Fortunate Failure

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” ~ Inago Montoye in The Princess Bride

The word referred to in this quote is “Inconceivable” but another word to which this quote could be applied is “failure”. Over the many years I have been a part of the Toastmasters organization, I have seen many people take on the role of Club Officers. Some did amazing jobs and others . . . . not so much. The point of taking on the role isn’t that your Toastmaster club will rise or fall based on your performance. The point is to grow as a leader, a communicator and a person.

As human beings, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. If you are taking the role of (as an example) President of your club this year, you may compare how well you do to past Presidents. If, in previous years, the President has led the club to be a President’s Distinguished club and you do not see that happen during your year, this does not make you a failure. If you then quit Toastmasters because of that experience, that might qualify as failure.

The only failure in life is really the failure to learn something.

When I had been a member of my first Toastmaster club for only 2 years, I was asked to be the Vice President of Membership. At the time, my club had 34 members and the literature suggested that a healthy club should have at least 20 members. I thought, “Cool! I could do a terrible job and still will be very likely to wind up with more than 20 members.” I did almost nothing in my role as VP of Membership that year. I was unaware of the statistic in Toastmasters that suggests that an average club will lose about 1/3 of it’s membership at each renewal due to moves, changes in situation, and just plain losing interest. When the end of that Toastmaster year came around, my club had only 16 members. I hadn’t just blown it. I had blown it spectacularly!

But I had learned something! I learned that in order to survive, a Toastmasters club needs to constantly be growing. I learned that, even when a whole year of ignoring that fact, had decimated my club, we could come back to being a strong club again. Most of all, I learned that the point of being a club officer is not just to help the club. It is to learn lessons about leadership.

We learn by taking Club Officer Training. We learn by watching and learning from other officers both at the training and in our own clubs. Mostly, we learn by making mistakes, seeing the results of those mistakes and adjusting our course.

When I was a little boy, I conceived the idea that I could sneak out of my second storey bedroom to go and play by climbing out of the bedroom window, edging along a 5 inch wide ledge below the window and shinnying down the downspout from the roof. I had a harrowing experience which saw me dangling out of the window terrified for my life and being hauled back in by my mother. When I was safely back in the house I fervently asserted, “I’ll never do THAT again!”

Sometimes, that may be the lesson we learn: that the position we took on, was not a good fit for us. Perhaps, instead of “I’ll never do that again” we can say “I won’t do that again until I am ready for it” but it is still a lesson learned. It is a lesson learned without costing us anything but a little pride.

Did you join Toastmasters to get a club officer pin? or did you join to become more effective in business and in personal life? Don’t miss the opportunity to grow. Try something new in Toastmasters today.


By Bud Brown DTM

In Memory of Veronica Crick CL, CC

Yellow… Her Favourite Colour

I would like to share a poem I wrote on behalf of Speak To Inspire Toastmasters Club. Veronica Crick will be deeply missed after losing the battle to cancer Friday Oct 26th 2018. by Tuula Redditt

As she walked through the doors,
The room filled with light,
Dressed in beautiful yellow,
And a smile so bright.

As she walked up on stage,
For the very first time,
We saw her great strength,
And we knew she’d be fine.

Have you ever had lemons,
Thrown at your head?
That day we had caught them,
And made … Lemonade!

She spoke of life challenges,
So powerfully sour,
Adding sugar and ice,
To give her the power.

Yellow… her favourite colour,
I see everywhere I go,
like the large yellow maple,
Shining through the front door.

Her magnanimous spirit,
Will always live on,
In all who were touched
By her spirit so strong.

We will never forget,
Her message she made,
When life throws you lemons,
Then make lemonade!

VeronicaCrick

The Travelling Toastmaster

Felicia KetchesonTravelingToastmaster, Felicia Ketcheson, ACS, ALB, of London, Ontario, Canada, explores the 700-foot deep magma chamber of dormant Thrihnukagigur Volcano near Reykjavik, Iceland.
http://bit.ly/TI_TravelingToastmasterOct2018
#Toastmasters #Travel #TravelTuesday #Volcano #Iceland

Visit the Traveling Toastmaster page

Toastmasters Member Supports Nipissing Voters

Arlene Phillips, North Bay OPS Toastmasters incoming Secretary, used her Toastmasters leadership skills to organize a very impactful all candidates debate in North Bay in the week prior to the provincial election.
The event was sponsored by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union’s (OPSEU’s) Vote Better Campaign and the target audience was OPSEU members and their families. Ken Steinbrunner, OPSEU local 642 President, provided opening remarks.
As the Vote Better Campaign Mobilizer for North Bay, Arlene’s challenge was to host a public debate with the riding’s provincial candidates that included an opportunity for each candidate to speak, respond individually to audience questions asked by moderators, and debate issues with one another. Moderators were Natalie Rondeau, Vote Better Mobilizer, Sudbury and Jamie Kensley, We Own it Mobilizer. Melanie Alkins, North Bay OPS Toastmasters incoming Sergeant-at-Arms, played an important role as timer and also photographed the event. Five of the six local candidates accepted the invitation.

Nippising Voters
Nipissing candidates Vic Fedeli -Conservative Stephen Glass - Liberal, Trevor Holliday - Northern Ontario Party, Kris Rivard – Green Party, Henri Giroux – NDP, absent Bond Keevil – Libertarian

Candidate questions focused on public services and were specific to North Bay and Northern Ontario concerns. This was a one-of-a-kind event for the city where local voters could hear directly from most candidates in the Nipissing riding.
The event was a runaway success with about seventy people in attendance, almost double the number expected!
With four media outlets participating, the debate had print, TV and radio coverage. To quote the North Bay Nugget, Arlene explained “What we’re trying to do is get a higher percentage of our members out and voting. From my point of view, I get to vote for my employer. This is such a unique opportunity. When I go to the polls, I want to make an educated vote. And that’s important for the people of Ontario as well as the people across OPSEU.”
Despite an exchange described as “heated” between several candidates, Arlene is to be commended for her role in running a very informative, orderly and respectful event!

Submitted by Sandy Bell-Murray
Photo credits, Mel Alkins

Establishing Your Why

Why do the people do the things they do? Its because there is a reason. This idea came from me the other day after someone said “establish your why”.

Welcome Toastmaster readers....

Establishing your why is important. It gives you a reason to keep on going or maybe that decision to try something new.

My name is Shelly and I have been a Toastmaster since January 2016. I decided to join Toastmasters because I wanted to improve my communicating skills and I love talking!!

Toastmasters has given me the ability to become a more confident person and I have slowly applied what I have learned in my life. Fellowship with a great group of people, a better understanding of people and a great team work environment has been an added benefit of being a Toastmaster.

Working hard has always helped me find my way. I think we need that or at least I do. To have a purpose and even making/checking off lists. WORK IS DEFINITELY PART OF MY WHY!! As a Toastmaster I am here to work on my goals. I joined because I wanted to work on my public speaking. I didn’t realize that it would change my world.. Recently I was told by a fellow Toastmaster that “ we have one mouth and two ears and we need to listen twice as much”.... that has always been a challenge for me. What challenge you say? Thinking before I speak. I get excited most times and not think before I speak. Has Toastmasters helped with that? Yes it has but it has been a slow process in other aspects of my life. A saying by lots of people” keep it simple” and that is another goal I am working on.

Establishing your why is an important question in life. Its what keep you going. Having a goal and even if the plan changes the goal should not. That’s why establishing your why is important!!

Establishing my why? I need to work to make money, pay my bills, Toastmasters is a necessity so I can keep working on my communicating skills through listening/speaking. Fellowship with past, present and future people in my life.

Establishing your why is an important question one should ask themselves in starting a new venture!!

Establishing your why whether just to inspire yourself to become a better well rounded person is a last thought to leave you fellow Toastmaster readers.

Shelly Grant (1603 club secretary)

ShellyGrant

A Family Without Boundaries

Jeanie Lai blog

Do you know you have an extended family all over the world? Yes, you do! Toastmasters is a family without boundaries, and when you visit another country – of course, you have to visit your family over there!
And that is exactly what I did on my last trip to Hong Kong. It was great to connect with my (real) family, but I also dropped by a local Toastmasters club, TGIT – Thank God It’s Toastmasters Club, which is Hong Kong’s first advanced club. The theme of the meeting was “Masterchef” and, as promised, the meeting served up a delectable assortment of speeches. For example, I learned how to make a perfect cup of chai tea, and why steak should always, always be paired with potatoes. The advanced speeches were all from the Persuasive Speaking manual (under the traditional education program), which perfectly suited my palate because I have plans to work on that manual this year.
This visit resulted in a fun record of “firsts” for me: my first Toastmasters meeting outside Canada, my first visit to an advanced club, and, most delightfully, my first experience with a wine and cheese reception before a Toastmasters meeting. (Now, that’s food for thought!) I loved the congenial atmosphere of TGIT and I was greeted so warmly that I felt right at home with this new family.
The next time you travel, I encourage you to go see your extended Toastmasters family! This welcoming, worldwide family is a perk of being a Toastmasters member, so definitely go see them when you have the chance!

Jeanie Lai, ACB, ALB
Sheridan Park Toastmasters

What a Treat!

Thanks to the kind invitation by fellow toastmaster Ryan Belluz, I had the opportunity to attend my first ever Gaval Club meeting on April 21, 2018. As the test speaker at the Brampton Gaval Club’s Spring Speech Contest, It was such a treat and learned a great deal.

The speech contest ran smoothly and I had the opportunity to reflect on the enormous amount of preparation required behind the scenes by the organizers who were so dedicated. The various roles for the contest were executed seamlessly by the members who had seized the opportunity to polish and demonstrate their speaking skills and leadership.

As test speaker, I received so much constructive feedback from the 7 contestants, and was very much impressed by the youngsters’ sincerity, insights, and eloquence. Where on earth could we find a place where one speaks and others listen, and most of all they listen with the intent to understand and motivate? Only in Toastmasters!

While Toastmasters is where leaders are made, it is also where understanding happens. When we truly understand, we are empowered to respond meaningfully and purposefully. Understanding is exactly what we need more at home and work today.

By Philip Lai, ATMB
Member of Port Credit Club (1474)

Time is Fun

Reflections of Contest Season by Tuula Redditt

This year my plan was to take time out for myself and relish in my guilty pleasure ... of Toastmasters. Contest season kicked off early with clubs scrambling for volunteers to be test speakers, judges, chairs and contestants to take the 'Wild Ride' in Toastmasters challenging themselves with fantasic leadership roles. My 'Beyond Boundaries' card was burning a hole in my pocket and I volunteered where ever I could sneak out of the house with the excuse that I will get a point on my card if I go out. Or another favourite excuse to my husband was I can do my 'Wild Ride' speech  again as test speaker... and get a point. Before you knew it I had 7 points and decided to go after the big prize and get 12 points, a $50 gift certificate from Toastmasters International.

Wild Ride by Tuula Redditt: This speech takes you on a journey of the many wild rides I loved going on as a kid starting with the coin operated pony ride at the Woolworth Department store in Timmins, Ontario. Later loving the thrill of eating candyfloss which resembled pink fiberglass insulation and then going on the Tilt-a-Whirl (nicknamed Tilt-a-Hurl) with my friends and feeling sick afterwards. Even as an adult continuing to step out my comfort zone and going on the 'Bahemoth' roller coaster ride at Canada's Wonderland. My reflections of the past coincided with the Wild Ride of Toastmasters beginning with the pony ride and eventually building up courage enough to enter your first speech contest and experiencing the 'Tilt-a-Hurl' of Toastmaster rides, feeling a little sick afterwards. Finally discovering the 'Moment of Truth' when suddenly that near death experience transforms to 'EXCITEMENT'. You suddenly find yourself at the 'Bahemoth' of Toastmaster rides and competing at the District Conference Contest. I challenged everyone to take that coin out of their pockets and put it towards their next 'Wild Ride' but don't leave it in your pocket too long or the chocolate within the coin might just melt.

TakeTime4 FunI had the pleasure of competing in the International speech contest for Area 34 with some amazing and talented speakers. Two speakers in particular Michael Georgie from the City of Brampton TM and Veronica Hislop from Brampton Alpha both spoke about the Brampton libraries. Earlier that day I was busy having fun with free services provided by the libraries...3D printing. Check out the fun Ferris wheel clock that my husband and I designed in a 3D program called 3D MAX. I've named it 'Time is Fun'. So I challenge you all to take your precious time and have some fun. You never know what kind of Wild Ride you might end up being on. 'Go Beyond Your Boundaries' and have some fun!

P.S. Just so you know, writing this blog will give me my 12th point, completing my mission. My husband will be proud. 

"Two frogs are sitting in a pond and the one frog says the other,"Time is fun when you're having flies!"

Tuula Redditt. DTM
VP of Membership
Speak to Inspire TM Club
Brampton

 

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

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