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
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
You 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
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
I was a First Timer at the Spring Conference 2017 and wanted to take everything in. I also attended the Business meeting on Saturday, April 29, 2017. My work requires me to run a lot of committee meetings where I use Robert’s Rules of Order. Therefore, I appreciated that Toastmasters’ business meetings does use these Rules to ensure the meetings are efficient and follow an Agenda.
The following fantastic team of new leaders will be in place beginning on July 1, 2017:
Lisa des Vignes, ACB, ALB – Division A Director
Maheeza Mohamed, ACB, ALB – Division B Director
Mallika Sothinathan, ACS, ALB – Division C Director
Kyla Werrett, DTM – Division D Director
Myrna Barthe, DTM – Division L Director
Patricia Burness, ACS, ALB – Division M Director (not in picture)
Natalie Champagne, CC, ALB – Division N Director
Clifford Graham, ACS, ALB – Division S Director
Satinder Chane, ACB, ALB - Division T Director
Chris Brown, ACS, ALB – Division W Director
Congratulations to all of you!
Muktha Tumkur, P. Eng., MBA, ACS, ALB
I have been a Toastmaster almost ten years and I have always loved and embraced the Education Program. I find every aspect of my club involvement to be educational and supportive. I quickly took on a leadership opportunity. April 2017 I attended my first District 86 Spring Conference. The large selection of outstanding workshops added to my personal growth by sparking new ideas and creativity. I attended workshops which helped me to develop and fine tune my career strategies as well as I learned of techniques to help my Club, the Area, the Division and of course the District all succeed.
The contests were amazing! The speakers and evaluators were high caliber and therefore, inspiring. One day, I would love to be able to speak like these contest winners. The countless volunteers who ran the workshops themselves were solid, confident speakers. Everyone was so professional, so willing to learn more, to improve and to collaborate. I was in Toastmasters heaven!
Every second of the Conference offered excellent face-to-face networking opportunities. I built positive relationships with other like-minded Toastmasters throughout Southwestern, Central and Northern Ontario. I had the chance to meet many Toastmasters who I have only communicated with by email. I met key people who can help me in my Toastmasters strategy and met others who can serve as informal mentors for me. For the networking reason alone I will commit to attending every Conference because it will help me to keep connections with my network.
Finally, I was so inspired by the new Distinguished Toastmasters Recognition Dinner and the District Award Winners who were recognized for achieving their goals. I found the DTM dinner so symbolic and special. What amazing achievements and I couldn’t help but feel motivated and energized.
District 86 Toastmasters are quite a party bunch and were dancing and celebrating until early hours of the morning on the Friday (the Galactic party) and Saturday night of the conference. After all the days activities, I was too tired to go, but will make it a plan to attend the evening celebration at the Fall conference.
The Conference was an amazing experience and it has left me with a positive frame of mind. Mark your calendars for the District 86 Fall Conference, which is being held November 10, 11, 2017 at the Kingbridge Centre, King City. Take full advantage of what the Toastmasters experience can offer by attending the next District Conference. I look forward to seeing many of you again and meeting more of you. I guarantee that you will find it re-energize your passion for improving and it will help you focus on your public speaking and leadership goals by fine-tuning your development strategy for success!
Muktha Tumkur, P. Eng., MBA, ACS, ALB
My Toastmasters Strategy for Success – Part 1 by Muktha Tumkur, P. Eng., MBA
I have been a Toastmaster on and off since 2007 and am currently a member of the Port Credit Toastmasters Club in Mississauga. My most recent hiatus from Toastmasters was because I was completing an MBA. In the MBA program the courses that resonated the most for me were the ones related to strategy. I was surprised to learn how many companies struggle with their strategies (if they have them at all) to be successful. Successful companies have a solid vision, related measurable goals, transparency to share what they need with all staff, and they measure their results regularly to track performance.
Toastmasters, like any successful organization, have a clear vision, mission, strategy and goals to achieve their strategy. They are also transparent and share all of this information freely because they know that their success depends on yours, as a member. The benefits that you gain from your Toastmasters experience are measured throughout the entire organization. Therefore, Toastmasters membership certainly has its benefits!
Since you are President and CEO of “Me Inc.”, lay out your vision, mission, and strategy for your communication and leadership goals. Once you have that roadmap and you commit to it, you will succeed. Here are some tips so that you can be more strategic in your goals:
- If your goal is to improve public speaking, the leadership track helps too. At every meeting, you should try to have a speech, and a leadership role. You can be evaluated for a speech and one leadership role in any one meeting. Take on a leadership role at each meeting and try to complete speeches with a regular frequency
- It’s about quality (not paralysis by analysis), not quantity. Rehearse your speeches for timing and delivery!
- For speeches, pick a topic that interests your audience, send an outline to your mentor, and rehearse for timing and delivery, which develops confidence!
- Read the Evaluation Guide and evaluator’s criteria in your manuals carefully before you take on roles and especially for speeches. The evaluation guide is how you are being evaluated, so if you want a good evaluation, see what you are being evaluated on.
- Reach out to a fellow member in advance to ask them to be a speech evaluator for you. This gives them time to read the evaluation guide and allows them to come prepared to the meeting along with you.
- Use the leadership roles Project Matrix and develop a strategy that works for you. You can take on the timer role every week until you don’t need the credit anymore. You can also approach it by project and take on the roles that help you to finish one project at a time.
- Help Organize a Club Speech Contest, Club Speech Contest Chairman, Help Organize a Club Special Event…. We have lots of events coming up, and we need horsepower to make them happen. Please contact your VP Ed for information on how you can gain more leadership skills.
- Ensure that the Project Completion Record at the back of your CC and CL manual are up to date and signed off by the VP Ed as soon as you complete a project. Leaving it until you finish all ten projects can be a nightmare.
- For effective meetings, the meeting agenda and duty roster must be prepared weeks in advance by the VP Ed. Set targets for yourself and help the club by signing up for roles and speeches in advance.
I titled this article with “Part 1” because we can learn so much from each other. I am sure that many of you have similar strategies, which helped you achieve your Toastmasters communication and leadership goals effectively. I challenge you to write the next article for this series!
Brilliant Bob’s 90th Birthday Bash
On August 30th Hershaw Toastmasters hosted a perfectly charming celebration of long time Toastmaster, DTM and inspirational gentleman Bob Dye in honor of his birthday. No detail was left unchecked in preparation of this special event with guests and members donning handmade bowties and 1920’s fashion. Musical performances of Summertime, Moon River and Edelweiss were elegantly sang out by Mikael Gatje, Merle Miller, Alice Siefert and Isabel Hershaw with keyboard accompaniment of Rueben Calalang. Friends from Toastmaster of Cambridge and District 86 Director Vitaliy Fursov brought with them merriment to this special occasion with Bob brilliantly taking center stage. It was a delight for all in attendance to share their heartfelt memories, impressions, admiration and amazement of all things Bob. A Happy 90th Birthday to our dear friend, mentor and fellow Toastmaster Bob Dye!