Friday, July 27, 2007

Speech Contest Deadlines... start planning now!

The Deadlines for the Division Contests were moved to an
earlier date to allow more time between the completion
of the Division Contests and the District Contests at the Fall and Spring D53 Conferences.

-- Fall 2007 --
August 18
Area & Division contest dates to be set and published
September 21
Deadline for Club Table Topics and Humorous Contests
October 5
Deadline for Area Table Topics and Humorous Contests
October 19
Deadline for Division Table Topics and Humorous Contests

November 3
District Fall Conference and Hall of Fame Fishkill, NY
Hosted by Division A !!!!

-- Spring 2008 --
February 8
Area & Division contest dates to be set and published
March 21
Deadline for Club Tall Tales and International Contests
April 11
Deadline for Area Tall Tales and International Contests
May 3
Deadline for Division Tall Tales and International Contests

May 17
District Spring Conference Division E - MA

Monday, July 23, 2007

Toastmasters materials for upcoming contests

With contest season fast approaching, it might be helpful to know where to order paperwork, manuals and other supplies.

On the TI website you can order a "contest kit" for each different type of contest. Here are the links ...

Fall 2007 Contests:
TableTopics Contest Kit
Humorous Contest Kit

Spring 2008 Contests:
Tall Tales Contest Kit
International Speech Contest Kit

Additional Materials:
Evaluation Contest Kit (next Eval.Contest in District 53 is Fall 2008)

There are also a number of resources online (try a Google search for "Toastmasters Tabletopics contest" or similar).

If you have any questions, please contact your Area Governor or Division Governor. The names and contact information can be found at or you can email Dave Wheeler, Div.A Governor, at

It is also a good idea to let your Area Governor know when you schedule your club contests. This will help them as they prepare the Area contest.

Happy Contest Season !

The D53 Toastmaster Calendar... 2007-2008

Ever feel like you don't have the "Big Picture" for the whole Toastmaster year? Does it feel like there are lots and lots of details that you should be on top of as a club officer, area governor or district officer?

Well, here is a solution ...
The District 53 Graphic Calendar for 2007-2008.

(click here for a pdf version of the pages shown below).

Your first impression might be that it looks pretty cluttered (colorful, but cluttered)... but if you focus on a particular month (July for example) it is really pretty simple. The key activities are listed right there!

The year is also divided up (and color coded) into about 4-5 phases depending on what is going on and each is labeled across the bottom. The Red months are not labeled but I think we all know what RED means.

Over the past few years these months have been known as "Crunch Time" ! (Ask Past District Governors Paul Young and John Lynch about "Captain Crunch" the next time you see them!)

From the month you started with, you can look ahead a little bit or all the way to the end of the year. When is the deadline for dues? Look it up quickly and easily!

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

Please note... if you print out the calendar, it was designed for Legal-size paper (8.5x14) so you will need to plan accordingly.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Congratulations to David J. Gavin, DTM

District 53 is proud to announce that David J. Gavin has joined the elite group of Distinguished Toastmasters or DTM's.

David recently completed all requirements for his Advanced Leader (ALS) award and received his DTM recognition on June 30, 2007. David Gavin served District 53 and Division A as Area A5 Governor this past year ('06-'07) and he was a Club Mentor for The Bureaucrats Club of Poughkeepsie, NY that chartered on 5/11/2005.

He is an active member of Arlington Rotary Toast Club #5614, an open community Club that meets in Area A5 at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.
The Distinguished Toastmasters award or DTM is the highest level in the Toastmasters educational program and David's progress in the Communications and Leadership areas of the program has been exemplary.

Congratulations to David for a great accomplishment and I look forward to hearing about his progress toward his next CC or CL !

Friday, July 20, 2007

Career Advice & Speaking Skills ... Thoughts from a Cartoonist

Scott Adams, the cartoonist who makes the Dilbert Strip, had some Toastmaster-related career advice on his blog that I thought should be passed along ....

If you want an average successful life, it doesn’t take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths:
1. Become the best at one specific thing.
2. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.

The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try.

The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort.
Scott goes on to offer the following (Toastmaster-related) advice...

I always advise young people to become good public speakers (top 25%). Anyone can do it with practice. If you add that talent to any other, suddenly you’re the boss of the people who have only one skill.
Scott also adds...

At least one of the skills in your mixture should involve communication, either written or verbal. And it could be as simple as learning how to sell more effectively than 75% of the world. That’s one. Now add to that whatever your passion is, and you have two, because that’s the thing you’ll easily put enough energy into to reach the top 25%. If you have an aptitude for a third skill, perhaps business or public speaking, develop that too.
Sounds like great advice...

So Sign Up for Toastmasters IMMEDIATELY

(if you have not already done so) !

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The oldest Toastmaster(?) 101 on 7/19!

Charlie Keane, DTM & PDG, of District 31 turns 101 on Thursday, July 19th! His District has a page on their website saluting this milestone and wishing him a very Happy Birthday!

We add our congratulations to Charlie and wonder if he is, in fact, the oldest active Toastmaster? Does anyone know of someone older in Toastmasters?

It is nice to know that Toastmasters is a life-long activity (that keeps you young at heart?) and there is always room to grow through Toastmasters .... no matter how old you are !

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

TLI # 3 - Third Successful Training Event !

On Saturday, July 14th, a bunch of Toastmasters gave up part of a sunny day to attend District 53's Toastmasters Leadership Institute session # 3 of 4 at the Mass Mutual Learning and Conference Center in Chicopee, MA.

LGET Karin von Känel, (ACB, ALS) provided some photos to show the success of the event - undivided attention and smiles all around.

Attendence was strong ... maybe not quite as many as when Division A hosted it at Marist College on June 30th, but still very good.
The general consensus was that it was a very worthwhile event and attendees took home some good information.

We hope to see you at TLI # 4 on July 28th in Manchester, CT ! Club officers are encouraged to attend and the event is open to any Toastmaster who would like to learn more about how to improve their club and their Toastmasters experience!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Introducing Toastie... The Automated Club Coach

I was visiting the District 31 website and I noticed a link they had to "Toastie... The Automated Club Coach" (see picture here from their web page). It seems to be hosted by so I'm not sure who actually developed it... but I like the idea !

"Toastie" asks a series of questions and then generates a report that gives ideas that club officers and members can use to improve the strength of their club.

Hi. My name is Toastie. I have developed matrices based on formulations of algorithms dealing with the most successful Toastmasters’ clubs in the known universe.

Whether you are the president of your club, other officer, or a member, take this short survey and I will instantly give you detailed suggested corrective advice on how you can make your club stronger.

This survey is adapted from the "How to Rebuild a Toastmasters Club", Appendix A.

Check it out ... click here !

Thursday, July 12, 2007

VoiceMail... the untapped speaking opportunity !

This post ( click here) by Brian Armstrong is titled "How To Instantly Sound More Confident The Next Time You Make A Phone Call" but it could just as easily be called... "How to apply Toastmasters Skills to Voicemail for fun and profit!" (Actually, I threw in the "for fun and profit" part... just to spick it up a bit.)

Brian's main idea regarding voicemail is ...
The next time you leave a message on someone’s cell phone, press ‘#’ when you’re done. On 99% of cell phone carriers you will then be given an opportunity to listen to your message, and if needed, delete it to record a new one.

He also has some very Toastmaster-like suggestions...
Some common problems you can try to eliminate from your speech are:

* Saying ‘um’ and ‘ah’ more often than you should

* Saying ‘like’, ’sort of’, ‘maybe’, ‘you know’ or other filler words which can make you sound unsure or immature

* Raising the pitch of your voice at the end of a statement (as if
you were asking a question), which sounds child-like (try saying “My name is [your name]” and raising the pitch at the end)

* Speaking constantly in the same tone of voice, which can make you sound boring and tired
Who would have guessed.... Voicemail... the untapped speaking opportunity!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The "vibe" for Fall '07 Leadership Summit....

I saw this blog post and I thought it applied to our upcoming Fall conference at the Fishkill Holiday Inn on Nov.3rd.
The vibe
Have you ever been at a banquet or in a boutique or at a concert or a meeting or a company where the vibe was incredibly positive?

I think you know what I mean. A time and place where there was an overflow of positive energy. You felt surrounded by possibility, or people who believed in you, or just felt like buying (or eating, or talking) a lot.

The vibe changes everything. It's a place you want to work, or a restaurant you want to come back to. .... If vibe is so important, why does it sound flaky to worry about it? Who's in charge of the vibe at your place? Could it be better? A lot better? Changing the vibe isn't always possible, but most of us rarely try. From physical layout to organization to what leaders say and do... it matters. Sometimes, it's all that matters.

We definitely want to "Set a New Standard" for the "vibe" of a Toastmasters conference !

I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can do to make the Fall '07 Leadership Summit the BEST ONE EVER !

GO [host division] A-Team !

Dave Wheeler
Div.A Governor, 2006-8

Monday, July 09, 2007

Some Rambling Thoughts on TM Growth

From: Roger Brown, D53 Webmaster and Past District Governor
Subject: Rambling Thoughts on TM Growth

What does it take to "grow" a District? or a Club?
Our District leadership team is asked each year to "grow" the District.
One measure of growth in a District is the steady increase in the number of paid-up Toastmaster Clubs on July 1st. The critical success factors of a Distinguished District ask for 3% growth in number of Clubs.

Another measure of growth in a District is the steady increase in the total number of Toastmaster members within the District on July 1st. WHQ measures Membership growth indirectly by looking at the number of dues payments members make during the district calendar year i.e. total per capita payments. The critical success factors of a Distinguished District ask for 2% growth in total per capita payments.
On the Club level, the Club leadership team is asked to "grow" their Club, which often means attract and add more members to the Club roster. The Club is challenged to add 4 members and then 4 more new members in one year's time; i.e. goals for the Distinguished Club program and Distinguished recognition.
A different facet of growth is measured in the "growth" of the individual member. That is, we (District, Division, Area, and Club) are providing (putting into practice) quality educational programs that allow the members to grow and meet their personal goals. In this case growth would be measured by the number of manual completions, i.e. the number of CCs, ACBs, ACSs, ACGs, CLs, ALBs, ALSs and DTMs.
Any significant measurable growth during your year as an elected District leader will take some leadership skills, a team effort and some luck.
Leadership Skills
* pay attention to the calendar. Follow time management principles.
* people are different. Ask questions and listen.
* Follow-up. Share your enthusiasm. Find ways to remove stumbling blocks or other impediments.
* Keep your eyes and ears open for talented Toastmasters with special talents.
* obtain your own personal mentor or coach; share ideas with a past district governor. Touch base with your International Directors.
* open all channels of communication; phone, email and personal handwritten notes. Keep in touch with your entire team.
* set the vision, growth has its benefits for all, share your values, your goals, and vision of the future.

Team Effort
* You can't do it alone. It is ineffective to try to do it all.
* Delegate authority and followup responsibly.
* Split big problems/tasks into smaller tasks.
* Every District leader, every Area/Division Governor, LGM and LGET can have an impact on growth in the district.
* Get many Toastmasters involved. Delegate some authority, allow your fellow leaders to be creative as long as they share common goals and visions for the future.

* Be prepared. Have demo teams ready to go. Walk the talk.
* Be prepared. Open your eyes and ears - opportunities will present themselves. Grab it!
* Always share your enthusiasm.

your thoughts?

Roger H Brown

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Add Inches to Your Height with Toastmasters !

It sounds like an unusual claim, but Brian Armstrong makes a compelling case for "Why you need to be a Toastmaster" ... check it out !

(And don't forget to pass the article along to someone you know !)

P.S. I guess that's why Toastmasters have a "Tall Tale" contest ! (Sorry, I could not resist the pun.)