Waverley Members In The News

Stephen and Pauline Dix, two of our longstanding Waverley Communicators members, are in the news.

The article below, apart from focusing on the benefits of Toastmasters International, also highlights Stephen’s personal story and how Toastmasters is helping him gain control of his stammer.

Livingston couple offer help with public speaking


A Livingston couple are offering help to people who are nervous about speaking in public.

Stephen Dix, who has suffered from a severe stammer all his life, and his wife Pauline set up and run the Livingston Speakers Club – a Toastmasters International Club.

The not-for-profit organisation offers help not only to those with speech impediments but also those who are just nervous about speaking in front of an audience or group.

After attending a similar club in Edinburgh, 51-year-old Stephen helped gain the confidence to get through a HND in Business Studies at West Lothian College and plans to go back next year and study for a degree.

Stephen, 51, explained: “I first went along to a speakers club in Edinburgh about three years ago.

“I was at college at that time and I had to do presentations in front of the class and I was really nervous about it.

“I just found that the club and the meetings helped me so much. I found I could actually look forward to and enjoy doing presentations instead of dreading the thought of standing up and speaking to the class.

“I’ve always had a stammer and it can be a struggle but I found the meetings improved my confidence in speaking in front of a group.

“My stammer was quite severe when I joined Toastmasters but thanks to all the help and encouragement I have received from club members I am now able to communicate my ideas to the audience clearly and assertively.”

The Livingston club, which meets fortnightly, offers structured meetings to help people communicate effectively and achieve the confidence to lead others.

Stephen said: “It’s open to anyone aged 18 and over. Everyone helps each other out. The good thing is everyone is evaluated by the other members who tell them what they think they did well and identify areas for improvement.”

Livingston Speakers Club meet on alternate Thursdays in a conference room in Livingston’s Asda supermarket between 7.15 and 9.30pm. Their next meeting is today (Thursday, July 18).

Everyone is welcome to attend three free meetings. For more information contact Steven or Pauline on 01506 431571 or visit http://www.livingstonspeakers.org.uk/

Link to original article:


Contest Journey

Club Contest

On Thursday 21st March 2013, eight members of  Waverley Communicators (Kevin McKay, Pauline Dix, Stephen Dix, Moira Beaton, AJ Cullen, Eileen Scott, Aideen O’Malley, and Graeme Buck) stepped up to the mark and took part in the club’s International Speech and Evaluation Contests.

Participating in a contest can be a nerve tingling experience, but also a richly rewarding one.  It’s a great way to hone your speech delivery.

All the contestants did themselves proud in front of an appreciative audience.  There were astute evaluations and splendid speeches.

The proceedings were conducted in a warm and harmonious spirit with Kevin Miller at the helm as Contest Chair.

Pauline Dix - Winner of International Speech Contest and Brian Duffy, President Waverley Communicators

Pauline Dix – Winner of Waverley’s International Speech Contest

The Club Contest winners were Pauline Dix and Moira Beaton (seen below with Brian Duffy, Club President) who went forward to represent Waverley Communicators at the Area 30 Contest, hosted by our club on Saturday 13th April.

Moira Beaton - Winner of Waverley's Evaluation Contest

Moira Beaton – Winner of Waverley’s Evaluation Contest

Area 30 Contest

The event buzzed with excitement with over 45 attendees from the nine Toastmasters clubs across the central belt.

The contests were chaired by Waverley Communicator’s Eileen Scott (seen in the centre of  the picture below – no certificate but she did receive a nice box of chocolates later!), with the judging panel led by Jim Boyd from Linlithgow Speakers.

The organisation and leadership skills of Waverley Communicators members came to the fore, and the positive feedback received showed how much the contestants and the audience appreciated the hospitality shown.

It took a fantastic team effort to stage such a wonderful event – well done to all!

Area 30 Contest - International Speech Contestants

Area 30 Contest – International Speech Contestants

James Reeve (the man in the kilt) from Capital Communicators won the Area 30 International Speech Contest with a great speech called ‘Homogeneity’.

Our contestant Pauline Dix (to the right of Eileen and the banner) did the club proud.

Moira Beaton was a worthy winner of the Area 30 Evaluation Speech Contest, much to the delight of the Waverley Communicators members in the audience.

Moira was awarded a glistening glamorous glass trophy for an insightful and motivational evaluation.

Area 30 Contest - Moira Beaton, Winner Evaluation Contest and Kevin Lee, Area 30 Governor

Area 30 Contest – Moira Beaton, Winner Evaluation Contest and Kevin Lee, Area 30 Governor

And the journey continued….

Moira, James and a train load of well-wishing revellers from Waverley and other clubs in Area 30, travelled down to the Division E Contest in York on Sunday 28th April.

The Scots at the Division E Contest, York

The Scots at the Division E Contest, York

Division E Contest, York - Moira posing next to our club banner.

Division E Contest, York – Moira posing next to our club banner.

Moira and James are both accomplished speakers and delivered speeches to a very high standard.

There was much anticipation and encouragement for all the contestants from a 70 strong contingent of attendees.

On this occasion the winners were from Midlands/North of England clubs with Tina Swami and Gillian Caldicott progressing to the UK & Ireland District Conference, 10-12 May in Torquay.

The winner of the District International Speech Contest then goes all the way to Cincinnati, USA!!

What a journey!  It highlights the opportunities that Toastmasters provides, whether as a contestant, as an organiser, as a Contest Chair, as a role player, and as a member of the audience learning from and supporting others.

Toastmasters is a fantastic organisation to be part of, come along and see how our club can help you to develop, and give you the support to enable you to reach your full potential.

Post written by Brian Duffy, CC – President Waverley Communicators

Club Meeting 1 November 2012

Louise Kirk
Toastmaster of the Evening

Louise Kirk was the TME, assisted by new member Kirsty Urquhart, in her inaugural role as Timer; Patrick Bundy, taking on the Wordmaster/Grammarian role for the first time; and Laura Longley, a visiting Toastmaster from the USA as Ah Counter.

Aideen O’Malley delivering her CC3 speech “Speak Their Language”

Aideen O’Malley invited us to Speak Their Language. In a CC3 speech, Aideen spoke to the audience about the many advantages of learning a foreign language, especially when going on holiday. Aideen’s speech was evaluated by Ritchie Brown.

Duncan Thompson delivering his CC6 speech “Advise”

Duncan Thompson delivered a CC6 speech Advise.  In his speech Duncan remembered all the times he had been given advice – good and bad. David Dick evaluated Duncan’s speech.

Graeme Buck

Graeme Buck in his CC9 speech Fight That Lizard!, persuaded us to be less judgemental when dealing with others.  Moira Beaton was the evaluator.


Kevin Lee
Area 30 Governor

Twice a year the Area Governors pay 2 official visits to the clubs in their area. On Thursday, we had the privilege of welcoming this year’s Area 30 Governor, one of own members, Kevin Lee, to the club in his official capacity when he addressed the club during club business.

After the break, Claire Dipnarine facilitated Table Topics in first time as Table Topics Master. 

As usual, the Table Topics provided an opportunity for members to try out their impromptu speaking skills and reveal a little about themselves.

Paul Bailey told the audience what he would do if he were Prime Minister; Stephen Dix was given 3 wishes by a genie; Kim Lau was transformed into an author of a book on positive psychology; and brand new member Alex Nuth spoke about children’s toys.

Eileen Scott was the Table Topics evaluator (drafted in at the last minute) and awarded the ribbon for best Table Topic to Alex Nuth. Congratulations Alex!

The evening was evaluated by GE, Johanne Burns.

Next meeting is on 15th November 2012.

Post written by Moira Beaton DTM, Vice President Public Relations

An Evening With The WIBF

Waverley Communicators and the WIBF
photograph by Moira Beaton

As Toastmasters, we like to get out occasionally.

Speaking at outside events and holding workshops helps spread the word about the Toastmaster organisation and how it can help people improve their communication and leadership skills.

It attracts members to the club.

And it gives our members valuable experience of speaking outside the club to an unfamiliar audience.

On Monday evening 9 members from Waverley Communicators –  Brian Duffy, Stephen Dix, Louise Kirk, Kirsten McKenzie, Graeme Buck, Paul Bailey, Duncan Thompson, Finlay Cooke and I – held an event for the WIBF (Women in Banking and Finance) at the offices of State Street Financial Services in Edinburgh.  

Some of the members of Waverley Communicators and the WIBF taking a break
photograph by Moira Beaton

We ran it like a 2 hour club meeting. 

I was the TME, Duncan and Kirsten shared the Timer’s duties, Paul and Finlay were the Table Topics masters, and Graeme and Brian evaluated the TT’s.

After a short introduction to TMI and introductions round the room, I handed the floor over to Stephen who gave a 5 minute presentation on the TMI education programme.

Louise followed with a presentation Hear Me. She spoke about the ways in which women, in the workplace, can sometimes sabotage their communication by their body language and the words they use and gave 7 ways to help women stop undermining themselves.

In a 5 minute presentation, Speaking Off The Cuff, Brian introduced the importance of being able to speak without preparation and highlighted the fact that it’s a crucial skill to master, especially in business.

After the break, Paul  and Finlay delivered 2 Table Topics sessions with Graeme and Brian evaluating, and Duncan and Kirsten doubling up as Timers and Table Topics speakers.

There was no shortage of volunteers from the audience to have a go at a Table Topic and 2 of the speakers (1 in each session) were awarded a ribbon for best TT. The standard was high and everyone spoke for nearly 2 minutes each.

After Table Topics, we conducted a Q&A session where we answered several questions such as ‘what do I do when I go blank in the middle of speaking’  to  ‘does speaking become easier with practice?  Yes – and a good place to practise is at Toastmasters!  

Our thanks go to the WIBF for inviting us and to State Street for their hospitality. 

Always trying to improve, we like evaluation. And outside events are no exception.

Going by some of the comments on the  feedback forms we received back at the end of the evening, the WIBF members seemed to enjoy it.

In answer to ‘What is the most important piece of information or skill you will take away from this event?

they said

I can do this !

To have a go!’

‘Practising presentations in a safe environment with feedback’

Others are generally supportive’

and  in answer to ‘What did we do well? they said

‘You showed how Toastmasters actually works!

Putting me at ease and keeping me interested’

‘Explained how the organisation works and what it offers’

‘Gave people a chance to try’

In answer to ‘What can we improve? we had only one comment

‘would have preferred to launch into speaking tips first and then find out about Toastmasters’

You can find details of our meetings dates, directions and a typical meeting format by going to the ‘Meetings’ link at the top of this page.

We welcome guests at our meetings – the next one is on Thursday 1st November from 7-9pm and then every second Thursday.

Post written by Moira Beaton DTM, Vice President Public Relations

VIDEO: Why Darren Lacroix joined Toastmasters

Post written by Moira Beaton DTM, Vice President Public Relations

Even though he is the 2001 International Speech Champion, a successful speaker and stand up comedian, Darren is still a paid up member of his Toastmasters club.