Club News April - 2016

Trillium Toastmasters Club Celebrates its 40th Anniversary

Trillium Toastmasters Club celebrated its 40th anniversary on April 1 at Ancila’s Restaurant, where former and current members of the club mingled at the sold-out event. Opened with a toast by Paul Daniel, the club’s longest-attending member of over 30 years, the celebration also featured a keynote speech by former club president Harry Ansara. David Booth, the club’s current president, accepted a certificate of achievement from Toastmasters International on behalf of the club. A raffle draw, thanks to numerous sponsors of the event, exciting “minute to win it” games, and an anniversary cake (made by our very own Melissa Kosterman of Yellow Tulip Cake Company) rounded out the club’s memorable milestone celebration.

40th anniversary photo for blog

1) Group photo
2) Current and past presidents of Trillium (from left: Rima, Harry, Paul, Brenda, Brahm, Paul, Bruce, Geoff, Mike, Rakesh, Tim, Dave and Rocco)
3) Anniversary cake in the shape of a lectern + gavel
4) MCs: Nicole Anderson and Anil Maudhoo

30 Members By June 30th 2016

3030 JUN 2016
If you are a member of a club with less than 12 members, you probably believe that increasing membership in your club is challenging, if not impossible.
On the other hand, if you are a member of a club with 25 or more members, you will likely agree that acquiring new members is a simple and fun process! It seems that these clubs spend little effort promoting their meetings, yet the guests keep showing up!

What is the secret? 

Obviously, there is a secret. Perhaps you have already figured out that it has nothing to do with luck and very little to do with numbers. It’s all about the guests.
Consider these tips to help your club increase membership:

  1. Before launching any new member campaign, improve the quality of your meetings. Getting guests is easy! Impressing them enough so that they join the club or even want to come back for a second visit – that is the challenge!
  2. Separate duties between the VP Membership and VP Public Relations. Consider the idea, the VP Public Relations “gets the guests in the door” and the VP Membership converts them from being guests to members.
  3. Have a member create and maintain a small and simple web site for your club. It has been estimated that up to 80% of all club visitors find a club to visit through the Internet. There are many free web-hosting sites available! Learn more here>>>
  4. Be sure to notify Toastmasters International and District 86 of your new website address, so it can be added to their sites.
  5. Put your club’s web site address on all promotional materials.
  6. Provide a member’s name (typically the VP Public Relations), e-mail and phone number on your web site and encourage visitors to contact them with any questions.
  7. Ask your sergeant at arms to arrive 30 minutes before each meeting. Guests typically show up 15 to 20 minutes early. If no one is there, they might think the meeting was canceled.
  8. Ask your sergeant at arms (and other members!) to always be on the lookout for visitors. Learn how to greet guests warmly and show your fellow club members how to do the same. Assign members to the role of greeter for every meeting.
  9. Ask the greeters to “partner up” each guest with a member who will introduce them to the meeting at the beginning of it and will be able to answer any questions throughout the meeting.
  10. Educate the club members on how important it is that everyone shake hands with the guest before the meeting. This makes people feel welcome and comfortable.
  11. Always offer participation in Table Topics as an “option” to guests. Don’t ask a guest to participate in Table Topics until all the eligible members have participated.
  12. Ask guests to provide a short comment toward the end of the meeting. Consider asking them the following question: “Now, after having experienced our Toastmasters meeting, do you think participating in Toastmasters could help you to achieve your goals?”
  13. If your club has 12 or fewer members, request a club coach!

What many people do not realize is that even the large clubs can run into trouble with membership. Usually, a dip in membership is the result of a slight decline in meeting quality. Make sure you have a good product before trying to get others to buy into it and your club will be at membership capacity in no time!

Looking for more resources? Visit the District 86 How To page for answers and ideas.
Clubs achieving the milestone of having 30 members by June 30th 2016 will receive prizes from the District. Are you in for this challenge? 

Qualified Clubs
Division  Area Club # Club Name Membership on June 30
B 31 2347 Brampton Club 60
C 45 5456 Confidently Speaking Toastmasters Club 56
C 45 585043 Meadowvale Toastmasters Club 54
A 23 4782 Markham Toastmasters Club 49
B 33 4778 Milton Club 48
A 21 1015141 Woodbridge Toastmasters 47
A 26 1963 Richmond Hill Toastmasters 43
B 31 5961 Hershaw Toastmasters Club 43
B 36 2245 First Oakville Toastmasters Club 43
A 21 8517 Thornhill Club 40
B 34 1460785 Brampton Speakeasy Toastmasters 40
D 87 1474 Port Credit Club 38
D 81 4353901 Mississauga Sales & Marketing Toastmasters 37
A 24 1697108 Hilltop Toastmasters 36
A 26 1448795 Advanced Speakers on the Hill 36
B 35 4080 Trafalgar Club 36
B 35 8644 Glen Abbey Toastmasters 36
D 83 1337454 Creekbank Toastmasters Club 36
C 44 5139 Risky Business Club 35
A 24 698843 Golden Gavel Toastmasters 34
B 31 583417 Region of Peel Toastmasters 34
S 72 916925 London City Hall 34
S 73 2729 Forest City Toastmasters 34
C 43 2289206 7120 Speakers Corner 33
M 13 1609 Towns Of York Toastmasters Club 33
B 33 5260 Halton Hills Toastmasters 32
B 35 2380608 Horizon Toastmasters 32
D 83 5278183 Ericsson Toronto Toastmasters 32
D 84 3419 Trillium Toastmasters Club 32
D 85 4486929 Axis Communications Toastmasters 32
L 56 3301 Skyway Toastmasters Club 32
N 3 2152194 Sudbury Noon Hour Toastmasters Club 32
S 73 964201 Toast of Queens 32
A 23 640216 Unionville Toastmasters Club 31
A 24 1115199 Fluid Communicators & Leaders 31
D 83 8277 Mississauga Valley Toastmasters Club 31
L 56 3074 First Burlington Toastmasters Club 31
M 13 684023 Stouffville Toastmasters Club 31
N 3 3869 Greater Sudbury Speakers 31
B 34 8267 Rogers Park Toastmasters 30
C 42 2825443 D + H Toastmasters Club 30
W 61 6234 Talk Of The Town Club 30

Member News April - 2016

Would Anyone Like To Be “Closed”?

A couple of months ago, I wrote a Linked-In article about asking questions. I wrote it in response to another article that claimed "closing skills" were most important to sales success. I feel that very few people want to be "closed" but lots of people want to be able to do what they do . . . . better.

I am writing a book titled "Asking" which includes the idea that if we can find out what people do to succeed, how they do that, why that works for them, who they succeed with and when and where, we can figure out how the product or service we offer will help them to do whatever it is they do . . . better. If we can do that, we won't have to "close" them . . . they will buy.

When I posted my article, I was surprised that the majority of the positive responses I got were from fellow Toastmasters who felt it applied to our program.

The question I love to ask potential Toastmasters is, "What would you like to get out of Toastmasters in the coming year?"

Now I am starting to think much more in depth. I want to ask:

What do you do (day to day)?

How do you do that?

Why does that work for you?

Who do you typically deal with?

When and Where do you work with these people?

People love to talk about themselves and if we truly give them a chance to talk and if we are willing to listen carefully, we will learn that there are numerous reasons for them to join Toastmasters. Then all there is to do is help them to understand how the Toastmaster program helps them achieve the things that are important to them. If we can do that, we won't have to persuade them to join, we will have to beat them off with a stick. Ask questions of your friends and acquaintances. It is the most powerful tool you have in your toolbox to get them to understand what the Toastmasters program has to offer them. No one wants to be "closed" but many people want to know how they can get better results. Get your friends and acquaintances better results today!

Submitted by
Bud Brown DTM

Area and Division News April - 2016

April Fools Day - 2016

We all know to be weary that we’ll be tricked on this day. I was the victim of a prank at work as the day began. My staff knowing I had to leave at noon to prepare for the Division W contest planned the perfect prank. Down one manager, 3 supervisors called in sick, their staff started hounding me to get them their work, then IT came over and said a workstation was down and I needed to find desk. All this before 10 o’clock break. The supervisors and their staff, over 50 people were in on the joke, know I can get the job done, but wanted to see how I could handle myself under that much stress! The supervisors were in the building but only their teams knew. They all jumped into my pod and yelled surprised, we’re here! I looked at them and said you got me…as I walked through the building, everyone stood up and cheered and laughed at me saying I was such a good sport!

Then being the victim of a prank, I was asked to participate in another, that one completely backfired, hence why I don’t do joke master at Toastmaster club meetings!

I left at noon, proceeded to get the remaining items for the division contest. Arrived in Fergus, set everything up. The venue was beautiful. Everything was prepared. For those who know me, I’m all about being prepared and having order, so when things are out of order, I’m not at my best!

Well the April Fool’s gods kept themselves busy with me that day. We were ready to begin but our test speaker had not arrived, everyone looked at me to make a decision; I had to flip the contests. I apologized. The room was full. We had over 93 people at the contest last night. It was wonderful seeing Toastmasters their with their family, friends and new guests. I wanted to have everything go perfectly, but I’m learning to live under the premise that not everything can be 100% perfect.

Eric McGinnis said some wonderful remarks about the loss of Blake Kurisko, Area 66’s Director. Everyone seemed to enjoy the break and the food. The caliber of the contestants was impeccable!

Our contest chairs – Kelley McIntyre and Clarice Crocker did a great job. All my volunteers did amazing. Without their help, I could never have had such a successful event. Overall it was an amazing night!

Toastmasters are one big happy family, one I’m so happy to be a part of in Division W.


Our winners representing W at District 86 in Mississauga on April 22nd will be: Glenn Oxford for Evaluation and Chris OBrien for international.

So much is coming up in Division W: Thursday April 7th Cambridge is having its 43 anniversary open house, Friday April 8th Grand River Toastmasters is having its 30th anniversary, on April 15th Diversecity is having its 5th anniversary and on April 27th, Les Volubiles is having its Open House with Kitchener MPP Daiene Vernile.

I am honored to be this year’s Division W director for such a hard working group of people who love being Toastmasters

Shawn Salokannel – Division W Director

Remembering Blake Kurisko

Blake Kurisko – An Appreciation

area66directorIt is great to see such a good turnout this evening – but there is one person missing who, had things been different, I know would have been here. I’m referring, of course, to BLAKE KURISKO who, as many of you now know, passed away last Saturday as a result of injuries received in a fall. Therefore I would like to take a few minutes to remember and pay tribute to our Toastmasters colleague, Blake.

I first met Blake when he became a member of Town & Gown Toastmasters and from the beginning he took an active role in our club. He was always willing to learn; quickly became a Mentor to new members and then provided guidance and leadership when needed. He was an excellent and thorough Speech Evaluator and many times represented our group in the annual contests at the Area, Division and District levels. His speeches ranged from serious to very funny. On one occasion, at our early Wednesday morning meeting, Blake treated us to a demonstration of Zumba Dancing. At another he was talking about “exercising and keeping fit”. Instead of having power-point to support his remarks, he simply held up a photograph of himself as a young man – standing next to some guy called Arnold Schwarzenegger! Good examples of how to get and keep the attention of your audience!

He was very passionate about Toastmasters and this was obvious since he was also a member of a second club – Guelph Public Speakers. At the time of his death he was the Area 66 Director and I understand in June, upon finishing his term of office, he would have completed all the requirements for his Distinguished Toastmaster designation. Hopefully that is still possible, albeit, posthumously.
Despite dealing with health challenges Blake always had a positive outlook. Last autumn when he asked me to help organize the Area 66 contests I got to realize just how focused and meticulous he was in his role as Area Director. After the contests I spent an hour the next day deleting his numerous emails!!! He really was a pleasure to know and work with.

Blake was not only a contestant in Toastmaster contests but consistently volunteered for other roles too. Just a few weeks ago he was the Chief Judge at the Area 66 event. He hadn’t been able to attend our Town & Gown meetings for the past couple of months, but when I met him at the Area 66 contests he told me he was planning to return to our club on the 30th March. Sadly, that would not happen.
Blake contributed greatly, not only to both his clubs, but the Toastmaster “family” in this Division. He will be remembered and very much missed.

Thank you, Blake.

Spring Conference 2016 Communication & Leadership Award Recipient

Jonathan Hood

Congratulations to Jonathan Hood, Communication & Leadership Award Recipient

The Communication and Leadership Award is by the District to a non-Toastmaster in the community who is an outstanding communicator or leader - and who best exemplifies Toastmasters values. The recipient for the 2016 Spring Conference is Jonathan Hood, former CFL athlete, motivational speaker, youth mentor, and corporate goal coach.

Jonathan began his professional football career with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2009. Later, he went on to play for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2010, and finally the Toronto Argonauts in 2013. He retired in May of 2015 and has since been focused on shifting his on-field experiences to developing and inspiring people off the field.  

Read more about Jonathan and Spring Conference 2016 

Member News March - 2016

Joining Forces in Niagara to Promote Toastmasters

As I watched the snow blowing around at 6 pm my heart sank. Would anyone show? Thankfully by 7 pm, 37 people (17 guests and 20 Toastmasters) had braved the weather to find out from Neil Dunsmore how to “Unleash the Humour Inside You” at the 1st Annual Niagara Area Toastmasters Clubs Open House on February 29, 2016.

With ten clubs in the Niagara Area this event was encouraged by District 86 to promote the Toastmasters program in our wider community and to connect clubs with some potential new members for all of us.

Testimonials from various members were used to wrap up the evening. Your Toastmasters journey is personal to you, but elements of your story can inspire and connect with others thinking about their own next step. I challenge every Toastmaster to develop a 1-2 minute answer to “why I joined Toastmasters and why I stay” to use the next time a guest visits.

The question on the bottom of the guest sign-in slip said it all. “Seeing the article in the community paper” brought in all but one guest. You should still put effort into other avenues, but do everything you can to get your event into the community paper. I will suggest you give two ways for guests to contact someone for an RSVP. The paper transcribed my email address wrong, but thankfully my cell number was listed correctly.

Did you notice I said 1st Annual? There is already talk about next year. As eight of the ten clubs had at least one member in the room, the excitement generated and success of the event will be brought back to each club which will lead to stronger partnerships and participation for the 2nd Annual Niagara Area Open House in 2017!

Kristin O’Connor, ACB, ALB

VP Public Relations (2015-16)
Grimsby Toastmasters, Club 1415201 and Lakeshore In Depth Toastmasters, Club 9912
Division L

Standing Out at Accra Toastmasters in West Africa

by Dave Wheeler, from Honeymoon City Toastmasters in Niagara Falls

West Africa is a developing region of a developing continent and a part of that development, it seems, is a developing interest in Toastmasters. In Ghana, where I am visiting relatives, I found to my delight that Accra Toastmasters met every second Wednesday just a short ten minute walk from my relatives’ digs. I was welcomed there and enjoyed the meeting. I was the only one at the meeting who was not from West Africa so I thought it ironic that the theme for the meeting was 'Standing Out’.


Club News March - 2016

Recruitment Can Be Fun!

The Woodstock Toastmasters participated in the Community Volunteer Recruitment Fair at Cowan Park in Woodstock on Sunday, March 20th. Several of our members were in attendance and available to assist with questions. Valerie Durston from the Tillsonburg Toastmasters was also there to help out!
We had a lot of people stop by our table. Some people had heard about Toastmasters and wanted further information on becoming potential members, others did not know of our organization and were curious to learn more. Two people from this event stopped in as guests at our regular scheduled meeting the next night!
We even captured a picture of Woodstock Mayor, Trevor Birtch at our table! It was certainly well worth the effort to participate in an event such as this.


Grand Rivers Toastmasters 30th Anniversary Celebration

We are thrilled to invite you to our club’s is 30th Anniversary Party.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Date: Friday April 8th 2016
Time: Cocktails 6:00 pm
Dinner 7:00 - 10:00 pm
Venue: Grand Valley Golf Course
Address: 1910 Roseville Road, Cambridge, ON, N1R 5S3
Tickets: $35/ticket + cash bar + prizes

Keynote Speaker Rob Nickel
We are pleased to present our keynote speaker Rob Nickel, former Grand River Toastmaster. He also appeared on Oprah and the Dr Phil Show!


To order tickets Contact Brant Danard at 519-620-1855 or email

Trillium Toastmasters 40th Anniversary Celebration

Date: Friday | April 1st | 2016
Time: Cocktails 6:30 pm | call to order 7:00pm
Venue: Ancila's Restaurant
Address: 6905 Millcreek Drive | Mississauga
Tickets: $35/ticket | cash bar | Order tickets online at eventbrite

The evening will be filled with food, fun, speeches and prizes!

Are you a current member, former member, or friend of Trillium? No matter how your life intersected with Trillium Toastmasters, we invite you to join us in celebration of this milestone year.

Cocktails will be at 6:30pm and call to order at 7pm. A detailed agenda is being planned, but there will be food! There will be fun! And there will be prizes!

There might even be some speeches.

Guests are welcomed. We look forward to seeing you there!

Random fun fact: We share the same "birthday" as Apple Computers! (Apple Inc. was founded on April 1st, 1976!)

Questions? Contact Nicole at 416-886-5904 or

Trillium 40th anniversary flyer

Les Toastmasters Volubiles Open House

Premier club Toastmasters francophone de Kitchener-Waterloo

Porte ouverte mars 2016

Contact: Suzanne Dansereau by email: or call: 519.589.8805

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

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