The Gift Of Toastmasters

All I Want for Christmas is to go to the Conference by Tuula Redditt DTM

Conference2When asked by my husband Paul (a non-toastmaster) what I wanted for Christmas I went through my list of regular items like Tweety Bird Pajamas and Body Shop Body Butter. Instead I asked what he thought of registering me for Option 1 at the Spring Toastmasters Conference. I would really like to go. Finances were a little tight this year and I said that's all I want for both my birthday and Christmas which are only a few days apart. He agreed since it was still early bird pricing. I was elated! 

We often think the cost of going to the conference something we can all afford but for many of us like myself its not so easy. Being part of the Conference Committee and helping out with the visual graphics like the program, logos and websites has always been a passion of mine. I work from our home business Sky Studio and give of my time generously towards Toastmasters and so do all our leaders. I am greatful to be part of such an amazing team. My journey as a toastmaster and an artist has given me so many opportunities to explore my creative skills. Thank you all for giving me those opportunities. 

If you are thinking of ideas to get your spouse or other half consider the gift of Toastmasters?

Register today  before Dec 31st for your early bird special!

Are you ready for your guests

Are you ready for your guests?

“Honey? Honey? Hooooneeyyyyy?”


“I just got off the phone with Mom. She’ coming to visit for the Holidays!”

When you hear those words, what comes to mind? Okay, beside the “OH NO!”

No not Panic! Planning. You need to know what you will cook; how will you entertain her? Where is she going to sleep? When is she coming? How long is she staying? All kinds of questions whose objective is to plan so your guest’s stay is enjoyable. You put together a checklist, so everything is ready for your guest arrival.

Are you putting that much time an effort for the guests that show-up at your club?

How are the guests finding you? Do you have a website? Is it up to date with the latest names for the Officers? Do the links still work properly? Are the day, time and location of your meetings still accurate? If you don’t have a website, how do guests find you?

Do you have an email address? If so, how long does it take before you answer? Whose responsibility is it to reply to a guest’s request for information? On the email, do you invite the guest? What kind of documents do you attach to your email? Do you send a reminder the day prior to your meeting so your guests don’t forget? If you don’t have an email address, how do guests find you?

Are you on Meetup? WhatsApp? How do guests find you?

Cathy Herschell, our Immediate Past District Director, brought to my attention that some of our clubs’ websites were not up to date. In today’s world, searching for a club is often done on the World Wide Web. Take advantage of that tool. You never know, your next member might come from the WWW! What have you got to lose by maintaining your website and making sure you answer those emails from guests promptly? You never know, your Mom might come for a visit!


Jocelyne V

Opportunity Knocks, Deck the Halls

Diane pic1Date: November 19th, 2018
Author: Diane Gordon, DTM, District 86 Club Extension Chair 2018-2019

With the holiday season fast approaching, most clubs will be celebrating with a Festive Event. This is a time for team building and comradery as well as to recognize Club successes and celebrate their Club Member’s achievements. It is a perfect occasion to invite guests to share in your celebration and offer a “Taste of Toastmasters”.

January is resolution time. After your guests have had a taste of Toastmasters, I am sure they will be anticipating the main course. This would be a perfect opportunity to follow up with the guests who attended the holiday event, and invite them to your Open House in the New Year.

Open House sessions focus on educating and entertaining interested guests. We demonstrate all levels of skills and achievement that can be obtained through the Toastmasters program.

Diane pic2An open house is fun and informative, while presenting the benefits of the Toastmasters Program in a condensed easy to follow, entertaining meeting format. Featuring a speaker(s) and evaluator(s), along with a strong focus on Table Topics. There are approximately 10 to 13 roles to be filled by fellow Toastmaster Members. The Toastmasters program is a lot to process, don’t overwhelm the guest.

So, let’s plan your Open House!

  1. Set a Date
  2. Choose a centrally located venue with ample parking
  3. Engage your entire Club by organizing a Committee, assigning roles & speakers
  4. Promote the Event - Market heavily through print, websites, social media and word of mouth
  5. Allow for visitation before and after the meeting
  6. Send out thank you notes (guests, Toastmaster volunteers and guest speaker)

Be sure to ask the guests to join or invite them to your next Toastmasters meeting. Thank them with a hand-written note to show your appreciation for their interest in the Toastmasters program.

Open houses are critical to the retention of Club Members and attracting new Club Members. It is optimum to plan for two open houses per year. Remember to keep it fun and entertaining!

Resource Links:

Press releases for media coverage

Create a flyer

Fortunate Failure

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” ~ Inago Montoye in The Princess Bride

The word referred to in this quote is “Inconceivable” but another word to which this quote could be applied is “failure”. Over the many years I have been a part of the Toastmasters organization, I have seen many people take on the role of Club Officers. Some did amazing jobs and others . . . . not so much. The point of taking on the role isn’t that your Toastmaster club will rise or fall based on your performance. The point is to grow as a leader, a communicator and a person.

As human beings, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. If you are taking the role of (as an example) President of your club this year, you may compare how well you do to past Presidents. If, in previous years, the President has led the club to be a President’s Distinguished club and you do not see that happen during your year, this does not make you a failure. If you then quit Toastmasters because of that experience, that might qualify as failure.

The only failure in life is really the failure to learn something.

When I had been a member of my first Toastmaster club for only 2 years, I was asked to be the Vice President of Membership. At the time, my club had 34 members and the literature suggested that a healthy club should have at least 20 members. I thought, “Cool! I could do a terrible job and still will be very likely to wind up with more than 20 members.” I did almost nothing in my role as VP of Membership that year. I was unaware of the statistic in Toastmasters that suggests that an average club will lose about 1/3 of it’s membership at each renewal due to moves, changes in situation, and just plain losing interest. When the end of that Toastmaster year came around, my club had only 16 members. I hadn’t just blown it. I had blown it spectacularly!

But I had learned something! I learned that in order to survive, a Toastmasters club needs to constantly be growing. I learned that, even when a whole year of ignoring that fact, had decimated my club, we could come back to being a strong club again. Most of all, I learned that the point of being a club officer is not just to help the club. It is to learn lessons about leadership.

We learn by taking Club Officer Training. We learn by watching and learning from other officers both at the training and in our own clubs. Mostly, we learn by making mistakes, seeing the results of those mistakes and adjusting our course.

When I was a little boy, I conceived the idea that I could sneak out of my second storey bedroom to go and play by climbing out of the bedroom window, edging along a 5 inch wide ledge below the window and shinnying down the downspout from the roof. I had a harrowing experience which saw me dangling out of the window terrified for my life and being hauled back in by my mother. When I was safely back in the house I fervently asserted, “I’ll never do THAT again!”

Sometimes, that may be the lesson we learn: that the position we took on, was not a good fit for us. Perhaps, instead of “I’ll never do that again” we can say “I won’t do that again until I am ready for it” but it is still a lesson learned. It is a lesson learned without costing us anything but a little pride.

Did you join Toastmasters to get a club officer pin? or did you join to become more effective in business and in personal life? Don’t miss the opportunity to grow. Try something new in Toastmasters today.

By Bud Brown DTM

Members Making a Difference Award

 mmad awards

The MMAD (Member Making A Difference) Award goes to members of District 86 who volunteer their communication and leadership skills learned at their clubs to better their communities and lives around them in a significant and notable way outside of their Toastmasters regular duties.

If you or somebody you know is deserving of the prestigious MMAD Award, please submit the name and a brief bio to

President’s Distinguished - Already?

Confidently SpeakingThe Toastmasters Distinguished Club Program is a great barometer to measure if your club is focusing on the right things to ensure a healthy club. It includes 'easy' points for administrative tasks like registering your club officers and getting them trained; and then a series of points for member achievement and new members. It clearly recognizes that without a focus on the members no club can enjoy lasting success.

Club officer training ensures that each officer understands their role - and how they can help the club be successful. The points for membership recognize that there is always attrition in the membership and that success is fleeting if you do not regularly sign up new members. The points for educational awards recognize when members are meeting their goals and enriching their lives. After all - members are only going to stay with the club if they are meeting the life goals they signed up to achieve!

I am very pleased to share that Confidently Speaking Toastmasters has just achieved the 9 points required to become President’s Distinguished for the 2018-2019 Toastmasters year!
Our Area Director, Iona Rodricks asked me to share how we were able to achieve this milestone so quickly. We are happy to share and hope that these thoughts help every club in District 86 to set their sights on President’s Distinguished this year!

Here are some key points that worked for us:

  • Club officers who want to do a great job and help the members succeed
  • Challenging ourselves in our club success plan. Like most clubs, our plan was written at the beginning of the year. As part of our plan we deliberately challenged ourselves to be President's Distinguished by December (and did it by October)!
  • Challenging every member to set goals. A member without a goal is someone that has not found their focus and direction. Members without goals are far more likely to leave the club - because they chose not to challenge themselves. Many who do not set goals will not get the full value out of Toastmasters and will leave.
  • Empowering members to step up for leadership roles even when fairly new, we give room to failing and learning as that is what develops a sense of collective ownership.
  • Setting a theme for the year. Our theme for the year is "Find your Greatness" based on the inspiration of Roger Caesar. We hope that every member takes that concept to heart!
  • Knowing our club’s identity and using that to attract new members. Confidently Speaking has used the slogan "A Culture of Fun and Excellence" on an ongoing basis to preserve and grow the fun supportive atmosphere that we have had for many years. We recognize someone every week for helping to preserve that culture. Guests seem to love the atmosphere and many want to sign up after their first meeting.
  • Recognizing member achievement (yes - I know that's obvious)
  • Committing to pathways. As several have said Pathways is the future of Toastmasters. The clubs that ask members to commit to pathways now are the clubs that will have ongoing success

We are off to a great start -- with lots of energy, new members and many existing members who have set their goals and want our help to achieve those goals.

We are looking forward and hoping that every member will set some kind of goal this year and that Confidently Speaking will help them to find their greatness!

Thanks to our club executive Maher Gamal, Naresh Gurpersaud, Ashok Mistry, Sylvette Mahoney, Amruta Joshi, Aravind Iyengar, Olga Paddubotskaya, Urmil Wadhwa, Tara Sani, Kevin Webb and Hamza Ahmad for all your dedication in reaching our goals so far! And thank you to Iona Rodricks for all your support!

Brian Patton
President - Confidently Speaking Toastmasters

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

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