Saturday, May 31, 2008

An Invitation to Toastmasters Leadership Institute

From: Marsha Kiley
Subject: An Invitation to Toastmasters Leadership Institute

Greetings !

You're invited to the Toastmasters Leadership Institute, District 53's premier training events for all Toastmasters, but especially incoming Club Officers!

If you are a 2007-08 officers, please pass this invitation along to the member who will be taking over your officer position for 2008-09.

Come, get the training to help you perform your duties at your peak, to help your club's members reach their potential, and to help club t0 be distinguished this coming year.

Please ensure that all the members are getting this invitation so they can all participate!

We have a rich variety of classes:
* Training for new officers;
* Seminars for improving your evaluation skills;
* and a host of other interesting topics.
To see the complete course catalog, please visit

Using feedback from prior years, the District Education Planning Committee has made significant changes:
There will be 3 TLI events (you can attend training at the location of your choice):
- June 21 - Manchester Church of Christ, Manchester, CT
- July 19 - Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY
- July 26 - Wildwood, Latham, NY

All TLI events will have the following time table:
- 8:00 Registration starts
- 8:30 Free continental breakfast available
- 9:00 - 12:40 Classes
- 12:50 - 1:00 Wrap-up
Officers are encouraged to go to lunch at a nearby restaurant with their team mates to continue planning the year ahead.

We encourage everyone to attend, and all of these events are free.
To sign up, please use the registration form at

If you will be serving as a club officer starting July 1, 2008, please remember that your club is counting on you to be trained:
You will be better equipped to administer the club program, and you help your club meet one of the requirements of the Distinguished Club Program.
All Summer training must be completed between June 1 and August 31, 2008.

If you're interested in volunteering, e.g. at the registration desk, as a room monitor, etc. please let me know.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at one or more of these TLI events!

Marsha Kiley
Be the Change You Want to See
Lt. Gov. Marketing, District 53
Lt. Gov. Education & Training elect, 2008-09

Friday, May 30, 2008

Region VII Conference June 27-28, 2008

From: Michael K. Heney, DTM
Subject: Invitation to the Region VII Conference June 27-28, 2008

Catch the Wave - Distinguish Yourself!!

If you were planning on registering, but haven't yet, this would be
the time to do it! Also, our block of hotel rooms is only being held
through June 5, so if you haven't booked your room yet (see below),
please do so soon.

Conference information is being made available on the Region VII
website at - and we're updating the site regularly.
You can register for the conference on-line and pay via PayPal or
credit card at
or download a mail-in form from

The Conference Hotel is the
Hilton Washington DC/Rockville Executive Meeting Center
1750 Rockville Pike
Rockville, Maryland 20852
Voice: 301-468-1100
Fax: 301-468-0163

You can reserve your room on-line by visiting,IADMRHF

We're looking forward to seeing you at the Region VII conference; please
share this information with your membership and fellow Distrcit Officers.
Feel free to contact me at mike [at] if you have any questions.

Catch the Wave!!

Michael K. Heney, DTM
Region VII Conference Chair

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Division A Advanced Toastmasters mtg. Thurs.5/29 at Ridgefield (CT) Library

For anyone who had the Advanced Club meeting on their calendar for tonight (May 22nd), it has moved to next Thursday, May 29th.

Regular Time: 7:15pm-8:45pm.

Agenda items: reply to Dave Wheeler with additions, suggestions and changes.

* Dave Wheeler... draft of 1st speech as LGM (for TLI).
- Please come and join in on the discussion from both a "delivery"
as well as a "content" point of view.

* Tips (bring at least one each)

* Business...
- Possible joint meetings with other Advanced Clubs in our District (53) as well as District 46
(Yonkers is closest).
- Officer elections (so we can get them into TI).

* Role Play setups

* Signups for future meeting roles

Next meetings:
We have also confirmed the History Room for the next two months June 26th and July 24th if you want to mark your calendars.

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. Directions are available on the library's web site:Â

Friday, May 23, 2008

Speed Kills...

... your chances of being understood and appreciated.

If-you-talk-like-this-and-every-word-is-delivered-in-machine-gun-fashion-without-regard-for-your-audience-then-chance-are-that-they-will-either-tune-you-out-or-worse... [DEEP BREATH]

A recent article by Scott Ginsberg brought this to my attention and while talking fast is generally accepted in the Northeast part of the United States, your speedy pace can come across as pushy or arrogant or uncaring in other parts of the country or the world. Many places operate on a slower pace... and that needs to be taken into account as you prepare your speech.

Scott points out...
See, when you talk too fast, here’s what happens:
o Won’t be ABLE to chime in.
o Will have to work too hard to chime in.
o Won’t have time to process what you’re saying.
o Might not feel they have the space to think differently.
o May become intimidated or overwhelmed by your urgent and anxious speech.

o May become stressed.
o Won’t breathe enough.
o Will discover that your words don’t carry as much

o Won’t have the space in your own mind to process your

o Will notice that your urgent and anxious speech may threaten or confuse people.
On the other hand, there are times where your speaking speed conveys excitement, energy and enthusiasm (The Wheel's 3 E's) which can be a very good thing.

The key is to do it on purpose... when you want to ... and use other tools to slow down your pace when the situation requires it.

Scott Ginsberg's recommendations include...
1. Awareness.
2. Breathe.
3. Reminders.
4. Ask for feedback.
5. Pause.
6. Monitor.
Of all his recommendations, my favorite is "The Pause". It does so many things...
  • It replaces an "Ah" or "Um" (which makes you seem more confident and knowledgeable).
  • It creates drama.
  • It pulls your audience into your speech and gives them time to soak up your points.
The Total Communicator had a good article about the beauty of the Pause (click here). The article says...
The indomitable Robert Byrd, one of the true orators in the U.S. Senate, once rose in that august hall to praise the simple pause...
"There can be an art in the use of a pause. I find nothing wrong with a pause. It does not have to be filled with a you know. This phrase, like so many others,” Byrd added, “betrays a mind whose thoughts are often so disorganized as to be unutterable—a mind in neutral gear coupled to a tongue stuck in overdrive."
Don't let Speed Kill your presentation!

Slow down ... for applause !

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nana wins District International Speech Contest !

Croix Sather & Dave Wheeler with Nana Danso (and Nana's trophy for 1st place in the District International Speech Contest!)

Nana with Andre White (next year's Area A4 Governor)!

Best of Luck to Nana at the next level of competition at the Regional Conference being held in Maryland (near Washington, D.C.) on June 27-28th.

Spring Conference Pictures....

Division A's own, Carmine Coco De Young became known as "The Chicken Lady" thanks to her excellent Tall Tale speech at the Spring '08 conference.

Carmine is shown being interviewed on stage prior to the announcement of the Tall Tales contest winners.

Carmine is shown accepting her trophy for 2nd runner-up in the Tall Tales contest from (l-r) Marsha Kiley (LGM), Karin von Kaenel (LGET) and Will Ryan, district Governor.

Doug Comstock, winner of the Tall Tales contest, accepts his award from the Sr. Team.
Doug's speech featured a story about a homemade helicopter ... and lots of humor !

Sunday, May 18, 2008

District 53 elects next year's team...

At the District 53 business meeting yesterday, the following were elected...

Div. A Governor, 2008-9, Alison Easton

Lt.Gov.-Marketing, 2008-9, Dave Wheeler

Lt.Gov.- Educ.& Training, 08-09,
Marsha Kiley

District Governor, '08-09,
Karin von Kaenel

There may also be an additional Division Governor with a connection to Div.A... but more on that once it is confirmed!

In contest news....
Div. A's Carmine Coco De Young took home 2nd runner-up in the Tall Tales contest behind Bill Miranda (Div.D) and winner Doug Comstock (Div.B).

In the International Speech Contest, Nana Danso won 1st place against some strong competition. Nana will now move on to the Regional Contest in Maryland (near Washington, DC) on June 27-28. Click here for registration materials! (Be sure to request the less-expensive $105/night room rate... NOT the TM rate of $135 if you call for a hotel reservation.)

Special note... 3 people from this year's Div.A "Battle of the Border" event took home trophies. Carmine (Tall Tales), Bill Miranda (Tall Tales) and Marv Cross (2nd Runner-up Intl.). In addition, Nana would have been at the Battle of the Border... but he had schedule his speech at another club's meeting which conflicted with the rescheduled BotB. So we almost had 4 winners... I will have to see how Cassandra (from Div.G, D46) did in her contest!

Special thanks to the Spring '08 Conference team for an excellent, well-run event.

The "I [heart] Toastmasters" bumper stickers were a nice touch too ... if you look closely in the picture above you can see it in the back window of my car!
(More Pictures coming soon!)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Speaking Tips from Mr. T !

The [Division] A-Team is proud to present some words of speaking wisdom from none other than Mr. T !

Division A .... Year in Review

The Spring '08 Conference is just around the corner (literally... it's tomorrow!)... and our District Governor, Will Ryan, has asked each of the Division Governors to summarize / evaluate the past year within their Division.

We will only be given a very short amount of time (3 minutes or less) at the Business Meeting for this so I want to make sure I capture all the highlights that were important to everyone in Division A !

Here is what I have so far...

Division A Year-In-Review

Started the year with up a full slate of Area Governors (thanks to Will Ryan) along Dave Wheeler for a second term as Division A Governor.

  • Mike Ruppert, Area A1 Governor
  • Dan Legg, Area A2 Governor
  • Ozgur Turkmen, Area A3 Governor
  • Pat Wilson-Perkins, Area A4 Governor
  • Janice Parker, Area A5 Governor

Hosted one of the four Toastmaster Leadership Institute (TLI) educational sessions at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.

We will be hosting a TLI session again this year at Marist on July 19th, 2008... be sure to put it on your calendar!

Dave Wheeler created a graphical Toastmasters calendar to make it easier to see "The Big Picture" for 2007-2008 !

Division A hosted the Fall '07 Conference
(and Set a New Standard) at the Holiday Inn, Fishkill, NY !

  • We promoted the conference with Origami Flyers (in the shape of a fish) as well as(humorous?) JibJab online videos.

  • Croix Sather, "Mr.Energy", served as Full-Day Emcee !

  • Colleen Yarter, Area A1 Gov., was named Outstanding Area Gov. '06-07

  • Dave Wheeler, Div. A Gov., named
    Outstanding Div.Gov. , '06-07

Division A conducted 2 Winter Officer Training ("Leadership Exchange") sessions with new "Case Study" format.

Division A's own Nara Venditti was profiled in Toastmasters magazine!

Division A Governor, Dave Wheeler, was featured in an article in the New Fairfield Citizen as well as the Danbury News-Times after receiving his DTM and other awards.

Walter Beveridge, Andre White and Dave Wheeler each receive the District Governor's Award which Will Ryan awarded monthly through out the year.

Dave Wheeler worked with Marsha Kiley and new PRO Angela Lussier to put together a District-wide Marketing Campaign focused on Human Resource Professionals and centered around "HR Day", April 9th. Marketing materials included a "HR-specific" web page, a "pass-along" email to all District 53 members and press releases announcing HR Day.

Div.A Advanced Toastmasters Club hosted the
2nd Annual Battle of the Border between Div.A & D (District 53) and Div.G (District 46).

We took 1st and 3rd place to win for the second year in a row ... in case you were wondering. (Although the important thing is that everyone who participated got some valuable experience and feedback to help them at their District competition.)

A new club will be added to Division A at SUNY-NewPaltz,
... the "Toast of Paltz" club has submitted their paperwork and should have their charter before the end of this TM year!

We have signed up a full slate of Area Governors for the coming year along with a nominee for Division A Governor, (thanks to Karin von Kaenel).

Projected results for the year...
Area A1 - President's Distinguished
Area A2 - Distinguished
Area A3 - Distinguished
Area A4 - Select Distinguished
Area A5 - almost there...
Division A - President's Distinguished

What did we miss?

Please leave a comment below with your suggestions or feedback on the year in Division A ! Or just let us know what you thought about the past year!

Dave Wheeler
Division A Governor, 2006-8
Candidate for District 53 LGM, 2008-9

P.S. We also kept this blog going all year ... hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Quotes or Quotable speeches?

Doug Comstock gave us the following thoughts via the District 53 Yahoo Group ....
A few weeks ago I read the post on the importance of including appropriate quotes as we craft our speech. While I do believe that it can assist one in speech development I do not believe it is always the best way to write a speech.

Here is what I mean....

When I think of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech or Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you"....I wonder if they were more concerned in using the words of
other or creating content that would stand on its own..

I have been a student of speaking for quite sometime and have come to understand that the best speakers are the ones that sit and ask themselves "Is this content quotable". I believe that we as speakers have an opportunity as well as a responsibility to deliver content that is quotable.

As you begin to create your speeches ask yourself "am I creating content worth quoting?". If you aren't then I recommend that you carefully consider excavating your inner voice to truly share all that you are capable of.

In conclusion....

Strive to be the one that others always quote..... rather than being the one that is always quoting others...

See you at the conference....

Douglas "Clydesdale" Comstock
As campaign speeches are being written (for district officer positions perhaps?) it is important to dig deep... and find what you are most passionate about ... so that you can then communicate ... NO...TRANSFER that enthusiasm to the hearts and souls of your audience.

It may not be comfortable, but you will have much more impact if you can open up, dig deep inside and share what is important to you !

And it is much more likely that you will have a quotable quote of your own!

Did I mention the quote that Doug ended his email with?

"Nothing Great Was Ever Achieved Without Enthusiasm"
Great idea ... and a great quote!
(I think I will use it... unless I come up with something better on my own!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

If Tech Companies made Toast ...

In the theme of [bread-based] Toast Mastering ....

Karin von Kaenel passed along the following link to a web page titled,
"If Tech Companies made Toasters..."

[click here]

I especially liked the idea of a "Toastman" by Sony !

(But wouldn't that have been replaced by the "Toast-Pod" by Apple?)

Enjoy the article and leave you ideas in the comments below!

full article link:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The history of Toast....

Roger Brown sent us a link to
the History of Toast....

Information gathered from Toastmaster, Inc., The Housewares Story by Earl
Lifshey, and other sources.

As a Toast Master, we are sure you will find this fascinating !

(Or at least you can use the information for your next Tall Tales speech!)


(be careful... it is hot!)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Battle of the Border 2 ... Fun for all !

Last night at the Ridgefield (CT) Library's Dayton Room, we saw 5 contestants from Div. A and Div. D in District 53 compete against District 46's representative (from their Div. G)... and everyone in attendence was a "winner" !

The second Battle of the Border featured both Tall Tales and International speech competitors going "head-to-head" or "toe-to-toe" (depending on how they were standing at the time) to capture the coveted (?) Battle-of-the-Border Trophy !

Contestants included (in picture to the right)...
(l-r) Marv Cross, Lisa Edwards, Walter Beveridge, Cassandra DeLaMothe, Carmine Coco De Young, and Bill Miranda.
This year's event was a chance for Division winners (and some runner-ups) to practice their contest speeches in a "simulated district contest environment".
The room featured a lighted and raised stage along with a wireless microphone similar to what the contestants might see at the District contest. (D53's conference is Sat. May 17th at the Delaney House in Holyoke, MA... sign up now!).
The experience was made even more challenging by introductions that were close to "contest format"... but different enough to perhaps throw the contestants off a little (?). (Actually, they handled it pretty well.)

We also had just one wireless microphone which made for some quick changes between speakers... but it also gave the contestants a feel for speaking in a larger room wearing a microphone.

One final challenge included a squeeky stage. It did not seem to distract the contestants ... but it did bother the emcee a little bit. (Good thing he is not competing in the District contests this year.)

The audience was not left out either since everyone was give a pad of post-its to take notes and after all the speeches, everyone in attendence voted for the "Best Speech" of the night !

When the votes were tallied, the winners were (pictured here, l-r)... 3rd place Walter Beveridge, 2nd place Cassandra DeLaMothe and 1st place Carmine Coco De Young (holding the Battle-of-the-Border trophy/glove).
While the votes were being counted... the audience also participated in the "evaluation" or "feedback/interview" portion of the event ... along with our panel of "American Idol-esque Judges", Anne Swartout and Croix Sather of the host club, DiversityUSA Advanced Toastmasters Club. All contestants got ideas that they can use to improve their speech at the next level or in future speeches.
It was a FUN night for all that attended ... we wish you could have been there !
Maybe next year !