Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Proxies for District Council meeting at FALL CONFERENCE, 11/3/2007

Club Presidents and VPEs:

As club Presidents and VPEs, you are members of the Toastmasters District 53 District Council.

There are two meetings of the District Council each year and they are held during the Fall and Spring District Conference.

You are the representatives from your club at these important business meetings.

This message is an electronic copy of your meeting invitation to the Fall 2007 District Council meeting, to be held in Fishkill New York on November 3.

District Secretary, Norm Thibodeau, sent out a "Call To Meeting package" and as club officers, you should make plans for your club to be represented at this meeting. The hard copy (paper) version of this is in the mail and you should receive it soon.

In order to vote on behalf of your club, you need to visit the Credentials table at the conference to pick up your Credentials Package, which is your ticket to vote during the business meeting.

Note that, if you can not attend yourselves, any other club member can be authorized by you to represent either or both of you at the business meeting so that your votes will be counted. In order to do this, your designated representative (or representatives) must present a Proxy form signed by either of you to the Credentials table at the conference to pick up your credentials package(s) and therefore be allowed to vote at the meeting.

A proxy form is only required if a club member OTHER THAN the President or VPE will be representing one or both votes from your club.

Also note that the Credentials table closes one hour before the start of the business meeting. This is all explained in more detail in the Call To Meeting package.

Again - please review the package at your earliest convenience and make plans now for your club to be represented. If you have any questions about these materials or this process, feel free to contact me.

Hope to see you all at the conference and at the business meeting.

Dare to Believe!!
District 53 motto 2007-2008
Norm Thibodeau (DTM)
Toastmasters International
District 53 Secretary

Monday, October 29, 2007

What are your talking points?

Once again, Lifehack.org provides an article of interest to Toastmasters titled, "What are your talking points?"

I was advised by a mentor to have three descriptions of my work ready to recite at a moment’s notice: a three-minute overview, a 12-minute presentation, and a half-hour discussion. ...

... Having a set of clear, easily-remembered, and well-supported talking points means you always have an outline to work from, so you don’t leave anything out — and so you can hang as much, or as little, as necessary from that outline to fill out whatever time is allotted.
Of course it does not hurt to reinforce the "Power of 3"...
... speechwriting coach Joan Detz suggests that you have three (no more, no less) talking points for any given project. Two is too thin and unsubstantial, and four and higher is more than anyone can easily grasp.
They also provide another key aspect of talking points....
The idea is not to add more talking points but to explain and expand the same talking points more depending on how much time you have.
In conclusion...
Staying focused on talking points gives your audience, whether one person or a hundred, an instant take-away, and prevents you from getting off-track. Each becomes a kind of mission statement, preventing you from dwelling on the trivial at the expense of the truly important.
click here to read the complete article !

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fall Conference Leadership Team ... In Action!

You Can Can sign up NOW for the Fall Conference!In a clear demonstration of their commitment to making the upcoming Fall conference one of the BEST EVER! ...

... some of the Fall conference leaders have put this video together to show the level of excitement and energy you can expect at the District 53 Fall Leadership Summit at the Holiday Inn in Fishkill, NY on Nov.3rd, 2007.

click the link below...


enjoy !

Hope to see you at the conference!
Sign up now at www.district53toastmasters.org/conferences !

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Conference Co-chairs... Kickin' the show into action!

Sign Up NOW for the Fall Conference on Nov.3rd, 2007The conference co-chairs, Colleen Yarter and Bruce Cornwell, have been working tirelessly to make the Fall conference one of the BEST in recent history.

In an effort to give you a taste of the energy level at the upcoming conference, we have put together this video (click on link below) featuring the conference co-chairs.

Click this link to see the video ...


Be sure to email it to others who might enjoy it (and may need to sign up for the conference)!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Division C Results....

Niantic, CT - On October 15th the Division C Speech Contest was held at the Niantic Community Church. About 50 people attended to see who would represent our division at the District Speech Contest in Fishkill, NY on November 3rd.

The event was host by the Niantic Toastmaster Club. Club President and C3 Area Governor, Lynnea Mahlke and Treasurer and C6 Area Governor, Cate Steel, organized this event. Great job Lynnea and Cate!

We were extremely honored to have Past District Governors, Frank Kane and Joe Zafian and Lt. Governor of Marketing, Marsha Kiley, attend our contest.

The Table Topics Speech Contest was the first event of the evening. All six contestants were escorted out of the room, and then one by one each contestant was brought back in and asked to speak about their 15 minutes of fame. Answers ranged from running with goats and cows, to scooping dog poop from rescued dachshund dogs.

Next up was the Humorous Speech contest. Speakers spoke about The Lion King Movie, motivational myths about money, an infomercial describing public speaking gadgets that every speaker cannot be without, not having to wear a girdle, high school fun and childhood memories.

Let me tell you, the judges had their work count out for them this night. Everyone was FANTASTIC!

At last the results were in and the Contest Master and Chief Judge announced our winners.

Humorous Speech Winners: (left to right)
James Keeny (2nd place), Sreeni Voleti (3rd place), David Thackston (1st Place)

Table Topics winners: (left to right)
Joe Zafian (2nd place), Liz Trendowski (1st place), & Richard Dalkowski (3rd place)

The event ended with a few comments from the Division Governor, Sharon Mercado, and Lt. Governor of Marketing, Marsha Kiley.

It was an absolutely amazing evening! The speeches were phenomenal, the food was delicious and everyone in attendance had fun! What a night!!!!

Hope to see you all at the Fall District Conference in Fishkill, NY to support and cheer on our Division C winners, David Thackston (Humorous) and Liz Trendowski (Table Topics). For more information about the conference, click here.

Watch out NY, because Division C members are the Champions of the World!!!!!

Toastmasters "in action" !

Toastmasters is about developing skills... but what good are they if you don't get a chance to use them in "the real world"?

Put another way... If a bear speaks in the woods.... does anyone hear him?

For example, here are a few pictures of Dave Wheeler (member of WestConn Toastmasters, Socially Speaking Toastmasters and DiversityUSA/Advanced Toastmasters clubs) giving a presentation for his company, Trident Industrial Inkjet, at the recent Pack Expo tradeshow. Pack Expo was held from Oct.15th to 17th at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Dave gave 4 presentations at 3 different booths.

(He also built the stainless steel rolling demonstration station seen in the background. The Trident "demo" tool chest may be featured in an upcoming YouTube.com video spoof of the TV show, "Pimp My Ride" called "Pimp My Toolbox".)

Do you or someone from your club have any pictures showing how you used your Toastmasters skills in "the real world"?

Please send them along with the background story to us at DivA53@district53toastmasters.org and we will post them as an inspiration to others !

Speak UP !

Friday, October 12, 2007

Division A Contest Winners !!!!

On Wed. Oct. 10th, the Division A 2007 TableTopics and Humorous speech contests were held at the Wooster School Library in Danbury, CT.

Representatives from 4 areas were on hand for a lively evening of incredible displays of impromptu speaking as well as some truly entertaining humorous speeches.

The winners included...

Tabletopics Contest
1st Place Kate Zap,
2nd Place, Liz Smith
3rd Place, Pat Hendrickson
Humorous Speech Contest
1st Place, Nana Danso with his speech titled, "The Secret"

2nd Place, Pearl Golay with her speech titled, "A Permanent Crisis"

3rd Place, Adam Izzo with his speech titled, "Barbecue"
Shown in the pictures here are....

Top picture (from left to right).... Kate Zap, Nana Danso, Pat Hendrickson, Pearl Golay and Liz Smith.

Bottom picture (left to right)... Kate Zap and Nana Danso.

It was a great evening and a lot of fun for everyone who was able to attend. Special thanks go out to WestConn Toastmasters who hosted the event and provided refreshments!
See you at the Fall Conference on Nov.3rd! Let's Cheer on Kate & Nana !

Humorous Speech development....

Here is an article by John Kinde, "Humor specialist", that analyzes a real Toastmasters Humorous Contest speech (not in our District) and provides some very valuable insights into the tools that are available for Humorous speaking!

Check it out! (Especially if you are competing in any of the upcoming Division contests!!)

Plus John Kinde's article and Steve Pavlina (the speaker John interviews for the article) get "bonus points" for mentioning one of our favorite World Champions of Public Speaking, Darren LaCroix!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another Toastmasters Testimonial....

Those of us who have been part of Toastmasters for a while understand what it can do for you ... but sometimes it may be hard to explain it to someone who has not experienced it ... or someone who is intensely afraid of public speaking...

I came across a Toastmasters-related post by a blogger from Las Vegas, Erin Pavlina, and thought I would share it (click here to read the whole article). Below are some excerpts ....
Are you terrified of public speaking? Do you go out of your way to avoid having to make a speech or presentation? Fear of death and fear of public speaking are reported to be the two things people fear the most. I can attest to the fear of public speaking part as I grew up being absolutely terrified of having to speak in front of a group of people. But that is changing for me.
Erin tells her story of fear-filled school presentations and how her career path led her to Toastmasters. Here is her description of her icebreaker speech...
In joining Toastmasters I was pushing my boundaries, cutting a swath through fear, and turning a blind eye to retreat. I went kicking and screaming but I went. I did my ice breaker speech (4-6 minutes, tell us all about yourself, go) and was surprised to find that half way through my speech I actually started to enjoy myself. I thought maybe I’d been replaced by a clone in the middle of my speech. But no, it was all me.
She sums it up this way...

I’m no expert yet, believe me. My butterflies aren’t flying in formation, but I can see that someday they will. I can see that someday I will be on stage speaking about something I’m passionate about and still be able to breath. I know that someday I’ll leave the stage while thunderous applause follows me and be glad I had joined Toastmasters before I had to give that speech.

Sometimes all it takes to conquer a fear is to be willing to take the first step. Even when you don’t feel capable or qualified. Even when you don’t want to but you know it’s the best thing for you. Even when you’d rather die than push through it. What is it they say? “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” That sums up my entire experience with speaking in public.

Everytime you face down a fear it holds less power over you. And it’s not just fear of public speaking I’m talking about. Are you avoiding something you know you should or want to do because of fear? Are you afraid to ask someone out on a date? Afraid to ask for a raise at work? Afraid to admit you’re addicted to something? Face the fear. There is nothing more empowering than facing down a fear. Go a few rounds with it and you’ll find it only holds as much power as you’re willing to give to it.

If you’re fearful of public speaking I highly recommend
Toastmasters. It doesn’t matter if you have to give presentations for your job or if you’re a teacher or if you’re someone who just wants to be more comfortable speaking, Toastmasters is the place to conquer your fear of public speaking.

... Don’t go to your grave avoiding anything you really want to do because you’re too afraid. Barrel right through the fear and fling it behind you. Step on it, bury it, shot-put it to the moon. Just don’t let it stop you. The power is all yours!

Erin is definitely "Setting a New Standard" for herself through Toastmasters. Are you?

The theme for the Fall Conference on Nov.3rd, 2007 in Fishkill, NY is "Set a New Standard" and it could be a perfect opportunity for you to, as Erin might say, "Barrel through some fear and fling it behind you" !

We hope to see you there !

Thursday, October 04, 2007

10 Tips for asking questions from the audience

There are good ways and bad ways to ask questions from the audience ...

There is a YouTube.com video making the rounds on the internet showing a guy who asked some questions at a John Kerry appearance and was dragged from the microphone by security. This video is usually referred to by the line the guy says..."Don't tazer me, bro!"

Clearly this is not the reaction you want when you ask a question as part of the audience.

On the other hand, there are also some GOOD things you can do to present yourself well when you ask a question as part of an audience.

Gretchen Rubin gives us "10 Tips for asking questions from the audience" from her blog, "The Happiness Project". ...
1. Wait for the microphone, if there is one.

2. Pause for silence – don’t talk over a chattering crowd.

3. Don’t make excuses for yourself. This is tiresome and unnecessary.

4. Don’t address speakers by their first names. Some people will disagree with me, I’m sure, but this always strikes me as affected and inappropriately familiar, unless the mood of the presentation is extremely casual.

5. Don’t be long-winded.

6. Plan it out. This will help you avoid being long-winded.

7. Don’t ask double question. Give other people a chance.

8. If appropriate, say a little about yourself. Just a little.

9. Speak up. Nothing’s more frustrating to the audience than not being able to hear a question.

10. Remember: you’ll be happy that you asked a question. I’m one of those people who rarely asks a question at such an
occasion. I never spoke in class in law school. But whenever I do participate, I feel more engaged and enjoy myself more. I’m working on speaking up.
Gretchen gives us some good ideas that we can try the next time we have the opportunity to ask a question as part of the audience!

Let us know in the comments if you have other ideas or suggestions !

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Beware the Garbage Trucks !!!!

I just came across an article by David J. Pollay that I really enjoyed reading and I hope you do too.

His story reminded me of a saying that my Dad used to tell me when I was playing basketball and would get upset by a bad call by a referee. He would say, "If someone offers you a big, smelly bag of hot, steaming, disgusting (you get the picture) ... it is up to you whether you accept it or not."

David Pollay's article takes that same line of thinking and adds his own New York story. I think you will find that his story will help you get through your day with less stress and allow you to focus more on the important things in life without being distracted by the "Garbage Trucks".

Check it out... http://pos-psych.com/news/david-j-pollay/20071002426