Saturday, March 29, 2008

Toastmasters: The Renewals are Coming! The Renewals are Coming!

From: Steve Gondek
Subject: Toastmasters: The Renewals are Coming! The Renewals are Coming!

It has been 232 years and 336 days since Paul Revere took his historic ride.
(Can you believe that I actually looked this up online just for this
e-mail?) Why was the Revolutionary War so successful?
One reason, I believe, is that Paul Revere gave the American settlers a head start. As leaders within Toastmasters, you also have the opportunity to create similar success by giving your respective clubs a head start on paying their renewals.

How can you help your clubs succeed? By alerting them that The Renewals are Coming, The Renewals are Coming!

Motivation an issue for your clubs? Let's try this:

First Area to complete all their clubs dues gets a $50 gift certificate for
their Area!
First Division to complete their clubs dues will have all members of the
division put in a drawing for one free ticket to the Spring Conference*!

Of course, recognition during the Spring Conference* will be a given, for
those of you who like to "rub it in!"

So...Get galloping and notify your Area Governors to contact all of their
respective clubs to get their Renewals ball rolling and remember, when all
else fails, get at least get 6 members renewed and it still counts, not to
mention you'll still receive credit towards DCP Points!!!

As always, please let me know if anyone needs help.

Steve Gondek
Dues Coordinator
District 53

*The District 53 Spring Conference will be held on Saturday, May 17th in
Holyoke, MA.
The Conference committee has selected the following theme:
Pioneer Leadership Spirit ~ Explore New Possibilities.
The objectives of the District Conference are to expand on the Toastmaster speaker and leader as a Pioneer; e.g. finding methods to help members further their public speaking abilities and pioneering new public speaking technologies in our business and entertaining presentations.

Friday, March 28, 2008

TV series based on the Division A-Team?

In case you have not seen enough of the Division A-Team... you can now watch the old TV series "A-Team" on NBC .com !

Just thought that all of you in Division A would want to know !

P.S. The "A-team" is coming to your club... Area Governors will be making visits to clubs in their area in April (if they have not already). If you have any questions, be sure to ask them !

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Toastmasters on TV! (and a quick reminder...)

Did everyone see the commercial for Hilton Garden Inns that mentions Toastmasters?

If not, here is a link to a copy of it on!

On a related(?) note... and if you have not heard about it already, District 53 is working on a Word-of-mouth Marketing campaign to get the word out about Toastmasters to all Human Resources Professionals.

We will be sending out an email on April 8th to as many members in our district as possible and will be asking each of us to forward it along to any Human Resource Professional that we know in time for "HR Day" on April 9th. (District 53 Toastmasters is declaring this date in honor of Human Resources Professionals and the work they do to develop people within their companies.)

There will also be a press release going out to major media outlets (as identified by your Area Governors) prior to the email, but the real key to the campaign will be the personally forwarded emails. We are hoping to leverage the Toastmasters "word-of-mouth" network within District 53 to increase awareness within all types and sizes of companies!

Special thanks for this effort goes out to our new PRO, Angela Lussier; our LGM, Marsha Kiley; our District Governor, Will Ryan; our new webmaster, Geoff Thomas, and all of the Area and Division Governors who helped.

If there are any questions or suggestions, please let me know or give me a call. We are still working on a number of components (press release, web page, etc.) so if you would like to help, please send me an email separately.

Daring to Believe ... that more people will know about Toastmasters!

Dave Wheeler
Div. A Governor, 2006-8
Candidate for LGM, 2008-9
email address: theshot92 [at]

Monday, March 24, 2008

Advanced Toastmasters mtg. Thurs.3/27 at Ridgefield (CT) Library

Greetings Advanced Toastmasters & guests!

This note is a reminder from the Toastmaster for the upcoming meeting, Paul Tanner (in case you need time to prepare a presentation). The meeting is on Thursday evening, March 27.

As this club has flexibility, the presentation can be a:

o manual speech

o presentation at work to colleagues, customer, or prospect

o any other public speaking presentation you would like to practice

According to The Seven Strategies of Master Presenters by Dr. Brad McRae and David Brooks (page 206):

Most presenters overprepare on content and underprepare on delivery. To counteract this natural tendency, … (use these) five principles for effective rehearsals:

1. Test early, test often

2. Simulate the setting and audience as closely as possible

3. Conduct dry runs

4. Test on mixed audiences

5. Look at the presentation from a fresh perspective

Please let me know whether you would like to present and receive objective feedback.

Also, let me know if you are interested in conducting a table topics session. It too can be flexible and creative, with a more workshop style focusing on speaking technique, or traditional.

Other key roles will be assigned at the meeting.

Thank you,

Paul Tanner

Advanced Toastmasters Club

Ridgefield Library

4th Thursday of March... 3/27

7:15 – 8:45pm

We will meet on Thursday March 27th in the "History Room" at the Ridgefield Public Library starting at 7:15pm. Ridgefield library is located at 472 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT 06877
click here for a map showing the location. In the case of inclement weather, you can call the library at (203) 438-2282 to see if they will be open. My cell phone is also provided at the bottom of this email.
Directions are available on the library's web site:Â

At the meeting we will have a quick review of our plans for the 2nd "Battle of the Border" event on April 24th in the BIG room!

UPcoming meeting dates: (4th Thurs. of each month)
Thursday Mar. 27th, 2008 (History Room, upstairs)

Thursday Apr. 24th, 2008 (BIG Dayton Room, main floor)
- Battle of the Border II - "The Return of District 46"

Thursday May 22th, 2008 (History Room, upstairs)

Thursday Jun 26th, 2008 (History Room, upstairs)

Important Story tips for contestants....

If you watched the video in the previous post you were introduced to some of the basic elements of storytelling.

The video below is even MORE IMPORTANT ... especially for Speech contestants!

The key to stories is CONNECTION.
Doug Stevenson makes a great point ...

... Connection must come before CONTENT!

And if you are going to have a winning speech, you need to make that connection!

Storytelling using "The Story Theater Method"

I found the video below via (which referred to John Kinde's blog) ... the YouTube video (see below) gives a great example of a story framework (and the speech also has each part LABELED! as he is doing it which makes it easy to understand the structure).

It is about 10 minutes long... but it goes by fast (probably because it is a well developed story).


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Add Surveys to your website ...

There is a neat site that offers to create free surveys that you can place on your website...

While the sample survey below is kind of silly, I think you will find surveys to be a useful (and simple) tool for gathering opinions of visitors to your website or blog!

(and if you do try the survey below, please click on "Wheels"... it will let him help him become the "funniest comic on the internet").

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Looking for the right word? And fun?

Many of us have a thesaurus built into our word processing software and maybe we even use it occasionally to find "just the right word" so why would someone build a site based on a visual representation of a thesaurus?

I don't know ... but I'm glad they did! Check out and see what I mean. You can input words and the relationship with other related words is presented to you in a "Spiderweb" format.

But where is the fun in that? (I knew you would ask that!)

Once you have your spiderweb diagram... you can move it around, pull it stretch it and generally play with it like an on-screen slinky ! You can zoom in or out (I was able to do this with the scroll wheel on my mouse... not sure how you would do it if you don't have that).

In addition to the "Slinky effect", the key below the picture gives you more information about what all the different colors and shapes mean. There is alot of information in each diagram and the "random" button gives you a chance to learn some new words (or at least understand them better).

Next... try double-clicking on one of the other words in the web. I've found that not all of the words can be expanded into a new sub-web, but many can ... which grows your choice of words for your next speech !

Now there is no reason to just "tell" your audience when you could "impart" or "disclose" or "indicate" or "you-get-the-point"!

Try it out ! click here

Speech Contest tips... from is fast becoming one of my favorite blogs!

Check out this article about how to win a Toastmasters Speech Contest !

Great suggestions !

I hope to see everyone at the Area Contests on April 1st (Areas A1,A3, A4A5) and on April 2nd (Area A2). Dates and times are listed on this blog in a previous post.

Judges and other role players are still needed for these contests. Contact your Area Governor for more information.

Happy Competition !

Friday, March 14, 2008

St.Pauls Minn. Mayor BLASTED for speaking without notes!

I saw this article and could not help commenting on it...

The title, "Mayor Coleman wings it for State of the City speech" is a horrible misrepresentation of the facts that are presented in the article and it shows an incredible lack of appreciation for what goes into a public speech that connects with an audience.

When someone delivers an important speech from minimal notes it either means one of two things.

The opinion of the article's author seems to be that the Mayor did NOT prepare and he infers that the Mayor doesn't know much about public speaking since "winging a speech" rarely works. People who do not speak in public are prone to "winging it" and I would have to guess that a Mayor has at least a little experience speaking in public.
More experienced speakers know their subject and have prepared enough that they don't need a script to get in the way of their connection with the audience.

Isn't this what we want from our politicians?
How often do we see a Mayor who knows enough about what is going on in the city to deliver his state of the city speech with minimal notes and obviously cares enough to relate to his audience on a personal basis.
In this cynical political world... THAT IS NEWS !
Perhaps the author should attend Toastmasters and learn about what really goes into public speaking ... or the editor should do a better job of making sure that headlines match the content instead of relying on a quip from the Mayor's staff!
What do you think? Please leave your comments below.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

2008 Toastmasters International Convention & Hotels

From: Roger H Brown, PDG
Date: Tue, Mar 11, 2008 at 9:02 AM
Subject: 2008 TI Convention Hotels

Plan to attend the
77th Annual Toastmasters International Convention
at the TELUS Convention Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Mark your calendar: August 13 - 16, 2008!

2008 Toastmasters International Convention Hotels

Enjoy a special discounted group rate for Toastmasters in one of our
three partner hotels. Beginning April 1, you will be able to reserve a guest room.
Choose from three great hotels in Calgary, Alberta:

Hyatt Regency Calgary [ #4 on map below ]
(TI Convention Headquarter Hotel)
700 Centre St SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 5P6
T: 403.717.1234
110 Ninth Ave SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 5A6
T: 403.266.7331

The Fairmont Palliser [ #3 on map below ]
133 9th Ave SW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P2M3
T: 403. 262.1234

The Hyatt Regency Calgary has been designated as the headquarter
hotel for the 77th Annual International Convention. The main convention activities will take place at the TELUS Convention Centre.

120 Ninth Ave SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G OP3
Main 1.403.261.8500, Toll Free 1.800.822.2697
Landmark Calgary Tower [ #2 on map below ]
101 - 9th Ave SW, Calgary AB Canada T2P 1J9
The Calgary Tower was built and opened in 1968. At 190 metres (626 feet) in height, this was once the tallest building in Calgary's skyline. The Observation Terrace offers panoramic views of the city, and a glass floor allows visitors to stand 160 metres (525 feet) above the street. Also located at the top of the tower is a gift shop, Tops Bar and Grill and the revolving Panorama Dining Room, open for lunch and dinner. The tower and the observation deck are open daily. The Tourism Calgary Information Centre is located at the base of the Tower.

Editor's note:
A special thanks to Roger for providing a picture for those of us who will be arriving at the conference via parachute! Be sure to pack your chute carefully and remember ... the buildings won't have numbers on them like in Roger's picture ! :))

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Div.A's Walter Beveridge named D53 Conference Dean

From: Will Ryan, District 53 Governor
Date: Feb 18, 2008 2:43 PM

Dear District 53 Leaders,

I'm pleased to announce that Walter Beveridge has been appointed as our first Conference Dean. He'll be working on our Fall '08 and Spring '09 Conferences.

Responsibilities for this new position are listed below. Special thanks go to Karin von Kaenel for creating this new position.

District Conference Dean

This is a multi-year assignment and is intended to provide support and continuity to our conference committees. The Conference Dean is somebody who has experience with organizing a conference and can therefore give solid advice on how to proceed at each phase of the project. In addition, the Dean advises the LGET on the process of organizing and conducting conferences:

· Points the conference team to existing helpful material (previous budget, agenda, spreadsheets, etc.)

· Links the new team to previous teams

· Meets regularly with the conference team to track progress and answer questions

· Apprises the LGET of potential problems.

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

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Division A Contest Schedule of Events

Spring Schedule of Contests in Div.A....
Area A5 Contest will be held at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY on Tuesday 4/1
Ulrich Conference Room in Dyson Building,
Contest starts shortly after Area A1 contest. Contact your area governor for estimated
start time or just show up at 6pm and be there for both contests!

Area A4 Contest will be held at the Stony Hill Firehouse in Bethel, CT on Tuesday 4/1
59 Stony Hill Road, Bethel, CT 06801 (click here for a map.)
Contestants, Judges & other roles at 6pm for briefings
Contest starts at 7pm
Area A3 Contest will be held at the Gardnertown (NY) United Methodist Church on Tues. 4/1,
7pm contestants, judges & other roles, 7:30 start
(also hosting the Div.A contest... see below for address)

Area A2 Contest will be held at Guideposts, 39 Seminary Hill Road, Carmel NY.
Hosted by Putnam Speaks Toastmasters on Wed. April 2nd.
7pm contestants, judges & other roles, 7:30 start

Area A1 Contest will be held at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY on Tuesday 4/1
Ulrich Conference Room in Dyson Building,
Contestants, Judges & other roles at 6:00 p.m.

The Division A contest is in New York state this time !

DAY/DATE: Tuesday, April 22, 2008
TIME: Contestants, Judges & Roles at 7:00pm
Contest starts at 7:30pm
PLACE: Gardnertown United Methodist Church
1191 Union Ave., Newburgh, NY 12550
(click the linked text above for a map)


Battle of the Border 2 - The return of District 46 April 24th
Div.A winners & runner-ups compete against other Divisions and even contestants from another District in this repeat of last year's great event!
Date: Thursday, April 24th in the "Big ROOM" at the Ridgefield (CT)
Library with stage, lights & sound system to create a
"District-level" contest atmosphere!
Time: Contestants & role players arrive at 7pm, contest starts shortly after.

Culminating in ...
District 53 Spring Conference & Contests! May 17th
The Delaney House, Holyoke, MA
Sat. May 17th, 2008
more info. on the conference - click here !
Keep an eye on the Div.A blog for more details about a bus trip to the conference from Div.A -

Please keep in mind that this year, clubs in areas with 4 or fewer clubs can send TWO contestants to the area for each contest (4 contestants total). And, since all clubs in Div.A have 4 or fewer... more members get to experience the excitement of taking your club speech to the area level !

And don't forget about the trophies .... it would be great if there were no leftover trophies this contest season ! Please encourage all your members to consider a contest speech!

Dave Wheeler
Div.A Governor, 2006-8

Monday, March 03, 2008

Overcommunication???? At Toastmasters????

When I saw this post (click here) titled "7 ways to Overcommunicate Anything" over at Scott Ginsberg's blog, I couldn't help but ask myself, "Could that ever apply to a Toastmaster?!?"

We focus so much on improving our communication, it makes sense that we might sometimes "overshoot the mark" and continue communicating beyond the point when we are either effective ... or appreciated.

I have often told other Toastmasters that I am surprised that we don't get more people in Toastmasters who "just like to hear themselves talk"... you know the type... it is all about them and they are just waiting for an opportunity to talk (and not really listening). You would think that Toastmasters would be like honey to the bee for these types of speakers, but there are actually very few of them (in my experience) in Toastmasters.

Maybe it is like that joke... there is one in every crowd, and if you look around and don't see one... maybe it is you.

And I have to admit... I'm sure I fall into that trap... especially when I get really enthusiastic about some aspect of Toastmasters! (Editor's Note: Toastmasters are generally pretty forgiving on this fault!)

But, back to Scott's article... some of the things he points out...
You can talk too much.
Which means you’re not listening that much.

You can listen too actively.
Which comes off as annoying and fake.

You can ask too many questions.
Which turns you into an interrogator.

You can violate someone’s boundaries.
Which makes them feel uncomfortable.
Something to think about .... and something that can make you an even more effective communicator !