Communication and Leadership Skills

Grab Bag Table Topics

Toastmasters St Kieran's Manly Vale

We laughed more than usual at our latest St Kieran’s Manly Vale Toastmasters meeting when our own Felipe pulled out a grab bag for Table Topics.

We each blindly chose an item from the grab bag and then tried to “sell” the item to our fellow members in an impromptu 1-2 minute spiel.   

As luck would have it our Texan, Karen, grabbed a cookbook for smoking meat!

Kieron grabbed an item that he couldn’t identify so pitched the “secret gadget” as the next great accessory – complete with a runway walk. 

David took us on a journey from pitching tents to horror movies when he chose a hammer. He won the award for most visual uses of language!

Ilona grabbed a hair staightener and did a hilarious demonstration on David.

Our guest, Paul chose well with the Portuguese mosquito repellent.  He’s become quite acquainted with mosquitos since moving to Sydney from Ireland, where they had few. 

In a very creative approach, Filimon launched in to an auction of the items on display! 

Public and Private Life

Off the back of the Harry and Meghan interview with Oprah, David chose the theme for the night – Public and Private Life.

We went around the room and each person spoke for 45 seconds about this theme. 

One of our guests, Paul, later said how much he enjoyed our warm-up practice as he had not seen that done at other clubs. 

The warm-up is one of the ways our club ensures that everyone has a chance to practice speaking.  About 95% of our guests will participate in the warm-up, but it’s not mandatory! 

Sharing Our Magic – St Kieran’s Culture Club 

The culture of our club turned out to be a secondary theme of the night.

Karen talked about reviving our blog so we can share our stories and our culture with others who are looking for a club. We toasted “Sharing our Magic!”

Later in the evening, we further discussed how our club culture is different from other clubs in the area. Several of our members have attended or been members of other clubs.

Toastmasters meetings follow a formal protocol with roles, processes and time limits. Some meetings can feel very formal and not everyone gets a chance to speak. Clubs also vary in size, so this is a factor as well.

Our culture at St Kieran’s is quite laid back and friendly. We are super supportive of each other and have a lot of fun, whilst learning and practicing our speaking and communication skills.  

Our members are a mix of masters, novices and people from all over the world as well. 

So, if you’re looking for a club to visit, please be our guest – the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, 7:00-9:30 pm at the St Kieran’s hall. 


  • Chair – David
  • Timer – Scott
  • Grammarian – Karen 
  • Speech Toastmaster – Paul
  • Table Topics Master – Felipe
  • Table Topics Evaluators – Kesh and Therese 
  • General Evaluator – Kieran

Prepared Speeches

We had two prepared speeches tonight:

  • Bacchus gave a prepared speech about spending Year 7 living in the Solomon Islands. This speech was for an assignment within his chosen Toastmasters curriculum, requiring him to use a story within a speech or to tell a story. We learned how he beat the heat and humidity in grocery stores, studied by correspondence and ran the Hash House Harriers. Filimon evaluated.
  • Jeff gave a speech about Peak Performance as part of his Toastmasters curriculum assignment to connect with an unfamiliar audience. He was inspired by a book called Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool, who investigated people who were at peak levels in their field. They concluded that we can achieve anything we want – that you don’t actually need a natural gift or talent. (This is great news for anyone who fears public speaking!!).   Kesh evaluated. 

You’re Invited!

I hope these meeting summaries give you a flavour of what our meetings and culture are like at St Kieran’s Manly Vale. We meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month.  We’d love to have you as our guest. Simply email our VP Membership, Eva Meagher, for more details.  Link is on our home page or email toastmastersmanlyvale at outlook dot com

(Why do we write the email address that way? So that we can avoid phishing/spam bots!).


Karen Robertson. Toastmasters St Kieran’s Manly Vale VP PR.