Ben Meets Mike Storkey, Toastmasters International President

Last Wednesday, I met the President… Mike Storkey, President of Toastmasters International. And in my opinion, he trumps most other presidents!

An Afternoon at Toastmasters

I spent the afternoon of this hesitant spring Wednesday at a Toastmasters event in Docklands, one of London’s shiny business centres.

Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Clubs can be community based, themed (by language or profession for example), or corporate (clubs open to employees of a certain company).

Mike Storkey was the keynote speaker at this event and glided through his presentation with a pleasing Australian lilt, handling with finesse a wide range of questions in the Q&A that followed. He gave tips on how to launch new clubs, focusing on the challenges of launching corporate clubs in particular.

My Favourite Quote

When trying to persuade your head of HR to sponsor a corporate Toastmasters Club, he warned you’re likely to be asked,

“But what if we expend a lot money and effort to train someone to be an excellent speaker, presenter, leader…and then they leave the company?”

Mike’s recommended answer?

“But what if you don’t train them…and they stay?

A Focus on Leadership Development As Well

One clear message was that Toastmasters doesn’t exist just to help you improve your public speaking—though many people join for that reason. It’s there to build many different skill sets, amongst which leadership features prominently. Pathways, a new programme being rolled out across regions over the next two years, will offer a modern and effective way of helping you achieve diverse goals.

Mike made the point that because of the leadership development benefits that accrue, everyone should also consider becoming a club official: it offers yet another opportunity to build your skill-set in a safe environment. “Imagine,” he pondered, “you get old and decrepit and ask yourself the what if question: What if I’d taken the trouble to improve this or that skill? Where would I be now?”

The best speech Mike ever heard?

Of course he’d heard thousands and admitted sometimes finding it easier to remember a speaker’s face than their words. The most memorable speech for Mike, however, was one that left him thinking about things very differently: the speech given by Mark Brown at the Toastmasters’ World Championship in 1995, entitled “A Second Chance”.

Pausing, he added, “I think The Gettysburg Address was the best speech I ever read, because it was short and powerful.”

Why Ben Joined Toastmasters

I myself joined about two years ago and never looked back. As an author, I know it’s critical for me to have presentation skills – but indeed, it’s invaluable to for almost everyone, no matter what your walk of life. There are clubs all over the world. Take a look and see if there’s a club near you!

 

Happy….

Happy…Lunar Year of the Chicken!

Hurrah, we all get another chance to make our new year’s resolutions!

Have you made yours yet? I have. Mostly about fitness and getting a new book ready for release. I’ve made it to yoga class three weeks in a row and am busy editing away. I’m on my way!

What are your new year’s re-resolutions?

What plans have you made?

All the best wishes for a new wonderful year from,

Ben

Author Event: Ben at the Travelling Through Bookshop

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Ben was one of three authors this evening who were selected by Novel London to read the opening chapter of their latest novel at the Travelling Through Bookshop and Cafe. The event was packed to standing capacity only.

This event’s theme was “an evening of international fiction”. A recording will be uploaded at Novel London soon, as well as at their Youtube site!

Novel London is a literary event where writers read their opening chapter to an intimate audience. The evening features a diversity of novelists and takes place in bookshops and venues in central London.

Did you miss the event? Sign up to join Ben’s private mailing list and be the first to know about future events with Ben!

Ben Live at the Travelling Through Bookshop – Tomorrow Fri Oct 7th!

Join Ben tomorrow

FRIDAY 7th OCTOBER 2016.

He’ll be reading Chapter 1 from his novel, Something In The Water

at the Travelling Through Bookshop and Cafe.

131 Lower Marsh, London SE1 7AE

6:00 – 7:30pm

See you there!

 

GETTING THERE

Travelling Through Bookshop and Cafe is located close to Waterloo Station, on Lower Marsh Road. It is a modern fusion of independent bookshop, cafe, culture hub and art space with a specific focus on world culture, art and travel.

To view previous recordings, please go to http://bit.ly/1E7yU1k

Join us the Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1WoNZUz

Follow us on Twitter @Novel_London

Or visit the website: www.novellondon.co.uk

This is a free event but please purchase a drink of snack from the bar during the breaks.

A very special thank you to our sponsor, Reedsy:

 

Novel London 1st Chpt Readings at Travelling Through Bookshop & Cafe

Novel London is pleased to announce an evening of international fiction at independent bookshop – Travelling Through Bookshop and Cafe, in Waterloo, London on Friday 7th October.

Join us for a great literary night out that brings people into bookshops and connects readers with audiences – in person and online.

Three novelists will be reading the opening chapter to an audience, which will be recorded for the web.

1. BEN STARLING is passionate about gender equality, marine conservation and boxing, all central themes in his work. His interest in marine life has taken him across three continents over the past three decades. He is Oxford Univeristy’s only ever quintuple boxing Blue (varsity champion five years running), was Captain of the university boxing team, competed until recently, and continues to coach. Ben graduated with a Master of Arts and a Master of Philosophy. He was born in the USA, but has lived in the UK since childhood.

Ben will be reading from his novel, Something In The Water.

2. HELENA HALME is a Finnish author based in London. Her books include The Englishman, a best-selling romantic novel, which won an Awesome Indies badge on publication. Her other titles are The Navy Wife, a sequel to The EnglishmanCoffee and Vodka and The Red King of HelsinkiThe Finnish Girl, her latest novella, is a prequel to The Englishman.

STEPHEN MARRIOTT will be the compere for Novel London in at Travelling Through Bookshop and Cafe.

He is a travel author who prefers to walk the roads less travelled. His passion for travelling under his own steam, all began when he walked out on a fifteen year career in the investment industry and kept on walking. This journey eventually took him to the foothills of the Pyrenees and a walking adventure across Spain on the historical Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. The adventure inspired his debut novella Candyfloss Guitar, a #1 Kindle Store book.

You can learn more about Stephen and his http://bit.ly/AmazonCandyflossGuitar

GETTING THERE

Travelling Through Bookshop and Cafe is located close to Waterloo Station, on Lower Marsh Road. It is a modern fusion of independent bookshop, cafe, culture hub and art space with a specific focus on world culture, art and travel.

To view previous recordings, please go to http://bit.ly/1E7yU1k

Join us the Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/1WoNZUz

Follow us on Twitter @Novel_London

Or visit the website: www.novellondon.co.uk

This is a free event but please purchase a drink of snack from the bar during the breaks.

A very special thank you to our sponsor, Reedsy:

Ben Live – Upstairs at the Ritzy, London

Ben live – storytelling at Upstairs at the Ritzy, London, UK, September 19th, 2016.

Ben Live at The Torriano, London

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Ben – Live storytelling at The Torriano, London, UK, September 14th, 2016.