Guest Division S – Scotland
Hello from Division S by Avril Stringer, Division Director
Scotland – the land of the Loch Ness Monster, tartan and whisky. It is also the land of 19 Toastmaster Clubs, all of which will give you a great, big welcome should you be in Scotland and choose to visit us.
Speaking of Nessie, I would like to bet that the most fun name for a Toastmaster Club is Inverness Toastmonsters! It is in Area 43 which I would also guess is the most geographically diverse in the District. In fact, it runs North from Perth to Dingwall, 124 miles and a nearly 3-hour drive. It runs North East from Perth to Aberdeen, an 88-mile journey.
If that is an Area, then it follows that Division S is fairly spread out. In fact, the other 3 Areas are centred around Area 60 in Glasgow, Area 30 in Edinburgh in the East and Area 33 in the middle. What would be great is if we could spread South – that is the next big challenge for growth in Scotland.
So, what have we been up to that you might be interested in? We chartered Stirling Speakers, went to a few Burns Suppers, had our first ever Division conference, held the odd party and visited Australia! You can read all about it as well as some words of wisdom from one of our longest standing members, Edwyn.
Hope you enjoy reading about Division S and that you will come and visit us one day!
How much is your membership worth?
By Edwyn Newman, DTM, Capital Communicators, Edinburgh
As I look back to the award of my DTM in 2018, I am reminded of my early experience of Toastmasters.
I first joined for one year in 1970, shortly after graduating in Electronic Engineering and during my first year in industry. At the time I was sharing a house with a close friend, and he had heard about Toastmasters and suggested that we might both join.
My friend went on to become a main board director of several large quoted companies, and I also had a very successful career, eventually achieving the status of Chartered Engineer and Fellowship of the IET, the senior institution in engineering and technology in UK.
Both of us would credit Toastmasters with giving us the confidence at an early age to carry out presentations, offer leadership and chair meetings.
I once calculated that the increasing seniority that I achieved in industry because of my Toastmaster experience was worth at least £250,000 over my working life, and I doubt that any dedicated member of Toastmasters seeking promotion at work would fail to increase their income over a working lifetime by less than £1,000 a year and often ten or a hundred times that.
The outcome in career terms, (and the same applies to improving one’s own business outcomes in self-owned or smaller companies) is worth a huge multiple of the annual fees we pay to be members.
My message to all new members, and those considering joining, is that on top of the fun and new social relationships, you become part of an organisation that will increase your personal wealth and satisfaction with life enormously. Toastmasters offers fantastic value for money!
State Street Edinburgh Toastmasters is 5 years old
by Adrian Herbert, Area 30 Director
State Street Edinburgh Toastmasters is 5 years old and we marked the occasion by holding an Open Meeting. As a corporate club, we promoted the event with Toastmasters Open House posters, invitations on every desk and a display at the entrance to the restaurant. We provided refreshments, homemade cupcakes and a birthday cake at the meeting. Six prospects came along to join in with the celebration and we are optimistic that the club will have some new members very soon.
Cara Herbert, a member of State Street Edinburgh Toastmasters, visited Cannington Communicators Toastmasters in Perth, Australia on 26th February. She was made to feel very welcome and then asked to evaluate a speech! The table topics preceded the prepared speeches which is back-to-front from our usual meetings. Perhaps the agenda changes when you go ‘down under’
WHY ROBERT BURNS IS A TOASTMASTER’S BEST FRIEND
By Avril Stringer
When we think about Robert Burns we might think, “That’s that Scottish bloke who wrote poems in a funny language.” Even for most Scottish people, it is difficult to engage with the “Auld Scots” language. In fact, Burns is a lot like Shakespeare – yes, the language can be challenging but it is very much worth the effort. Just like Shakespeare, when it is performed well, the meaning becomes clear.
With the advent of the internet, it is easier than ever to obtain copies of his poems alongside an “English” translation. When you read both versions side by side, you suddenly appreciate the genius mind of Robert Burns.
I was a school child once, just like any other, struggling with the language and putting it aside. When I joined Toastmasters, I re-discovered Burns and was blown away by his works. He was ahead of his times (1759 – 1796) and wrote with passion about life and the common people. He was a humanitarian, philosopher and forward thinker.
His legacy lives on in many ways. One is the Burns Supper, and another is “Auld Lang Syne”, which in Scotland, is not only sung at New Year but often at the end of any event when we bid farewell to each other. He gave us many great quotes – some of my favourites are listed below.
So why is he a Toastmaster’s best friend? One reason I have already mentioned it – because of the Burns Supper. This event takes place on or around 25 January each year and is an opportunity to remember Burns in the way he would want to be remembered – with good humour, lassies and drink!
There are traditional elements of the Burns Supper. A typical programme would include:
Piping in of the Haggis and the recitation of The Address to the Haggis (with actions). Followed by a Toast to the haggis with a wee dram.
The Immortal Memory Speech – a speech about the life of Burns
The Toast to the Lassies – a speech which may poke a bit of fun at the women, given by a man
The Reply to the Address to the Lassies – given by a woman in response and may allow the opportunity to get her own back for any mischief in the previous speech
Recitation of poetry and songs – Tam ‘o Shanter is traditional
At a Toastmaster Burns Supper, we often perform the speeches in between the courses of the meal. The meal usually includes a haggis course, either as a starter or a main. The rumours about what is in a haggis are not true – our current food standards see to that! Besides, vegetarian options are available. You can see that this event is ideal for putting our skills to good use in the setting of an informal, social event. It ticks all the boxes!
The Stirling Burns Club allowed women to attend their annual event for the first time this year (Burns would have been mortified that they were excluded in the first place!) Stirling Speakers were invited to provide a speaker for the Reply. Anne Murray ably represented both the Club and the Lassies. Nick Mockler was asked to do a note of thanks at the end of the evening. The Supper was also attended by other club members to support Anne and generally have a good time.
Another reason Burns is a Toastmaster’s best friend is the many quotes he gave us which we can use to enhance our speeches. Only last night at a meeting I heard this in action. The theme for the Table Topics was Witches. A first-time guest immediately started his Topic by reciting a few lines about the “Cutty Sark” taken from “Tam O’ Shanter”. You may think “tourist attraction in Greenwich, London” but Cutty Sark was a witch that caught Tam’s eye. She was wearing a cutty (cut down or short) sark (shift, as in under-garment). How many of you knew that this was the origin of the name of that famous tea clipper? To find out the full story, including why the figure-head is holding a horse’s tail, search the internet for the poem, Tam O’ Shanter. Here’s a shortcut – http://www.robertburns.org.uk/Assets/Poems_Songs/tamoshanter.htm
I would urge you to investigate the works of Robert Burns – you may be amazed at what you find. You can also consider holding a Burns Supper in your club and just see how much your members learn from challenging themselves and speaking in a different environment.
Here are a few of my favourite Burns quotes:
Oh would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us (great for introducing evaluation)
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy (“Gang aft agley” – often go awry)
“Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.”
“Ye Hypocrites, are these your pranks
To murder men and gie God thanks
Desist for shame, proceed no further
God won’t accept your thanks for murder.”
While Europe’s eye is fix’d on mighty things,
The fate of Empires and the fall of Kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.
Waverley Communicators Alternative Burns Supper
by Johanne Burns, President of Waverley Communicators.
This year Waverley Communicators held a Burns Supper at the fortnightly meeting, rather than a separate event. Club President Johanne Burns was the host for the evening. Member John Wood gave the Address to a Haggis accompanied by bagpipe music through speakers. The life of Robert Burns was remembered through The Immortal Memory delivered by Johanne Burns. There was then a spoken recitation of A red, red rose by Jacek Lasota followed by a recording of the singing version. Member Ollie Hoskins gave the Toast to the Lassies for the first time. A recording of the Reply from the Lassies was provided by Joyce Falconer (of River City and Taggart fame) given at the Govan Kingston SNP Burns Supper 2017. A guest very kindly provided a rendition of the tale Tam o’ Shanter. The interval provided an opportunity for members and guests to partake of Scottish delights Irn Bru, haggis spring rolls, and tablet. After the break member Moira Beaton challenged members to participate in Robert Burns themed table topics, before the evening was ended with a vote of thanks and singing of Auld Lang Syne.
Spark Conference a first for Division S Toastmasters
By Laura Bruce, Assistant Director, Division S
More than 60 people attended the first-ever Division S conference in Edinburgh. Held on 16 February at Augustine Church in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, the “Spark Conference” was the brainchild of Division S Director Avril Stringer DTM.
“I wanted to create an opportunity for Toastmasters from across Scotland to get together for education and development, but also for renewing friendships and making new friends,” she said. “At Division Contests, the day is normally too full for much in the way of workshops, so this would be a different kind of day. We put together a small team, recruited workshop presenters, and even hosted a fun speech contest, “Truth and Lies”.
“We have sent out a survey and feedback from the event has been very positive, so I believe there is appetite to make this an annual event.”
- “For a first time, it was well-organised and enjoyable with a good variety of workshops.”
- “Just do it again!”
- “Really enjoyed the opportunity to meet members from other clubs over dinner.”
|Claire MacLaine’s workshop Find Your Funny explored the linguistic mechanisms of humour.||Colin Williamson’s Storytelling workshop|
|Jim Boyd’s demonstrated his technique with a table topics speech from Inverness Toastmaster Ann Fallow, in his Evaluation with Video workshop.||Sudha Mani DTM presented a workshop on Branding Toastmasters.|
|Winner of the afternoon “Truth and Lies” contest was Division E member Anthony Day, who journeyed north along with Jane Craggs DTM. Anthony is pictured here (middle) with past Division S Governor Jim Davidson DTM, and Division S Director Avril Stringer DTM.||The Spark Conference was held in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle|
|The Spark Conference had a jam-packed programme!||Teresa Dukes DTM gave two workshops, including “What is ‘World Class’?”.|
Hubble Bubble at Perth Toastmaster’s Taster Evening
By Phil Cooper, Area 43 Director
Perth Toastmasters Taster Evening was buzzing on a normally quiet Monday evening in Perth. The Magnus room in the Salutation Hotel was full to the brim with members, guests & visiting Toastmasters, and at times, hotel staff who were frantically sourcing extra chairs from around the hotel. The energy in the room was palpable and suffice it to say a great night was had by all.
To gasps from the audience, Avril Stringer, the Toastmaster of the Day, introduced Toastmasters and announced that there are 354,000 members in 16,000 club in 143 countries; a female guest right in front of me whispered to her friend “gosh I didn’t know it was so big”. Rick Masterton a relatively new member of the Perth club then delivered an A1 testimonial on the benefits of Toastmasters; the audience were in awe! The evening was punctuated by a longer than normal breaks, an evaluation and of course Table Topics.
Founder member, Jim Davidson finished the evening off by delivering an engaging sales pitch which had the audience on the edge of their seats and hopefully convinced the guests to join. With 8 actual guests and 6 more who signed up on Eventbrite, Perth can be sure of getting at least 2 or 3 new members. Well done to all involved!
Firsts for Stirling Speakers
By Avril Stringer; Division S Director, President Stirling Speakers
On 25 February 2019, Stirling Speakers officially grew from fledgling club to young club. The journey took nearly 16 months during which time we had many “firsts”. Our pictures tell the story of this journey. (see also article in New Club case studies page 19)
|First Committee Meeting|