Contest Season Is Here Again

Leaves are falling, all around me

Toastmaster’s preparing and having fun!

It’s the season of humorously speaking

and table topics contest everyone!

The Humorous Contest and Table Topics Contest at Waverley Communicators are held this upcoming Thursday (14th of September 2017) at the 28 York Place Hotel, Edinburgh.

Here’s the treat for you – a blast from the past – an article written by our DTM Moira Beaton in 2012.

Good luck everyone!


I’ll never forget  my first District Officer training in Stanstead (ah, the high life) when I was Area Governor. One of the District committee said he thought speech contests were a waste of time. I disagreed, and so did most of the other officers – vociferously.

Let’s face it, most of us want to win. Yes, that plays a big part and gives you the motivation to enter and do your best. But, if you speak to past contest winners, they will tell you that entering contests made them better speakers; and winning their club contest and progressing to the next levels catapulted their speaking into a whole new dimension.

But, if you just want to enter for the fun of it and not work too hard, that’s ok, you can do that too.

If, however, you do want to use the contest to improve your skills, you have to prepare.

But, I hear, you can’t prepare for Table Topics. Yes, you can. Here’s how:

1. Listen to experienced Table Topics speakers, not only in your club and other clubs but on Youtube – just search Youtube for ‘Toastmasters Table Topics contest winners.’ Listen closely and find out what draws you in, makes you listen, makes you laugh (if it’s funny).

2. Volunteer for a Table Topic at our club and other clubs you visit.

3. Use the resources at Toastmasters World HQ. Here’s one

4. Read this blog – there are  hints and tips on how to tackle Table Topics

5. If you’re really keen, ask your partner, friend, parent to ambush you with table topics at odd moments of the day and night. Ok, that may be taking it too far, especially if it’s the middle of the night. But, the element of surprise is key.

6. Be prepared – get a copy (from the VPE) of the TT contest judges’ ballot and find out what contestants are judged on and stick to the criteria during the contest.

7. Show DVDs of contestants at the District 71 Table Topics final – the crème de la crème of contestants in our District (UK and Ireland).

The Humorous Speech contest is different. This takes more preparation. Again, you can:

1. Search Youtube for ‘Humorous Speech contest winners’.

2. Read the club blog – there are videos of Humorous Speech contest winners.

3. Tell your mentor you are entering the Humorous Speech contest and enlist their help.

4. Spruce up and practise an old manual speech where the audience laughed and told you it was hilarious. You don’t have to prepare a new speech from scratch.

5. Prepare a new speech – find the humour in a situation and exaggerate it.

6. Laugh at yourself.

7. Practise.

On the night:

1. Prepare to enjoy the contest and have fun – yes, you really can!



We’re going to have the cake and EAT the cake!

We are very pleased to tell you that EAT (Edinburgh Advanced Toastmasters) club has chartered.

Chartering for a new club can be a long and at times daunting process, but thanks to everyone’s effort (the members, sponsoring club, and sponsors) that EAT has chartered.

Not only chartered but have consistently good attendance at meetings which are well-run, productive and enjoyable.” says Moira Beaton, DTM and EAT president. ”Thanks also to Waverley Communicators, our sponsoring club. Waverley generously supported the club for the first 3 months with the charter fee and room rental at York Place.”

Individual members from other Toastmasters clubs in Edinburgh (Capital Communicators, Haymarket Toastmasters, State Street Speakers) contributed to the success of the chartering process.


Below are some questions that may help you establish your way in to the EAT!

What type of a club is EAT and how can I join?

EAT is an advanced Toastmasters club. EAT (it) has been created for Advanced Toastmasters to further challenge themselves and develop not only as public speakers, but also as mentors and effective leaders. After completing your ten speeches from Competent Communicator manual and receiving Competent Communicator (CC) recognition, you can begin the Advanced Communication Series. These series consist of 15 manuals, that further focus on enancing your speaking skills.

Is it only opened for CC’s from Waverley Communicators?

You do not need to be a member of the Waverley Communicators club, but you need to be a member of another Toastmasters club in order to join EAT.

Where does the club meet and how frequent are the meetings?

The club holds montly meetings at State Street meeting room in Edinburgh.

Whom I can contact to join?

Speak to one of your CC’s at the next club meeting! Or email EAT President Moira Beaton at .


We can’t wait to see you EATing!

“The 5 Big Mistakes Entrepreneurs Should Never Make”

This article is an example speech project delivered by Oliver Tidman – a member of Waverley Communicators club. Oliver is the founder of Tidman Legal, an Edinburgh based law firm specialising in intellectual property, technology and business law for entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs. 


Starting out on any business journey is an exciting prospect. However, taking the leap of faith can be extremely daunting for the uninitiated! Someone once told me, ‘The net doesn’t appear until you’ve jumped!’ This is one of the truest things I’ve ever heard.

I have helped numerous business owners face challenges during their careers, and I include my own business within that list, but deciding to start-up or even change direction requires strength, courage and most importantly stamina!

On that basis, I have prepared a brief guide – by no means a bible on the subject – as to the five biggest mistakes entrepreneurs should never make. Let us begin with the first mistake.

1. Don’t give a bleep bleep; get out there and sell!

I was talking with a friend of mine last week about other people’s opinions on different topics. I asked him if he had ever heard of the ’20-40-60 Rule’? He hadn’t and was quite impressed with it.

The ’20-40-60 Rule’ is:

At 20, you care about what everybody thinks.
At 40, you don’t care about what anybody thinks.
At 60, you realize that people were not thinking about you to begin with!!

How many things do we do on a daily basis because we want to impress someone? How many things do we not do because we are embarrassed? How many times do we look back with regret for not doing something that we wanted to do? Life is to be enjoyed. We shouldn’t be holding ourselves back from doing the things we love because of the reaction we might get from someone else.

Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Everyone has the freedom to do what they want as long as it doesn’t violate the rights of others. Why deprive yourself of something you want or want to do because you are afraid of what your friend, neighbour, workmate or relative might think.

The 20-40-60 Rule is surprisingly true. As people get older, they seem to care less and less about what other people think. If we realize now that in reality nobody is really analyzing the things we do, we can go out and do the things we want.

2. Don’t be a serial offender

Since it’s difficult to start a business by doing just one thing, entrepreneurs should avoid the trap of consecutively producing, marketing and selling.

By this I mean it is necessary for entrepreneurs to do all three at the same time! Thinking in a chronological order is prohibitive to growth.

3. Don’t mirror hire

If you are good at numbers, you should not focus on hiring someone who is also quantitative. For example, you should hire a good salesperson who has a different skill set and can pick up some of your slack. You may not have the most in common with this person, but then again, building a business is not about getting along with everyone!

4. Don’t scale too fast – you’ve got time!

There is a common misconception that entrepreneurs should scale their companies quickly in order to stay afloat. Remember, it is rare for start-ups to fail because they can’t scale their business fast enough. Selling your product or services should be the number one priority for new entrepreneurs. Scaling-up will then come at a natural pace so you’ve got time.

5. Don’t focus on the 1%

To illustrate, the UK pet population has over 8.5 million dogs. Each dog must eat and at least three times a day. If you could capture just 1% of that market, that’s 85,000 dogs and at least 255,000 cans of dog food each day!

There are two fundamental flaws with this. Getting 1% of any market is not that easy and, secondly, no investor ever wants to hear that you are only going to targeting 1% of the market.

Therefore, to stay on the road to business success, it is important for entrepreneurs to estimate their own sales rather than a slice of a total big market.

If you avoid these 5 big mistakes, you will go through good times, excitement and growth on your entrepreneurial journey. The feeling of welcoming your first customer and telling your friends and family. Elation when your first payments start coming in and testimonials and reviews from your customers for a job well done. The immense satisfaction knowing that you are helping your customers or your customers’ businesses to grow.

One of the biggest values I have found from running my own business is the sense of adventure that I experienced as a child and the free-reign to imagine where this adventure will take me. Furthermore, I can see in my clients what it is like to start to imagine what they can do with their own businesses.

Hopefully you will experience the same freedom of working for yourself, spending more time with your family and enjoy watching your children grow up.

Division S Contest – Sat 15th Oct!

Waverley Communicators have much to celebrate and be excited about as host for the Division S contest this Saturday 15th October at our regular meeting venue, 28 York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3EP from 12:00-16:30. Club level winners (see previous post) all excelled and did us proud. Richard McMahon came third in Table Topics, Catherine Dignan and Lauren Campbell did not place this time but we’re still in the game with John Wood.

John Wood’s award was extra special because it was the new Area 33 perpetual trophy for winner of Table Topics. It’s called ‘The Oscar Merkx memorial award’ in memory of the distinguished toastmaster Oscar Merkx who died last year from cancer. John is the first to receive this award.

Watch the immediate past president of District 71, Kevin Lee’s  announcement of this award, he touches on Oscar Merkx’s vibrant personality and commitment to Toastmasters.

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Thanks to all who provided pictures — I hope our club president Patrick speaks for all when he says, “I was enjoying myself so much that I forgot to take any”.

There are still some supporting roles to be filled if you will be attending on Saturday and can help, do let your club’s officers know.

Rachael M

Congrats Humorous Speech & Table Topics Winners

Well done to all participants of last week’s Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests. The next round will see 1st and 2nd place in both contests compete at the area contest.

The Humorous Speech Contest is a great event to attend; enjoy speeches and Table Topics from the winners of the other Areas in Division S and meet fellow Toastmasters from all over Scotland. The contest is in Linlithgow at the Lowport Centre Sunday 2nd October 1pm. Join the Toastmasters Area 33 Division Scotland event to indicate your attendance and receive updates.

NB: Members who are in a position to help with organising the area contest (such as filling roles), please leave a message in the Facebook event — it would be much appreciated.

Congratulations to all and best of luck to our superstars carrying on to area level. And if you do need a funny boost or tip for the coming battle, watch the video in this flashback blog from 2013.

Here are a few snaps of club president Patrick Bundy presenting awards for the contest:

Humorous speech: 1st Catherine Dignan, 2nd Lauren Campbell.

Table topics: 1st John Wood, 2nd Richard McMahon, 3rd Moira Beaton.


 John Woodimg_20160915_2105041  Richard McMahonimg_20160915_2104191  Moira Beatonimg_20160915_2103451
 Lauren Campbellimg_20160915_2101391  hs-contest  Catherine Dignanimg_20160915_2102351

Imgs by: Eduard Kutaš


Rachael M

Wav. Communicators