Monday, November 24, 2008

Personal Development ... for Smart People!

We don't review books very often on this blog, but occasionally one comes along that I'm sure other Toastmasters would really appreciate.... and Steve Pavlina's new book titled Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth definitely falls in that category !

Toastmasters Connection
First, I should point out that Steve is a Toastmaster in Las Vegas and he often includes references to his "Toastmasters exploits" in his blog (which is very interesting).

Attitude is # 1
Second, Steve has one of the best attitudes toward personal development and growth that I've ever seen. In fact, he has devoted his business (and a good chunk of his life) to the subject of Personal Development. (It kind of makes sense that he would eventually find Toastmasters, doesn't it?)

In his blog, you can get a feeling for his attitude by how he has documented a wide range of his own personal "30 Day Trials". This is where he tries out things like "PolyPhasic Sleep Schedule", "Raw Food Diet" and most recently, "Juice Feasting Diet" to see if they work for him (and we all get to live vicariously through his experiences). For an introduction to his blog, check out his website's home page at

Great [but slow] Book
Third, his book is outstanding. I got it over a month and a half ago and it has taken me that long to read all of it. To put that in perspective, I can usually I can get through a book in about a week by finding spare minutes in my daily schedule. The "problem" with Steve's book is that it is TOO GOOD !

There were so many concepts and ideas in the book that I would read for a few pages and then stop to think about how it relates to my life. It was like driving through a beautiful neighborhood... with plenty of speed bumps!

Speed Bumps
Some of the "speed bumps" are by Steve's design. He inserts "Exercises" for you to try that help you stretch your thinking and, sometimes, learn more about yourself. Other times it is just the way he phrases or explains a particular concepts that makes you stop and think.

For example...
One of the ideas that got me thinking was when he wrote about "taking an hour for yourself every day". I had been looking for a "way of thinking" that would help get me motivated to jump out of bed and really "hit the ground running". Steve's suggestions allowed me to change my thinking (and my habits) so that I've been waking up like a kid at Christmas.... ready to jump out of bed and really enjoy that first hour of the day!

As you can imagine, with ideas like these that call for immediate action, it took quite a while to read Steve's book... but I certainly enjoyed the process!
Constructive Suggestions
As you all know, a Toastmasters evaluation would not be complete without some ideas for improvement.... so here you go, Steve:

1) The hardcover book needs a companion audiobook. If I could have listened to the book while I was driving to/from work... I'm sure I could have gotten through it more quickly. (I was also distracted by other audiobooks I DID listen to during the time I was reading Steve's book.)

2) The next product should be a workshop DVD where Steve takes people through the concepts in the book and it follows them through the changes they make in their life.

3) Steve needs to get out to the East Coast more often! He has visited New York City and put together an informal Meet&Greet event, but wouldn't it be great if he could speak at our district conference? [Hint. Hint.] I wonder if his home district has tapped him to present at a district conference yet?

I would definitely recommend Steve Pavlina's book, "Personal Development for Smart People" and I look forward to reading your reactions in the comments section of this blog !

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reminder: Advanced TM meeting rescheduled to Thurs. Nov.20, 7:30-9:00pm, Ridgefield CT Library, History Room

Greetings fellow Advanced Toastmasters !

I came across an incredible speech as well as an equally well-done evaluation...

The speech is a short 8 minute keynote speech by a 5th grader in front of 20,000 people !

If you take a look at it, we can discuss ideas to apply to our own speeches when we meet on Thursday !

Plus... we will have a Pecha Kucha (PK) speech by our District Governor, Karin von Kaenel !

See you on Thursday !

Dave Wheeler
D53 LGM, 2008-9
DiversityUSA Club President, 2007-9

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yankee Candle Hosts Interclub Speech-a-thon

Subject: Yankee Candle Hosts Interclub Speech-a-thon
Division E - A First Interclub Speechathon
by Bryan Bridges

Tuesday, 11 Nov 2008 -Deerfield, MA -- On Veterans Day about thirty Toastmasters from District 53 gathered at the Yankee Candle Headquarters in South Deerfield MA to enjoy the first interclub Speechathon. Nine speakers from four clubs delivered a variety of manual speeches. Each was evaluated by the audience and by a dedicated speech evaluator and each received a report from a grammarian, an ah counter and a timer. Also nine people, in addition to the evaluators, completed a task from their Competent Leader (CL) manual at the event. Several other people involved in the planning also received CL credit.

Speakers for the Veterans Day 2008 Speech-a-thon.
Front row left to right: Leeanne Herman (YCC), Jim Munro (VEP), Dennis Kunkler (PV), Arden Billings (YCC), Mike Finn (SE), Jim Kagai (SE). Back Row left to right: Davit Khachatryan (SE), Rob Wilson (VEP), Croix Sather (Division E Gov.), Frank Fasano (PV).

[Abbreviations: PV –Pioneer Valley Club, SE –Speakeasy Club, YCC –Yankee Candle express Club, VEP –Veterans Education Project.]

During the breaks folks bought goodies at the bake sale and tickets to the 50-50 raffle and drawing for a Yankee Candle gift basket. The money raised, $89 plus the generous gift of the 50-50 raffle winnings ($25), went to the Veteran Education Project. VEP works with Veterans training them to speak of their experiences to various audiences.

The event was designed to give Toastmasters an opportunity to give manual speeches, earn CL credit and have fun and socialize with other Toastmasters from a variety of clubs.

The next interclub Speechathon –The Fabulous St. Patty's Day Speak and Eat, is scheduled for Saturday the 14th of March 2009.

While it is early in the planning stages we know that you can look forward to a pot luck dinner, food related charities and table topics in addition to the CL and speaking opportunities. We hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Stag Captures 'Bo' the Traveling Gavel

From: Roger H Brown
Date: Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 9:24 PM
Subject: The Stag Captures 'Bo' the Traveling Gavel

The Stag Toastmaster Club of Area B4 captured "Bo" the traveling gavel from the Greater Hartford Toastmasters Club #919 on November 11, '08.

The following Stag TM members visited the GHTM of Area B5:

Sue McNamara, Norm Thibodeau and Club President Christine Embser.

The Stag Toastmasters Club meets the first and third Wednesday of each month from noon until 1:00pm at The Hartford Tower Bldg, 690 Asylum Ave, in Hartford, CT.
Contact phone (860) 547 9851

From left to right is GHTM President Yvonne Duncan, Sue McNamara, Norm Thibodeau and Stag TM President Christine Embser.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Psychological of Selling (when writing)

A great article from (click here to read the whole article) ...

People are highly complex and often mysterious, so we all struggle to understand our fellow humans. However, now that you’ve gotten over being afraid to sell, here are a few basic psychological tidbits that can help you write compelling

Key points from the article ...
  • People make decisions emotionally.
  • People justify decisions with facts.
  • People are egocentric.
  • People look for value.
  • People think in terms of people.
  • You can’t force people to do anything.
  • People love to buy.
  • People are naturally suspicious.
  • People are always looking for something.
  • People buy “direct” because of convenience and exclusivity.
  • People like to see it, hear it, touch it, taste it, or smell it before they buy it.
  • Most people follow the crowd.
If you are signed up for the Sales Communications Skills workshop on Nov.4th, the full article (which explains all the points above) is "required reading" !

If you would like to sign up for the workshop at Marist College, in the Lowell Thomas Communication center, rm.125 from 9am-12noon... send an email to theshot92 [at] !