Monday, January 30, 2006

Spring Contest Update from District 53


The Spring 2006 Speech Contests for all Toastmaster Clubs and Areas in District 53

** March 19, 2006 - All Club Level International Speech and TallTales Contests Completed**
** April 8, 2006 - All Area Level International Speech and TallTales Contests Completed **

International Speech Contest
__Objective: Contestants will deliver an original speech with ameaningful and clear purpose or theme. The speaker will demonstrate outstanding speaking skills - proper speech development, effectiveness, and speech value. The speech can be on any topic; serious or with light humor; persuasive or purely entertaining.
Time: 5 - 7 minutes, +/- 30 seconds

International Speech Contest Rules

International Speech Contest Scoring (Ballot Synopsis)

Tall Tales Speech Contest
__Objective: The Tall Tale is an opportunity to be very creative, to exaggerate; to engage and excite the imagination of the audience. Very often, a tall tale is a story that uses irony, humor, and surprise twists. The speaker may stretch the truth and tell one of those "entertaining" campfire stories. The speaker's appearance, gestures, body language, expressions, should reinforce the story.
Time: 3 - 5 minutes, +/- 30 seconds

Tall TalesSpeech Contest Scoring (Ballot Synopsis)

Any Toastmaster member in good standing, from a Club in good standing. For the International Speech Contest all contestants must have also completed at least 6 speeches in the Basic Communication and Leadership Program. {Exception: Club Members of any Club chartered after July 1, 2005 may compete with less than 6speeches completed.} For both contests, District Officers (DG,LGET, LGM, District Secretary and Treasurer, Area and Division Governors, Public Relations Officer and IPDG) are ineligible.

Yahoo! Groups Links<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Online Toastmasters Jeopardy game ...

Try out the Online Toastmasters Jeopardy Game at the location below:

If you have computer hitched to the internet and a projector for your computer, you could even use this as a part of your club meeting (or officer training?).

Speak UP!

Dave Wheeler

Friday, January 27, 2006

Online Speech Timers ...

I found this online speech timer which could be useful when you are practicing your speeches...

Unfortunately it does not capture your times so that you can see how far off your target you are. It also does not have many choices in terms of the different speech lengths.... but it is FREE (so I should stop complaining!)

As Rich Couture would say (our past District 53 Governor), "but wait there's more..."
I did another search and came up with this online time ....

Again, it does not capture your times, but it does have more options for speech length ....

But wait there's more....

I searched deeper ... and the timer below lets you set the time and it keeps your time showing when you stop !

But wait there's even MORE !

At the following link there are a couple of timer PROGRAMS that you can download.

Speech Timer 2 is very simple and you can set the timing lights for any speech length. It also holds your ending time until you reset or start over. I was not too thrilled with the color of the yellow "light" (it looked more like orange to me), but I'm probably getting too picky at this point.

Speech Timer 3 is pretty good and it even has a "meeting" mode which will produce a Timer's report! The downside is that you have to register to download it and if you don't get the free registration code, you can only use the software for 10 times.

Which one is the best???? You decide! (I also found a timer that works on my PDA... tune in to this blog in the future to see how it works out.)

Speak UP!

Dave Wheeler

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Another structure for evaluating speeches ...

I came across the sheet below that includes another type of structure that you might find helpful for evaluating speeches:

Let me know what you think !

(I would have used an Acronym to make the structure easier to remember, but that is just me.)

Speak Up!

Dave Wheeler

Area A4 Leadership Library .... starting now !

The following was sent as an email to the Club Presidents & VP-Education in Area A4 on Wed. Jan.25th:

Greeting Club Presidents & VP's,

As some of you may have heard, I've been promoting the Competent Leader (CL) award this Spring as one of the easiest and fastest awards that you can get in Toastmasters.

Getting CL's within your club will also help improve the quality of your club, but let's get back to the fun part.... getting the award!

In a nutshell, if
1) you are a club officer,
2) you went to officer training (I know everyone did at least once) and
3) you participate in your club's Distinguished Club Plan (I can help if you haven't done this's easy), ...

Then all you need to do is give two CL module speeches to your club!
That's it. How easy is that?

To support the "Push for CL's" in Area A4, I am starting the "Area A4 Leadership Library" of CL modules. I already have about 4 or 5 modules that I will be donating so that club officers in Area A4 can borrow them. (see the complete list of modules below this email)

I've also copied this email to a number of experienced Toastmasters (in the area and at the district level) to see if they have any OLD modules that they completed and might want to donate to the cause! If anyone in your club would like to donate a module, it would be appreciated as well!

Please let me know what you think about this idea and feel free to forward this email to other officers in your club.

Once I have gathered some more modules, I will post the list of available modules on the Area A4 blog website,, so it can be accessed at any time.

Hope to hear from you soon !

Dave Wheeler
Area A4 Governor, 2005-6
(I finished my CL just last month. It was easy!)

The modules for the CL award include:

Moments of Truth
Finding New Members for Your Club
Evaluate to Motivate
Closing The Sale
Creating the Best Club Climate
Meeting Roles and Responsibilities
Keeping the Commitment
Going Beyond Our Club
How to Be A Distinguished Club

Building a Team
Delegate to Empower
Developing a Mission
Giving Effective Feedback
Goal Setting and Planning
Motivating People
Resolving Conflict
Service and Leadership
The Leader as a Coach
The Visionary Leader
Values and Leadership

P.S. If you can't wait, you can always buy the modules at (most are less than $5).

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Call for C&L Award Nominations

From Paul Young, District 53 Governor:

Fellow Toastmasters,
It is time for the selection process to begin for the annual District 53 Communications and Leadership Award. The purpose of the C&L award is;

§ To recognize individuals outside of Toastmasters whose efforts positively impact the local community through their leadership abilities and their use of public speaking skills;
§ To encourage Toastmaster support of and pride in the local community;
§ To promote the Vision of Toastmasters International.

The award will be presented during the District 53 Spring Conference. The award recipient will be notified of his/her selection no later than 21 days prior to the award presentation. The award recipient will be required to present a 5-10 minute acceptance speech at the time of the Award Ceremony/Presentation.

Only individuals may be nominated.
The nominee cannot be a member of any Toastmasters club. (Only non-members will be considered.)
Nominees should demonstrate involvement in programs and activities that benefit the community in which they live/work. These individuals should display leadership, initiative, creativity, and dedication. They should demonstrate the successful use of public speaking skills in their endeavors. Through their participation, they should inspire others to get involved and make a difference in the lives of others.
Any member in good standing of a District 53 club may submit one candidate for nomination.
The nominating member must submit, in writing, a narrative describing the nominee’s work and/or achievements, providing a detailed explanation of why this individual should receive the award.
The narrative may include, but is not limited to, the following information:
Outstanding service performed {such as, extraordinary contribution to an organization of issue; a single particular notable accomplishment, etc}
Leadership quality – demonstrate ability to motivate and inspire others to accomplish a specific goal or objective.


Nominations must be submitted by March 31, 2006 to or in writing to District 53 Toastmasters 83 Thompson Street South Glastonbury, CT 06073. The C&L award panel consists of Will Ryan, DTM, John Lynch, DTM and Paul Young, DTM

Paul Young DTM
District 53 Governor
w (860) 368-6716
h (860) 659-1409

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Spring Contest Dates set !!!!

The dates for the Spring contests (Tall Tales & International) have been set !

Area A4 Contest Night:
Wednesday, March 29, 2006 7:30 PM.
Area Leader Council Meeting 6:45 pm
Location: Wooster School Library, Danbury CT (hosted by WestConn Toastmasters)

Division A Contest Night:
Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 7:30 PM.
Location: Wooster School Library, Danbury CT (hosted by WestConn Toastmasters)

I also have the following club dates:
WestConn Toastmasters Club Contest Night:
Wednesday, March 1, 2006, 8 PM

Please mark your calendars and start your contest speeches !

Also, remember to find a manual speech for your contest speeches so you get credit toward your next award !

Speak UP!

Dave Wheeler
Area A4 Governor, 2005-6

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Guy blogs Toastmasters ... !!!!!!

I guess my comment on his blog (and my post here) brought Toastmasters to Guy Kawasaki's attention ! See his followup post at the link below:

I knew there was a reason that he was one of my favorite authors !

Speak UP!


Speaking tips from two greats ... Guy Kawasaki & Steve Jobs !

Below is a link to Guy Kawasaki's blog post which features some of his tips for public speaking!

Guy is one of my favorite authors (Art of the Start is his most recent effort) and I highly recommend him for people interested in marketing or business in general.

He references another source (click here) which describes Steve Job's keynote addresses and all the preparation that goes into them. There are plenty of lessons that we can learn from this article (and many Toastmasters suggestions that you will recognize as well).

Speak UP!

Dave Wheeler
D53, Area A4 Governor, 2005-6

Friday, January 13, 2006

Benefits of Hindsight ...

Guy Kawasaki has only been blogging for 10 days and he is already one of my favorite blogs ... This post has the full text of his "graduation / keynote speech". Check it out !

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

HPL project ... Step 2 = Objective / Vision / Mission / Values

Step 2 of the High Performance Leadership (HPL) Project is:
Define your Objective / Vision / Mission / Values .... and give a speech on them.

For this step, I found it more helpful to jump around and build up to the Vision.

My first ideas for an Objective included the following:
- A new, advanced Toastmasters club (actually an idea offered by Edina Sobeleski of Barnum Square Toastmasters and former Area A4 governor)
- blog for Area A4 (probably not a "big" enough challenge)
- Council of area A4 leaders to assist in "cross-pollination" within area to leverage strengths between clubs while offsetting any weaknesses.
(this process is P.14 in the HPL manual for those of you following along at home)

Before I decide on a project, I think it is important to make sure that we have shared values, especially when it comes to Toastmasters. Here are some Values that I think are important for Toastmasters Clubs. Let me know if these "values" make sense to you !!!

To me, the most important part of a successful Toastmaster club is exciting, enthusiastic and interesting meetings. When the excitement, enthusiasm and variety / interesting content goes down at club meetings, guests do not become members, members don't renew and Toastmasters stops.

The way to a healthy Toastmasters club starts with good meetings ....

a) Better speakers leads to better meetings

b) Better meetings means more ethusiasm

c) More enthusiasm leads to more participation
(by both current members and guests who become new members)

d) Participation means more speakers, more leadership development and
more learning

e) Learning leads to better speakers ....

and the cycle reinforces itself (back up to step a.)

Within this cycle, there is plenty of room for everyone's own personal style and creativity, but this is the general way that I've seen healthy clubs survive and thrive. What do you think? Leave me a comment below.

Based on these values, I have decided on Idea # 3 as my Objective !
Council of area A4 leaders to assist in "cross-pollination" within area to
leverage strengths between clubs while offsetting any weaknesses.

With this objective, I developed some ideas that would fit into my Vision of what this council of leaders would look like and what value it would provide. (P.24 of HPL manual)

  • Group of club leaders and skilled speakers
  • great examples to other TM
  • Opportunities for advanced speakers to speak in new venues
  • Oppty for TM's to meet TM in other clubs
  • Opptys for TM's to share their enthusiasm
  • Faster achievement of awards (especially advanced awards)
  • Better learning experience (especially for clubs that struggle for members)
  • Take the excitement of the Area Contest and spread it out to all clubs, throughout the year.
  • More DTM's in Area A4 (now only ....1?)
  • A council would also help in the recruiting the next Area Governor
    Top 10 reasons to be the next area A4 Governor are...
    1) there will be a "system" in place that would make the transition easier
    2) team A4 already established and a blog setup and running
    3) coach / mentor available (DW)
    4) great support / training from District
    5) meet new people, try new things
    6) one step closer to AL award (holding a district office is part of the AL award)
    7) get to run the area contests
    8) Impressive title (if you can find anyone who is impressed by that sort of thing)
    9) Learn more about Toastmasters
    10) STRETCH beyond your comfort zone .... with lots of support and
    encouragement along the way !

This vision helped me come up with ideas for the Mission of my HPL . . .
(P. 25 in the HPL manual)
The Establishment of an Area A4 Leadership & Advanced Speaker Council
- Perpetual --> membership from club officers (current and past) and advanced TM.
- Adds Value to clubs in area
- Helps make club meetings more interesting and exciting !!
- Gives more speaking opportunities
- Faster Awards
- Meet New People
- Improve all clubs by spreading the strengths and offsetting the weaknesses of all the clubs in the area.

Based on this, the [draft] Mission of my HPL is ...
Our mission is to establish an ongoing, perpetual Area A4 Council made up of club officers and advanced speakers / leaders. This council, in conjunction with the area governor, will arrange cross-club speaking opportunities, events, workshops and other activities that will leverage the leadership and speaking strengths within the area.

This will be the draft mission until I review it with my Guidance Committee on Wed. 1/4/06. Check back here for future entries on what they say !

Speak UP!

Dave Wheeler
Area Governor, 2005-6

Happy New Year ! What are your resolutions?

New Year's Resolutions.....

The beginning of the year always seems like a good time for reflection on where you are and where you want to go.

The cold hard truth? If you do the same in 2005, you will probably get the same results in 2006 as you did in 2005.

What do you want to change in 2006?

What challenges do you want to tackle?

Will you improve your speaking skills through Toastmasters?

How about your leadership skills? (Did you know that Toastmasters also has a leadership skills program?)

Any ideas for things that the Area could do differently in 2006?

We would love to hear what you think ! Please leave a comment here !

Happy New Year !

Dave Wheeler
Area A4 Governor, 2005-6
Founder of

Dave's AreaA4 High Performance Leadership (HPL) Project

As I outline in a post back on Dec.14, 2005, the HPL project is part of the Advanced Leader award and is broken out into the following 5 Easy(?) Steps....
1) Learn about Leadership & choose your Guidance Committee*
2) Choose an objective, define your vision/mission/values and give a speech on them*
3) Recruit your team and make a plan for the project*
4) Work the plan and overcome obstacles*
5) Give a speech to present your results*
* You meet with your guidance committee at each stage to assess how the project is going and what you are learning.

Step 1 ....
Learn About Leadership.... done. This process was started at the first training session that District 53 had for the new officers back in June(?) of 2005. Ute Brinkman gave us a good push down the HPL road at that meeting and the district provided the manuals too! (One of the fringe benefits of becoming an Area Governor in case anyone is interested for 2006-7).

Guidance Committee ... almost done.
Since I am going to be giving my speeches to WestConn Toastmasters, I am going to ask a number of members there to be on my Guidance Committee. I have already gotten commitment from one of WestConn's past presidents, Lee Steuber, and I will be asking others this week.

As you will see, the project will involve all the clubs in the area and I will be looking for input (and guidance) from all the club officers but I figured that having all of the guidance committee in one spot on a regular basis will make it easier to schedule meetings.

Check back to this blog to see how things progress on Step 2 !

Area A4 Governor, 2005-6