Friday, September 30, 2005

Great Source (catalog) for Ideas ...

I just got a catalog in the mail and I am like most of you .... I rarely get excited about a new catalog... but yesterday I got one that was different !

It is from Trainers Warehouse and their web site it .

In particular, they have a neat set of timing lights (click here to see them) that might be of use to a Toastmasters club ! They also have lots of books with group activities / games which look like they could be both educational and FUN ! (always a good combination!)

If you have any experience with this company, please let me know how they are. I am putting a number of the items on my Christmas List !

Speak Up !

Dave Wheeler

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Area A4 & A2 Fall Contest Meeting !

Area A4 (and Area A2) Fall Contest was held Wed. Sept.28, 2005. The UPDATED* winners were ....

Area A2
1st place: David Alexander
1st runner-up: Ann Germinaro

Humorous Speech
1st place: David Alexander, Putnam Speaks, club 4839, Speech title: MRI: Magnetic Resonance or Medieval Torture"
1st runner-up: Siva Kuchibhotla, BI Toastmasters, club 7386, Speech title: "My Daydream"

Area A4

1st place: Bruce Cornwell
1st runner-up: Kevin Wortman

Humorous Speech
1st place: Belle Garafola, Barnum Square Toastmasters, club 1701, Speech title: "My Seventh Road Test"
1st runner-up: Tom Shaw, Barnum Square Toastmasters, club 1701, Speech title: "I would die for you, but..."

* UPDATED Friday, Sept.30 - There was a mixup when I typed in this post. I had swapped Area A2 and A4 Humorous winners. The results posted here now match the results announced at the contest meeting.

Special Thanks to all the participants, role players, judges and other contestants.
Other contestants included:
Area A2: Daisy Rodriguez (TT), Ed Rinde (TT & Humorous), David Holschlag (Humorous)
Area A4: Eva Agolli (TT), Karin Benedict (TT)

Looking ahead to the Spring Contests:
WestConn Club Contest, tentative date: March 15 (club deadline:Mar.19)
Area A4 Contest: possible dates: March 22 or 29 (Area deadline:Apr. 8)
Division A Contest: possible dates include April 12, 19 or 26 (Div. deadline:Apr.29)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Presentation Ideas ....

I came across the following ideas that you can use for presentations ....

The Takahashi Method:

The [Guy] Kawasaki Method:

General Ideas on Powerpoint slides:

You may notice that they all come from the blog "Presentation Zen" (good catch... you get one brownie point) but I should also tell you where I found out about this blog... on the blog of the marketing master, Seth Godin (see here).

Speak UP!
Dave Wheeler

TableTopics Strategies - using your head to speak on your feet

How can you be prepared to speak without preparation or warning?

Sounds like a classic "no win" situation doesn't it? Or at least an oxymoron.

But if you are a Toastmaster, then you know that there are a number of tactics that you can use as well as skills for impromptu speaking that can be developed.

The following material was presented to WestConn Toastmasters, Club 599, on Sept. 21, 2005 and is a "work-in-progress" (which means that you should not take my word for it, you should try it out and, of course, your comments and suggestions are highly encouraged).

As a Toastmaster district officer, I am not able to participate in the Fall Contests as a Contestant (I am participating as an organizer, contest master and in many other ways). The problem is that I REALLY enjoy the contest process. I find that I am able to stretch my speaking skills beyond their normal capabilities through competition and it is downright exhilarating to win ! (and a pretty exciting "learning experience" if you don't win).

So, instead of competing, I developed this workshop for TableTopic Strategies. The handout will be available on the web (click here for PDF version) and there are a number of references at the bottom of this page that are worth reading.

There are 4 things you need to be successful at TableTopics:
Strategy and Practice, Practice, Practice.

Regular Toastmasters meetings and contests take care of the practice, but there is very little training on the topic of strategy. If you have been with a Toastmaster club for any length of time you have probably learned the "basic" strategies ....
- The Freeze. Say next to nothing until the green light goes on and your time threshold is met.
- The Answer. Simply answer the question. (Usually this creates about two sentences and leaves about 45 seconds left to fill... see also "The Freeze")
- The Redirect. Simply answer another question more to your liking. (This makes it much easier, but for contests and in the true sense of TableTopics it is not usually very satisfying for the audience or the speaker.)

Sometimes you will see a speaker who has advanced beyond the basics. Usually these speakers are 1) well polished, upbeat and relaxed (good delivery on all their speeches - prepared or impromptu), 2) have a wide variety of experiences, knowledge or opinions at their fingertips (easily accessible for any question and 3) can weave a related story and/or make a relevant point based on the table topics question. These advanced speakers have 3 of the strongest tools in their "TableTopics Toolbox".

The key to impromptu speaking is preparation, not just practice. At this point, read through the handout and reference materials and focus on ideas that you want to add to your TableTopics Toolbox!

Dave Wheeler's TableTopics Strategies

Reference Materials / Links:

Impromptu Strategies
courtesy of (no longer on their site for some reason)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Club level Contests progress ....

I've heard from a number of clubs in area A4 and it looks like the TableTopics contest will be well represented. A number of clubs are not submitting the full 2 contestants for the Humorous Speech Contest which means an easier road for those that do make it !

Also, Area A2 (who will be participating with us at the Area contest on Sept. 28th) sounds like they are sending a strong contingent to the contest!

It is shaping up to be a great Fall Contest season !

Speak UP!

Dave Wheeler
Area A4 Governor, 2005-6