Tall Tales and Awards at Abden House


It was one of the best, if not THE best social event we have had at Waverley Communicators. Held in the comfort and splendour of Abden House in Pollock Halls, Edinburgh, the Annual Awards Dinner was a fitting end to the a very succesful year and the club’s fifth anniversary.

DinnerEileen2Congratulations to Eileen Scott who was awarded Toastmaster of the Year for ‘the member whose educational accomplishments, club service, dedication and enthusiasm are exceptional’. This year, Eileen gained her CL and ALB; won both the Humorous and International speech contests at club and Area level; and was our hardworking SAA always making sure that the room was set up for every meeting, remembered to buy milk for the tea and provided us with superior biscuits. Eileen is handing over the SAA’s duties to Graeme Buck when the new committee takes over on 1st July to concentrate on speeches.

DinnerPaul2Paul Bailey was awarded the Waverley Communication Achievement Award for the member whose speaking skills have improved most over the past year. This award usually goes to a new member but although Paul has been a member for several years, the committee felt that his improvement overall, his success in club contests, the amount of speeches he has delivered, and the improvement in his overall speaking skills made him a worthy winner. Congratulations Paul and we look forward to more  speeches.

DinnerRichardEvery year the President awards  The President’s Award to the member who they think has shown dedication and hard work above and beyond the call of duty. This year, that award went to the club’s VPE Richard McMahon who has managed the meetings, filled roles, encouraged members to follow the communication and leadership tracks, organised club contests and generally worked hard. Congratulations to Richard who will hand over the VPE’s duties to Aideen O’Malley on 1st July. Richard will take over as Mentoring Co-Ordinator.

The Annual Tall Tales Contest is always an event to look forward to at the dinner. This year there were six contestants – Duncan Thompson, John Wood, Paul Bailey, Moira Beaton, Eileen Scott and Kevin Miller with tales ranging from being a film extra in Italy; thieving raccoons with a liking for shoes and beer in America; a brush with the Russians and nearly becoming the reluctant owner of an aeroplane;   a gambling cat with her own online gaming account; the disastrous consequences of an unplugged freezer; being chased by dragons and tigers in Leith.

The contest was organised and chaired by Patrick Bundy who was a very amiable host, managing to keep the hilarity under control long enough to count the votes and announce a winner – Kevin Miller, with his sad tale of a freezer unplugged and the resulting consequences.


Patrick introduces the Tall Tales Contest


DinnerNeilandKevinAt the end of a very enjoyable evening, Kevin handed over the Presidency of the club to the new President for 2014-2015, Neil MacLure who, with the new committee, takes over the running of the club on 1st July.


Four Presidents l to r: Moira Beaton, Neil MacLure, Reuben Welch, Eileen Scott


Post written by Moira Beaton DTM

VPPR Waverley Communicators

Photographs: Dimitrijs Limonovs



My Toastmaster Journey: Ritchie Brown

Hi fellow members of Waverley Communicators.

It gives me great pleasure in accepting this invitation from the club’s Vice President of Public Relations (VPPR) to write about my experiences as a Toastmaster throughout the last two years.

As many of you know, I recently completed my Competent Communication Manual (CC) to become a “Competent Communicator”.

However, if you had told me after my ice-breaker  that I would achieve my CC within two years, I would have thought you were being either rather silly or extremely polite.

But this is the Toastmaster way.

Ever since the first day in which an acquaintance of mine persuaded me (and metaphorically dragged me) to attend a Toastmaster meeting as a guest, everyone has been impeccably friendly and hospitable while exuding empathy, patience and motivation.

But to be honest, I might have joined earlier than I did.

‘Why the procrastination?’ you might ask.

Well, Stephen Dix (I’m sure he doesn’t mind me mentioning his name) had been trying to persuade me to join the club for about a year before I finally conjured up the courage to attend.

My fear of public speaking is due to a verbal stammer, and part of the speaking course  Stephen and I had previously attended, advocated confronting your fears face-on.

So I did that and I finally became a paying member of Waverley Communicators in January 2012, and tentatively began my Toastmaster journey.

The club’s mentoring programme has been invaluable and provided me with Stephen as my kind and reliable personal mentor.

He gave me constructive feedback to improve my speeches. And as he delivered it punctually and accurately, it enabled me to stick to my personalised timetable. Therefore, I extend a warm thanks to Stephen for his kind remarks and suggestions.

In hindsight, my initial speeches went reasonably to plan.

The ice-breaker was an extremely effective and relevant way to introduce myself to the club and fellow members; in my CC2 speech I also managed to stick to the structure.

However, it became more challenging later on in the CC when I was obliged to hurl myself out of pre-determined comfort-zones.

For example, body movement and vocal variety were (and still are) very difficult for me, and because of that, I found it more challenging to speak persuasively.

Significantly, I have always relied on facts and figures to present my case. Now I understand the perspective that emotion and persuasion also win support.

But my journey isn’t finished!

This is because Toastmasters runs advanced manuals and with them I intend to enhance my areas-of-improvement to become more confident in front of an audience.

One of these areas is using my prepared script. I need to become more flexible with what I say in response to the audience.

Although I have had to accept, over the last two years, that there is no cure for a stammer, I feel the Toastmasters experience has remarkably increased my confidence at public speaking.

I would advise the Toastmasters programme to anyone!

It has given me direction in life while equipping me with skills which are valued by employers.

May I take this opportunity to thank all members for a great Toastmaster experience thus far.

Good luck to everyone in their Toastmaster Journey!

Post written by Ritchie Brown CC

Member of Waverley Communicators

Waverley Communicators Burns Supper 2014


Fair fa’ yer honest sonsie face, great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race….







Richard McMahon 'Of A' The Airts'

Richard McMahon ‘Of A’ The Airts’


Neil MacLure tells the (alternative) story of 'Tam O' Shanter'

Neil MacLure tells the (alternative) story of ‘Tam O’ Shanter’

Patrick Bundy toasts Rabbie Burns's 'Immortal Memory'

Patrick Bundy toasts Rabbie Burns’s ‘Immortal Memory’

President Kevin Miller

President Kevin Miller

Neil Mitchison sings a Burns song

Neil Mitchison sings a Burns song



Eileen making sure everything is going to plan

Eileen making sure everything is going to plan

Members and guests

Members and guests

Dmitrijs and Anna-Maria - members of Waverley

Dmitrijs and Anna-Maria – members of Waverley




A Toast Tae The Lassies

Duncan Thompson gives ‘A Toast Tae The Lassies’

John Wood addresses 'The Toothache'

John Wood addresses ‘The Toothache’

Eileen Scott gives 'The Lassies' Reply'

Eileen Scott gives ‘The Lassies’ Reply’


Thanks to members Dmitrijs Limonovs and Moira Beaton for their photography on the night.

To see the full range of 45 photos, visit our Facebook page.





Waverley Communicators Christmas Meeting


Santa visits Waverley Communicators

For those who were not at the meeting on 12th December, as we say in Scotland, ‘ you missed yourself’.

In the first half of the meeting, we had 2 speeches and 2 evaluations which meant we were able to fit in several Table Topics.

The second half of the meeting was the traditional Christmas party. Members and guests had a chance to meet, chat, eat, drink and relax.

Thanks to the members who brought snacks and homebaking. And, of course, thanks to the members who brought the drinks.

Everyone had a good time and here is the evidence:


Eileen and Santa


Kevin and Talisker – cheers!


Kylie talking to Paul


Patrick and Graeme

Duncan's famous sultana cake

Duncan’s famous sultana cake

Paul talking to a guest

Paul talking to a guest

Gopal and Kevin being very serious

Gopal and Kevin being very serious

Eileen explains to Louise why she believes Santa Claus exists

Eileen explains to Louise why she believes Santa Claus exists

Duncan tells Aideen a joke

Duncan tells Aideen a joke

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

AbeLincolnToday is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, one of the most famous speeches of all time.

I was invited by BBC Radio Scotland’s John Beattie today to go into the studio and talk about the speech and public speaking on his show at 1pm.

This made me look at the speech more closely and in a new light, and it’s worth studying if you haven’t done so already.

The Gettysburg Address lasted just over 2 minutes.

Lincoln was the second speaker that day after Edward Everett, a famous orator of the time.

Everett’s speech lasted 2 hours.

Lincoln’s speech lasted 2 minutes – a masterpiece of brevity, clarity, and rhetorical devices such as anaphora, epistrophe, repetition, triads, and metaphor.

The day after the Address, Everett wrote to Lincoln: “Permit me also to express my great admiration of the thoughts expressed by you, with such eloquent simplicity & appropriateness, at the consecration of the Cemetery. I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”

There are 5 known copies of the Gettysburg Address, all in Lincoln’s handwriting, all a little different. This one is thought to be the one most often reproduced.

See if you can spot all the different rhetorical devices Lincoln used.

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

— Abraham Lincoln

Nov. 19, 1863

Post written by Moira Beaton DTM

VPPR waverley Communicators