Saturday, July 30, 2011

5 ways to listen better

Many of us joined Toastmasters to learn how to become better speakers. Through Toastmasters we learn that in order to become better speakers we must first learn how to be better listeners. By learning to listen more consciously and actively we gain deeper understanding of others. 

The following video shares ways we can improve our listening skills.

"Effective communications starts with listening."
-- Robert Gately

Friday, July 29, 2011

Just Joking - The Cat

A man absolutely hated his wife's cat and decided to get rid of the animal one day by driving him 20 blocks from his home and leaving him at the park. As he was getting home, the cat was walking up the driveway.

The next day he decided to drive the cat 40 blocks away. He put the beast out and headed home. Driving back up his driveway, there was the cat!

The man kept taking the cat further and further and the cat would always beat him home. At last he decided to drive a few miles away, turn right, then left, past the bridge, then right again and another right until he reached what he thought was a safe distance from his home and left the cat there.

Hours later the man calls home to his wife: "Jen, is the cat there?"

"Yes," the wife answers, "why do you ask?"

Frustrated, the man answered, "Put him on the phone, I'm lost and need directions."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

and I quote - Courage

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All's well that ends well - Last night's recap

For those of you that missed it, twas some enchanted evening last night!

Our chair for the evening Rob started the meeting off by challenging our brains to some Shakespeare inspired trivia.

Garry was up next and being a natural born Joker he left us all laughing.

First time Topicmaster Sandy encouraged us to gossip freely as we put ourselves into the shoes of TMZ paparazzi. 

Then it was on to the prepared speech part of the evening. We had three wonderful speakers. Each speech was a unique and entertaining as our speakers.

Garry chose to celebrate the use of four letter words. One word in particular that he is rather fond of was the focus of the speech- LOVE! His singing touched our hearts and we could feel the love in the air and in his speech.

Joe opened himself up to the audience by sharing his struggle with addictions with us. Many of us could personally relate to Joe's struggles, sharing some of the same gardening addictions he and wife are battling. By the end of the speech we were all rooting for Joe and looking as forward to the day when Joe will finally put his addictions to rest as he is.

Then Phyrne Parker, District 60 Governor took the stage. She inspired each and every member of the audience to get all we can get out of Toastmasters. Her personal tale and tales of how far other Toastmasters have come on their journey opened the eyes of many. To quote Phyrne "If you are going to get all you CAN out of Toastmasters, you will never get out of Toastmasters."

Christine closed things out with this thought provoking quote by Albert Einstein.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

And this is where I will close things off and bid you all adieu.

“When words are scarce they are seldom spent in vain” William Shakespeare

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sunmmer Fun for Table Tables

Looking for some fresh ideas on how to add some summer fun to your club's table topics? 

Look no further! 

Here are few sun inspired ideas:
 On the ball

Blow up a beach ball. With a sharpie marker write questions you’d like members to answer. Write a question or two on each stripe of the ball. Toss the ball around the room. Whoever catches it gives their name and answers the question under or closest to their left thumb.

Some summer related questions are:

1.       What I most love/hate about summer is..

2.       Describe your perfect summer day.

3.       Share a favourite summertime memory.

4.       What are your favourite summer activities?

5.       What summer foods do you most look forward to?

6.       How did you spend the summer days of your childhood?

7.       Your best summer  vacation was….

8.       A favourite summer spot is… and why?

9.       A summer memory you’d like to forget is..

10.   What are your plans for this summer’s vacation?

We have also done this with quotes, and members had to talk about what the quote means to them.
Some summer quotes are:

1.       “A real friend is someone who takes a winter vacation on a sun-drenched beach and does not send a card.” -Farmer’s Almanac

2.       Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. -- Henry James

3.       A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.  ~James Dent

4.       Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.  ~John Lubbock

5.       “Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.” -- Michelle Held

6.       "At the beach, life is different. Time doesn't move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun."-Unknown

7.       What I like about camping is you can get really dirty.  Either you're all by yourself, so no one else sees you, or everyone you're with is just as dirty as you are, so nobody cares.  ~Anonymous

8.       It always rains on tents. Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent.-Dave Barry

9.       'I always think that the right background music is an essential part of a good barbecue" – Nero

10.   "Those that say you can't take it with you never saw a car packed for a vacation trip." Anon

 Wish you were here

Pass out summer photos or postcards of Tropical destinations to members.

Have each member read aloud the postcard they have written. 

Have them share the details of all the fun they are having, the sights they are seeing, and what
those back home are missing out on.

 It’s getting hot in here!

Go around the room and ask members to talk about "What burns me up" followed by "What cools me down."

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Meeting

"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” 
William Shakespeare

Join us tomorrow night for an entertaining Shakespearean inspired evening. 

Our ‘money man’ Rob will be our chair for the evening. Sandy our Topicmaster will start us off with some fun table topics. Garry Alexander and Joe Van Dyk will surprise and entertain us with their latest speeches. President Tim Norton will practice and perfect his storytelling talents as he shares a folk tale with us. Then our guest of honour Phryne Parker, current District 60 Governor will talk to us about ‘Getting out of Toastmasters’. 

Toastmasters, a great way spend a midsummer evening!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Just Joking - Airline Reservation

 An airline reservation agent took a call from a man who wanted to book a flight for two but wasn't happy with the price of $59 per ticket.

"I want the $49 fare I saw advertised," he insisted, saying he would accept a flight at any time.

The agent managed to find two seats on a 6 a.m. flight.

"I'll take it," he said, then worried his wife might not like the early hour.

The agent warned there was a fee of $25 per person if he changed the reservation.

"Oh, that's no problem," he said dismissively. "What's fifty bucks?"

Friday, July 22, 2011

and I quote - Listen

So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.
Jiddu Krishnamurti

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Talking to Toastmasters - Stephen Dow

Stephen Dow, ACS, CL
1.   Name: Stephen Dow

2.  Occupation: Software sales and support

3.  Why/when did you join Toastmasters? 10+ years ago

4.  What do you most enjoy about being a Toastmaster? Meeting and working with other people.

5.  How has what you have learned at Toastmasters helped you in your personal and/or professional life?   The to interact and listen better, helping me be successful.

6. Share a memorable Toastmaster moment.  All of the District 86 conferences!!  Highly recommended to all new or seasoned Toastmasters.

7.  What Toastmaster designation/s do you hold?  ACS, CL

8.  What positions have you held in Toastmasters?  Club president (Court of Blarney) twice and Area 14 Governor.

9.  What Toastmaster accomplishment are you most proud of?  Area 14 Governor.

10.   What would you like to say to someone thinking about joining Toastmasters?  A great way to build self confidence to deal with any situation - personal or business.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Just Joking - Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

Our Scoutmaster told us all to write to our parents in case you saw the flood on TV and worried. We are okay. Only one of our tents and two sleeping bags got washed away, but none of us drowned because we were all up on the mountain looking for Bryson when it happened.

Oh yes, please call Bryson’s mother and tell her that he’s doing fine. He can’t write because of the cast. I got to ride on one of the search and rescue jeeps. It was awesome! We never would have found him in the dark if it hadn’t been for all of the lightning.

Scoutmaster Bob got mad at Bryson for going on a hike alone without telling anyone. Bryson said he did tell him, but it was during the fire so he probably didn’t hear him.

Did you know that if you put a gas can on a fire, the gas can will blow up? Mason is going to look pretty strange until his hair grows back.

We will be home on Saturday, as long as Scoutmaster Bob gets the truck fixed. It wasn’t his fault about the wreck. He said the brakes were working when we left. He said that with a car that old you to have to expect something to break down; that’s probably why he can’t get insurance on it. We think it’s a sweet truck. He doesn’t care if we get it dirty, and if it’s hot we can take turns riding in the bed. It gets pretty hot with ten people in a pickup.

Scoutmaster Bob is even teaching Chase how to drive. But he only lets him drive on the mountain roads where there isn’t any traffic. All we ever see up there are logging trucks.

Guess what? We have all passed our first aid merit badges. When Luke dove in the lake and cut his arm, we got to see how a tourniquet works.

Don't worry about anything. We are fine.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

and I quote... look around

Looking for and enjoying beauty is a way to nourish the soul. the universe is in the habit of making beauty. There are flowers and songs, snowflakes and smiles, acts of great courage, laughter between friends, a job well done, the smell of fresh-baked bread. Beauty is everywhere. 
Matthew Fox

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sundown - A recap of last night's meeting

 For those of you not there last night, you missed a great meeting! All in attendance had lots of fun in the sun!

This was our first meeting of the new Toastmaster year so it was only fitting that our Chairperson for the evening was our new President, Tim.

Tim started the meeting off right with a heartfelt message that reminded up all to count our blessings and look for the positive in every situation. Then he lightened things up with a joke that had us all laughing out loud. 

Now on to Table Topics, which was led by our new VP of Public Relations, Christine. We all had our hands in the air trying to keep the (beach) ball from dropping. Everyone enjoyed sharing memories of summer days gone by and plans for the summers of their future.

Christine sat down just long enough to catch her breath then she was up again front and centre entertaining us with tales of Beaches near and far.

Next on the agenda was an impromptu Coaches Corner. Rob and Bob volunteered to put themselves out there and seek some help for their 'speech block'. Thanks to wisdom and creativity of coaches Marsha, Tim and Cassandra they both left the stage with speeches well on their way to completion. We look forward to hearing these in the near future.

Seems all were on the same positive wavelength last night. Doug our Quotemaster for the evening shared a lesson in the power of positive thinking.

Christine who visited our club last month and had such a great time, decided to come back for another visit. By the end of the evening she had decided to join the club. Welcome to Toastmasters Christine!

It was such a fun and inspiring meeting that members had their hands lined up at the end of it eagerly volunteering to fill roles for the upcoming meetings and sign up for speeches.

All in all it was a great meeting, and we wish you had of been there.

What's next? 

A sneak peek inside our next meeting:

Date: July 26th

Theme: A midsummer night's dream

Phyrne Parker current District 60 Governor will grace us with her presence. She will be talking to us about 'Getting out of Toastmasters'

Our own Gary Alexander returns armed with a new and exciting speech for our listening pleasure.

And our President Tim will entertain us with his wonderful storytelling skills.

Plus much, much more!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Getting to know... Our President

Tim Norton, CC, Speak for Success President

Name: Tim Norton

Reporting Architect and a Lapsed Actor.

How long have you been a Toastmaster?
2 years

What club/s do you currently belong to?
Speak For Success #3498

What if any past/present positions do you hold there? –
VP of Education (2010-2011), and am currently President for the 2011-2012 year.

Have you ever served Toastmastesr beyond club level? In what positions?
  Not as of yet.

Which of these positions did you most enjoy?
Once I really got into the groove of being VP of Education I thoroughly enjoyed it.  My term as President has just started...but I’m certain that being surrounded by such great people will make the role as fun and rewarding as my previous role.

Which did you find most challenging?
As with any role that involves contact with multiple people it’s always the lack of responses you get to e-mails, etc;  The more interactive your members are, the easier your role typically is. I’m sure that’s something all clubs deal with, and I hope to brainstorm methods with my fantastic executive to make this work better.

Why did you join Toastmasters? 
I love the idea of Public Speaking.  As a trained actor and improviser I’m used to being in front of an audience, but the “muscle” of consistently being able to be entertaining, informative and inspirational as a solo speaker was something I really wanted to work on.

What do you most enjoy about being a Toastmaster? 
The supportive nature of all the people I share my time with at both my club and when I get the chance to visit other clubs.

Describe what goes on during a typical meeting at your club?
We really try to build a structure where everybody gets a chance to speak, whether through structured speeches, impromptu speaking (table topics) or as a set role in the meeting.  We have a lot of fun, laugh a lot and are very supportive through regular evaluations and general chats during the breaks.

What is your favourite part of a Toastmasters meeting?
Table Topics.  I love the thrill of spontaneously coming up with fresh material to talk about.

How has what you have learned at Toastmasters helped you in your personal and/or professional life? 
I feel that I’m more confident in meeting settings, and have even improved tremendously in “small-talk”, which is one area I was never all that good at.

Share a memorable Toastmaster moment.
When I took 1st place at the Area Table Topics competition I was completely shocked and pleased.  Everybody else was so great and I was flattered they considered my speech the winner.

What Toastmaster designations to you hold?   
I am currently a Competent Communicator, and expect to have my Competent Leader within the next month.

Have you ever participated in a speech contest?
I have competed twice in the International Speech competition, and once in the Humourous Speech/Table Topics contest.

At what level?
I reached the Division M finals for Table Topics in the 2010-2011 year.

What Toastmaster awards/contest have you won?
I placed 1st in Table Topics at the Area levels, and 2nd at the Division M finals.

What current goals are your working towards?
I am currently working on my Competent Leader level and have begun to work on my Advanced Communicator Bronze.

What Toastmaster accomplishment are you most proud of? 
Seeing peoples’ eyes light up when I’ve delivered a speech that I’ve put a lot of passion into.

What personal one?
The writing and thought process I’ve put into speech brings something new to light about myself that I may not have thought about before.  This self-evaluation has truly made me a better person.

What would you like to say to someone thinking about joining Toastmasters?
Just show up.  No commitment, no pressure.  I guarantee you will find something that inspires you, and we hope to be inspired by you.

Get Going

District 86 is sponsoring a exciting contest to encourage members to get out  and get going to other clubs.

By visiting other clubs members gain valuable communication and leadership skills. They meet new people, hear new speakers and get new ideas. Visiting other clubs enhances our own club.

No matter how good a club is, or thinks it is sometimes it gets stuck in rut doing the same old thing, meeting after meeting, month after month, year after year. 

Sometimes it takes going outside your club to wake yourself up to new possibilities and ideas. You return to your own club filled with energy and enthusiasm.

Another benefit of going outside your club is you get to hear dynamic speakers you would have not heard at your home club. Sometimes a speaker will so inspire you that you will find yourself inspired to bring them back to your club with you, as a guest speaker. 

These are only a few of the benefits.

Is going outside our club  a good idea for members? You bet it is!

It's good for you, it's good for our club and it's good for Toastmasters! That's why our District encourages doing it, and why they reward members who do.

What are you waiting for? Get going! You'll laugh, you'll learn and District 86 will thank you for it.

For more info on the Go Outside the Club program click here

Monday, July 11, 2011

Here comes the sun!

Join us tomorrow night for a sun filled evening.

Christine, our newest Competent Communicator will entertain us with tales of ‘Beaches’ near and far, Doug will inspire us with some witty words of wisdom, and Tim our chair for the evening will keep the (beach) ball rolling along.

Join the fun! Bring yourself, bring a friend.

See you at the ‘beach’!

Music in Motion Performing Arts Studio
150 Artesian Industrial Pkwy
Bradford, ON L3Z 1E8

Meeting starts at 7:00 pm sharp!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Talking to Toastmasters - Janice Weir DTM

Janice Weir DTM
1.       Name: Janice Weir

2.       Occupation: 
Manager, Mentoring for the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. I am a Certified Human Resource Professional.

3.       Why/when did you join Toastmasters? 
I joined Toastmasters, at the suggestion of my best friend's father, who thought that I was way too shy to be the owner of my own business.  That was in 1999 and I have not looked back since.

4.       What do you most enjoy about being a Toastmaster? 
The amazing leadership opportunities and all of the wonderful people you meet and work with.

5.       How has what you have learned at Toastmasters helped you in your personal and/or professional life? 
It has given me such a level of self-confidence, that I have felt like I could take on and excel at new projects.

6.       Share a memorable Toastmaster moment.
That was when one of my Area Governors, introduced me to her Mother as the District Governor and friend that inspired her.

7.       What Toastmaster designation/s do you hold? 
DTM, and I am a past District Governor.

8.       What positions have you held in Toastmasters?
In the club: President, VP Education and VP Membership.
At the District: Area Governor, Division Governor, Public Relations Officer, Lieutenant Governor of Education and Training, District Governor and Immediate Past District Governor.
Other: Conference Committee Roles, Workshop Presenter

9.       What Toastmaster accomplishment are you most proud of?
That is hard to say, each one is the one you are most proud of at the moment, then the next one happens, and you become proud of that also.
A memorable moment was when one of the World Champion of Public Speaking commented that I was a quiet leader. It was a compliment because he noticed that I just made suggestions to people and before you knew it things were happening.

10.   What would you like to say to someone thinking about joining Toastmasters?
         It is the best decision you will ever make in your personal development  

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Message from our Immediate Past Presdient

This was a year of phenomenal growth at Speak For Success in Bradford.

The energy and commitment from those who have joined us this year renews my interest and excitement
once again at Toastmasters.

Many ask "why do you stay?"

I stay because I am continually inspired by watching the penney drop for others.  It doesn't take long to learn that becoming
a better communicator touches your life in more ways than business alone.  One night you enter the room 5 Ft 4 and leave 5 Ft 5.
Where else can this happen?  You spoke from the heart and you knew your listeners were with you all the way...I call this moment
a natural high. 

My hope for all of you is too remain focused and get the work done, it's worth it.  Follow the manual and ask for help.

We all want to help you get to where you need to go.  Some stay, some go, it doesn't matter. The goal for you right now is too get your CC and then you will decide on what the future will be at Speak For Success. 

Thanks to the executive this year for helping reach our goals toward becoming Distinguished club.  I could not have done it without you and the members.

It's been a great year!

Annette Lavigne
Speak For Success
President 2011