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

 

(dis)Abilities in Toastmasters

“Whether I am in my wheelchair, dealing with my light sensitivity or my sound sensitivity, I am treated as an equal.” This is one of the key phrases in my entry for the International Speech Competition this year.

For people dealing with disabilities, some disabilities are easy enough to overcome than others, like having meetings held in an accessible facility. Other things like overcoming exhaustion, illness, sensitivities you can’t control, and having the need for an interpreter can seem too large a gulf to bridge.

From personal experience, what I’d like to tell everyone is, “Go For It!!!”

I live with a severe chronic illness that at one point kept me 98% bed bound, but thankfully is now down to about 75%. Since regaining a little strength, I started looking for opportunities to improve myself and was guided towards Toastmasters, where I have been able to “Find My Voice.”

I was worried that my wheelchair would be a barrier, that I constantly must be wearing a hat and sunglasses would be a barrier, that I am scent sensitive would be a barrier, and that I am sound sensitive would be a barrier, but my fears were unfounded!

I am a grateful member of Cambridge Toastmasters #2728, where people have welcomed me in from Day 1. The facility we use is wheelchair friendly, people have learned to track my head movement rather than my eye movement for the purpose of evaluations, our club has gone scent free, and traditional applause has been substituted for the form of applause used by the deaf community. These small changes have reduced pain and suffering I would otherwise have to just chosen to “endure”. I wasn’t expecting people to change tradition for me, but this open willingness has touched me deeply and created a sense of inclusivity.

Many people living with disabilities are part of a marginalized population and having disabilities can lead to isolation, feelings of inadequacy, and depression, but it doesn't have to be that way!
One of my personal goals at Toastmasters in the years to come will be to help encourage and be a bridge between those with (dis)Abilities and the clubs in our District. I am hoping that I can help others dealing with (dis)Abilities “Find their voice” too and become a positive instrument of change in our world.

My loving challenge to other clubs is to think outside the box and find new ways to think about how to be inviting to members who may fear acceptance because of being “different” or “limited”.

Ms CJ Janzen
Member of Cambridge Toastmaster
Club #2728

Speech or Presentation? Knowing the Difference

Speak to Inspire TM

Knowing when to make a speech and when to make a presentation may be more important than you think.

You may have seen a Toastmaster speak passionately about issues of importance only to dampen the impact of his or her speech by putting up Power Point slides full of technical data. The effect was to dilute the passion and conviction in the speech. When this happens, how do you evaluate the speech? Do you view the Power Point as part of the speech?

When do you speak and when do you present? First, it helps to know the difference.

A presentation typically employs visual aids to convey data.
A speech relies on words alone to create feeling and imagery in the minds of the listeners.

How do you choose? Determine what’s best for each occasion, each audience, based on their needs, their concerns and expectations.

A presentation is generally the best vehicle for showing specific, detailed information. Ideally, clear uncomplicated visual data detail to prove or support the presenter’s points.
A speech is more appropriate for striking larger themes and conveying emotion, with a greater dependence on language to convey ideas ‘visually’.

Philip Coakley ALB, ACS - Speak to Inspire Toastmasters
Adapted ‘The Total Communicator’

Beyond Going Beyond Geographical Boundaries

I don’t know how many Toastmasters would do the amount of commuting Michael McAra, DTM does from Toronto to his club in Mississauga. I’d guess more than a few, especially for the Toastmasters living outside major cities.

Another question is how far would you go?

Meena Gurung, a Toastmaster since November 1, 2017, lives in Chapleau. Meena first learned about Toastmasters in her native Nepal while working in the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Program. The long distance made it too far to travel to Kathmandu. Meena returned to university for graduate studies in forestry. Fortunately, she had highly marketable skills needed in Canada and moved to Canada in 2005 with her husband and two daughters. She found employment in Hornepayne in 2008.

Recently Meena was hired by the Ministry of Natural Resources in Chapleau, about three and a half hours south of Hornepayne and only a little over a two-hour drive to the nearest Toastmaster Club in Timmins.

Porcupine Toastmasters now has a new member, who made the 200 km trip from Chapleau to deliver her Ice Breaker speech. Meena told the members of Porcupine Toastmasters, the story of her journey to find a club. Meena grew up on a subsistence farm in Nepal. Most girls of her generation did not have the opportunity to attend school yet Meena was able to complete university, emigrate to Canada and begin a new path of learning as a Toastmaster. Where will Pathways take her?

Colleen Charland, DTM

Going Beyond Geographical Boundaries

Something interesting to note about Michael McAra, DTM…. Michael lives in downtown Toronto (District 60), but his Toastmaster home club is Lambs to Lions (District 86), a Club that he is a founding member of. He does not work in Mississauga either. He simply loves the Club and is very committed to it’s success. He commutes between his home and the Club meetings. He notes, “I have an express GO bus that gets me to the Mississauga Central Library, one hour door to door so it’s an easy commute, and as a Charter member, I am proud of my home club in Mississauga.” How many Toastmasters would do this amount of commuting for a Club?

He has also been very involved in providing support to Division leaders in District 86 by helping with our contests. Michael served as Chief Judge at the Area 82 and Division D contests. He recently delivered an Art of Effective Evaluations workshop within Division D. He is very open and willing to share his knowledge and support so that we delivered exceptional events. Kyla Werret, Division D Director notes, “He has always gone out of his way to help on many occasions. Mike always sets an exemplary leadership example. He has a lot to offer and offers his knowledge, time, and dedication to Toastmasters freely”.

In the past, Michael has been a member of two District 60 clubs and he still visits them from time to time. Aside from everything else on his plate, he is also supporting a club looking to charter in District 60. He retired early from the Bay Street “rat race”, but keeps himself busy taking a US Constitutional Law course. This may explain why he loves and excels at being a Chief Judge at Toastmasters contests! When he lives in Toronto and comes to Mississauga so regularly for his Toastmasters, he is truly a member who goes above and “beyond, geographical boundaries”.

Muktha Tumkur, ACG, ALB

Art of Effective Evaluation Workshop November 1, 2017

Michael McAra, DTM, held a workshop on the Art of Effective Evaluations on November 1, 2017. He had 11 eager Toastmasters attend, all very interested to raise the bar on their evaluations. It was a very informative night and we also learned some history about Plato, Socrates and Aristotle! The purpose of the workshop was to understand the need and value of effective speech evaluations and to identify ways to improve our evaluation skills through group discussion. There was invaluable discussions through the evening. We were asked to keep in mind our own reasons for wanting to become a more effective speaker (how powerful - treat and respect others how we would expect to be treated and respected) and that we need to provide quality evaluations to help a speaker improve. Jocelyne Vezina, DTM, was a test speaker and with a “round robin” type of evaluation, the group offered both verbal and written feedback for the test speaker.

Through reflective exercise, we worked through a club “climate” questionnaire about how our own clubs address evaluations. We learned a lot of great evaluation tips to add to our toolbox. These tools will help us all to improve evaluations, but most importantly, improve the experience for the speakers who we evaluate. We learned tips on how to leave our speakers feeling motivated and inspired after an evaluation. We also discussed the importance of providing a key area of improvement that would elevate the quality of the speech.

We spent some time talking about how clubs should try to match the speech evaluator with the speaker, where possible (i.e. not preferred to assign a person who has completed one or two speeches to evaluate an advanced speaker, unless you know the person is capable). One thing that was stressed a lot was the point of responsibility of the speaker to contact the evaluator days before the speech to let them know about the speech topic and send them a scan of the project objectives and evaluation guide. The evaluator also has responsibility to prepare in advance by reading the material the speaker sends and to gauge if there are any areas of concern that the evaluator should be cognizant of during the speech.

The Workshop was well delivered, I look forward to improving my evaluations based on what I learned. Michael added his own personal flair which made the evening very interesting and engaging!

Please let me know if you need anything else!

Muktha Tumkur, ACS, ALB

The Strong Silent Type

Carl NausYou know this type of person. It is someone at your workplace, in your neighbourhood or in your Toastmaster community. They are the type of person that keeps a low profile, yet they are so reliable and dependable and in their quiet way, they let you know that they are there to help you and you know you can always count on them. Carl Naus, ACS, ALB is that strong, silent Toastmaster type. He has Toastmaster years of experience behind him which he is willing to allow others to benefit from. He can always be seen taking on one role or another whether it be at a club, area, division or district level. Kyla Werrett notes, "Carl is also integral to every DEC meeting stepping in to help out as SAA or logistics coordinator. He's been at many Conferences. It’s a real honour to have Carl on the Division D Area Director team."

He is the epitome of what Toastmasters is all about. He doesn’t take on a major role just once like many of us do just to earn a credit. He mentioned to me that he takes these major roles on twice because it gives him the opportunity to apply what he learned from his first experience. As an example, he served as Area Director last year, but he took on the role again so that he can apply what he learned and truly grow from his experience. How many of us do that as Toastmasters?

To me, he is an example of someone who constantly goes beyond club, area, division and district boundaries fluidly helping in many forums. I’m sure like many of us, he has a busy life outside of Toastmasters, but he makes the time to help. He can also be found at so many events as an attendee, which is also another great way to support an event. He has helped me with several recent key events bringing projectors, timing devices or power bars. Thank you Carl, for everything that you do and for everything that you do for so many of us!

Muktha Tumkur, ACS, ALB

Toastmasters District 86 Spring Conference Contests

Having been a Toastmaster on and off for over ten years, I had attended some Area and Division speech contestants, but had never been to a District 86 Conference until April 2017. Therefore, the highlight of the Spring Conference for me was the District International Speech Contest, which was held on April 29, 2017. Roger Caesar, ACS, ALB chaired the Speech Contest. Roger was the District 86 International Speech Contest Champ in 2015 and 2016! There were ten incredibly polished speakers. I have never seen so many high caliber speakers on a stage in my life! All of their speeches were impactful with strong messages. Each of the speeches was orchestrated for amazing delivery with perfect vocal variety, gestures, comfortable use of the stage and of course the speech preparation itself (opening, body, close, call to action). It was a very strong competition and meticulously organized. It would have been really difficult to be a judge. I hope to one day be on the District 86 Conference stage competing in a speech contest…. The winners of the International Speech Contest were:

1st Place – Jose Vivar
2nd Place – Ross Mackay
3rd Place – Neil Dunsmore

The District Evaluation Contest was held on April 30 and was chaired by Brian Brennan, DTM. I noticed that many of the conference attendees were madly taking notes about effective evaluation techniques we were learning! I wished I could have performance reviews from these very effective evaluators! The winners of the District Evaluation Speech Contest were:

1st Place – Kwesi Millington
2nd Place – Andrew Mertens
3rd Place – John Constant

Kudos and thank you for all of the judges in both contests!

Muktha Tumkur, P. Eng., MBA, ACS, ALB

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

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