Monday, April 30, 2007

Div.A Toastmasters Club Size Distribution

Club Size or number of paid members is often an indicator of the health and long term viability of a Toastmaster club. Check below to see how your club is doing !

If you have any questions, please contact your Area Governor or Dave Wheeler, Div.A Governor, at

Forwarded Email below..............................................
From: Roger Brown, District webmaster & Past District Governor
Date: Apr 30, 2007 10:58 AM
Subject: Toastmasters Club Size Distribution

Div. A Club Sizes as of April 27, 2007
The number of members given below represent
Current Dues Period Renewals Plus New Members

Average Club Size in District 53 = 16 members

Clubs BELOW Charter Strength shown in Red

Area A2 7386 BI 38
Area A4 875053 Cartus Magnus 38
Area A1 315 IBM Poughkeepsie Spe 31
Area A4 599 West-Conn TMs 25
Area A4 1701 Barnum Square 24
Area A1 9977 IBM East Fishkill Sp 22
Area A5 790849 The Bureaucrats 20
Area A1 4396 Poughkeepsie Area Ch 18
Area A2 4839 Putnam Speaks 18
Area A2 9685 Wooster Heights TMs 15
Area A3 9542 Catskill TMs 15
Area A5 5614 Arlington Rotary 11
Area A5 2623 Rhinebeck TMs 9
Area A4 4720 Socially Speaking 8
Area A3 4507 Henry Hudson 6
Area A3 9315 Orange County 6
Area A2 3401 Diversity USA TMs 5
Area A5 9107 Marist TMs 0

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Problem adding comments???

We have heard from a couple people that they had problems adding comments to this blog. Unfortunately, I have not been able to duplicate the problem and the only suggestion I can make is to add you comments as "Anonymous" and include your name at the end of you comment.

Sorry for this inconvenience and we hope to have this figured out soon!

(We really do want to hear your comments!!!!)

Dave Wheeler
Division A Governor, 2006-7

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Division F contest results !!

The Division F Tall Tales and International Speech Contests were held on April 24th at GE Global Research Center, Steinmetz Hall, in Niskayuna, NY. The facilities were excellent... the speeches were given in a lecture hall with sloped seating and great acoustics. In addition, there was pizza and soda provided ... very good pizza, I should point out!

Regarding pictures of the winners (or my lack thereof) .... I did bring my digital camera, but due to the security at the GE Research Center ... and the big signs saying that pictures and cameras are not allowed... I decide that I did not want to risk bringing it into the contest.

The winners of the contests were as follows...
Tall Tales Speech Contest Results
1st place – Don Countermine, Clifton Park Speakers Club #7877
2nd place - Christina van Hoesen, Bethlehem Club #542

International Speech Contest Results
1st place - Neal Benoit, Patroon Club #3863
2nd place - Yun Li, Mohawk Club #1931

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Division E Contest Winners !

Division E held their Spring Contests last night at Elms College in Chicopee, MA and had an excellent evening of speeches!

The winners included...

Tall Tales Winners
(l-r in picture)
Michelle DeDominicus,
1st Runner-up,

Kay Kanavino,
2nd Runner-up,

Phil Hayes, 1st Place
International Winners:
(l-r in picture)
Steve Sottman,
1st Runner-up

Michelle DeDominicus,
1st Place,

Laura Grunfeld,
2nd Runner-up

The last picture here includes all the contestants / winners...from left to right,
Steve Sottman, Michelle DeDominicus, Kay Kanavino, Laura Grunfeld and Phil Hayes.

If we mispelled anyone's name or if you can add the contestant's speech title or home club name & number, please send an email to Dave Wheeler at or leave a comment below.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Who won the "Battle of the Border"????

Since you all know that the [infamous?] "Battle of the Border 2007" between District 53's Div.A & D and District 46's Div.G was held last night at Ridgefield Library (hosted by the new Div.A Advanced TM club), I'm sure you are wondering....
Well.... before I get to that, let me show you some pictures....

The picture above includes (l-r) Anne Swartout (Area A4 Governor/D53), Croix Sather (Tall Tales winner Div.A/D53), Edwin Borelly (Intl. winner, Div.G/46), Rob Ferrucci (Intl.Runner-up Div.A/53), Koshy Chacko (Intl.2nd Runner-up, Div.G/46), Jinghua Xu (Tall Tales Runner-up Div.A/53), Richard Peck (Tall Tales Winner Div.D/D53), Mary Neff (Div.G Governor/D46) and Nana Danso (Intl.Winner Div.A/D53)

As you can see from the pictures... everyone was having alot of fun.

Of course it wasn't all about FUN... we provided feedback to each contestant ... in an "American Idol" format with Richard Hastings, Mary Neff and Anne Swartout providing their comments along with inputs from the audience.

The contestants came prepared for a "bare-knuckle speech contest" and the audience was not disappointed! (The ContestMaster, Dave Wheeler, wore boxing gloves ... at least for a little while... but eventually, "the gloves came off".)

The prizes were awarded to the following contestants (pictured here, l-r):
Edwin Borrelly D46, 3rd place
Nana Danso D53, 1st place
Rob Ferrucci D53, 2nd place.
Of course the real winners were ALL the contestants who participated and were able to take their speeches and skills to a new level. All the speeches were incredible... and some may argue that the audience was the real winners.
How are we going to tell who really won?
I guess we will have to do it again next year !

Talking points for the advanced speaker

From Roger Brown, D53 Webmaster:
I recently stumbled across some interesting, thought provoking, and yes, humorous talking points for the advanced speaker or the invited conference speaker. Check it out.
My favorite is "If at all possible, you should stop talking before your audience stops listening."
18+1 Bits of Tongue in Cheek Advice for Speakers
by Peter de Jager

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Division D crowns their champions....

Last evening at the Plumb Memorial Library in Shelton, CT, Division D had their Spring contest, led by ContestMaster Maureen Moreau and Chief Judge Tom Fitch with the following results....

Tall Tales Contest:

1st Place:
Richard Peck, "The Snow Angel"

1st Runner-up:
Yashika Forrester, "The Magic Pot"

Tall Tales contestants pictured:
(l-r) Seizo Mazer, Richard Peck, Yashika Forrester, Richard Frantz, Jr.

International Speech Contest:

1st Place:
Brian Cavanaugh, "The Call's for You."

1st Runner-up:
Ben Lacar, "Fear as a Source of Power"

contestants pictured are:
(l-r) Angela Govila, Brian Cavanaugh, Ben Lacar and Jeff Rosow
It was a fun evening of entertainment and education....If you missed it, you will definitely want to get to the Spring Conference on May 19th!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Time to Register for District 53 Leadership Summit

Roger Brown, D53 Webmaster and PDG
Date: Apr 18, 2007 12:35 PM

Registration for District 53 Leadership Summit & Spring Conference


NOW is the time to register for the D53 annual Spring Conference.

2007 Leadership Summit ... Leveraging Your Speaking Advantage

May 19, 2007 * Sheraton Hartford Hotel, East Hartford, CT
__ Full Pass Registration - $85.00 - postmarked on or before May 5th
Includes: Continental Breakfast, All Educational Sessions, Tall Tales Speech Contest, Luncheon Buffet and C&L Award, International Director's Address, Dinner Banquet and International Speech Contest.
__ Day Pass Registration - $60.00 - postmarked on or before May 5th
Includes: Continental Breakfast, All Educational Sessions, Tall Tales Speech Contest, Luncheon Buffet and C&L Award, International Director's Address
__ Evening Pass Registration - $45.00 - postmarked on or before May 5th
Includes: Dinner Banquet and International Speech Contest.

Review the Spring 07 Leadership Summit Activities and Agenda
Print and Complete your Registration Form for the Spring 2007 Leadership Summit

If necessary, download the latest version of Adobe Reader – Free.

When are you going to give your next speech?

When I read this post on's Positive Psychology Coaching blog, it got me wondering... when is the "perfect time to give a speech"?

Of course, as Toastmasters, we know that if we wait for "the perfect time", it will never come and we will not achieve our goals.

So, when is the "Imperfect Time"?
Life is a series of tradeoffs or decisions about how you will use your time ... should I think about a speech while I'm driving home (and then write it up as soon as I park the car) or should I just turn on the radio and zone out to songs and boring commercials?

When I get home, will I watch another re-run of an old "Law and Order" episode or will I turn it off and practice my speech?

Will I go for a run or dig around in the attic for a prop for my next speech? (OK... maybe I should go running... but I can still think about my speech while I run!)

From Senia's article...
So, back to the original question: suppose you know that something is important. Suppose you know that you ought to do something. But you want to WAIT until…. until you’re better prepared, until you feel more confident about it, until someone else suggests that you do that action….

Let me tell you something briefly - the only context in which “until” is a beautiful word is in this quote by Jim Rohn:

“How long should you try? Until.”

Senia also referred me to this list of 10 Steps-you-can-take-to-guarantee-failure on (Doesn't that web address sound like a great philosophy?) If you look at the 10 steps, you will see many of them relate to "Waiting for the perfect time".

So, how do you change your choices on a daily basis? What if you are thinking... "I just don't feel like it. I'm too tired."

I learned from Tony Robbins that there are 3 things you can use to change how you feel about an event or task. Emotions are a result of
1) Physiology,
2) Focus and

In other words, how you 1) move your body, 2) what part of your surroundings or events you choose to focus on and 3) the words that you use both in your internal self-talk as well as words you use in conversations with others.

So, the next time you want to change your pattern (and you really don't "feel" like it)....

1) Change your physiology. Go for a brisk 5 minute walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks. Play some exciting music. Anything to boost your heart rate and pump you up to what Tony Robbins calls a "Peak State".

2) Focus on the opportunity of what you want to do, not the drawbacks or negative consequences. Look for what is right and what will help you achieve your goals... not reasons (or, more accurately, "excuses") for why you can't do it.

3) Eliminate the WHINE. If you had a 2 year old child who was constantly complaining about how nothing is good enough and there is nothing to do... you would not put up with it and you would certainly give them a "motivational speech". (Maybe something like..."Go outside and play!"). Don't let the 2 year old inside of you take over... tell them it is TIME TO PLAY! Don't put up with language that focuses on the negative... every "problem" is challenge or an opportunity to grow!

Now.... When are you going to give you next speech?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Directions to Toastmasters of Paris (France), club 3230

Someone sent me a link to this (click here) ....

... and I think you will get a kick out of step # 23 of the directions!

Meeting Ideas and TableTopic Ideas...

Here are some ideas for Meeting themes and TableTopics !

Based on the email address on his web page, I'm guessing these great ideas came from someone named Rick Clements. (I've sent him an email to find out more about how he came up with the ideas and where he is located.)

What his list points out is that there are no shortage of ideas for GREAT Toastmaster meetings ! Which means that there is no reason we can't all have GREAT meetings !

My personal philosophy is that, like anything, you will get out of Toastmasters what you put into it ! And you will enjoy it more if you "make it your own" through creatively expanding on existing ideas and pushing the envelope of what has been done in the past.

Try something new! Even if it doesn't work... you will learn and come up with ideas to make it better next time !

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The "Battle of the Border" .... April 19th!

The Battle of the Border is ON !

The newly initiated Div.A Advanced Toastmasters club has reserved the (very large) "Dayton Room" at Ridgefield (CT) Library for a BIG EVENT on April 19th.

Click here for a copy of the event FLYER !

The Dayton Room at the Ridgefield Library has a raised platform and audio equipment that will be good practice for the winners of the Division A contests (prior to the District Contest in May). We expect to pull in the winners from Division D ( Southern CT) and even Division G of District 46 in WestChester County, NY and parts of NJ.

The agenda will be similar to a Toastmasters contest... with a few variations since it is NOT an official contest. It is simply a [tongue-in-cheek] grudge match between neighboring divisions in different districts!

In fact, it might end up being more like "American Idol" than a "normal" Toastmasters contest!!

Our "first pass" agenda looks like this....

Warm-up Section:
Toastmaster: Dave Wheeler, Division A Governor
Introduction of Timer, Ah Counter / Grammarian and Judges

Croix Sather, Tall Tales winner, Div.A (D53)
Tall Tales winner Div.D (D53)
Nana Danso, Intl. Winner, Div. A (D53)
Rob Ferrucci, Intl. 1st Runner-up, Div. A (D53)
Intl. Winner, Div.G (D46)
Intl. 1st Runner-up, Div. G (D46)
Intl. Winner, Div.D (D53)
Intl. 1st Runner-up, Div. D (D53)

alternate speakers (to fill any empty slots above if needed)
Jinghua Xu, Tall Tales 1st Runner-up, Div. A (D53)
[name?], Tall Tales club winner, BI Toastmasters (D53)
[send an email to Dave Wheeler at if you would like to be considered as an alternate speaker).

Panel of Judges:
Anne Swartout, Area A4 Governor (D53)
Mary Neff, Div.G Governor (D46)
Evaluation Contest Winner & Runner-up(D46)
Div.A Advanced Club members
Ah Counter/Grammarian

Voting for Best Overall Speech (and runner-up) will be made by audience choice and announced after the speakers have each had a brief evaluation / comments from the Judges.

TROPHIES will be awarded !!!!!!

Bring a guest and enjoy a great evening of entertainment !

Friday, April 13, 2007

Div.B Contest Winners !

Div. B had their Tall Tales and International contest on April 12th with some excellent speeches! (Division A contestants better keep practicing!)

People in the picture include:

Front row (l-r): John Lynch, District Gov.; Rama Ramesh,Tall Tales 2nd Runner-up; Will Ryan, Lt.Gov.Education & Training

Second row (l-r): Marsha Kiley, Div.B Gov.; Michael O'Brien, 1st runner up for Int'l; Mike Aron, ContestMaster & Area B3 Gov.; Joe Zaphian, Tall Tales winner; Rich Couture, Tall Tales 1st Runner-up; Steve Gondak, Intl. Contest winner.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Division A Spring Contest Results !!!

Last evening the Spring Contest for Division A was held at the Wooster School in Danbury, CT. The contest was hosted by WestConn Toastmasters who were able to adjust to a change in plans when we arrived and found that Wooster School had scheduled a meeting in the Wooster School Library at the same time as our contest. Bruce Cornwell worked with one of the top people at the school to find another location on campus and we ended up in the dining hall next door to the library. Everyone chipped in and re-configured a portion of the dining hall into a "contest area" and we were able to have a GREAT contest!

The winners of the contests were...

Tall Tales Speech Contest:
1st Place: Croix Sather, Socially Speaking Toastmasters, club 4720, Area A4
1st Runner-up: Jinghua Xu, BI Toastmasters, club 7386, Area A2
2nd Runner-up: Thomas Franklin, IBM Poughkeepsie Speechmakers, club 315, Area A1

International Speech Contest:
1st Place: Kwabena (Nana) Danso, BI Toastmasters, club 7386, Area A2

1st Runner-up: Rob Ferrucci, WestConn Toastmasters, Area A4
2nd Runner-up: Deanna Dunn, IBM Poughkeepsie Speechmakers, club 315, Area A1
Picture Captions:
Top picture:
(L-R) District Governor, John Lynch, Deanna Dunn, Nana Danso, Rob Ferrucci
Middle Picture (Tall Tales Winners):
(L-R) Thomas Franklin, Jinghua Xu, Croix Sather
Bottom Picture (Intl. winners):
(L-R) Deanna Dunn, Nana Danso, Rob Ferrucci

Monday, April 09, 2007

The d53toastmasters Yahoo! Group List

From: Roger Brown, District 53 Webmaster
Date: Apr 4, 2007 8:30 AM
Subject: Our d53toastmasters Yahoo! Group List

The d53toastmasters group at Yahoo! Groups is a free and easy-to-use email list service and discussion group. Please take a moment to review this message.

As a discussion group, d53toastmasters is for the Q&A and open discussion of public speaking, communication and leadership issues. For example, questions of protocol, effective techniques of speaking, better ways to organize a speech, or the "how to" of Toastmasters speechcraft and youth leadership programs ... to name a few topics. And we could see book reviews, club meeting themes, creative table topics, "how to" be a better club officer, etc.

As an email list, d53toastmasters is for members of District 53 to provide timely news announcements. For example, to announce upcoming Area and Division speech contest events, education or leadership training events or other speaking,
communications, or leadership opportunities. And with the 53toastmasters email list we can share the good news of the District by recognizing the accomplishments and the good works of the members, Clubs and District 53.

Please encourage all Toastmaster officers and leaders to join the d53toastmasters group to keep up-to-date on news and events in the district. To subscribe, simply send a subscribe message to

To start sending messages to members of this group, simply compose your email text message and send (post) your email message to

Note that when you reply to a posted message, the default is to deliver your reply to all subscribers of the list. You will need to manually modify the "send to:" if you wish to reply to the author only.

If you do not wish to belong to d53toastmasters, you may unsubscribe by sending an email to

To learn more about the d53toastmasters group, please

It is possible that you joined d53toastmasters Yahoo! Group's email list without having access to all of the group's web features, i.e. if you simply sent your subscribe message to If that is the case, you can (at any time) obtain full access to the group web-based features by creating your own Yahoo! ID.
If you need to make up yet another account ID, try 'FirstnameLastname53' The Yahoo! Groups Help page is at

To see and modify all of your groups, go to

District 53 Toastmasters International, serves Toastmaster members and Clubs in Connecticut, Eastern New York, and Western Massachusetts.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Toastmasters in the news.... NYU Student Newspaper!

NYU's student newspaper, the Washington Square News, published an article for students about the fear of public speaking (click here to see it) and they referred to Toastmasters right at the end !

It is too bad they did not expand on all the good things that Toastmasters could do for students !
Maybe next time !

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Area A1, A3 and A5 Contest Results

We had a fun-filled evening last night hosted by Marist College Toastmasters in Poughkeepsie, NY. Here are the results...

Area A1 Results:
Tall Tales
1st place: Adam Izzo
(pictured to the right with Area A1 Governor/ContestMaster, Colleen Yarter and Area A5 Governor, David Gavin)
1st Runner-up: Thomas Franklin
3rd Place: Ziyad Choudhury

International Speech Contest:
1st place: John Affronti
1st Runner-up: Deana Dunn
(John & Deana picture to right)

3rd Place:Richard Basener

Area A3 Results:
Tall Tales
1st place: Susan Lacey
(pictured to the right)
1st Runner-up: Joan Kern

International Speech Contest:
1st place: Chris Albanese, Orange County Toastmasters

Trophy for 1st Runner-up was not awarded (no other contestants)

Area A5 did not have any contestants in the International or Tall Tales contests. Two trophies and one winner's medal for Area A5 went home lonely!
We look forward to having the winners (or their runner-ups, if they can't make it) at the Division A Contest on Wed. April 11th at the Wooster School (hosted by WestConn Toastmasters). Times and directions are available on the District 53 website (click here).

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Fwd: PLAN AHEAD: Toastmaster Club Elections in May

From: Will Ryan, Lt. Gov. Education and Training
Date: Mar 30, 2007 1:48 PM
Subject: RE: PLAN AHEAD: Toastmaster Club Elections in May

Hi all,
One more thing to discuss with our clubs is the need to hold elections on time since our TLI (Toastmasters Leadership Institute - club officer training) events will begin in June rather than in August in prior years. Plans for this year include:
- Events in three locations to accommodate attendance with less travel.
- Events in June to not conflict with personal vacations.
- Events are no charge since we will serve a continental breakfast, courtesy of the district.
- Events will begin at 9 AM and end at 1 PM.
Details will be posted on the D53 site in April.

From: Roger Brown []
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 9:16 AM
Plan Ahead:
Appoint a Nominating Committee NOW !
Hold Club Elections in May

In May, all clubs must elect annual officers serving from July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008, or semiannual officers serving from July 1, 2007, through December 31, 2007. Semiannual terms are an option available only to clubs that meet weekly.

Download your copy of the club constitution

The Club President appoints a Club nominating committee at least 2 weeks (two regular Club meetings) prior to elections. The committee should be chaired by the immediate past president or most recent past president available. Appoint a Nominating Committee NOW !

Last meeting in April:
The Nominating Committee shall present its report - a slate of officers to fill the seven Club Officer roles; and shall present only the names of active individual members who have consented to serve if elected.
If the nominating committee has no report at the last meeting in April, postpone the officer elections until one week (one regular Club meeting) after the meeting at which the nominating committee report is given.

The Nominating committee report is presented at the regular business meeting immediately preceding the business meeting at which the election is to take place. Notice shall be given to the membership: the meeting minutes, including the report of the nominating committee, shall be delivered to all members of the Club prior to the election.

First meeting in May:
The nominating committee report is presented to the club and the slate of officer candidates are placed in nomination. Then the Chair calls for any nominations from the floor. Nominations and elections begin with the president and proceed in descending order. Remember: A quorum (51 percent of all active members) is needed to conduct business. Proxies or absentee ballots are not allowed at the club level. Members must be active and present to vote.

Very Important...
Dont forget to fill out a club and officer information form online immediately following your election so the correct officers will receive every important mailing. Go to TI WHQ web site and use the link in the Club Business section on the TI home page (or go direct to As always, your club may submit the club and officer information form by mail or fax.

How to be a GREAT audience...!

Marketing Guru Seth Godin brings up an interesting idea in his recent post that can be applied directly to Toastmasters !

Seth points out (indirectly) that, as an audience member, you get out of an event exactly what you put into it ! How true is that !?!?

And it can apply to any other area of your life. In fact, Seth points out...
Great audiences not only get more energy and more insight and more focused answers to their questions, they also get better jobs and find better relationships. Because the skills and the attitude are exactly the same.
It is the same whether you are IN the audience or if you are GIVING the speech.... you get out of it exactly what you put into it !

Stretch your comfort zone... as a speaker, as a leader and even as an audience member !

Psychology professor discusses 'growth' versus 'fixed' minds

In this video, Carol Dweck explains some examples of the "growth mindset" which was featured in one of our earlier posts.