Josep opened the meeting with a warm welcome to members, guests (see below), and Laura B, back after a break.  Claudia introduced the theme of the evening, Friendship.


Josep’s word of the evening was bond, as in ‘the bonds of friendship’.


Anaëlle, giving the toast, spoke movingly about what friendship means to her. Sitting next to people chatting, lunches that go on all afternoon and into the evening, conversations at one in the morning, being able to speak hard truths – “The family you choose!


It took people a second or two to understand Yannis’ joke based on  a job interview misunderstanding –

How long have you worked for your present company?

Oh, my weakness is my inability to listen!


In a new section, Tip of the Evening, Tricia suggested a method for speech evaluation: Divide a page into two sections, commendations and recommendations. Next number your points. Finally, write an opening and a concluding sentence.


Lars’ table topics used quotations to explore ideas about friendship.His questions produced a diversity of interesting reponses –

Laura B: “Keep your friends close – but  your enemies closer still.”

Machiavelli was right, Laura suggested. Sometimes you discover that the people who act like friends are in fact your  enemies, so it is wise to keep them close!

Florence: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

Florence noted that friendship is like gift-giving: sometimes it is more rewarding to give than to receive.

Alison: “The better part of one’s life consists of friendships.”

Alison told us how she used the child’s question, “Will you be my friend?”  The risk involved paid off: she won a life-long friend.

Ava: “The only way to have a friend is to be a friend.”

Sometimes you have to go out of  your comfort zone, Ava explained, speaking of her experience as one of two women on a team: she goes out of her way to be equally friendly with everyone!

Siobhan: “My best friend is the one who makes me the best person I can be.”

Siobhan described herself as someone who is “ísh” – but with a perfectionist as her best friend, she has to rise to meet expectations!

Maria: “Friendship is something that has to be cultivated.”

Maria left friends to come here, so she feels it is incumbent on her to keep in touch. Having made that effort, she finds it is easy to pick up her friendships as if she hadn’t been away.


Alison was eloquent in presenting the reasons she wants to join TMP. Her love of international organizations and her passion for “groups that help people become their best selves”  have lead her to us. She believes that TMP is the place where she can learn to be a better speaker(*) and, in a world where it is all too easy to be distracted, an active listener. 

If Alison gets our vote, she promises to use her communication and social media skills to benefit the club. 

(*) Alison won the table topic award. It seems we’re already impressed with her speaking ability!


Mohammad on Tristan’s “Shall I Break the Ice?”

Although Mohammad argued that title was redundant (there wasn’t actually a question in this case!), he praised Tristan for an excellent introduction (explaining the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the speech), for structuring the his ideas with three main points, and for choosing a good personal story to illustrate his personality. He noted Tristan’s confident style in moving away from the lectern, his use of gesture, his eye contact with the audience, and the way Tristan picked up easily after a moment’s hesitation. Mohammad suggested two points for consideration in the future: a more dramatic opening, such as a story, might draw the audience in at once, and recommended making a link referring to the speech title.

Siobhan on Josep’s “A Place of Happiness and Genuine People”

Siobhan commended Josep for meeting the objective, to use visuals in support of the theme, although she added that, as he was already a master at this, it was not much of a challenge!  She noted Josep’s ability to interest an audience: by choosing a topic of general interest, human values; by his teasing “I could have talked about…. But…”  and echoing this in the conclusion; and by his clever questioning (not just a rhetorical question), Josep named someone to answer and then paused while other people chipped in with ideas. She suggested that, although there was natural gesturing and some vocal variety, more drama could be used to emphasize important ideas.

Patrick on Debbie’s “Don’t  Hit Zee Boat!”

Patrick opened by listing the objectives Debbie had been given when she first presented this speech – a strong attention-grabbing opening, incorporating more varied gestures, and using better voice projection. This time round, he told her, “You didn’t do a great job…. You did an amazing one!” Patrick noted that he was engaged from the beginning, followed her on her “crazy” journey, and enjoyed the high energy of her conclusion. As Debbie’s speech was six seconds over time, Patrick made this the basis of his only recommendation for improving this “Oscar-winning” performance from “a great actor”!

Tricia on Bob’s Off-Pathways Challenge Speech

Bob wanted 10-20 minutes to prepare a speech on a subject to be chosen by the Toastmaster of the Evening. Claudia sent the subject “Lessons I Learned” while she was introducing the first speaker.

Tricia spoke with delight of Bob’s self-challenge: for an experienced speaker, this was a way to make things interesting! She said the result was a particularly “relaxed and natural” presentation style. Tricia enjoyed his reference to Mark Twain to invoke the relationship of children to their parents and to link this with Bob’s own adolescent experience, a brief time when “I didn’t like my parents very much.” Later, he began to appreciate the lessons they taught him, which have guided him through life. She noted that the quotations and sayings of their teachings provided structure to the speech – “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and “The journey is the reward.” A final piece of praise was the way Bob infused his talk with personal anecdotes. She had only one suggestion – other than to repeat the challenge in the future! – to avoid (Zoom) light reflecting on his glasses.


Charged with the task of evaluating the evening as a whole, Laura F noted a number of  issues but found even more to praise –     

Well done  –

  • Claudia had chosen an excellent theme designed to create “a warm and fuzzy evening”!
  • It was good to have Tristan become an “official” TMPer by presenting his Icebreaker.
  • Welcome back, Laura B!   
  • The evening had many ‘firsts’. Well done!
  • Lars as first-time Table Topics Master, with an opening that introduced the theme of friendship and his excellent use of inspirational quotations.
  • Yannis, first-time Timer.
  • Bob for the first-time self-challenge.
  • And several people as first-time Table Topics speakers.     

Could do better – 

  • There was an interruption when the food arrived, making it impossible to hear everything the speaker was saying. Claudia suggested that, in situations like this, we might want to wait for noise to subside.
  • There were some technical difficulties – Zoom speakers cut out several times.
  • Please, Zoomers, be on hand…. Two people were called to speak and weren’t there!


Ava, visiting from Speechmasters, has been trying to see all the anglophone Toastmaster clubs in Paris.

Chaitali asked a colleague how he had become such a great speaker… Toastmasters!

Our contest guest speaker at the last meeting, Maria was welcomed back.

Fernanda knew Toastmasters from a Zoom meeting in Nice.

We were happy to see Florence back again for a third visit.

Finally, Thibaut proclaimed the evening “Good again – as usual!


This year Anaelle has had responsibility for membership – and each week we have seen many guests and our club is growing! More recently, she has taken on a second role, that of VP Education, something a highly experienced Toastmaster once said was even more demanding than being President.     

Now she has taken on the mantle of Area Contest Chair, another huge job.     

In order that this does not becoem the straw that breaks the camel’s back, please lighten her load by volunteering.


Your  help is needed at the area contest on Sat, Feb 24 (afternoon only).


judges (must have completed level 2), timers, tie-break judge, and sergeant-at-arms.

Please support our club contestants – Bob (evaluation),  Siobhan (speaker), and Tricia (double entry).

Please support Anaelle, Area Contest Chair – let her know how you can help!


Alison – Table Topics               

Josep – Speech

Siobhan and Mohammad – Evaluation


Feb 13 – Executive Committee

Feb 20 – Next meeting

Feb 24 – Area Contest



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