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La Defense Toastmasters Club sent three participants to the Area Contest on October 18 and we are immensely proud that one of our participants came in the top three for the Humour Speech! Kayee will go on to represent the club at the District Conference on 15th November.

We caught up with our winner Kayee after the contest.

Many congratulations on winning 2nd place! How does it feel to come in 2nd place?
Thank you! I couldn’t believe it because the level of other contestants was really high. When I first prepared my speech, I thought it contained more body movement than really speaking so wasn’t sure it could really count as a “speech.” However I really loved the topic and so decided to have great fun preparing and delivering it without thinking about getting any award. I simply enjoyed every millisecond of the speech! I am really happy and grateful for what La Défense Toastmaster Club has given me!


What was your speech about and what was its key messages?
It was about learning a weird finger movement that I saw on TV when I was about 8 years old and now mastering it. There is really no big philosophy behind the whole thing but if I had to find one, it would be, “Don’t underestimate doing silly little things in our lives. They can be tremendous fun and bring joy to ourselves and others!”


What inspired you to do this speech?
I wanted to entertain people and make them laugh!


When did you become a member of Toastmasters and what made you decide to join? 
I joined early 2014. I was working in La Défense and as I am a really active person who loves meeting people and doing fun things whilst improving myself. I saw the La Defense Toastmasters group on and went there as a guest. I had such an awesome evening that I decided to become a member!


How has coming to Toastmasters helped you?
It has helped me by giving me back my self-confidence. I used to be very active in theatre acting during my teenage years and up to about 5 years ago. I was not sure whether I would be able to have the same level of confidence again, but Toastmasters has proven that it is possible thanks to the support and feedback from our club members.


Would you recommend Toastmasters to others and why?
Certainly! For me, participating in the Humour Contest was simply this: right before that precise moment I told myself, “I don’t care how I will be judged. It’s not about winning but having fun, being myself and talking about what I value.” I am proud to be recognised for my speech. Everyone should give themselves the chance to find out what public speaking means for them because you never know just how far you can go!

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Self confidence
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Go to the gym more.

Spend more time with the kids.

Eat more healthily.

Quit smoking.

Get a (new) job.

How many times have you seen these on people’s lists of New Year resolutions? With the start of the New Year, we’re looking for ways to improve ourselves and this is why you should seriously consider public speaking as your new interest.

Personally, attending my local Toastmasters club has already helped me grow in different ways including these:

Increase my self-confidence

Self confidence


I have seen myself grow more confident in being at ease in front of a crowd and I did it all in small, sure steps. The first step was when I just psyching myself to get up and talk for the first time, followed by my  first Icebreaker speech to leading an entire evening as the Toastmaster.

Manage stress and handle change easily


There have been times where I’ve helped run the evenings and there have been a few unexpected surprises that required making slight amendments to the agenda or how we run things. You learn to roll with it and adapt with a sense of humour. These types of situations are essential if you want to effectively manage your own study and work environment.

Socialize and network more outside of work

Dinner at Toastmasters

When I came back to France, I buried myself in my new job where I’ve often been too tired to do much else when I got off work. Toastmasters restored my work-life balance and our group members are amazing people who bring lively stories to each session.

Broaden my horizons

cc Behappy

As I just mentioned, you meet interesting people from all walks of life and geographies from African sociologists, life coaches, and photographers to engineers, HR professionals and finance auditors. It’s without fail that you’ll learn something new at every Toastmasters session, from Word of the Day to improve your vocabulary, to random subjects from people’s speeches. We recently learned the psychology behind eating a gingerbread man!

Improve my analytical skills and hone in my attention to detail


At Toastmasters, it’s not just about talking but also about listening. One of the best ways to learn how to improve on your public speaking is evaluating how others do it. Listen out for what they do well and also what they can improve on. I’ve picked up some best practices just by doing evaluations.

Become a quick thinker


Doing impromptu speeches in front of strangers is no easy task and it really does get your heart pumping the first few tries. Yet now, I’ve grown to love and thrive in Table Topics; even winning a few!

Learn to become a storyteller


I love finding ways to make my speeches be more colourful from similes, alliterations, metaphors to onomatopoeia and personification. Toastmasters gets your creative cogs in motion and I’m becoming smitten with the English language every day.

Have you already joined Toastmasters, I’d love to know how it’s helped you. If you’re new to Toastmasters and want to see what it can do for you, sign up to our next session or get in touch.

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Everyone has their reasons for joining a Toastmasters Club, here’s my story.

I moved to France for the second, but indefinite, time for a new job. Before I realized it, I was with my line manager for my first annual review. I was pleased as peaches with the feedback but one thing took me aback. She suggested that I take some training to improve my presentation skills.

Me? But I’ve been doing presentations since high school and in my different jobs. I even delivered my first public speech in front of 100 members of the local Rotary Club when I was 17. It’s one of the basic job skills I thought I had mastered.

I took this feedback away and gave it more thought. I looked back at the first presentation I did in this new job. Sure enough, I remembered the heart palpitations and the nervous adrenalin while waiting for my turn to present. All previous speaking experience had dissipated.

It didn’t matter how many presentations I’ve done before, presenting for the first time in a new environment to people you know or strangers will always be daunting. She was right. I wasn’t the 100% confident public speaker that I could become.

I looked for some practical training in public speaking at a reasonable distance to my work or home. That’s when I discovered the Toastmasters Club at La Defense.

Since attending the sessions regularly, I found Toastmasters offers more than your average public speaking training for three reasons:

Firstly, they give you a wide-range of support in public speaking. As a Toastmasters member, you receive different handbooks that help you become a more confident speaker; from delivering business presentations to being the next all-time best comedian.

Secondly, you meet people from far and wide. It takes networking and socializing to a different level. Sharing a common goal makes us a tight-knit community. I find it incredible that through a speech from someone you’ve just met, you can still get to know them on an intimate level and be inspired by them. I’ve learned about others’ hopes and dreams, their fears and also what makes them tick. You’re not likely to find that in another club.

Finally, it lets you further develop your leadership skills. You could take up a Club Officer position or even help out at the club as a grammarian, table topics speaker or timer. These are little nuggets of opportunities that lets you practice your speaking skills outside of giving your speeches.

Toastmasters is not like any other public speaking club. Not only are they serious and professional in supporting you in improving your presentation skills, they also offer you personal development in other ways. I haven’t been a member for a year and I’m already learning lots. If you’re interested in joining our club or one closer to you, get in touch and we’ll point you in the right direction.

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