Thursday, August 30, 2007

Our International Director Candidate

From: Will Ryan
Date: Aug 20, 2007 3:24 PM
Subject: Our International Director Candidate

Dear District 53 members and leaders,

I am thrilled to say that Rich Couture is now a candidate for International Director for Region VII. I had the distinct privilege of announcing his candidacy last week at the Region VII breakfast meeting at the Toastmasters Convention in Phoenix.

Rich is extremely well qualified for this position and although there are other candidates, I'm confident that Rich will be elected at the Convention in Calgary, Alberta, Canada next August.

Please join me in congratulating Rich and offering to help him with his campaign over the next year.

Will Ryan DTM
District 53 Toastmasters
District Governor
2007 - 2008 "Dare to Believe"

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New website for Barnum Square Toastmasters !

Barnum Square Toastmasters, who meet from noon to 1pm every Tuesday at the Senior Center in Bethel, CT have a new website !

Check it out! I especially like all the pictures... it really gives a feeling for what goes on in a meeting and personalizes the club so that is not just a name on a website.

The web address or URL has changed so they will need to update their link from Toastmasters International. This can be done by going to and clicking on the "Club Business / Update Info" link which is the left margin on the page.

Please check out the site at:

...and leave any suggestions in the comments below (or with Pat Wilson-Perkins, Area A4 governor and Barnum's past president and current S-at-Arms ). I'm sure they would appreciate your insights!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Reminder: Adv. TM meeting at Ridgefield Library on Thurs.8/30

Just a reminder that the Advanced Toastmaster meeting is this week... on Thursday 8/30!

Members... don't forget your 1) Tip, 2) Speech and 3) Role play !

See you there !

Dave Wheeler
Div.A Governor, 2006-8

Here are all the details ... place, time and directions... for the upcoming meeting of the Div.A ADVANCED Toastmaster club ....

Ridgefield Public Library, in the "History Room"
472 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877
click here for a map showing the location.
Directions are also available on the library's web site:

Thursday, August 30, 2007
7:15 to 8:45pm (please try to arrive at 7pm so we can start on time)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Best Selling Author Plugs Toastmasters !!

Karin von Kaenel passes along a link to an article brought to her attention by Ute Brinkman...

Toastmasters was referenced in an article by Harvey Mackay (the author of "Swim with the Sharks without being eaten alive"). In the Aug 13 issue of the Hartford Business Journal he talks about skills for people who enter the work force, life long learning, public speaking and he writes:

... Be a good communicator. Writing is part of nearly every job, even if we’re
just talking about e-mails. Many people are terrified at the thought of speaking
in public, but I have found that good public speakers are better able to sell
their ideas and think on their feet. Take a public speaking class or join
Toastmasters ... you will never regret it

Here is the link to the article:
You might be able to use this for your club's PR.
Thanks to Ute Brinkmann for sharing this information!
Best regards,

Editor's note (Dave Wheeler)...
I seem to remember Harvey Mackay also gave a "Money Back Guarantee" for people who buy his book and take his advice to join Toastmasters? Does anyone remember which book it was? It could be a great cross-promotion if we could publicize his book ... and the money-back guarantee.

Harvey is a long-time supporter of Toastmasters. He is also quoted on page 6 of the Toastmasters Media Kit (click here) where he says...

"I've never met anyone who didn't think Toastmasters was super valuable to their
career. We gain self-esteem, self-confidence, assertiveness. This makes us better salespeople, better managers, better leaders..."
Which came first... best selling author or Toastmasters? I would be curious to know!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Speech Contest Logistics

Steve Rock brought up some good questions about Speech Contests and the answers to his questions regarding Area & Div. contests (in Div.A) have been added to the text of his email below.

On 8/21/07, Steve wrote:


Being new to Toastmasters service at the Area level I have a few questions for you regarding our fall contests:

Who orders, pays for and brings to the contests the:

    • Trophies for each contest in each Area? Out of which budget do the funds for them come? Is there a need for those ordering the trophies to coordinate their styles and sizes, as well as content engraved on the plates (for the sake of consistency)? Trophies for the Area and Div. Contests are provided by the District and paid for by the District's budget which comes from International based on a percentage of the dues paid to TI. (I think the District gets 25% of the dues, but I could be wrong.) The trophies are handed out at the monthly District meeting and since this month we are doing an online meeting, I would expect that the trophies would be handed out to the Area & Div. Governors at the meeting Sept. 15th (location TBD).
    • Certificates of Participation for each contest in each Area? Out of which budget do the funds for them come? Same as the trophies (see above).
    • Refreshments? Out of which budget do the funds for them come? Can we verify that refreshments are allowed at the contest venue? And, if so, to what degree? For the most recent Area A2 / A4 contests, the refreshments have been provided (free of charge) by the host club, WestConn Toastmasters. Since they will not be hosting, we may want to see who would like to bring refreshments (once we nail down the venue and date).

    • Is there a lectern and/or dais at the venue? Depends on which venue is chosen. I know that Socially Speaking, if chosen for the venue, has a lecturn (no stage or dais).
    • Is there a microphone and speaker system at the venue? TBD. Most Area or Division venues do not use microphones (which is why we set up the "Battle of the Border" last year to give our contestants an opportunity to practice with one.
      • If so, do we require permission to use it? TBD.
        If not, do we need to secure one? TBD.

      i. If so, who coordinates and pays for this? "Paying" is probably the reason why there aren't microphones at Area & Div. Contests. The microphone came with the room at the Battle of the Border and Anne Swartout paid for the room out of her own pocket (and the Advanced Club should pay her back as the host club). At some venues, like the Ridgefield Library, you are not allowed to charge for refreshments or sell anything which is why it could be problematic (but not impossible) to host the Division Contest there.

      1. Is there a precedent for the person who I should ask about serving as the Chief Judge for the contests? Do I need two of them, or even four, because we're running four different contests, or can one Chief Judge serve all four contests? The Area Governor(s) decide who will be ContestMaster and Chief Judge for the Area Contest and I decide for the Div. Contest. Typically with a combined contest they split the roles, but there is no rule that says they can't ask someone else to do it. I would follow up with Dan and Pat if you are interested in being the Chief Judge. Re: other judges... in the past, we have had one chief judge for all four contests and used the same judges for all four contests. Since the judges are spread across different areas this arrangement helps to limit any possible bias.
      2. Should the Chief Judge line up the judges, tie-breaking judge, timers and counters ahead of time, or must they wait until the night of the contest and select them from volunteers in the audience? Or something else? If you can get commitments from judges from all the different clubs prior to the contest meeting it would save alot of time running around that evening, but I have never seen anyone do it successfully. Although with ease of communication through email it might be possible (so I do not want to discourage you from trying).
      3. Who provides the contest paperwork (contest rules, judging and counting sheets, etc.)? In past years, Area Governors have received a copy of the official contest rules from TI either directly through the mail or as part of their training package. I don't know what the plan is this year but I know that the rules can be downloaded in PDF format from TI's site by clicking here. I also have found that if you search the internet, you can find most of the paperwork that you would need. You can also order hard copies of the forms for each contest from Toastmasters International if you want.
      4. What should I have asked but haven't? Excellent question. You probably were wondering if Dave Wheeler ever gave a workshop on how to run a contest and if you can get the handout / workbook in PDF format. ;) The answer is... Yes, he did and, Yes, you can by clicking here.) Other questions... Is it hard to run a contest... No, not really. You have to be organized and pull together a number of elements but if you can serve effectively as in the Toastmaster role at your club, you should be able to run a contest.

      Thank you all very much!


      Thursday, August 23, 2007

      18 Tips for Killer Presentations had a good post today on their blog titled "18 Tips for Killer Presentations". I especially liked the 14th tip (see below)...
      14. Get Practice - Join Toastmasters and practice your speaking skills regularly in front of an audience. Not only is it a fun time, but it will make you more competent and confident when you need to approach the podium.

      Click here to see all 18 tips from the original article !

      Tuesday, August 21, 2007

      Region VII--The Winner!

      Official Results from the World Championship of Public Speaking....

      2007-2008 International Speech Contest Winners

      World Champion:
      Vikas Jhingran, Cambridge, Massachusetts
      (He is the speaker that District 53's Nana Danso was runner-up to at the Region 7 Contest).

      Second Place:
      Rory Vaden, Nashville, Tennessee

      Third Place:
      Mark Hunter, Albany Creek, Queensland, Australia

      Comment from: Steve Rock
      Date: Aug 21, 2007 9:08 AM
      Subject: Region VII--The Winner!

      And District 53's Nana Danso can now honestly state that he placed second to the World Champion! I'd say that Region 7 has a good shot at repeating next year!

      Marilyn Jess, DTM, wrote:
      First Darren LaCroix, now Vikas.....Simply Amazing!

      Invitation to Adv. TM meeting at Ridgefield Library on Thurs.8/23

      Greetings Advanced Toastmasters !

      On the 4th Thursday of last month, (July 26th), we had a very productive meeting of the Division A Advanced Toastmasters club in Ridgefield, CT. At the meeting, we decided, as a group, to come to the next meeting (this Thursday, Aug.23rd ) prepared for a number activities that will improve our Toastmaster skills.

      If we are going to grow as members of an advanced club, we need to challenge ourselves to improve and "raise the bar" for our communication and leadership skills. In particular, our plan is that each member of the advanced Toastmaster will come to the meeting with...

      1) At least one "tip" for the group. This can relate to nearly any aspect of speaking and the idea is that the whole group can benefit from the experience or research that each member brings to the meeting. An example that came up in the meeting was "When presenting, stand to the left of your slides since people read left-to-right." After each meeting, we will publish the tips in the email meeting reminder (that is sent out

      2) A prepared 8-10 min. Speech. There were some who, for personal scheduling reasons, could not agree to prepare a speech, but the following working titles / speakers have committed to be prepared to speak and be evaluated by the group.
      * "Emotional Intelligence" by David Gavin
      * "Life Lessons" by Croix Sather
      * "How to Negotiate Anything" by Richard Hastings
      * "Speaking to Investors" by Paul Tanner
      * "Pump It UP! Taking your Marketing materials to the next level" by Dave Wheeler
      We may not get to all speeches, but we will be prepared. If you have a speech title and would like to be added to the list of speakers, please reply to this email with your speech title and a brief description.

      3) A prepared "role play" situation, preferrably written down so that each participant can read it. This is similar to TableTopics, but it is much more interactive and will help the members think on their feet and react to a changing situation ( i.e. the other person in the "role play").

      We are looking forward to another exciting meeting this Thursday, Aug.23rd (see details below) and guests are definitely welcome. If you have your CC or CTM and are interested in becoming a member (or know someone who might be), please reply to this email or attend an upcoming meeting.

      Hope to see you there !

      Dave Wheeler
      Div.A Governor, 2006-8

      Here are all the details ... place, time and directions... for the upcoming meeting of the
      Div.A ADVANCED Toastmaster club ....
      Ridgefield Public Library, in the "History Room"
      472 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877
      click here for a map showing the location.
      Directions are also available on the library's web site:
      Thursday, August 23rd, 2007
      7:15 to 8:45pm (please try to arrive at 7pm so we can start on time)
      Please forward a link to this post to any Advanced Toastmaster who might be interested ...
      If you or anyone in the clubs in your area are not able to make this meeting, please send me an email at [theshot92 at] expressing your interest.
      Please pass this post along and let me know if there are any questions.
      Dave Wheeler
      Division A Governor, 2006-8

      Thursday, August 16, 2007

      Contestant for Humorous Speech contest?

      I came across this picture of Bruce Potts "who was a teacher of Public Speaking at the University of New Mexico" and thought ....

      "Wow! That "look" could make for an incredibly memorable speech!"

      Last Spring we had Croix Sather in full scuba gear for his Tall Tale speech... I wonder if someone will do something even more visually unusual for the upcoming Fall contests? It is not required... but if done well, it can certainly add to the impact of your speech...
      ... although I'm not sure I would go as far as Bruce Pott's permanent tattoo !

      Don't miss the District Humorous and TableTopics contest championships on Nov.3rd at the Fall Leadership Summit / Conference at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Conference Center in Fishkill, NY. Registration (and early bird discount) opens soon!

      Monday, August 13, 2007

      Division A make-up training, Aug.13

      You have probably already heard about this from your Area Governor or via the District 53 website, but it does not hurt to get it out there once more .....

      Division A Fall Officer Training - Make UP sessions

      August 13,
      Monday 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm atGardnertown United Methodist Church, 1191 Union Ave, Newburgh, NY [ Map ]

      August 21,
      Tuesday 11:30 am - 1:00 pm at Bethel Municipal Senior Center, 1 School St, Bethel, CT [ Map ]

      If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your Area Governor or Dave Wheeler, Div.A Governor, 2006-8 at

      Thursday, August 09, 2007

      ALEX has left the building !!!!

      Div.A's traveling gavel, named Alex, has been captured by a Toastmaster club ...

      in another Division ...

      Note: the pictures showing the presentation at Socially Speaking Toastmasters in Brookfield, CT started out nice and friendly...

      until it was time for Alex to leave ! (see picture at the bottom)

      ----- forwarded e-mail ------
      From: "Parla, John R"
      Date: August 9, 2007

      Yesterday, August 8, in a daring (the word of the day is brazen) raid, Club # 9617, CIGNA Lunchtime Toastmasters from Area B2, captured two Traveling Gavels:

      (1)Alex from Area A4 at Socially Speaking Club in Brookfield, CT and

      (2) Chris from Area C3 at Pfizer Pfearless Club in Groton,CT.

      The CIGNA (or Lunchtime) crusaders that performed the raids were:

      Steve Gondek, Wayne Botha and John Parla.
      Both gavels, Alex and Chris, are now in the possession of CIGNA Lunchtime Toastmasters Club # 9617.

      Come and get it.

      We meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday at noon.
      John R. Parla ACB

      Wednesday, August 08, 2007

      Congratulations to last year's Distinguished Governors

      2007-08 Div. A-Team !

      The email below from Immediate Past District Governor, John Lynch, shows what was accomplished by your predecessors (the 2006-07 A-Team) and I am confident that 2007-08 will be even more exciting and more successful !

      For starters ....
      We have a great team of Area Governors and new club officers.
      We are hosting the Fall Conference which will Div.A a chance to really shine.
      We have a Defending District champion in the International Speech Contest.
      We have some GREAT clubs and a few who definitely could be GREAT.

      Can you tell that I am looking forward to this year?
      I hope you are as excited about it as I am.

      Let's congratulate our predecessors (who continue to be a valuable resource) and look forward to what we are going to do this year !

      Dare to Believe !

      Dave Wheeler
      Div.A Governor, 2006-8

      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: John Lynch <>
      Date: Jul 23, 2007 11:16 PM
      Subject: Congratulations to our Distinguished Governors

      Congratulations one and all!

      For the second year in a row the membership in District 53 has achieved Distinguished status. I would like to thank each and everyone of you that took on a leadership role this past year for having the vision to give back to our members. Even though your name may not appear on the list below your contributions are very much appreciated and without them none of this could be possible.

      It was a truly an extraordinary year that I will remember for a lifetime. You all had role in a life changing experience for many of our members. Stand proud of your accomplishments, take a breath and set your next goal. I know that you will not only achieve that goal, but you will be very successful in the process.

      Thank you again for such a wonderful and rewarding journey. I will never forget any of you as your efforts made it all possible.

      Yours in Toastmasters,

      John Lynch, DTM
      Immediate Past District Governor
      2007 - 08 "Dare to Believe"
      860-563-1714 (h)

      Distinguished Areas for 2006-2007 Year
      Congratulations -- Distinguished Areas
      • Area A2 - Szilvia Hadden, CTM
      • Area A4 - Anne Swartout, ATMB, CL
      • Area B1 - Katherine Stewart-Kelly, ATMG
      • Area B2 - John Parla, ACB, CL
      • Area B3 - Michael Aron, ACS, CL
      • Area B4 - Judith Chambers, CTM, CL
      • Area C2 - Jeffrey Borgio, CTM, CL
      • Area C5 - Christine Lewis, ATM
      • Area D3 - Russell Kenny, ATMB
      • Area D4 - Kevin Finn, CTM, CL
      • Area E2 - Freda Brown, CTM, CL
      • Area F3 - Andrea Isaacs, ACG, CL
      • Area F4 - Barbara Cardella, ATMS, CL
      • Area F5 - James Zhang, CTM
      Congratulations -- Select Distinguished Areas
      • Area A1 - Colleen Yarter, CTM
      • Area C3 - Sharon Mercado, ACB, CL
      Congratulations -- President's Distinguished Areas
      • Area D2 - Thomas Fitch, CTM, CL
      • Area D5 - Raymond Durkin, CTM, CL
      • Area F1 - Jim Parsons, ACS, CL
      Distinguished Divisions for 2006-2007 Year
      Congratulations -- Distinguished Division
      • Division C - April Hutchins, ATMB
      Congratulations -- Select Distinguished Division
      • Division A - Dave Wheeler, ATMS, CL
      Congratulations -- President's Distinguished Division
      • Division B - Marsha Kiley, ACB, CL
      • Division D - Marvin Cross, ACB, CL
      • Division F - Kendall Jeter, CTM, CL

      Criteria for Distinguished, Select Distinguished, and President's Distinguished Area

      • Distinguished Area (Meet all of the first 5 goals)
        • Goal #1 - 75 percent of October semis submitted on time:
        • Goal #2 - 75 percent of April semis submitted on time:
        • Goal #3 - Average of 1.75 CTMs awarded per Club by June 30:
        • Goal #4 - Average of 1 ATM for every two Clubs by June 30:
        • Goal #5 - 60 percent of Area Clubs at 20-plus membership by June 30:
    • Select Distinguished Area (Meet all of the first 8 goals )
      • Goal #6 - Submission of 80 percent of Area Report of Club Visit Forms, first round (by October):
      • Goal #7 - Submission of 80 percent of Area Report of Club Visit Forms, second round (by April):
      • Goal #8 - 60 percent of Area Clubs achieve Distinguished Club:
    • President's Distinguished Area (Meet all 9 goals)
      • Goal #9 - Net growth of one Club:
    • Reference:

      Criteria for Distinguished, Select Distinguished, and President's Distinguished Division

      • Distinguished Division
        • Goal #1 - No Net Club Loss
        • Goal #2 - 50 percent of the Areas in the Division achieve Distinguished, Select, or President's Distinguished Area.
    • Select Distinguished Division
      • Goal #1 - No Net Club Loss
      • Goal #2 - 75 percent of the Areas in the Division achieve Distinguished, Select, or President's Distinguished Area.
    • President's Distinguished Division
      • Goal #1 - Net Gain of One Club
      • Goal #2 - 75 percent of the Areas in the Division achieve Distinguished, Select, or President's Distinguished Area.
    • Reference:

      • Saturday, August 04, 2007

        2 Contestants per club for fall area contests - Change in D53 procedure

        ---------- Forwarded message ----------
        From: Will Ryan
        Subject: Contestants for fall contests - Please note a change in D53 procedure

        The polls have now closed and your votes produced a quorum! Thank you very much. Of the 44 members of the committee, 32 voted.

        The results are:
        We will allow 2 contestants per club for Area contests in Areas with 4 or fewer clubs. Please check the attached alignment spread sheet for Areas (20) affected by this change.

        We will allow 2 contestants per Area for Division contests in Divisions with 4 or fewer Areas (applies only to Division E).

        Will Ryan DTM
        District 53 Toastmasters
        District Governor
        2007 - 2008 "Dare to Believe"

        Friday, August 03, 2007

        Thursday, August 02, 2007

        One-liners that stick ....

        I picked up the following from a post by Mike St. Pierre on

        One liners are the stuff of effective communicators and though we are seldom aware of it, each of us can use them to our advantage. The “art of delivery” is not just for a skilled politician who is running for reelection but can be mastered, over time, by just about anyone.

        A good one liner doesn’t click immediately but leaves its mark, silently accomplishing what the deliverer has in mind- results.
        Sometimes these results are nothing more than memory. I
        want you to remember my car dealer and so I develop a tag line that accomplishes my aim.

        Other times, I want to build relationship with you and I use one liners to get to know you and follow up with you. My one liners are over the phone, in print material and in casual conversation. They are effective because they are used breathlessly.

        The key of course is to figure out which one liner works best and when to use it.

        What follow are some excellent one liners that, if delivered well, will make interactions memorable and help you get ahead.

        * Susan, Susan Thompson. The repetition of your first name twice is very effective. This subtle repetition of one key name (and it might be your last name that you want folks to remember) plants it firmly in the mind of the person you are shaking hands with or speaking to on the phone.

        * I’ve heard some great things about you. We all like to be famous, even if it’s fleeting or with a small group of people. Letting someone know that they’re liked by others is an
        important way of getting them to like you. They become instantly curious as if to say, “Can I have a list of those great things?”

        * I’m looking forward to that. Following up a conversation is very important and one of the easiest one liners involves leading your audience towards a goal. If it’s a follow up lunch
        a week later, I’m looking forward to that. If it’s a negotiation before the end of the fiscal year, I’m looking forward to that. If it’s a family gathering at the beach, I’m looking forward to that. This simple one liner lets others know that you value relationships over routine acts.

        * Leave your name and phone, speaking slowly enough for me to write it down. I’ve used this one in
        phone messages for years and while it sounds corny, it works.
        Most people think they’re driving in a Nascar event when they leave a voice message so you need to slow them down. This one liner does just that.

        * I’m not sure about that but I think we can do this. The that-this dynamic is effective not only because it acknowledges the other’s perspective but it gives them something concrete and doable. For example, I run into parents who want to negotiate a deal for a son or daughter who is in some sort of difficulty. Rather than giving in to an unreasonable demand for complete amnesty for their child, I offer them something that is both attainable and concrete. I’m comfortable with it and they usually warm to the idea. Just because something isn’t a person’s first option doesn’t mean it’s a bad one.

        * I think we have something in common. Nothing forms bonds better than something held in common. Food, geography, people, cars- whatever it takes to find a connection. Don’t go overboard with your follow up but let the other person know that you have something in common and it’s ok to briefly touch on it.

        * Let’s strike while the iron is hot! Rather than a lukewarm offer to get together “at some point”, strike while the iron is hot and put it on the calendar today. Few things speak
        of productivity better than someone who can turn a wish into a workable situation.

        * Let me see if I understand where you’re coming from. You may find yourself in the middle of a conversation, a debate or even a fight- slow things down with this great one liner. It works every time because it tells the other person that you care enough to report back what you’ve just heard.

        George Bernard Shaw once said that “The problem with communication … is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” To be effective at home and at work, the use of one liners can get results, form deeper bonds and enable you to communicate on a higher level.

        Mike St. Pierre blogs daily about productivity