had a dramatic change three months ago. During a phonecall he learned that his international role at his company was being eliminated. He recounted that after 12 years with the company he took the opportunity to move on with his career by accepting a leaving package. While it was a very difficult situation Nicolas managed to finish projects and, using his Toastmaster public speaking skills, to give his best toast ever at his company’s Christmas party.

Table Topics

As Christmas was the theme of the evening Table Topics Master Antonio Meza (ably assisted by Mother Christmas Rose Marie Burke)  invited members and guests to pick out a wrapped present and to share their particular memory or story. Amir Toly surprised us all about his youthful smoking of vegetables. Bertrand Hauteclocque shared his childhood memory of living in Germany where Santa Clause was a frightening man. Cyrillle Jerabek spoke about a winter scene in a painting from Pieter Bruegel.

Rose Marie Burke remembers heavy snow and walking to church on Christmas day while Peter Kenton’s snowflake reminds him of skiing on snow and ice in the mountains of Vermont on very cold days.


In her evaluation of Marc’s speech Elisabeth Dancet praised his sharp structure, humour, use of acronymns and his powerful voice that is full of energy.

Karine Nzeutem evaluated Heli’s speech. The topic was appropriate with a good structure and examples of Estonian traditions. In particular she liked the conclusion of the speech.

In his evaluation of Nicolas’ speech Bob Mohl admired the frankness and personal nature of the dramatic situation.

Ribbon Winners

Best Evaluator: Elisabeth Dancet

Table Topics: Rose Marie Burke and Peter Kenton

Best Speaker: Nicolas Stricher


Our TME David Logan concluded the very festive evening by leading us all in singing at the top of our voices “Speech Masters of Paris We Are” with words written by him to the tune of a Christmas carol.

Next Meeting

Our next club meeting on January 6, 2014 will take place at Chez Clément, 9, rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Paris.


Meeting on December 2, 2013 at Café de l'Echelle

By Marc Yoshikawa, General Evaluator of the Meeting

Club President Antonio Meza opened the meeting with welcoming remarks and a delightful smile. He also served as the Toastmaster of the evening with the theme “Closing Cycles”. The toast was made by Bob Mohl and his dynamic and rhythmical joke was electric. The word of the day was “Discombobulated” and presented by Ed Cameron in a combobulated manner. Carol Bausor’s speech tip was to have an easy to follow logical structure and to remember to connect with the ground.

Prepared Speeches
Karolin Krüger’s speech (number 4 How To Say It from the Competent Communication Manual) was titled "Colour Box" and she spoke about her trip to India that full of discoveries and a colourful experience.

In her speech "Learn Forward!" Rose Marie Burke talked about ski lessons. When she followed her husband she found herself skiing smoothly despite years of struggling to ski well. The key was to learn to go forward sometimes without thinking too much.

Visiting from the Côte d’Azur Toastmasters Club was Leo Rocha. He introduced a new way to learn from one another by using the Internet. With his innovative tool called Annotat he described how to get feedback on speeches from other Toastmasters and clubs.

Table Topics
Karine Nzeutem was the Table Topics Master and her chosen topics were in Latin. Bob Mohl (In Vino Veritas) regaled wit and humour about his Latin teacher from high school. Matt Allanby, Toastmaster visiting from Australia, answered his teacher’s story in Paris with dynamic gestures and animated facial expressions. Instead of speaking about Carp Diem Albena Gadjanova spoke about the Russian equivalent kameradi Nikolov when going down memory lane about her maths teacher. She gave a descriptive and dynamic delivery. Ed Cameron gave a lively and vibrant impromptu speech about his love of sports.

In her evaluation Carol Bausor mentioned the importance of determining the speech title. She praised the keenly-crafted draft and fine metaphors. She suggested that the speaker work with a mentor and connect between the stories in the speech.

David Logan commented on Rose’s good body language and well-crafted message centric draft. The suggestions were that the speaker had things in her body or under the skin so try not to make frequent references to the draft, and in delivery, try to be in the moment in order to show us and even take us to the scene.

Elizabeth Dancet’s comments were both analytical and comprehensive. She mentioned the speaker's well prepared video, animated facial expressions and gestures. She also pointed out that for this particular project of Your Body Speaks perhaps it would be even more suitable for another project, number 7 Research Your Topic.

Ribbon Winners
Best Table Topics Speaker: Matt Allanby

Best Evaluator: Carol Bausor

Best Speaker: Rose Marie Burke


Next Meeting

Our Christmas party will be at 19h30 on Monday, December 16, 2013 in Café du Pont Neuf, 14 Quai du Louvre, 75001 Paris.


Meeting on November 18, 2013 at Café de l'Echelle

By Antonio Meza, General Evaluator of the Meeting



In the absence of the Club President Antonio Meza, who was on his way from Charles de Gaulle airport having flown back from Budapest, Vice President for Education Nicolas Stricher opened the meeting.


Nicolas congratulated Marc Yoshikawa for winning second prize in the District 59 Humorous Speech Contest the previous Saturday, November 16 in Budapest.


We were very grateful for Rose Marie Burke for her good job as Toastmaster of the Evening. She proposed Thanksgiving as the theme of the evening and asked some members what they were grateful for.


Here are a couple of examples. David Logan is grateful that his wife didn’t marry him (only) for his looks! Ed Cameron is grateful for oversized quads (that help him run very fast). Jean Delaunay is thankful for “all people who have bestowed on him the treasure of their love and joy” while Karine Nzeutem is grateful that macaroons exist. 


Marc Yoshikawa presented a toast to congratulate the club for being so supportive. He then symbolically presented his award to the club, saying that this award belongs to the club as well. Well done Marc on your great achievement!


The word of the evening was Gratitude.


Prepared Speeches

We had one educational session and two prepared speeches. 


We are grateful to Nicolas Stricher because he offered an educational session about the Toastmasters Distinguished Club Program (DCP). It is great to have a session like this from time to time so that new members and guests get more acquainted with the goals of a club and how we measure our progress. Find out more about the program on the Toastmasters International website.



And then we were transported into Fairytales Land! 

First, with David Logan since he prepared a speech from an advanced manual entitled,  “The Queen and her Uncle”; and then with Jean Delaunay who offered a speech entitled “The King and the Beggar Maid”. 


David is now working on his Advanced Communicator Bronze (ACB) and Jean on his Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS). Well done guys! 


Table Topics

We are also grateful with Ed Cameron for preparing table topics related to the Thanksgiving tradition in the US which is being celebrated on Thursday, November 28. 


Ed called upon many of our guests - Jay Bezavada, Fabian Nieber, Kristin Sax-Jansen, Colleen Fortier and José Nogueira – to give their short impromptu speeches.


Some of our guests might become members soon. We hope that they do!




We had two evaluations. Karine Nzeutem evaluated David’s speech while Kim Demail evaluated Jean’s speech. They both paid close attention to the speakers and offered motivation to continue working on telling great stories. 


Antonio Meza did the general evaluation of the meeting. He spoke about the venue which was quieter this time. He offered a tip to the evaluators Karine and Kim: get into the universe of the speech and use that language to give feedback so that it resonates more with the speaker.


He mentioned how the District Conference in Budapest passed and that we are very proud to have been represented by seven of our members: Marc Yoshikawa, Bob Mohl, Elisabeth Dancet, Antonio Meza, Peter Kenton, Carol Bausor and Sean Ryan. Go Speech Masters! 


Ribbon Winners

Our ribbon winners of the evening were: 

- Best Table Topics: Fabian Nieber

- Best Evaluator: Karine Nzeutem

- Best Speech: Jean Delaunay


As usual, we closed with the comments from our 12 guests, which were very positive. 


Next Meeting

Monday evening, December 2, 2013 at Café de l’Echelle.


Meeting on November 4, 2013 at American University of Paris

By Rose Marie Burke, General Evaluator of the Meeting


Paris Speech Masters Goes Back To School



And what a dramatic night it was for the club, which took place in the Grand Salon of the American University of Paris. President Antonio Meza thanked AUP Director of Career Development Danielle Savage, for organizing the splendid venue. Among our ten guests, he acknowledged the presence of a Toastmasters VIP, our District Governor, Danaë Margerit.


Our Toastmaster of the Evening, Nicolas Stricher, introduced the theme for the meeting, which ironically sounds like his last name: strikes. As he noted, this is the usual time of year for French workers to strike, but at least in Paris (knock on the cobblestones) the streets have been unusually devoid of big demonstrations. David Logan struck up a toast to our host, and we raised our plastic goblets to an excellent year for the American University.


Jean Delauney, delivering the Word of the Day, asked us to go wild in using the word “rambunctious” throughout the evening. (In the end, we were a bit unrambunctious about it, saying the word only six times.)


We all studiously took our seats again as Jill Bates-Jacquot delivered the Speech Tip of the Day. Jill explained three key ways to be a memorable speaker:

1. Deliver it in an attention-getting headline.

2. Repeat the message.

3. Tell a story.


She explained that the third way is perhaps the most powerful because stories fix themselves easily into our brain’s long-term memory. And that must be true, because the evening’s storied speeches were truly memorable.


Prepared Speeches

First, Elisabeth Dancet told us a personal story about the power of intuition in “Follow Your Gut,” a tale of unpaid bills and big windfalls. Second, Sean Ryan dressed up like a cat burglar for “To Catch A Thief,” and had us all admitting that we were a pack of thieves! Third, Antonio Meza in “Get Your Wings,” likened launching into a speech to piloting an airplane, taking your passengers on a voyage of hope and inspiration. This speech was a milestone for Antonio, his tenth speech, earning him his Competent Communicator award and a standing ovation from the club—as is our custom.


Bob Mohl, Ed Cameron, and Benoït Sarazin were the three able evaluators of the evening.


Table Topics

The stories didn’t stop during Table Topics, led by June Allen. Cyrille Jerabek was asked what he would he have written on his protest sign. Danaë Margerit did not at all agree that “lightning strikes twice,” while Jay Bezavada refused to “go on strike.” Karine Neutzem argued that “three strikes and you’re out” can be a good thing, if you are a bowler and not a baseball player. Eiichi Nakazawa, asked to proclaim the “next revolution,” advocated an end to underwear, inspired by his youngster who likes to strip it off in public. Finally, Heli Aru spoke about how to lead a strike.


General Evaluation

Our General Evaluator, Rose Marie Burke, lead a discussion about what exactly made tonight such a special one. At the top of the list were the quality of the speeches and the venue, which offered good practice in using a microphone or in trying to project and articulate. Since the club likes to try out technology, would it consider investing in a lapel mike, which would allow the speaker to use both hands?


Ribbon Winners

Best Table Topics: Karine Neutzem

Best Evaluator: Benoït Sarazin

Best Speaker: Antonio Meza



Our President Antonio Meza invited everyone to congratulate Marc Yoshikawa for winning the District N Humorous Speech Contest which was held the previous Saturday in Luxembourg City and to Bob Mohl for his second place in the Table Topics Contest. He then “struck” the gavel to the podium, and wished us good night.


Next Meeting

November 18 at the Café de l’Echelle, 3, rue Echelle, 75001 Paris


Meeting on October 21, 2013 at Café de l'Echelle

by Carol Bausor, General Evaluator of the Meeting 


A new venue for our meeting tonight …… what’s the effect on our communication, our exchanges, our old habits …… well, after a slightly conflicting understanding of the time when our meal was to be to served …. We got off to a good start.



Our President, Antonio Meza, welcomed our guests (10 of them!) before handing over to our genial Toastmaster of the Evening (TME), Sean Ryan who had chosen “Harvest Time” as our theme for the evening. He explained to us that in Ireland harvests are rather late, leading celebrations to be confused with those of Halloween. But then, the Irish will do anything for a celebration, will they not?


Sean confidently explained the evening’s proceedings, and called on June Allen to tell us a joke or give us a toast (or both). June chose to have us raise our glasses, and bad luck for those who wanted a giggle. Karine Nzeutem invited us to be EXPANSIVE in our use of the word of the evening, and Bob Mohl took the time to explain the Voting Grid used by Judges in the Humourous Speech contest. … and no prizes for guessing why ….


Prepared Speeches 

We were all invited to encourage Marc Yoshikawa who delivered his Area 2 Humourous Contest winning speech “Control Yourself”. We certainly did not control our laughter, and then conscientiously filled in our evaluation grids.


Speaker number 2 was Mr Tall Tales himself: Ed Cameron, whose "California Dreaming" could well have been inspired by... some famous California dream-inducing produce. His most convincing initial narration gradually gave way to a totally off-the-wall and entertaining yarn.


Benoït Sarazin was speaker number three with "Innovation and Sweat". BlackBerries gave way to assorted toilet products, and his objective, Vocal Variety, was …. less obvious than the variety of deodorants we discovered.


Table Topics 

Our Timekeeper, Heli Aru, confirmed that everyone was on time, and we moved on to our vote and to some harvest appropriate Table Topics launched by Jean Delaunay; guest Jay Bezavada and members Bob MohlCarol Bausor and David Logan struggled to wax lyrical about grapes, apples and Gaugin, roses from Kenya, and picking mushrooms in forests with fallen leaves respectively. We had no Dinner Break because ….we had already eaten dinner!



Antonio Meza proposed a new style of evaluation to give helpful feedback to Marc in his Division Contest on Saturday, and everyone seemed to have something to say. My personal favourite was the suggestion to insert a “Yoko? Oh no” joke, but then it was me who made it.


Bob Mohl and Rose Marie Burke did very creditable evaluations. Sean led the voting and Karine counted the number of expansively used words of the evening (not very many) , but did not deign to give us any grammar or stumble catching feedback. “I wondered why I had four minutes ….” she said ….Heli reminded us of our excellent time keeping.


General Evaluator Carol Bausor led a discussion on the merits of the Restaurant at Café de l’Echelle, and suggested that members remember to bring their Leadership manuals.



Our TME handed out some beautiful paper napkins in lieu of ribbons to our winners: Carol for Table Topics and Marc as Best Speaker.


In his conclusion our TME Sean wished everyone a Celtic New Year which begins on November 1.


Our President closed the meeting by leading a resoundingly unanimous vote for Elisabeth Dancent as VP Public Relations (congrats, Elisabeth!), and asking our guests’ opinion of the meeting: they seemed to like it, and we look forward to seeing many of them again (even more if they join …)


Next Meeting 

We enjoyed it, too! Thanks to all and see you in two weeks on November 4 at the American University of Paris.


Best of Luck
And … lots of good vibes to Marc (Humourous Speech Contest) and to Bob (Table Topics Contest) who will represent Area 2 for the Division N conference in Luxembourg on Saturday, October 26.


Meeting on September 9, 2013 at Vesuvio Restaurant

By Cindi and Jack Finlay


We met at Vesuvio on September 9, 2013. There were 29 attendees including 13 guests. Our new President, Antonio Meza, opened the meeting, thanked the Executive Committee for their hard work and announced the Humourous Speech Contest to be held on October 7.

Peter Kenton toasted the traditional “Re-entry in Paris”. David Logan then gave us the “word” of the day, “incongruent”.


For his speech tip, Bob Mohl stressed the importance of eye contact and asked us to raise our arms and establish direct eye contact with him. Antonio then invited Bob to continue as Toastmaster of the Evening.


Prepared Speeches
Antonio Meza, gave his eight speech entitled “Advice from Kirk and Spock”. He used PowerPoint and a projector to explain the process of traditional thinking and how to use one’s brain to make the right decisions.

Rory Wheeler completed his tenth speech from the Basic Manual and is now a CC or Competent Communicator. In his “A Tale of Two Ships”, he told of being forced to leave Zimbabwe, his birthplace, with only two suitcases and starting over in a new country. He concluded that material belongings are far less meaningful than one’s experiences, education and relationships.

In “Let’s Get Personal” David Logan spoke from the advanced manual “Storytelling”. He told us about driving from Accra, Ghana to the frontier at Alubo to attend a business meeting. However, he missed it because the driver got lost in the jungle. The next time David promised to take the plane!

We then voted for the best speech.


Table Topics
Following the prepared speeches Table Topics Master Cindi Finlay entertained us with her “for or against” subjects inviting contestants to draw a card. Peter Kenton was against “Taking a cruise” for fear it would be boring. Also, he’s a lousy swimmer!


“For or against censorship in the movies”, Marc Yoshikawa evoked different periods of his life but finally confessed he’s a free soul and against any type of censorship.  Ed Cameron was against “Buying on the Internet” which cannot be trusted. Some of the worst films he’s seen were bought on the internet.


After some bad experiences with mice and rabbits, Rose Marie Burke was against “Having pets” and Jean Delaunay was against “Living on a boat” due to various dangers and the humidity.

After voting for the best Table Topics contestant, we paused for dinner and then began the next segment, Evaluations.


Elizabeth Dancet evaluated Rory on his tenth speech; Jean evaluated David; and Ed evaluated Antonio.

The other members of the Evaluation Team gave their reports. David as Stumble Catcher and Wordmaster, was followed by Marc, the Timer. After his personal appraisal of the evening, our General Evaluator, Sean Ryan, asked for member and guest reactions. The guests’ comments were very positive.


Ribbon Winners

The winners were then announced:
Table Topics –  Marc Yoshikawa
Best Speech –  Rory Wheeler
Best Evaluator – Elizabeth Dancet


Next Meeting

September 23,  2013 at Vesuvio Restaurant