Apr. 26th Open House - Burlington Skyway Club

Open House - Burlington Skyway Club, Division L, Area 56, Club #3301

Burlington Skyway Toastmasters (The “Fun” Club) nurtures the best you!

Here is your VIP invitation to join us for our free Open House! 

Date: Wed. Apr. 26th
Time:  7-9:30 pm 
Venue: Cedar Springs Health and Racquet Club
Address: 960 Cumberland Avenue (off Harvester Road) in Burlington, ON

  • Down the stairs to the Harvester Room in the basement
  • When you arrive, please tell the front desk you're here for the Toastmasters meeting, and they'll let you through the turnstiles

Why invest in you?
Sharpen your skills giving better presentations at work, speaking off the cuff, chairing meetings and build your professional network.

We guarantee results and that you will bust a gut each meeting!

For more information, please go to www.skywaytm.com.

Eve McDonald, VP of PR for Skyway Toastmasters Club

Developing Great Community Citizens

Developing Great Community Citizens by Muktha Tumkur, P. Eng., MBA, ACS, ALB

Air Cadet League Of Canada

From left to right: Carl Naus, Muktha Tumkur, John Silvaroli, Chandra Movva, Aryan Suvarna, John Wang, Pavan Jayasinha, Rithik John Sathiaseelan, Alice Dods, Karen Ryan, Hollis Jailal

As part of the Port Credit Toastmasters Club, I recently had the privilege to serve as a speech contest judge for the 845 Avro Arrow Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. Chandra Movva organized the contest, and other volunteers who served with me included John Wang, Carl Naus, Hollis Jailal from Port Credit Toastmasters and Karen Ryan from Creekside TD Toastmasters. I had first heard of the term “air cadets” when I was in grade school, but all I knew was that it had some connection to the Canadian Armed forces. I was curious to learn more about the air cadets before the contest and my research uncovered the full breadth and depth of the organization. The most interesting thing I learned was how well the visions of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and Toastmasters aligned.

The Air Cadet League of Canada is a civilian, non-profit, community-based and volunteer-led organization that in collaboration with the Department of National Defence and their partners, is dedicated to supporting the objectives of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program . The Royal Canadian Air Cadets is seen as Canada’s premier and a world-class youth development movement. Being attuned to societal changes, it strives diligently to be a totally dedicated, proactive and innovative partner to encourage and enhance the development of well-adjusted, civic-minded youth to undertake leadership roles in a great Canada and a better world . Their values are stated as, “The Air Cadet League of Canada fosters development in youth of the values of self-confidence, self-discipline and leadership . With the Toastmasters vision to “…empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders” and values such as integrity, respect, service and excellence, I can’t see a better organization than Toastmasters to help air cadets deliver on their vision while meeting their values!

The air cadets’ contestants ranged from grade eight to eleven. Their prepared speeches were well thought out and profound. They were like “mini Toastmasters” because they encompassed vocal variety, gestures, pauses and facial expressions. They all delivered their speeches with no notes and they moved about the stage making strong eye contact with the audience. Their confidence level was truly outstanding! Chandra had dedicated countless hours in coaching their future leaders in delivering quality speeches.

The best thing I learned about this contest was related to the rich rewards of collaboration between the two organizations. There was mutual benefit for the 845 Avro Arrow squadron and for the Port Credit Toastmasters Club because we each had a forum in which we were able to achieve our respective visions. Think about how much more we can all benefit and achieve when we collaborate with others who have similar visions to ours!

Paris Grand Toastmasters Open House a Success!

Paris Grand Toastmasters Open House March 9, 2017 - Big Success, new members signing up!

Paris Grand Toastmasters had their first very well-attended Open House on March 9, 2017 at Tigercat's business boardroom, 160 Consolidated Drive, in Paris, ON.

The club was excited to welcome many Toastmasters and guests, as well as Mayor of Brant County, Ron Eddy and Councillor Ward 1, Dr. Will Bouma.

The Open House showed guests a typical meeting with Table Topics run by Randy Moore, a motivating speech, “I Can" by Steve Bredschneider and helpful evaluation from Peter Wright, past president of Woodstock Toastmasters.

Toastmaster for the evening, Murray Smith, introduced keynote speaker, Tony Bratschitsch, Past District 86 Governor. Through his keynote: 'A Better Way’, Tony shared numerous examples of success stories of fellow Valley Town Toastmaster members.

Nate Friedman, Grammarian chose “befriend” as the Word of the Day. Guests and members had the opportunity to network and befriend each other over refreshments. Paris Grand Toastmasters is a prospective club looking for 20 members, to charter soon in the growing community of Paris, ON.

Paris Grand TM OpenHouse

Top left: Club Officers Murray Smith, Jason Smale, Janice McDonald, Club Growth Director, Glynis D’souza, Councillor Ward 1 Dr. Will Bouma, and Karen Dunn

Top Right: Club Growth Director, Glynis D’souza, Brant County Mayor Ron Eddy and Janice McDonald, Immediate Past District 86 District Director

Bottom: Paris Grand Toastmasters Open House Guests & Toastmasters

CHEZ NOUS Toastmasters Club Open House Event

OPEN HOUSE on March 21 – CHEZ NOUS Toastmasters Club !

Join us to connect with other French-speaking professionals and enjoy the fun and camaraderie of a Toastmasters meeting!
Featuring Bilingual Corporate Trainer and Keynote Speaker, Jocelyne Vezina.

Free event – DOOR PRIZES - refreshments will be served – doors open at 6:45 pm

Joignez-vous à nous pour la rencontre avec d'autres professionnels francophones et profitez du plaisir et de la camaraderie d'une réunion Toastmasters!
Mettant en vedette la conférencière certifiée, de classe mondiale, Jocelyne Vezina.

Événement gratuit – PRIX DE PRÉSENCE - des rafraîchissements seront fournis - arrivez dès 18h45.

Date: March 21, 2017
Time: from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Location: École Jeunes sans frontières - Salle 152 - (Entrée à l'arrière du bâtiment)
7585 Financial Dr. Brampton, ON L6Y 5P4, Room 152 (Entrance at the back of the building)

Chez Nous TM Open House 03 21 2017

The Customer Journey

“How did you do it?” ask my fellow Club Officers, our Club President, even Toastmasters International. My initial reply “I don’t know…it just happened!” The inquiries continue “How did you sponsor 6 members during your first month as the new VP of Membership?” I reflect on recent club activities and adjust my response to, “It has been a journey, a customer journey.”

A customer journey enables you to improve your customer experience, through the customer’s perspective. It documents the customer experience (how they may think, feel, act) to understand their needs and adapt when the needs change. Similar to how cell phone have adapted from flip phone, to touch screen and hands free technology to suit the customer need.

When I joined Chosen Voices TM Club April 2016, I was terrified of conducting speeches even though I facilitate meetings for a living. My past failures left a mark on my confidence, so much so, I had defined speeches as a dreaded experience where you and you alone must force yourself to recite material. Very quickly I learned that speeches were more emotional and powerful than scripted words. My fellow club members were invested in my success as well as their own. The encouragement and support enabled me to build trust in this room filled with strangers, fellow Toastmasters I now call friends.

Last year, I knew very little about membership building contests, awards and incentives. What I observed was nagging question we asked first time or returning guests “What did you think of today’s meeting? Do you want to join?”. I was confused why we asked this question. We can’t assume guests know what the Toastmaster program is all about, nor can we expect them to join after attending a 60 minute meeting.

I struggled with this approach and soon learned of the continuous pressures to build and retain members. It dawned on me, we were asking people to join from a position of anxiousness. There had to be a better way to approach this dilemma? During a club meeting discussing building membership, I was biting my tongue to hold back my opinion, as a newly inducted member. Then suddenly I exclaimed, “Why are we acting like teenagers, waiting by the phone because our crush said they might call? We are approaching guests the wrong way. We sound desperate.” Soon after in similar discussions with a Club Officer I inquired, “Why are we investing more time with prospects and guests, while our fully committed members are not receiving our support?” “It feels like we are a cell phone conglomerate offering new features and specials to new customers, while existing customers don’t have decent cell phone reception.”

At that point, I knew…I knew I wanted to develop a new approach and share it with my Club. The universe has a funny way of providing just the opportunity I was looking for. In January, Ramadam Almeida moved from VP Membership to VP Education , leaving an opening for volunteers for VPM. On Feb 1st, 2017 with limited knowledge of the regular tasks of VPM, I jumped at the opportunity to improve the approach and became the new VPM!

My first order of business, learn from my predecessor. Ramadam and I discussed what was working, not working and what new ideas we had for the roles of VPM and VPE. We inspired each other, brainstormed how to involve all members, without overwhelming them. At that point, it hit me! I needed to create a customer journey map!

A customer journey map includes many stages. A customer’s interest and motivation changes at each stage, as their knowledge of the Toastmasters program increases:

  • Prospects may be curious, yet lack information, are not invested in our Club goals at this stage
  • Guests may be confused or intrigued of what they observed during a Club meeting and want more information
  • Newly inducted members are excited and motivated! They can’t wait to explore the different manuals and meeting roles
  • Active Members are proud of their own accomplishments as they grow. They can’t wait to tell their friends, colleagues, neighbors about their experiences
  • Renewing Members have experienced the value first hand and want more!

Chosen Voices Customer Journey Map Feb 2017


Quickly, I realized the information or expectations we had of Prospects/Guests didn’t match their interest & motivation levels. I consolidated all the information, templates, communications we collectively provide to individuals that interact with our Club. I created a manual for Guest & Member Services outlining the appropriate information to provide at each stage (Prospect, Guest and Member). I shared my mission statement with the Club Officers, "The folks that join, will join because they see the value in Toastmasters and they can’t imagine themselves not being a member of Chosen Voices!"

The club atmosphere shifted in the short month of February

  • Our club installed 4 new Club Officers: Ramila Mudarth as Sargent at Arms, Rehanna Khan as VP Public Relations, Ramadam Almeida as VP Education and myself as VP Membership
  • All 4 new Club Officers attended Officer Training with our President Nagwa Hanna. We were excited to shared our experiences, what we learned and what new ideas we wanted to promote
  • We added a flare of excitement when inducting new members, with party store hand clappers, banners and photo opportunities
  • We started emailing Meeting Highlights; including pictures, quotes, inspirational moments and upcoming events. Guests on blind copy to share in the excitement, yet not the reply all that may follow

We sent each guest a survey with a twist. One or two questions for meeting feedback. The remaining questions focused on them, asking the customer, “How can Chosen Voices support you to achieve your goals!”

You could feel the energy shift in meetings instantly!

  • We had 5 members competing in the Area 32 Evaluation & Speech Contest on Mar 1st, from a club roaster of 15 members
  • Active members are completing new roles and more speeches
  • Meeting attendance has increased as members are carving out time in their busy day (we are a corporate club conducting Club meetings during our lunch hour)
  • Prospects are receiving just enough information to understand the agenda and what to expect prior to attending their first meeting
  • Guests are asking more specific questions about the program at the end of the meeting. Our latest member joined minutes after her first meeting!

    My journey stated with the thought of a no pressure approach to membership. It suddenly turned into a belief of a customer journey I shared with my club. Which unexpectedly erupted into a vision which transformed our Club’s approach to prospects, guests and members alike. I strongly believe this is how the entire club collectively, attracted 6 new members to join Chosen Voices in only 3 weeks’ time. As of March 1st 2017, we are now 21 members strong and enjoying every minute of it!

    Thank you,
    Annette Corsetti
    CHOSEN VOICES member since April 2016
    Guest & Member Services
    Vice President Membership

Frank Austin to receive Toastmasters District 86 Communication and Leadership Award

The Communication and Leadership Award is awarded by the District to a non-Toastmaster in the community who is an outstanding communicator or leader - and who best exemplifies Toastmasters values.

frankaustinFrank Austin, Founder, The Expressive Café ® will be honoured by District 86 Toastmasters for his achievement in the field of communication and leadership. The event will be held at the Communication & Leadership (C&L) Luncheon on Saturday April 29, during the District 86 Spring Conference April 28 to 30 at the Crowne Plaza in Kitchener, ON, Canada.

The ability to communicate is vital – no one understands this better than a Toastmaster.

Now – imagine that your ability to communicate was taken away from you. As a result of a stroke in 2008, this was Frank Austin's situation. The stroke affected the "language centre" of the brain and resulted in a condition called "Aphasia". This condition hampers the ability to connect words to their meaning – in some cases, the afflicted person can`t talk, can`t read, can`t write. Shortly after the stroke, Frank could not even say his own son's name. Within a couple years and with amazing determination, Frank was volunteering as a peer visitor, and speaking at Stroke Recovery groups to share his strategies and struggles – slowly regaining his speaking ability, gaining confidence, offering hope. Frank taught himself to regain his speech by reading to his son.

Four years after his stroke, and frustrated from a shortfall in resources at home in Elmira, Ontario, Frank founded The Expressive Café ® - a facilitated conversation group for people with Aphasia. Toastmasters know the positive effect of having people participate and communicate in a safe and supportive environment. "The Mission of the Expressive Café ® is to improve communication skills using expressive and receptive activities in a safe environment."  It helps give people with Aphasia the confidence to try to communicate and reconnect their lives – either by steadily improving their pre-stroke methods or by rewiring their brain's language centres to discover and hone new skills using methods available to them post-stroke. The outcomes through participating in these groups are hopeful return and reconnection to their communities, less isolation, and a happier, positive outlook on life.

Rick Guzik DTM, offers this: "I've worked with Frank as a volunteer with Stroke Recovery KW and have observed sessions at The Expressive Café ® and seen Frank lead the group in various engaging activities. Their participation is almost miraculous …  truly touching and inspiring. These folks' lives now have more joy, confidence, and hope".

"Frank's belief that to be a great leader you need to be a great communicator makes him an excellent choice to receive the Spring 2017 Communication and Leadership Award" says Dennis Bartel, Public Relations Manager District 86.

Frank wrote a book, "When the Milk Sours ", published in 2014. "It tells us about his and others' accounts of some of the realities of what it's like to have a stroke and, primarily, how to deal with aphasia."  Why "Sour Milk"? In Frank's own words," When the milk sours, make cheese!"

He has appeared on radio and television, always with a hopeful message.

As Harold Albrecht, MP Kitchener-Conestoga, said it so well in a 2012 congratulatory certificate … "Communication with language is so much part of our lives that we take it for granted …  When it breaks down, we suddenly realize how crucial it is to our existence. …  Thanks to Frank Austin and the Woolwich Seniors' Association. Your passionate service helps provide the resources needed to assist people as they take control of their lives, and build hope as they meet their own life dreams and goals."

From not being able to pronounce nor spell his son's name in 2008, Frank is a now a motivational speaker, author, and advocate. He continues to be a peer mentor to stroke survivors in hospitals and our communities, and continues serving people with Aphasia via The Expressive Café ®.

Frank Austin is a leading spokesperson for Aphasia and founded The Expressive Café ® - a supported conversation group for Aphasiacs. He partnered with many health and charitable agencies as a spokesperson for Aphasiacs and has consulted for and with Stroke Recovery associations. He is the Voice for Aphasia programs and provided input to the Waterloo-Wellington LHIN and is always enriching communities, giving back as a volunteer with Grand River Hospital, past executive with Stroke Recovery KW (Kitchener-Waterloo) a peer visitor in the Linking Survivors With Survivors program. Frank lives with his family in Elmira, Ontario. Learn more at the website for The Expressive Café ® http://www.kwstrokesurvivor.com/

Speech Craft the Hidden Gem within Toastmasters

Speech Craft The Hidden Gem by Veronica Hislop, DTM

Veronica Hislop2Speech Craft is a hidden gem within the Toastmasters program. It is an underrated, undervalued resource that is underutilized throughout the district.

With this in mind a Speech Craft Survey was distributed in the latter part of 2016 to get a better sense of how District 86 could expand Speech Craft awareness and increase the number of Programs being conducted.

Here are some best practice ideas gleamed from the survey.

Take advantage of technology and all it has to offer. Use Google Drive, and set up folders where presenters and mentors can easily access the information they need.

Set up a planning meeting, and use it to train and educate your team members who are technologically challenged so they know how to find and locate the planning and organizing information they need.

Share your Speech Craft success stories publically. Provide a case study for the newsletter or blog, or create a mini 1-minute video presentation on Facebook Live.

Think outside the box when it comes to club success. Consider the concept of cross pollination. Strong clubs can connect with weaker clubs and assist with providing mentors and speakers to aid the weaker club in marketing and delivering a Speech Craft Program as a way to increase membership.

Do you have an organizing template or best practice idea that you use to facilitate and coordinate your Speech Craft processes? Be kind and share. Forward it to the Speech Craft chair(s) and we will add it to the Speech Craft Tool Kit of resources currently being created.

Thank you to those who took the time to complete the Speech Craft survey it has provided some useful information. As Speech Craft chairpersons, we hear your feedback and have already started to implement some of the most valuable suggestions.

Welcome to the 21st century

Since 2010 Toastmasters International has been working on a new educational program. After many delays and frustrating false starts, we finally have a new education program that, in my opinion, brings Toastmasters International in the 21st century. This program allows TI to compete with some of the best leadership skills programs on the market.

Pathways Learning Experience is a robust education program that will give you opportunities to grow your skills as a leader. The program is divided in five core competencies:

  1. Public speaking
  2. Interpersonal communication
  3. Strategic leadership
  4. Management
  5. Confidence

You will have a choice between ten paths:

  1. Dynamic leadership 
  2. Effective coaching 
  3. Innovative planning 
  4. Leadership development 
  5. Motivational strategies 
  6. Persuasive influence
  7. Presentation mastery
  8. Strategic relationships
  9. Team collaboration
  10. Visionary communication

Each path has five levels:

  1. Level 1. Mastering fundamentals. This level is the same for everybody regardless of the path you choose. That’s where you will do your Ice Breaker, learn how to evaluate and give feedback and acquire skills on how to research and present your topic.
  2. Level 2. Learning your style. On this level, you will be introduced to the Toastmaster mentoring program, you will start understanding your leadership/communication style.
  3. Level 3. Increasing knowledge. On this level, the projects are related to the path you have chosen. For example, if you have chosen Motivational strategies, on Level 3 you will learn about Emotional Intelligence.
  4. Level 4. Building skills. On that level, you will accelerate your understanding of the subject you choose. For Motivational strategies it means projects around motivating others.
  5. Level 5. Demonstrating expertise. On that level, you will be asked to reflect on the knowledge and skills you have acquired throughout the Path.

Starting on Level 3 you will be able to add electives to explore other areas you might be interested in that are not part of your path. For Motivational strategies for example, at Level 3 you can choose 2 electives among 12 suggestions. On Level 4 you can choose one among 8 suggestions and on Level 5 you can choose one among 6 suggestions.

Pathways is an exciting new way for you to gain new skills and competencies that you will use in your daily life. At your own pace, you will explore such subjects as: How to Create effective visual aids, how to Create a podcast or how to Prepare for an Interview.

See you on the Path!

Jocelyne Vezina

Pathways Chief Ambassador

Learn more at: https://www.toastmasters.org/Pathways-Overview

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

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