Member News March - 2015

Brahm Memone Receives His DTM

BrahmMemone

Congratulations Brahm for acheiving your DTM!

BrahmMemoneDTM

ADVENTURE-Susan Griffiths Visits The Court of Blarney in Newmarket

On February 5th I had the pleasure of visiting another club within my area. Myself and the president of my club attended The Court of Blarney (club 5591) meeting in Newmarket. The visit was truly enlightening.

Our club is very new, having charted in October of 2014, and we are therefore all learning as we go.The members of the court of Blarney welcomed us with open arms and we picked up a lot of time saving and organization tips that have improved our meetings immensely. We left feeling very energized and motivated. Our club president went home that night and wrote her next speech, and I went home and made notes of all the things we learned. I was also very honored to be voted the best table topics speaker of the evening. It is one thing to be successful within your club, but when members of another, much more experienced club tell you are doing a good job, it is very empowering and motivating. The Best table topics ribbon is very proudly displayed on my desk at work along with my Charter certificate.

THANK YOU court of Blarney for having us visit, and your ongoing support of our new club. The comradery and support that I have discovered within Toastmasters is truly amazing.

SUSAN GRIFFITHS

Susan Griffiths

ADVENTURE-Susan Griffiths Member of Allied Global-Leaders in Speech

Contests are amazing!
Energy is high, enthusiasm is electric and everyone is routing for all contestants!

I had the opportunity this week to attend my first contest. This was the international speech contest and the evaluation contest for our area. While I did not compete, I was asked, and honored to be able to fill the role of timer for the contest. Getting out to contests allows you to meet other toastmasters from other clubs. It allows you to hear amazing speeches and evaluations.
I met many members from many levels of many clubs. Even though it was a “competition” the comradery and support for all members is still the most obvious theme in the room, not “who won”.
I want to congratulate all toastmaster members who have participated in contests this year. Even if you didn’t “win” your contest, you have still experienced a personal win by successfully competing. Our club is very excited about jumping into the competition circuit this fall and next spring (we just chartered in October).

What Story Are You Telling? by Brian Gomes

At a recent Toastmasters meeting, I was excited to learn that one of the speakers would be talking about Affiliate Marketing since Affiliate Marketing is what I do for a living.

The speaker started out a with a definition of Affiliate Marketing which is a type of performance-based marketing in which a company pays a commission to affiliates when they refer customers that lead to sales. He then talked about different industries engaging in affiliate marketing, the size of the industries, trends in the industries, and he provided lots of numbers. My excitement fizzled, the speech was drier than I expected and it almost had me rethinking my career choice.

After his speech, he fielded a question from the audience: “How did you become interested in Affiliate Marketing?” The speakers face lit up and he explained, “Well, I have a friend who was broke and unemployed. My friend was approached by a company that was struggling to sell windows and doors and they asked him to help them get sales. In his first month, he earned $300 but he stayed with it and was able to increase that to $2,000 a month after three months. Today, he earns over $100,000 a year and the company has made him a partner in the business. I’m learning everything I can from my friend and I’m going to start in Affiliate Marketing soon.” That’s the speech I wanted to hear!

In talking with the speaker after the Q&A Session, he saw how he could have done things differently. The speaker just needed to tell the story of his friend’s experience in Affiliate Marketing and how it inspired him while also adding details and explaining Affiliate Marketing. There was no need to manufacture a speech with research – he had an interesting, personal story to share which he was passionate about and that the audience could connect with.

By telling his story, the message of the speech would also be focused. His title and message could have gone from, “Affiliate Marketing” which is a broad topic to, “Why I Want to Become an Affiliate Marketer” which is a narrowly focused, interesting message.

The audience always wants to hear our story. Stories are engaging, they’re what actually happened to us during our life journeys, and they are the situations and events that allowed us to learn the messages we are delivering in our speech. Stories allow us to show rather than tell. Audiences are less receptive when they are told things, they want to be taken for a ride, a journey where they see and live what happened, and these stories also convey our message.

If you’re doing a speech about your father and telling us he’s the greatest man you know, you can give us a list of things you admire about your father, or you can instead tell us stories in which your father’s great qualities come to life. A full story is not always required and anecdotes will often do. Anecdotes are short stories or descriptive accounts that are interesting or amusing. Even an informational speech can and should include stories and anecdotes. Let’s say you are doing a doing a workshop on “Outstanding Customer Service” - you can tell us the value of going above and beyond in customer service and explain to us how we can accomplish this, but to truly sell this to us, include a story about the airline pilot who, after a severely delayed flight, stayed at the luggage carousel until every passenger got their bags.

The Toastmasters International Speech Contest is a great forum to see storytelling in action. Winners and finalists of the International Speech Contest always tell a story – you cannot get to these highest levels of speaking without telling a story. At the Toastmasters club level, you will often see speakers telling rather than showing through stories. Stories are not just for the storytelling manual, we need to tell stories to engage and interest our audience, to personally connect with our speech, and to deliver our message. With every speech, it’s important to ask ourselves, “What story am I telling?”

Toastmaster History in Colbourg

First Female Town Crier Appointed in Cobourg

Toastmasters is on the job as usually - it helped this Town Crier to nail her position. This is history in my small town of Cobourg.
This may be hard to read, but the gist of this in my opinion, emphasizes how Toastmasters allows one to tap into their own personality, creativity, self-assurance ... and change lives.

Cobourg Town Crier

What Toastmasters Has Done For Me

ToastmastersAlumni-MargaretHigh

It was July 2007, my friend Doreen Feeney and I walked into a room full of strangers.

We were greeted by a friendly handshake and smile and a "Welcome To Toastmasters".  The first person I met was the greeter, the friendly handshake and smile welcoming me and putting me somewhat at ease. As each member stood up to explain their role I became nervous, thoughts of uncertainty filled my head," what am I doing here?"

I was asked to give my name and explain what bought me to Toastmasters. I tried to compose myself; I felt my mind racing to not sound like a blubbering idiot.  I answered the questions without any recollection.

By the end of the meeting I was impressed, but unsure if this was for me. My friend Doreen convinced me to give it another try; I did and stayed for 7 years. The knowledge and confidence and support that Toastmasters gave me and along with my mentor Peter Graham, who being a published Author , helped me to self publish my first book called "Heartstrings" a book of poetry. I then went on to publish two more books and started my own business "Just Case".

Toastmasters are people from all walks of life, and working towards the same goal gives the club a family atmosphere, everyone is there to help. I felt very safe making my mistakes in front of fellow Toastmasters while growing and learning.

Thank you Toastmasters!

Member News January - 2015

THE TOP 10 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR TOASMASTER LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL

Where are you in your Toastmaster Program?

Perhaps you have achieved your Competent Communicator and Competent Leader designations. Maybe you are unsure about the direction you want to take in your Advance Toastmaster Program. Are you feeling just a little bored? Have you become just a little complacent?

If you answered “YES” to any of the above questions then it’s time to “Boost” your leadership potential; step outside your comfort zone; grow your leadership muscles and explore the opportunities available to you outside of your Toastmasters Club. Take your communication skills to the next level.

David Letterman always had a top 10 list; it’s time for District 86 to create one too.

Here it is: The Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Toastmaster Leadership Potential:

  1. Become a Test Speaker for one of the upcoming Club Contests
  2. Participate in the Toastmaster Learning Institute
  3. Explore and learn about upcoming executive positions in your club
  4. Attend Club Officer Training
  5. Get involved in the upcoming conference – join a committee
  6. Take on a role in the upcoming Area and Division Contests
  7. Participate in your own Club Contest
  8. Participate in the District 86 Face book discussions
  9. Become a mentor to a newer toastmaster
  10. Start a Youth Leadership Program

I am sure there are many more leadership opportunities that could be added to this list. Create your own. The Toastmaster’s Program has so much to offer. So, what are you waiting for? Boost your Leadership Potential now.

Veronica Hislop ACS, ALB
Area 34, B, District 86

Member News December - 2014

Congratulations - District 86 Legacy Award

ReemaDuggalLegacyAwardCongratulations to Reema Duggal, ACB, ALB (Glen Abbey Toastmasters) for being presented with the first ever District 86 Legacy Award. 

District Governor Carolyn Hoxie and Immediate Past District Governor Tony Bratschitsch presented the award at the 2014 Fall Conference.

The recognition is for a foundational achievement for her vision for a District 86 Member Communication / Engagement Strategy. From April 2014, she and the Member Communications and Engagement Committee have been worked to transform and improve the way the District communications processes, applications, technology infrastructure, organization, and governance work. 

The Member Communications and Engagement Committee includes: Dennis Bartel, Tuula Redditt, Chris Brown, Justin O'Donnell, Hitesh Parmar, and Craig French.

I Didn't Want To Be A Leader by Bud Brown, DTM - Division W Governor

I'm not a leader by choice. I feel I make a better second in command. The one behind the scenes who lines everything up and hands the primed tool to a leader who can take all the glory (and also deal with the people in the cheap-seats taking pot-shots).

When I joined Toastmasters, it wasn't for their leadership-building path. It was for their communication program. For my first year in Toastmasters, I was just along for the ride. I did my 10 speeches and was called "competent". What I did not realize was that in that year, I was being groomed for Leadership. They groomed my listening skills by asking me to count ums and ahs and to watch for the use of a word-of-the-day. They taught me to be more organized by making me first a timer, then a Toastmaster, then an General Evaluator.
They taught me how to assess abilities and give positive, constructive feedback with evaluations of all sorts. They taught me about team building through being a General Evaluator and a Toastmaster and finally by getting me to run a contest.

Then they sprung their trap! "Would you be willing to be the VP of Membership?" I looked around at my club which had 26 members at the time and thought, "How hard can it be?" Under my skilled leadership, I took a thriving club of 26 members and turned it into a starving group of 16 rugged individualists. Clearly, I had a lesson to learn about leadership. Then it hit me. I felt a need to learn about leadership. Without my planning for it, Toastmasters had turned me into a leader-in-training.

This isn't a bad thing; whether you are part of a business, a social club, a non-profit organization or even your own family, groups of people need leaders to help them have direction. Often, those leaders are not the people with the titles. Business guru Jim Rohn said, "A leader is someone that people follow". It sounds so obvious doesn't it? but often the people who are leading are doing it unconsciously. They are confident in how they approach things and people sense that. Some people become such leaders because they naturally go in that direction and any group is fortunate to have such people. But the need for leaders is great and only a few get into that role without thinking about it.

A couple of years after I joined Toastmasters, they introduced the Competent Leaders Manual which basically organized the knowledge I had been getting; just by belonging to the organization. The Competent Leaders Manual did three key things. It put into words, the lessons that people had been unconsciously learning, it motivated people to take on different roles at their meetings and it gave credit to people who learned the whole spectrum of basic leadership skills. Now, while striving to become competent communicators, Toastmasters gives us a focussed tool toward becoming competent leaders.

I am currently on my third time through the Competent Leaders Manual and just like the Competent Communicator manual I get more out of it each time I apply the lessons in that powerful book. Have you actually read your Competent Leaders Manual? This week, take a look at what role you’ll be taking in your meeting, then go to the Project Completion Record in your Manual and find that role, read what the project says about it and purposefully grow.

I still don't aspire to be a leader. Even in my present role within Toastmasters, I think of myself as a servant leader: someone who prepares the way for others to achieve their goals. Something has changed though. Now I recognize that even staying in the background, I am someone whose example people will follow. If I want things to go well, I had better pay attention to the example I am setting. That means purposefully handling various skills that are called "leadership": Listening, evaluating, providing feedback, building teams and motivating, just to mention a few.

Be the leader you didn't want to be.

 

St Catharines Toastmaster attends Moscow Free Speakers Club

Founded on the eve of Perestroika by an American in 1988, the Moscow Free Speakers Club is the oldest Toastmasters Club in Russia and numbers about 75 members. It is English speaking.

So when Daniil Maslyuk, Vice President of Public Relations of this club invited me to be General Evaluator of meeting no. 602 in Moscow, I leaped at the chance. “We definitely would love to experience the Canadian style :-)” he had emailed in perfect English.

Having loved visiting Toastmasters in Paris and New York, Russia was not to be missed.

The meeting was scheduled for 7 pm on October 16th the day of my arrival in Moscow. I wasn’t sure to make it. Luckily I had just spent two weeks in Paris, my birthplace, so jetlag was not a problem and neither was my carry-on luggage. And with two extra hours to my day, (Moscow is two hours behind Paris) I felt the night was young.

But soon it was dark, cold and windy. The rain seemed to fall horizontally as we made our way by taxi to the Famous Gorny Institute of Mining where the Moscow Free Speakers Club gathers bi-weekly. With neither signs nor streetlights, the venue was difficult to find. Eventually, thanks to her flawless Russian, my long time friend Marie Stock found the correct classroom. She and her husband Bob had also agreed to experience Toastmasters in Moscow.

The room was packed. Heads turned. Toastmaster Mikhail Petrov CC greeted us warmly. A great Icebreaker for guests, we were asked to line up in the front, face the audience and speak! No was not an option. Names, occupation and what brought us there. An attentive Grammarian named Natalya Lapitskaya announced she would be listening for sentence structure and correct grammar. This it turned out she did to a tee and was more exacting than most native English speakers. The Table Topics led by Ilya ensued at a humorous clip, followed by two speeches. Given they were delivered in a foreign language (English) and with no notes, these were impressive as were the evaluations.

The meeting was high energy, positive, and well organized. Without exception, members were friendly and welcoming. In addition, Moscow Free Speakers Club has a superb website in flawless and fluid English. A top Toastmasters Experience to be sure, participating in this meeting was a highlight of 2014.

Marie Betteley CC CL President
St Catharines Toastmasters


Marie Betteley at Moscow Free Speakers Club

 

The Failed Experiment | Medical Researcher Sheetal Pundir | TEDxNickelCity

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Sheetal Pundir walks the audience through her experiences growing up in India. As a female growing up in India the concept of educating women doesn't exist. Despite the personal challenges and several failed experiments as a PHD student Sheetal believes these experiences played an important role in her research and the idea to redesign existing drugs that would improve its anti-cancer activity. As a result of Sheetal Pundirs research a US patent for novel anticancer drugs has been filed and the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada will be establishing a start-up Pharma in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

Award winning Public Speaker & Biochemistry Researcher Sheetal Pundir is a dynamic storyteller who captivates audiences all over with her experiences in India. Born and raised in India, Sheetal came to Canada in 2009 to pursue her doctoral studies in biochemistry. She is currently conducting research on the design and use of novel anti-cancer drugs at the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada in Sudbury.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.
View this presentation on youtube

Meet District 86 Toastmasters!

Heather Skolls (Area 25) and her husband Ken (President of Golden Gavel) along with Rose Weinberg (Area 24 Governor). Heather received a MADD award in the Spring for her work on this cause. Check them out on snapd!

Holiday Seaon Food Drive Success Story by Mark McKenzie, DTM

As many of you know since 2013 I have been doing the Holiday Season Food Drive for the benefit of the Salvation Army of Brampton. On the 27th of November Tuula Redditt from Speak to Inspire Toastmasters and Bolton Banter Toastmasters delivered about 140lbs of non-perishable food items to the Salvation Army of Brampton. Today I delivered another 240lbs and we are on track to collect roughly 3000lbs of non-perishable food items for the benefit of the Salvation Army of Brampton.

On Saturday I delivered a speech at Lambs to Lions at the Mississauga Main Library. In my speech I gave specific data and statistics that need to be considered. Check out my speech from Saturday on YouTube for some of these details that were discussed.

Why do I share this information? We are better communicators and we are better leaders....what social issues will you lend your voices to? Or will we sit by and be unsatisfied by the excessiveness of some of those who run charities?

We are leaders! We are better communicators! One way for us to change the matrix is to get directly involved. Our annual Food Drive is one of many ways that you can make a difference.

I want to thank the many members of Toastmasters that have been a tremendous help towards our efforts so far this year....and when we are done ...we will wheel and come again next year!

Thanks again!
Mark McKenzie, DTM
City Centre Toastmasters

The Amazing Power of Questions

Reflections from the Fall Conference in London by Veronica Hislop

What is the most empowering question you could ever ask yourself? I approached many of you at the District Conference with this question. Those of you who responded contributed to my latest blog: 'The Amazing Power of Questions'

“A good question is better than a brilliant answer…” Richard Saul Wurman – Creator of TED

Why do adults stop asking questions? Children ask amazing questions all the time. Their innate sense of curiosity is astounding. Yet somehow, as we move towards adulthood, that natural sense of childhood curiosity seems to disappear. Why is it that we encourage students to ask questions but as adults we seem to stop doing this ourselves? Isn’t that the most powerful way to learn? Where would we be today if Newton and Einstein had never stopped to ask questions?

The questions that we are speaking of here are those life questions that we need to ask ourselves, not just when we are stuck and lack motivation and direction in moving forward in taking actions towards our goals, but regularly – even daily.

According to Robert Thurman, Professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, “…… Questions can take you into critical examination of what you are doing in this life.”

These life-affirming questions can help us in the following ways:

  • Help us to be creative and inspire and motivate ourselves
  • Help us in decision making
  • Help us think outside the box
  • Give us purpose, focus and meaning
  • Help us with our transformation, growth and learning
  • Provide moments of self-awareness and reflection
  • Provide us with wake-up, shake-up moments
  • Change, challenge and provoke our thinking
  • Explore values get us thinking on a deeper level about what is important
  • Begin to open up the realms of possibilities

Recently while attending a conference, I went around asking people a simple power question. Not because I was trying to be deep and meaningful, nothing like that, it was just a way for me to start interacting and connecting with people. As I progressed with this activity I refined the question I was asking as follows:

What is the most important powerful question that you can ever ask yourself?

The first reactions were that people really stopped to pause and think about their response. I did not realize that this question was so deep. It stumped a lot of people. The responses I did receive were really interesting. I listed some of them below:

  • “Who do I want to be?”
  • “Is what I’m doing making a difference?”
  • “What is my purpose in life?”

To find out more about the most important qusetion that you can ask yourself read more about it on my latest wordpress blog: 
'The Amazing Power of Questions'

Veronica Hislop

 

Member News November - 2014

Trucking exec wins Toastmasters competition, Roger Caesar

Check out this great article on trucknews on our District 86 Roger Caesar, our District 86 2014 Humourous Speech Contest Winner!

Once again Roger Caesar is in the news again, Brampton ON this time

Check out Roger in the Brampton Guardian

Speak To Inspire Toastmasters Club members perform workshop for students at UOIT

Michelle Ingram (president of Speak to Inspire TM) and Tuula Redditt and Michelle's friend Lois(HR professional in Oshawa) entertained a group of students at the University of Ontario in Oshawa on November 12th with the spirit of District 86 Toastmasters. We were invited to do a workshop on 'Confidence' and how Toastmasters can help the students improve their confidence, communication and leadership skills to eventually achieve success in getting a job. Michelle had walked us through the process of how our brain works and how we can choose to succeed by eliminating fear. Through the Toastmaster program Michelle also spoke about the communication and leadership tracks and how success can be achieved as both processes are learned together at Toastmasters. Tuula and Lois put on a demonstration of a good and bad interview to identify the qualities of a successful job interview using skills learned at Toastmasters. After the workshop the students were passionate about forming a Toastmasters club in the university. We look forward to helping them achieve this goal. Thank you everyone who participated.

Visit 360 Networking Facebook page at UOIT for workshop details

UOITworkshop

An Everlasting Experience by Tony Bratschitsch, DTM

I wish to share a message with my fellow Toastmasters about an everlasting experience I had on Remembrance Day. I believe that this is important to share with others in District 86 that serves its members so well.

I am a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36 in Dundas. On Remembrance Day, this past Tuesday, I dressed in my uniform  and walked almost 2 kilometers to the branch where I was to fall in with the Colour Party (flag bearers). Along the way, through a neighbourhood park, an elderly man stopped me to express his thanks for my service. I asked him for his first name and I said, "Thank you, Ozzie, for your kindness". I felt my spine straighten even more so. Further on, I came upon three municipal workers who paused to praise me. My chin went up higher. I thanked them for their service, as well. As such, this experience already had a remarkable effect upon me.

When the Remembrance Parade started at the fire hall, the Colour Party was the second unit behind the Dundas Pipe and Drum Band which lead a long column of military and service units. When we wheeled onto King Street, we all marched to a pace that was measured by the drum roll. Step by step, we approached the cenotaph with the streets tightly packed with thousands of people. At that point, a tremendous crescendo of cheers arose from the onlookers - something I never heard before. Then the Scottish pipers played their marching tune and the cheers escalated to an even higher volume. During those moments, I did not feel any burden, whatsoever, carrying the Ontario provincial flag.

The Colour Party took its place front and centre at the cenotaph with the names of the young men and women inscribed who sacrificed all during their service to Canada. After the venerable Remembrance ceremony was conducted, local community organizations were called upon to lay their wreaths. For the second consecutive year, Valley Town Toastmasters was announced. As fellow Toastmaster Kenrick Chin stepped up to the cenotaph, a large applause from the packed audience was heard. I do not think that I ever stood taller in my life.

I am very proud to be a Toastmaster as well as a member of the Legion. It is such a great honour to serve others.

Tony Bratschitsch, DTM, Immediate Past District Governor

Tony B Legion Colour Party

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

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