Memoirs from the North

Go For Bold Challenge by Colleen Charland

Inspired by OPS Toastmasters and their kick off to 2019 with Moments of Truth, North Bay and Area Toastmasters chose March 20, the first day of spring, a time of renewal and regrowth as the perfect time for Moments of Truth.

In addition to the need for more members, we decided we needed more social activities especially those that included family, friends and Toastmasters from other clubs. I went home that night wondering what social events might interest our Toastmasters and possibly attract new ones.

Low and behold within 36 hours, a “Call to Dinner” appeared in my inbox. Edwin a Mining Engineer/Estimator (PEng) for Cementation Canada North Bay, ON and VP of Education of Cementation Toastmasters invited our members to a fellowship dinner where he was the guest speaker. I’m happy to report four members with four guests attended to support and evaluate a fellow Toastmaster with his speech “Keep Your Fork the Best Is Yet To Come. Pretty impressive for a club with only ten members.

Less than a week later I received another email from the other corporate club requesting help with Pathways. I offered to do a Q&A session or a speech and was given a speaking spot. My level 4 speeches did not fit the time allocated so I signed up for my second path and broke the ice.

In the right place at the right time, good karma, or divine intervention? I'm not sure but I’m going for BOLD! and more inter club events.

Colleen Charland DTM
North Bay and Area Toastmasters

Speechcraft at Waterloo Silver Tongue

During one of our exec meeting’s, the executive was facing two challenges. We were looking for ideas on how to grow our membership. We also identified that the current membership was not progressing well on presenting prepared speeches. It was identified that we should offer a Speechcraft program which also included any of our current membership participating. The result exceeded all our expectations.

I called the Speechcraft program “Toastmasters on Steroids”. Not only did we attract new members, our current membership embraced the program and accelerated their own development. In the span of 6 weeks, several of our members presented 3 speeches. Prior to Speechcraft, we were averaging members presenting a speech about every 3 months! Some had been members for some time and had yet to do their Ice Breaker.

One of the issues we had in running the Speechcraft program was that most of our club’s membership base were fairly new. To assist with the mentoring, we brought in mentors from other clubs to assist with the program. Each participant was provided an experienced Toastmaster mentor. These mentors assisted in speech development, evaluations and in providing the education sessions. The result was a very successful Speechcraft program which ended with an Open House/Graduation Night. We had so many guests attend this event that we needed more chairs!

Based on how successful our first Speechcraft program was, it was decided to run a second program starting in January 2019. We promoted this Speechcraft at our Open House Graduation and on social media. We were able to attract a high number of participants, most of which have become members. One of the most impressive parts of Speechcraft was seeing the progression in speech presentations through the program. At the first graduation, we had the participants present a speech on “what they had learned” through the program. It was not intended as a sales pitch, but after hearing the testimonials, we did attract a large interest in our upcoming January Speechcraft.

The first Speechcraft was offered in lieu of our regular meetings. As not to disrupt the club’s normal meetings, the second Speechcraft was offered on alternating weeks. In addition to guests experiencing a normal club meeting, the two-week separation provided our Speechcraft participants time to prepare for their next speech project.

Since conducting Speechcraft, I have found the club fellowship seems stronger and members are more engaged. Our club’s motto was “We May Be Small In Size, But We Are Mighty In Energy”. I think we need to change our slogan as we are not small in size anymore. Speechcraft has assisted our club in growing membership and keeping the current members highly engaged in a warm, friendly and motivating environment.

Our “Small Club That Thinks Big”, is now “A Big Club That Thinks Members Come First”.


Russell Deacon, CC, PI L1
Club President, Waterloo Silver Tongue

Survivors and Self-Advocates Toastmasters - Club Launch

Did you know that, according to the World Health Organization, that 15% of the world’s population live with a disability?

I don’t know about you, but I live with some serious {dis}Abilities and attending a brick and mortar club is sometimes not possible because of my health or physical limitations.

I think I was extremely lucky to have rolled through the doors of Cambridge Toastmasters ( club 2728) and found a room full of people who were accepting and willing to adjust their norms, just slightly, so that I could become a member of their club. The changes weren’t huge, but they made all the difference in the world to me!

Now picture a world that is soundless, a world that is dark, a world in which you have no voice, or a world where pictograms are your only form of communication! Does Toastmasters have a place for people like this?? The answer is now…. YES!!

With the support of Toastmasters International, a TI Past President, 2 Sponsors (both from District 86), and 2 club mentors, we are working towards an open and supportive online club for people who might need extra time, need interpreters, may not speak the way you or I do, and anyone else interested in this club. A special thanks goes out to Jennifer Aucoin for developing and nurturing this concept and turning into a reality!

My call to action for you District 86, is to think about your loved ones, your friends, and other people who have touched your life who might benefit from being a Toastmaster or who may benefit from a club that is trying to meet their needs.

Ralph Smedley said: “Ours is the only organization I know dedicated to the individual, we work together to bring out the best in each of us and then we apply these skills to help others.”

Survivors and Self-Advocates Toastmasters inaugural meeting as we work to found this new club is:

Thursday March 14th at 11:30 am EST.
The meeting begins at 12pm EDT (-4 GMT).

Please arrive early so we can help you overcome technical issues and get everyone settled in :)

You can find us at:

https://zoom.us/j/140489600

Have any Questions?? Contact cj_dodger@hotmail.com

CJ Janzen
Pathways EC5, PM5, IP1, Pathways Mentor

Club ‘Invasion’? Bring it On!

There were not 2, or 3, or 4... but 9 guests from Port Credit Toastmasters who literally ‘invaded’ our Raising Champions Advanced Toastmasters meeting on January 11. WOW!!!!! With our club members’ habitual camaraderie and their amazing energy, that meeting was simply OUTSTANDING.

Following their visit and inspired by that initiative, we decided to pay back the 'invasion’, having 7 of our members join the Port Credit Toastmasters meeting on February 4th. The result? Another fantastic meeting with guests and members alike truly enjoying the experience! Have you ever considered doing a ‘club invasion’ of this sort? Well... we absolutely loved it AND recommend it!

ClubInvasion

The best part about visiting other clubs is being inspired by their best practices, to share these new ideas with your own club members. I was personally impressed by the way Port Credit Toastmasters has a “Guest Greeter” role in their agenda, to introduce each guest and give them the chance to speak or be introduced by a seasoned member.

In my corporate clubs, guests are usually introduced by the Toastmaster of the meeting, but depending on the experience of the person in the role, welcoming of guests and requesting their feedback at the end of the meeting are sometimes ‘hit and miss’ practices, rather than the formal process I saw performed so well by the “Guest Greeter” at Port Credit Toastmasters. A great meeting role to suggest and start applying in my other clubs!

They also have a “Book of the Week” practice, that allows their club members to borrow a book on Communication, Presentation Skills or Leadership for two weeks. What a neat idea and an additional way to entice guests to join the club, so they can also benefit from that unique opportunity!

Visiting other clubs is an awesome way to discover great ideas that can make the experience of guests and members a lot better in our own club(s). Make sure to plan a visit to another club if you have never done so -maybe even plan having an ‘invasion’ of your club members to another club, to change the routine up and give memorable and truly enjoyable meeting experiences to all involved, and share any awesome best practices you discover here in our blog! In the end, everyone leaves a winner thanks to the experience, and stronger inter-club connections are built.

At Raising Champions Advanced Toastmasters we have enjoyed this couple of ‘invasions’ so much, that we plan to continue doing them throughout the year. Will your club be next???

Looking forward to our next club ‘invasion’!!!!!!

Amparo Cifuentes, DTM
VP Public Relations, Raising Champions Advanced Toastmasters 2018-2019

Enhancing Our Toastmasters Experience

People are attracted to Toastmasters because they see the opportunities to learn and grow in a friendly environment. At least, this was exactly why I was drawn to Toastmasters about two decades ago! Over the years, I have observed that, in order to retain, motivate, and excite our members, there are more that needs to be done by all members. We are engaged when we achieve our communication and leadership goals in a fun-loving and mutually supportive environment. While the club’s executives are tasked to foster an engaging club environment, it’s also our responsibility to help sustain a club culture that is fun and achievement oriented.

The good news is that Toastmasters does offer a time-proven structure that works. In other words, when we stick to the 'game plan', we will be on track to promote achievements (via prepared assignments and evaluations, etc.) and fun (table topics, quizes, humor, etc.) in our meetings. As such, we need full cooperation of our members, whose actions could be summarized as A.S.A.P. below:

A-ttend and fully present in meetings

S-ign up meeting roles in advance

A-ssist one another as necessary

P-repare speaking assignments

For most clubs, A.S.A.P. is exactly what they would need to succeed. On the other hand, for the more established clubs, there are actions beyond the basics that could be considered to further enhance the members’ experience given 'achievement' and “fun” have no real end point. There are always more challenging projects to be achieved as Toastmasters, and more “fun” in the meetings is always welcome!

In closing, I would like to encourage you, my fellow Toastmasters, to do the A.S.A.P. asap! At the same time, think of one additional specific action that you could take to help you achieve more and have more fun in your Toastmasters experience. After all, Toastmasters is not a spectator’s sports!

Philip Lai,

President, Port Credit Toastmasters Club (1474)

OPS North Bay Toastmasters Launches 2019 with Moments of Truth

January is a time for taking stock of things in our lives and for making New Year’s resolutions. So, OPS North Bay Toastmasters decided to kick off our first meeting of 2019 with a Moments of Truth event!

Led by our Club Coaches, Lisa Wilson and Joanna Liritzis, we took a closer look at where we want to improve as a club in the year ahead. And, with the benefit of brainstorming by a mix of new and older members, we have come up with some concrete ideas that we intend to put into action right away. We also had our first Pathways / Ice Breaker speech of the new year on the agenda, also titled Moments of Truth delivered by Melanie Alkins.

OPS North Bay Toastmasters is a relatively young club; it began six short years ago. We are indebted to the founding members, including current members Anthony Akomah, Pat Devereaux, Siobhan O’Leary and Arlene Phillips, for their vision and persistence. Our club is one of the few Ontario Public Service corporate clubs in the province.

As a smaller group, our members have taken on quite a bit of responsibility with executive and meeting roles. The energy and enthusiasm of the group and willingness of people to step up is infectious! This is a great base to build from as we grow our club in 2019.

OPSNorthBay TM

OPS North Bay Toastmasters at January 10, 2019 meeting. (missing are Club Coaches Lis Wilson and Joanna Liritzis)

If you live in the North Bay area, or are just passing through, we meet every 2nd and 4th Thursday, noon to 1 pm, Library Boardroom, 2nd floor, 447 McKeown Ave.

We’d love to have you visit us!
by Sandy Bell-Murray
2018 / 2019 President,
OPS North Bay Toastmasters

Opportunity Knocks, Deck the Halls

Diane pic1Date: November 19th, 2018
Author: Diane Gordon, DTM, District 86 Club Extension Chair 2018-2019

With the holiday season fast approaching, most clubs will be celebrating with a Festive Event. This is a time for team building and comradery as well as to recognize Club successes and celebrate their Club Member’s achievements. It is a perfect occasion to invite guests to share in your celebration and offer a “Taste of Toastmasters”.

January is resolution time. After your guests have had a taste of Toastmasters, I am sure they will be anticipating the main course. This would be a perfect opportunity to follow up with the guests who attended the holiday event, and invite them to your Open House in the New Year.

Open House sessions focus on educating and entertaining interested guests. We demonstrate all levels of skills and achievement that can be obtained through the Toastmasters program.

Diane pic2An open house is fun and informative, while presenting the benefits of the Toastmasters Program in a condensed easy to follow, entertaining meeting format. Featuring a speaker(s) and evaluator(s), along with a strong focus on Table Topics. There are approximately 10 to 13 roles to be filled by fellow Toastmaster Members. The Toastmasters program is a lot to process, don’t overwhelm the guest.

So, let’s plan your Open House!

  1. Set a Date
  2. Choose a centrally located venue with ample parking
  3. Engage your entire Club by organizing a Committee, assigning roles & speakers
  4. Promote the Event - Market heavily through print, websites, social media and word of mouth
  5. Allow for visitation before and after the meeting
  6. Send out thank you notes (guests, Toastmaster volunteers and guest speaker)

Be sure to ask the guests to join or invite them to your next Toastmasters meeting. Thank them with a hand-written note to show your appreciation for their interest in the Toastmasters program.

Open houses are critical to the retention of Club Members and attracting new Club Members. It is optimum to plan for two open houses per year. Remember to keep it fun and entertaining!

Resource Links:

https://www.toastmasters.org/resources/

Press releases for media coverage
https://mediacenter.toastmasters.org/media-kit


Create a flyer

President’s Distinguished - Already?

Confidently SpeakingThe Toastmasters Distinguished Club Program is a great barometer to measure if your club is focusing on the right things to ensure a healthy club. It includes 'easy' points for administrative tasks like registering your club officers and getting them trained; and then a series of points for member achievement and new members. It clearly recognizes that without a focus on the members no club can enjoy lasting success.

Club officer training ensures that each officer understands their role - and how they can help the club be successful. The points for membership recognize that there is always attrition in the membership and that success is fleeting if you do not regularly sign up new members. The points for educational awards recognize when members are meeting their goals and enriching their lives. After all - members are only going to stay with the club if they are meeting the life goals they signed up to achieve!

I am very pleased to share that Confidently Speaking Toastmasters has just achieved the 9 points required to become President’s Distinguished for the 2018-2019 Toastmasters year!
Our Area Director, Iona Rodricks asked me to share how we were able to achieve this milestone so quickly. We are happy to share and hope that these thoughts help every club in District 86 to set their sights on President’s Distinguished this year!

Here are some key points that worked for us:

  • Club officers who want to do a great job and help the members succeed
  • Challenging ourselves in our club success plan. Like most clubs, our plan was written at the beginning of the year. As part of our plan we deliberately challenged ourselves to be President's Distinguished by December (and did it by October)!
  • Challenging every member to set goals. A member without a goal is someone that has not found their focus and direction. Members without goals are far more likely to leave the club - because they chose not to challenge themselves. Many who do not set goals will not get the full value out of Toastmasters and will leave.
  • Empowering members to step up for leadership roles even when fairly new, we give room to failing and learning as that is what develops a sense of collective ownership.
  • Setting a theme for the year. Our theme for the year is "Find your Greatness" based on the inspiration of Roger Caesar. We hope that every member takes that concept to heart!
  • Knowing our club’s identity and using that to attract new members. Confidently Speaking has used the slogan "A Culture of Fun and Excellence" on an ongoing basis to preserve and grow the fun supportive atmosphere that we have had for many years. We recognize someone every week for helping to preserve that culture. Guests seem to love the atmosphere and many want to sign up after their first meeting.
  • Recognizing member achievement (yes - I know that's obvious)
  • Committing to pathways. As several have said Pathways is the future of Toastmasters. The clubs that ask members to commit to pathways now are the clubs that will have ongoing success

We are off to a great start -- with lots of energy, new members and many existing members who have set their goals and want our help to achieve those goals.

We are looking forward and hoping that every member will set some kind of goal this year and that Confidently Speaking will help them to find their greatness!

Thanks to our club executive Maher Gamal, Naresh Gurpersaud, Ashok Mistry, Sylvette Mahoney, Amruta Joshi, Aravind Iyengar, Olga Paddubotskaya, Urmil Wadhwa, Tara Sani, Kevin Webb and Hamza Ahmad for all your dedication in reaching our goals so far! And thank you to Iona Rodricks for all your support!

Brian Patton
President - Confidently Speaking Toastmasters

Toastmasters International Values:  Respect • Integrity • Service • Excellence
Our Principles:  Lead By Example • Work / Play as a Team 

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