Monday, October 06, 2014

For Toastmasters Only... A chance to improve your written communication and more

Greetings fellow Writers / Toastmasters !

Dave Wheeler, Speaker, Writer, Internet Marketer
Do you want to improve your written communication skills?  How about driving more traffic to your own blog or website?

I have an offer for you ...

I should tell you up front that I got this idea from Bill Corbett and the Hartford Springfield Speaker's Network when they started a blog for their group.  He gave one day per month to a member of their group and that person would write one blog article that would be published on "their day" every month.

It is a great way to increase traffic to each author's website (via a link in their article) but it also generates loads of excellent content (delivered on a consistent basis) for the HSSN blog too.  It is clearly a "win-win" and that is where you come in.

How would you like to write an article per month and plug it into this already established blog with over 550 entries and a certain amount of existing traffic?

How to get better?

One of the things that I found with alot of "group blogs" is that the authors are rarely given feedback in terms of ways to improve the readability or content value for their articles.  As Toastmasters, you know the value of feedback and how critical it is to improving your skills in any area, especially communications.

As editor for the blog, my goal will be to 1) improve readability, 2) Create the best headlines possible so that readers are drawn to your article and 3) eventually get to the point where all participating authors are producing highly readable content with strong headlines so I can simply push "publish".

Are you interested?

If so, please send me your first article via email at dave [at] gps-SpeakerMarketing [dot] com.  It should be between 300-500 words (if you have more, just figure out a way to break it into a series).  We will also have a page on the blog "About The Authors" so you can start thinking about some sort of bio for that page (around 100 words).


Ideally the articles will focus on topics that are of interest to your fellow Toastmasters.  Of course you should bring in any expertise that you have and a small plug for your services (if you have a business related to the article) is perfectly fine.

As editor, I reserve the right to change or even reject content that I feel is not in the best interests of this blog.  I don't expect it to be a problem, but if a writer consistently misses deadlines or is not adding value to the blog, I reserve the right to end their participation.  Like I said, I don't expect that to be a problem but I wanted to get it out there just in case.

So, are you in?

Send an email to me and let's get started !  If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. Dave Wheeler, DTM
D53 Governor 2010-11

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How does Toastmasters work?

The video below features Lance Miller, 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking and long-time Toastmaster, explaining exactly "How Toastmasters Works." and the advantages of each role.  The speech was videotaped at his club, Renaissance Speakers in Hollywood, California.


Does your club have a JokeMaster or, as Lance calls it, a ChuckleMaster?  This is one role that is often overlooked but the ability to deliver a joke is a very valuable skill that every Toastmaster should develop.

Lance's website is and he will have a review page on in the near future.

Leave a comment below with your thoughts on Lance's speech...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Care for your Voice

Guide to Voice Care for Speakers and other Vocalists
As a speaker, it is important to take care of your voice.

Without your voice, it is pretty hard to give a good speech which is why this free guide caught my eye...

Vocalist's Guide to Recording, Rehearsing and Performing: Care and Maintenance for Singers in every Genre

Don't get fooled by the "Vocalist" in the title though.  Every speaker is a vocalist (although we don't always remember that until something goes wrong with our voice).

Don't wait until something goes wrong !  Learn how to take care of your voice NOW !

About the Source:
This guide is offered for free by when you sign up with your contact info.  I have used for production of a DVD for one of my speaker clients and she was very happy with the results.  They also have very reasonable prices for low volume orders so you can start small and buy more as  your DVD or CD becomes a hit.

Once you check out the Vocalist's Guide please be sure to leave a comment here !

We would love to hear what you think and if you have any suggestions for speakers that would improve or maintain your voice.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dilbert creator says "Toastmasters makes you happy !"

Well, he didn't really say that... but if you read between the lines (and, maybe if you are already a Toastmaster) you might get that message from his recent blog article about "Engineering Happiness".

Check out his article if you don't believe me !

Click here !

Monday, January 24, 2011

Increased Productivity... by Doing Nothing !?!

Want to be more productive?  Try doing nothing for 2 minutes.  It is not as easy as it sounds.

I found this website (click here) to be an interesting experience... similar to a Buddhist meditation.  All you have to do is "nothing"... just listen to the sounds of the waves and look at the nice picture of the water and sunset (or is it a sunrise?).  Don't think about what you need to do next.  If the waves and picture are not enough to calm your mind, try focusing on the sensations of your breathing... in.... out ... repeat.

How can this make you more productive? 
By focusing your mind on "nothing" (or actually the sound of the waves or the picture in front of you), you take it out of "reaction mode" and gain more control over where you place your attention.  It also helps you to relax when you notice something causing stress in your body.

Try it !  (And see if you aren't more productive when you go back to work)

Now... GET BACK TO WORK !   :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Darren LaCroix on Membership Building...

You were brave enough to join Toastmasters, right?

Now that you have improved your skills, are you brave enough to speak outside of your club?

Listen to what Darren LaCroix, World Champion of Public Speaking has to say...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Illusion (?) of Confidence...

First, let me preface this blog article by saying that the concept of "Confidence as an illusion" was given to me by a [supremely confident?] comic strip author... so don't expect lots of references to long-term studies and scientific measurements.

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, said in his blog...

The reality is that there are only two conditions you can be in. You can either have an accurate view of your own abilities or an inaccurate view. Confidence is similar to will power in the sense that neither of them exists and yet society is quite certain they do.

I'm not sure I agree that our view of our abilities is either "accurate" or "inaccurate". How do you measure the accuracy of our perceptions? Isn't that something that is subjective by nature? As Scott admits later in his article, it is often useful to be "inaccurate" in how you perceive your own abilities. For one thing, there are too many variables in any given situation to accurately predict with 100% certainty so we are always going to be inaccurate about our abilities to some degree. If it were possible to predict with 100% certainty, then where would the fun be in that?

Growth vs. Talent Mindset
It seems that Scott may have fallen into the "Talent mindset"which says that either you are good at something or you are not. If you fail at something, then don't bother trying again because you don't have the inate talent for it. The Growth mindset is very different. It says that any one outcome is simply an indication of how far you are along your progression to eventual success.

This is where confidence can play a key role. If you are using the Growth mindset and have failed in the past, your confidence can still be high since every outcome is simply feedback on your way to success.

Confidence is important because it gets you to TAKE ACTION. As a famous philosopher once said, "80% of success is just showing up" and confidence gets you to "show up". (I think it was said by Woody Allen.)

How does Confidence work?

I find it interesting that Scott compared confidence to willpower. It appears to me that they are similar "brain functions" and can be influenced through similar channels or activities.

For example, I think we can all agree that our brain controls our actions and since our brains have been conditioned to control our actions, based on all the inputs and decisions over the course of our life, it makes sense that confidence and willpower are simply outcomes of conditioning.

Where does Toastmasters come in?

Since this is a blog for Toastmasters, you are probably wondering how this relates to Toastmasters, right? Well, Toastmasters is one of the best ways to condition your brain to accept challenges, try new things and develop a Growth Mindset. The supportive environment of Toastmasters makes it easy to try out new skills without worrying about failure. In fact, "failure" is kind of expected. No one is expected to be perfect and even if you are "very good", there are always ideas for improvement that you can get from your fellow Toastmasters.

So once you have proven to yourself that you can make progress in your communication skills, it is easy to transfer that confidence to other areas ... such as taking on a leadership role in your club or trying something new in your personal or business life.

Perpetuate the Illusion !

Scott Adams ends many of his blog articles with the disclaimer..."Do not take [investment] advice from a cartoonist". I'm sure that is partly for legal reasons and partly for humorous effect. But, he is probably one of the most thought provoking writers around today and I guess the moral of this story about Confidence is "Think for yourself" ... but maintain your confidence (even if it might be an illusion). It will keep you growing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Toastmasters & Employment...

All members of Toastmasters understand the connection between good communication skills and performance at work, right?

Well, I found a business article that agrees with us too !

BusinessPundit blog had the following article about the "Top 8 Traits Employers Look For"...
1) Loyalty
2) Honesty
3) Punctuality
4) Determination
5) Flexibility
6) Smart Appearance
7) Positive Outlook
8) Communication Skills

The article goes on to say...
– Communication skills are key. Ensure your application and resume are
grammatically correct, ask a friend or family to look them over for you to help
catch any typos or errors. At interview think before you speak, choose your
words carefully and ensure they convey the message clearly. Don’t “um” and “ah”
– it is better to take a few seconds to compose an answer than to say something
It is good to see that others are recognizing the importance of the skills that are developed by Toastmasters !

Monday, November 15, 2010

Making your club more Join-able ...

I've been following Scott Ginsberg's blog for many years and he recently posted the video below. It was originally given to the Optimist International organization, but I think the topic of Join-ability is a good one for Toastmasters as well

Note: Scott's "claim to fame" is that he always wears a nametag and he has built a speaking & writing career out of the topic of "Approachability". In fact, his blog is called, "Hello, my name is.." blog.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Toastmasters leads to ... Happiness !

Below is Gretchen Rubin's video blog post about "Friends" which includes her recommendation to "Join or Start a Group". (Of course she must mean Toastmasters!)

Gretchen is the author of a blog called "The Happiness Project" along with a best selling book by the same name. It appears that the book is being adapted into a TV series starring Kristin Davis of "Sex And The City" fame.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Toastmasters !

From (guest "blogger"):
Brian Cavanaugh
Area D-5 Governor
District 53 Toastmasters

Happy 86th Anniversary Toastmasters International!

On this date, October 22, in 1924, Smedley Club Number 1 became the first Toastmasters club. What started as one club meeting at the YMCA in Santa Ana, CA, has grown to over 12,500 clubs in 113 countries with nearly 260,000 members in only 86 years!

Thank you all for your dedication and service to all the Toastmasters of District 53.

Have Fun…And Get It Done!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A World Record "Toastmaster"

If there was ever a World Record that a Toastmaster should hold... check this out !
... 27-year-old museum curator turned a photo of her mother-in-law,
Sandra Whitfield, into the world's largest toast mosaic - comprising 9,852

Mrs Hadland roped in 40 friends to help her make the tribute, which she describes as 'a treat made with love and a sense of randomness'. ... The portrait, measuring 32ft 8in by 42ft 3in, set a new world record as the largest toast mosaic.

They used a battery of nine toasters to brown the slices of bread to varying degrees before arranging it to make the 32ft 8in by 42ft 3in picture at an arts venue in Mrs Whitfield's home town of Warrington, Cheshire.

After spending six hours painstakingly perfecting the image, Laura surprised her husband Mike's mother with the unusual portrait to celebrate her 50th birthday.

The enormous picture was confirmed yesterday as having set a new Guinness World Record as the largest toast mosaic.
(click here for the full story)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Can you find the Toastmasters reference ....?

In Marketing Guru, Seth Godin's recent blog post (click here) he talks about learning and two different "paths" or types of teachers. Check out his short post and see if you can find where Toastmasters fits !

Monday, May 17, 2010

Today is the last day for Toastmasters clubs to file with the IRS...

Has your club filed with the IRS as a non-profit organization yet?

The deadline is TODAY... May 17th.

Be sure to have your club file the IRS form 990-N for this year... if your club has not filed, it could severely impact your status with Toastmasters International. As a district officer, we are just now hearing the exact repercussions but they could be substantial for your club ... ranging from a re-application fee of $850 to a loss of the club's charter.

I don't know the final word... but I highly recommend getting your club filed NOW !

It's a simple form. Here are the instructions:

Please do let your area governor or Division Governor know when your club has filed it. Ideally, when you get your confirmation email from the IRS, just forward it to them (and feel free to copy me at theshot92 [at] (The email format was typed out to avoid spam.)


Dave Wheeler
D53 LGET, 2009-10

P.S. If you are reading this on, or after, May 18th, 2010 ... it may already be too late. In any case, here is a link which allows you to see which clubs have filed and which have not...

At that site you can search for "Toastmasters" and then by state and/or county. District 53 looks to be in pretty good shape (percentage-wise) since a club must have filed in the past 3 years ... but there are still some clubs that may not have filed.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Are you "Linked In"?

The Spring Conference is now on Linked IN !

Date: 5/03/2010
Subject: LinkedIn Event: District 53 Toastmasters Spring 2010 Conference
Roger H Brown found District 53 Toastmasters Spring 2010 Conference on LinkedIn Events and thought you might be interested in going!

District 53 Toastmasters Spring 2010 Conference
Sat, May 22
St. Thomas Seminary Conference Facility, Bloomfield, CT, US

Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring Conference 2010...

The Early Bird Deadline is May 1st... so get your registration sent in (or register online at

Check out the video by the conference team...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Did you renew your membership in Toastmasters for 6 months? Or a year?

Membership dues were due to Toastmasters International by April 1st for at least the coming 6 months (April thru September).
Did you renew for 6 or 12 months?

During every dues cycle members evaluate what they want to accomplish in Toastmasters versus the cost of the dues. Some clubs have to pay to rent their meeting spaces which can increase the club dues but I have never heard of a Toastmasters club that cost even half of the expensive two or three day seminars that seem to be popping up everywhere.

Toastmasters continues to be an incredible value...
... for those that believe in developing their skills. The members that do not renew are often the ones that either used to being spoon-fed their education or just are not committed enough to their own progress.

Life is not easy.
And it won't get any easier if you don't try new things. It can become more boring by doing less, but that won't get you any more than what you have ... and it will probably end up costing you what you have since nothing is standing still. The competition is always getting better and either you are improving or you are getting (relatively) worse.

You NEED Toastmasters.
Not just for the social interaction with supportive members a few times a month but for a chance to push outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. Toastmasters is one of very few places where you are encouraged to try new things, learn by doing and where failure is only when you don't try.

Make the Most of Your Membership !
Make a plan for the coming 3 months. Take a role or give a speech at every meeting. Complete your CC and your CL. Don't worry about doing things perfect... do the best you can in the time that is available and LEARN from the experience. Next time will be better.

Don't be an April Fool...
If there is going to be a "next time"... I hope you paid your membership dues !

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do you know someone who needs a PUSH?

I saw this online movie titled "Even Eagles Need a Push" and thought of Toastmasters...
(see it at

Do you know of someone that needs a push... towards Toastmasters?

Do you need a push?

There are a nearly limitless number of challenges (or "growth opportunities") within Toastmasters and if you need a PUSH, just ask a club or district officer what might available.

Do you want to soar on the stage of the District Conference?
Now is the time to enter your club's speech contests which progress through the Area and Division contests and culminate on the District stage in front of hundreds of fellow Toastmasters ! (I can tell you ... it is an incredible experience.)

Do you want to find your wings in Toastmasters Leadership?
Visit the newly improved District 53 Website at and check out the Leadership section (under the Main Menu on the left side of the page). All the current positions are listed there along with the people who are currently serving. Feel free to contact them and find out what they do in their role. Perhaps you will find something to PUSH you to new heights !

.... by Dave Wheeler, D53 LGET, 2009-10

Fitness Club or Successful Restaurant?

Is your Toastmasters club like a Fitness club or a Successful Restaurant?

Let me explain what I mean....
I was reading a recent blog article by Jonathon Fields where he talked about various business models and how they impacted the quality and the character of the business.

The business model for your average mainstream gym revolves around automated monthly billing. ... New members sign up, often pay an up front fee, then agree to have their credit cards hit every month in advance. Depending on the contract, they may also agree to a minimum commitment (classically, a year) or a simple monthly payment structure. To end the monthly billing, a member must (a) wait until their commitment, if any, has run, then (b) send notice of termination by the precise channels laid out in the contract.

The alleged beauty of this model is that it shifts the burden of reselling and re-earning the membership fee away from the club and, instead, places the burden of termination on the member. Put another way, instead of the club having to resell members every month, the billing only stops when the member proactively says, “no more.”

Sounds like a killer business model, right?

But, here’s where it gets a bit ugly.

This same model also fosters:
* Widespread lack of innovation,
* Declining emphasis on remarkability and delight
* Exceptionally poor differentiation that requires non-stop aggressive marketing
* Uninspired, disengaged staff working for unsatisfactory pay, and
* A 40% annual drop-out that keeps the sales burden exceptionally high

As Toastmasters approaches our next dues renewal period (in March), we should think about whether or not our club has become complacent and boring to our members.

Are the members getting what they want?
The "Moments of Truth" module from Toastmasters Intl. is available for free download (click here) and it addresses this important question. It is also part of the Successful Club Series which is one of the requirements for your Advanced Communicator - Silver (ALS)or Advanced Leader - Bronze (ALB) awards.

Jonathan Field's article goes on to part 2 and part 3 (not yet published) where I'm sure he will give his ideas for a better business model, but I think there is another alternative to the recurring payment / Fitness club analogy that could relate to Toastmasters... the Successful Restaurant.

What makes a Successful Restaurant?
There are a number of keys but, in my humble opinion, the top 3 are the "dining experience", the food and their visibility & reputation in the community. The dining experience includes the environment of the restaurant, the service by your waiter and many more things that either delight or annoy the patrons. What is the "Toastmasters Experience" in your club? Are guests greeted and introduced to Toastmasters? Are your meetings upbeat and enjoyable?

The other part of a successful restaurant is the food. For other businesses, this is their "product". What do you think is the product for Toastmasters? Many might guess the Speeches and manuals but Heath Suddleson, the TM Intl. Director who visited District 53 back in January, offered another answer ... Evaluations. Heath's thinking is that you could do a million speeches but without good evaluations, the odds are you would not get better... or certainly not as quickly as you would with good evaluations.

How good are the evaluations given in your club?
When was the last time that someone presented the TM Successful Club Series module, "Evaluate to Motivate", for the new people in your club? Do you hold your club's evaluators to a high standard so that they encourage speakers while still offering constructive ideas for improvement? (In many ways, I've found that "constructive criticism" is an oxymoron... at least the way I've seen it delivered by some people.)

What if there was a great restaurant that nobody knew existed?
Finally, restaurants that want to be successful must get the word out. They must market their product and help encourage "word of mouth" marketing. Toastmasters clubs are the same way. Who has not had the experience of mentioning Toastmasters in conversations at work or home and having someone say, "What's Toastmasters?". Unfortunately, Toastmasters is one of the best kept secrets in personal development ... and for your club to be successful, that needs to change !

Help is available...
District 53 has numerous resources available to aid in the marketing of your club. There are the membership building ideas from Heath Suddleson which can be requested from any Area Governor and will probably be posted on the district website in the near future.
Your club could have an open house and invite past winners of contests to speak or even a District officer (I know that I would love to speak at your club's open house if we can fit it on my schedule.)

In the end, it is up to you.

Do you want your club to be like a fitness club which loses members at renewal time or a successful restaurant where more and more people come to enjoy themselves in a great environment?

The choice is yours !

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heath Suddleson's Presentation

Heath Suddleson, Toastmasters International Director, visited District 53 in January 2010 and gave a well received presentation at a number of the Toastmasters Leadership Exchange (TLE) events around the District. The video below was recorded by Andre White, Div.A Governor, at the Div.A TLE event on January 15th, 2010 so that it could be shared with others within our district.

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The CC season is here !

It is January and you know what that means....
Time to set goals for the year and plan for all the great Toastmasters events that are coming up in the next few months !
What types of goals?
How about finishing your CC? Now is the time to get signed up on your club's meeting schedule and let your VP-Education know that you want to finish your CC by the end of April (which could help your club win TM materials if they are distinguished by April 30th) or perhaps by the Spring Conference on May 22nd where we are hoping to celebrate meeting our District goal. If you miss either of these targets, there is still the goal of the end of the Toastmasters year, June 30th, 2010. If you get your CC done by then it could help your club become distinguished and earn a ribbon for your club's banner.

What if I've already finished my CC?
How about doing a second CC? You will be amazed by how much a second (or third) CC helps you improve your basic speaking skills. When was the last time you really focused on Vocal Variety? Or speaking to Inspire? Skills get rusty if they are not used regularly. Polish up your speaking skills and you will be glad you did. Send an email to your VPE right now to get on the speaking schedule ! Don't wait !
Did you know...
... that you can order just the evaluation guides from the CC
manual for only $1.95 !
Click here to order them from TI !
What about Contest and Conference (the "other CCs")?
Your work on your CC (manual) will also help you in your club contest (cc) which could even lead you to the finals at the District 53 Spring Conference in Bloomfield, CT on May 22nd, 2010 !

  • Club Contests should be held by March 19
  • Area Contests by April 9th and,
  • Division Contests by April 30th.
Did you know...
... that you can get credit towards a manual speech for any speech you do as part of the Tall Tales or International speech contests? It just needs to be evaluated in the manual by another Toastmaster !
Contests are a great way to "jumpstart" your progress toward your next award ... plus you get the added benefit of refining your speech as you progress to each level of the competiton.

The competition is really with yourself. If you do the best that you can (and learn from the experience)... YOU ARE A WINNER !

Move forward and Enjoy the CC season !

Dave Wheeler
D53 LGET, 2009-10

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ode to our club officers...

We have approximately 3000 members in District 53 and over 140+ clubs.
With 7 officers per club, that is over 980 club officers!

These club officers are key to the success of our organization since clubs would not last very long without the people who step up to be officers.

We should not lose sight of why Toastmasters exists (in addition to having Fun)... to develop our members ... and enthusiastic, trained club officers are critical to this mission.

Ode to those who volunteer to be Toastmasters club officers ...
by Dave Wheeler

They arrange the meeting room ....
... so everything runs smoothly.

They greet us at the door with a smile ...
... and set the mood for the club.

They lead by example ...
... by focusing on their communication and leadership goals.

They find time to attend officer training ...
... so they can better support their club.

They serve their members ...
... and help each person grow and develop.

They communicate to their community ...
... so that the value of Toastmasters is not kept a secret.

They collect dues and handle the paperwork ...
... that keeps the club going.

They update the club website ...
... as a resource to existing and potential members.

They measure the progress of each member ...
... because they know that commitment + measurement = results.

They come up with new ideas for the club to try...
... and reach out to members for their ideas.

They are Toastmasters club officers and ...
... they make Toastmasters FUN !


Have you thanked your club officers recently?

The Future of the Library .... is Toastmasters!

Seth Godin had a very short blog post (so short I pasted the whole thing below) about the future of Libraries....

The future of the library
What should libraries do to become relevant in the digital age?

They can't survive as community-funded repositories for books that individuals don't want to own (or for reference books we can't afford to own.) More librarians are telling me (unhappily) that the number one thing they deliver to their patrons is free DVD rentals. That's not a long-term strategy, nor is it particularly an uplifting use of our tax dollars.

Here's my proposal: train people to take intellectual

Once again, the net turns things upside down. The information is free now. No need to pool tax money to buy reference books. What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in
connecting with and leading others.

Sounds like "Toastmasters at Libraries" would be a great combination!

People who have better communication and leadership skills are better equiped to stretch their comfort zones in other ways... and "take intellectual initiative".
When you have the self-confidence to speak in public, you are able to try things in other areas of your life and your world expands.

What do you think?
Leave a comment below!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More "Why Toastmasters?" videos...

We had a great turnout at the Toastmasters Leadership Exchange last Saturday (12/12) in Manchester, CT and a number of people took advantage of our video setup and created videos for the D53 YouTube Challenge .

Check out the District 53 YouTube Channel and all the "Why TM?" videos (we are up to at least 20)...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why Toastmasters? Sample Videos

Below are some sample YouTube videos provided by Sherri Rafftery, District 31 Governor 2009-10; Kristen Nicolson, Past Intl. Director for Toastmasters; and Heath Suddleson, Toastmasters Intl.Director from Region 7 2009-11.

If you want to add your own YouTube video for the "Why Toastmasters?" video challenge, be sure to tag the video with D53 (since District 53 is organizing this challenge) and "Why TM" so that your video can be found via a YouTube search.

If you would like your video listed as a favorite on the D53 YouTube Channel, send an email with a link to your video to Dave Wheeler. His email address is theshot92 [at] The email address is listed this way (without the @ symbol) to prevent automatic programs who capture addresses and send spam.

Of course, your video should be "Toastmasters-friendly". If you don't know what that means, ask another Toastmaster or a club officer.

Special Thanks to Sherri, Kristen and Heath for stepping forward and providing these excellent examples !

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

YTM YouTube Challenge... Why Toastmasters?

District 53's
"Why Toastmasters?" YouTube Challenge

Showcasing the Value of Toastmasters !

How to Enter:
Create a 1-2 minute video where you answer the question, "Why Toastmasters?". Your TableTopics-length speech should articulate what you feel is the value of Toastmasters to the viewer. Basically, it is your “elevator” speech for Toastmasters.

All entries will be in the form of videos loaded to The videos must be tagged with “D53” and "Why TM" and include the contestant’s name, their club name & number. This information can also be added as text overlay or in the description of the video, but the "D53" and "Why TM" must be clear to judges and searchable in YouTube. (Otherwise, we won’t be able to find all the entries.)

Content of the video should be “Toastmasters-friendly” and in good taste such that it could be shown at a District 53 event. District Sr. Team will determine if a video is disqualified for content.

Speech Time:
1-2 minutes (2:30 maximum total video time)

Who can enter:
Any active Toastmasters member in good standing of a club in good standing within District 53 may submit a video for the D53 Challenge. Members of other districts are welcome to create videos... they just won't be part of the D53 Challenge. The member who enters the video must be in the video for at least 50% of the time. Non-members may assist and even appear in the video but there is not liability assumed by Toastmasters. Entrants assume all liability.

Current and immediate past district officers may enter except for the current District Governor, Lt.Gov.-Education & Training, Lt.Gov.- Marketing and the District 53 Chief Judge. Finalists may not be finalist judges.

Public opinion will decide the 10 finalists via’s ability for viewers to rank the videos. An important part of this effort will be how entrants promote their videos (to get “votes”). Finalists will be announced 1 week before the District 53 final event where the finalists will be recognized. Current plans are for the challenge to culminate at the D53 Spring 2010 conference.

Judges will be chosen by the Chief Judge & Sr. Team from all District 53 Divisions. The judges will view the finalist videos online during the week prior to the final event and deliver their ballots to the District 53 Judging Team at least 2 days prior to the final event.

Prizes & Recognition:
Finalist Videos will be shown at the Spring Conference and awards presented for:
1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Overall
Most Humorous
Most Creative

What if I don’t own a video camera or computer?
A videographer will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis at Division contests within District 53. These sessions give an opportunity to members who are not able to enter themselves due to a lack of video equipment or computer access. The number of video slots at the Division contests will be limited so contact your Division Governor to sign up. Keep in mind that these videos may not have as long to accumulate votes online.
Contact Dave Wheeler, D53 Lt.Gov.-Education & Training, via email address theshot92 [at] Be sure to include "Why TM?" in the Subject line.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Passing of a great speaker...Jim Rohn

On Dec.5th, 2009 personal development legend Jim Rohn passed away.

If you have not heard of him, check out the YouTube videos below...

Here are the links in case the embedded videos don't work on your computer...
Best Year Ever...Video 1 of 3

Best Year Ever...Video 2 of 3 (Measurable Progress in Reasonable Time)

Best Year Ever...Video 3 of 3 (The Day that turns your life around)

D53 Sr. Team goes to training...

Last weekend (12/4-12/6), District 53's Sr. Team (Marsha, Richard and Dave) went to Regional Training where they learned lots and picked up a ton of ideas that will help our district over the coming months.

In addition, there is a tradition at the regional training that each district's Sr.Team will create and perform a skit after the evening dinner. This year, D53 did a parody on the Bravo TV network's show, "Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton". We had Richard Peck playing the part of James Lipton and Marsha Kiley as the "star" being interviewed. (Dave Wheeler created the clips and ran the audio video.)

While we did not videotape the whole skit, we can pass along the video clips that were used within the skit. The embedded video below features our Intl. Directors, Heath & Annelie...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Here are the links to all the "film clips" we used...

Holiday Greetings from the Region 7 Intl. Directors (in case the embedded video above did not work for you).

Christmas Story featuring Kristen & Dan

Halloween (we used this as a promo on for our Fall 2009 Conference). This link is to the YouTube video which includes text overlaid on the video with information about the conference. Be sure you have "annotations" turned on when you watch it (so you will get the "full effect").

Its a Wonderful Life (featuring our friends from D31)

The D53 Xmas Dancers featuring Marsha, Dave and Richard.

These were all made using if you want to play around with it yourself.

I am also working on a "YouTube Channel" for District 53 and that is where I will be loading up the "Why Toastmasters?" videos. (They should be there soon.)

Holiday Greetings !
Dave Wheeler
D53 LGET, 2009-10
Move Forward !

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Early Bird discount extended to TODAY !

The early bird discount has been extended to TODAY (Oct.20th) only !

Send an email to everyone you know who might want to go to the District 53 Fall Conference!

Here is the link to the registration form and more info...

Get your registration into the mail today and SAVE MONEY !

This conference on Saturday Nov. 7th in Saratoga Springs, NY will a ton of fun!

Want Proof?
Check out the video below...
(be sure that you have "annotations turned on" to get the full effect!)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Past District 53 Governor dubbed by Hobo Queen

2008-9 Hobo Queen Carmine Coco DeYoungKarin von Kaenel was officially dubbed by the 2008-9 National Hobo Queen (and current Area A4 Governor) Carmine Coco DeYoung at the Area A4 speech contest on Wed. Sept.30th.

Part of the dubbing process is the awarding of a "hobo moniker" for the honoree and Karin was given the name "Countess Butterfly" due to her background as a statistician and the butterfly logo she had during her year as District 53 Governor.

The picture to the right shows Carmine explaining the award / dubbing process.

Below are pictures of Karin being "dubbed" by Carmine with the ceremonial hobo walking stick.

Karin von Kaenel dubbed Countess ButterflyKarin von Kaenel dubbed Countess Butterfly

In the picture on the left below, Carmine awards Karin the Hobo Walking stick which includes numerous butterflies painted on it along with the signature of the Hobo King and Queen. Truly a "one of a kind" memento!

Karin von Kaenel awarded Hobo Walking StickKarin also received a certificate (so she can hang something on the wall when she is out walking with the walking stick) !

Congratulations Karin !

Area A4 Contest results...


First Place – Michael Cummings, Cartus Magnus

Second Place – Don Lococo, Socially Speaking


First Place – Daniel Rapley, Wooster Heights

Second Place – Croix Sather, WestConn

Third Place – Belle Garafola, Barnum Square

Pictured below (l-r)...

Dan Rapley, Croix Sather, Belle Garafola, Michael Cummings

Area A2 Contest results

Here are the pictures of the Area A2 contest held Friday, Oct.2nd, 2009...

The Area A2 Humorous contest winners are:
from left to right...
3rd place: Darci Rowe, 2nd place: Mike Knopf, Winner: Geoff Crew
Both Geoff and Mike will represent Area A2 at the Division contest.

From left to right...
Winner: Ruth Ray
2nd place: Steve Rock
3rd place: Gerry Buchman

Because Ruth Ray will be unable to attend the Division contest, Steve and Gerry will be the ones attending it on Friday October 9.

A Future Toastmaster ...

Have you seen this YouTube video done by a future Toastmaster?
(Special Thanks to Past District 53 Governor, Roger Brown who brought it to our attention) ...

Roger also sent a link (via PHILIP LEVERE) to an article about how the video came about... click here.
Jim Sacco estimates that his son Josh has watched "Miracle," the film about the 1980 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team's legendary upset of the Soviets, nearly 150 times. Apparently, the movie has made quite an impression on the young fan. ...

... No professional coaching. No fancy editing. No script, because Rizzo hasn't learned to read yet -- he was just 4 years old when his father filmed the speech earlier this year, making it all the more remarkable.
Here is the speech in the movie as presented by Kurt Russell...

What are you born to do? What's your game?

Could your club use a "pregame speech"?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Did your club pay your dues?

One of my favorite authors, Seth Godin, had a short but insightful blog post today titled, "If Craigslist cost $1" and since the deadline for submitting Toastmasters dues is Oct.1st, I thought it would be appropriate to share his key point ....
Money creates a sort of friction. In the digital economy, magical things can happen when there is no friction. You can scale to infinity. On the other hand, sometimes you want friction.
If you lead a group that allows anyone to join, for free, your group might be large, but it's not tight, it's not organized to make important change. Commitment slows things down in the short run, but ultimately aligns interests.
If your club still needs to submit dues, please do it today (or tomorrow). If you are using a credit or debit card, dues can be submitted by a club officer via Just be sure to get them paid before the deadline of October 1st.

Toastmasters is about making "important change" and you can demonstrate your commitment to your personal development by paying your dues.

In other words, now is the time to "Put your money where your mouth is" !

Monday, September 28, 2009

Winter Toastmasters Leadership Exchange

Did you attend the TLI events this past Summer? If so, you will recognize the tune that accompanies the video below...

If you do not see the video below (after giving it a couple seconds to load), try clicking here.