Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More "Why Toastmasters?" videos...

We had a great turnout at the Toastmasters Leadership Exchange last Saturday (12/12) in Manchester, CT and a number of people took advantage of our video setup and created videos for the D53 YouTube Challenge .

Check out the District 53 YouTube Channel and all the "Why TM?" videos (we are up to at least 20)...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why Toastmasters? Sample Videos

Below are some sample YouTube videos provided by Sherri Rafftery, District 31 Governor 2009-10; Kristen Nicolson, Past Intl. Director for Toastmasters; and Heath Suddleson, Toastmasters Intl.Director from Region 7 2009-11.

If you want to add your own YouTube video for the "Why Toastmasters?" video challenge, be sure to tag the video with D53 (since District 53 is organizing this challenge) and "Why TM" so that your video can be found via a YouTube search.

If you would like your video listed as a favorite on the D53 YouTube Channel, send an email with a link to your video to Dave Wheeler. His email address is theshot92 [at] The email address is listed this way (without the @ symbol) to prevent automatic programs who capture addresses and send spam.

Of course, your video should be "Toastmasters-friendly". If you don't know what that means, ask another Toastmaster or a club officer.

Special Thanks to Sherri, Kristen and Heath for stepping forward and providing these excellent examples !

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

YTM YouTube Challenge... Why Toastmasters?

District 53's
"Why Toastmasters?" YouTube Challenge

Showcasing the Value of Toastmasters !

How to Enter:
Create a 1-2 minute video where you answer the question, "Why Toastmasters?". Your TableTopics-length speech should articulate what you feel is the value of Toastmasters to the viewer. Basically, it is your “elevator” speech for Toastmasters.

All entries will be in the form of videos loaded to The videos must be tagged with “D53” and "Why TM" and include the contestant’s name, their club name & number. This information can also be added as text overlay or in the description of the video, but the "D53" and "Why TM" must be clear to judges and searchable in YouTube. (Otherwise, we won’t be able to find all the entries.)

Content of the video should be “Toastmasters-friendly” and in good taste such that it could be shown at a District 53 event. District Sr. Team will determine if a video is disqualified for content.

Speech Time:
1-2 minutes (2:30 maximum total video time)

Who can enter:
Any active Toastmasters member in good standing of a club in good standing within District 53 may submit a video for the D53 Challenge. Members of other districts are welcome to create videos... they just won't be part of the D53 Challenge. The member who enters the video must be in the video for at least 50% of the time. Non-members may assist and even appear in the video but there is not liability assumed by Toastmasters. Entrants assume all liability.

Current and immediate past district officers may enter except for the current District Governor, Lt.Gov.-Education & Training, Lt.Gov.- Marketing and the District 53 Chief Judge. Finalists may not be finalist judges.

Public opinion will decide the 10 finalists via’s ability for viewers to rank the videos. An important part of this effort will be how entrants promote their videos (to get “votes”). Finalists will be announced 1 week before the District 53 final event where the finalists will be recognized. Current plans are for the challenge to culminate at the D53 Spring 2010 conference.

Judges will be chosen by the Chief Judge & Sr. Team from all District 53 Divisions. The judges will view the finalist videos online during the week prior to the final event and deliver their ballots to the District 53 Judging Team at least 2 days prior to the final event.

Prizes & Recognition:
Finalist Videos will be shown at the Spring Conference and awards presented for:
1st, 2nd and 3rd Place Overall
Most Humorous
Most Creative

What if I don’t own a video camera or computer?
A videographer will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis at Division contests within District 53. These sessions give an opportunity to members who are not able to enter themselves due to a lack of video equipment or computer access. The number of video slots at the Division contests will be limited so contact your Division Governor to sign up. Keep in mind that these videos may not have as long to accumulate votes online.
Contact Dave Wheeler, D53 Lt.Gov.-Education & Training, via email address theshot92 [at] Be sure to include "Why TM?" in the Subject line.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Passing of a great speaker...Jim Rohn

On Dec.5th, 2009 personal development legend Jim Rohn passed away.

If you have not heard of him, check out the YouTube videos below...

Here are the links in case the embedded videos don't work on your computer...
Best Year Ever...Video 1 of 3

Best Year Ever...Video 2 of 3 (Measurable Progress in Reasonable Time)

Best Year Ever...Video 3 of 3 (The Day that turns your life around)

D53 Sr. Team goes to training...

Last weekend (12/4-12/6), District 53's Sr. Team (Marsha, Richard and Dave) went to Regional Training where they learned lots and picked up a ton of ideas that will help our district over the coming months.

In addition, there is a tradition at the regional training that each district's Sr.Team will create and perform a skit after the evening dinner. This year, D53 did a parody on the Bravo TV network's show, "Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton". We had Richard Peck playing the part of James Lipton and Marsha Kiley as the "star" being interviewed. (Dave Wheeler created the clips and ran the audio video.)

While we did not videotape the whole skit, we can pass along the video clips that were used within the skit. The embedded video below features our Intl. Directors, Heath & Annelie...

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Here are the links to all the "film clips" we used...

Holiday Greetings from the Region 7 Intl. Directors (in case the embedded video above did not work for you).

Christmas Story featuring Kristen & Dan

Halloween (we used this as a promo on for our Fall 2009 Conference). This link is to the YouTube video which includes text overlaid on the video with information about the conference. Be sure you have "annotations" turned on when you watch it (so you will get the "full effect").

Its a Wonderful Life (featuring our friends from D31)

The D53 Xmas Dancers featuring Marsha, Dave and Richard.

These were all made using if you want to play around with it yourself.

I am also working on a "YouTube Channel" for District 53 and that is where I will be loading up the "Why Toastmasters?" videos. (They should be there soon.)

Holiday Greetings !
Dave Wheeler
D53 LGET, 2009-10
Move Forward !

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Early Bird discount extended to TODAY !

The early bird discount has been extended to TODAY (Oct.20th) only !

Send an email to everyone you know who might want to go to the District 53 Fall Conference!

Here is the link to the registration form and more info...

Get your registration into the mail today and SAVE MONEY !

This conference on Saturday Nov. 7th in Saratoga Springs, NY will a ton of fun!

Want Proof?
Check out the video below...
(be sure that you have "annotations turned on" to get the full effect!)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Past District 53 Governor dubbed by Hobo Queen

2008-9 Hobo Queen Carmine Coco DeYoungKarin von Kaenel was officially dubbed by the 2008-9 National Hobo Queen (and current Area A4 Governor) Carmine Coco DeYoung at the Area A4 speech contest on Wed. Sept.30th.

Part of the dubbing process is the awarding of a "hobo moniker" for the honoree and Karin was given the name "Countess Butterfly" due to her background as a statistician and the butterfly logo she had during her year as District 53 Governor.

The picture to the right shows Carmine explaining the award / dubbing process.

Below are pictures of Karin being "dubbed" by Carmine with the ceremonial hobo walking stick.

Karin von Kaenel dubbed Countess ButterflyKarin von Kaenel dubbed Countess Butterfly

In the picture on the left below, Carmine awards Karin the Hobo Walking stick which includes numerous butterflies painted on it along with the signature of the Hobo King and Queen. Truly a "one of a kind" memento!

Karin von Kaenel awarded Hobo Walking StickKarin also received a certificate (so she can hang something on the wall when she is out walking with the walking stick) !

Congratulations Karin !

Area A4 Contest results...


First Place – Michael Cummings, Cartus Magnus

Second Place – Don Lococo, Socially Speaking


First Place – Daniel Rapley, Wooster Heights

Second Place – Croix Sather, WestConn

Third Place – Belle Garafola, Barnum Square

Pictured below (l-r)...

Dan Rapley, Croix Sather, Belle Garafola, Michael Cummings

Area A2 Contest results

Here are the pictures of the Area A2 contest held Friday, Oct.2nd, 2009...

The Area A2 Humorous contest winners are:
from left to right...
3rd place: Darci Rowe, 2nd place: Mike Knopf, Winner: Geoff Crew
Both Geoff and Mike will represent Area A2 at the Division contest.

From left to right...
Winner: Ruth Ray
2nd place: Steve Rock
3rd place: Gerry Buchman

Because Ruth Ray will be unable to attend the Division contest, Steve and Gerry will be the ones attending it on Friday October 9.

A Future Toastmaster ...

Have you seen this YouTube video done by a future Toastmaster?
(Special Thanks to Past District 53 Governor, Roger Brown who brought it to our attention) ...

Roger also sent a link (via PHILIP LEVERE) to an article about how the video came about... click here.
Jim Sacco estimates that his son Josh has watched "Miracle," the film about the 1980 U.S. Olympic men's hockey team's legendary upset of the Soviets, nearly 150 times. Apparently, the movie has made quite an impression on the young fan. ...

... No professional coaching. No fancy editing. No script, because Rizzo hasn't learned to read yet -- he was just 4 years old when his father filmed the speech earlier this year, making it all the more remarkable.
Here is the speech in the movie as presented by Kurt Russell...

What are you born to do? What's your game?

Could your club use a "pregame speech"?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Did your club pay your dues?

One of my favorite authors, Seth Godin, had a short but insightful blog post today titled, "If Craigslist cost $1" and since the deadline for submitting Toastmasters dues is Oct.1st, I thought it would be appropriate to share his key point ....
Money creates a sort of friction. In the digital economy, magical things can happen when there is no friction. You can scale to infinity. On the other hand, sometimes you want friction.
If you lead a group that allows anyone to join, for free, your group might be large, but it's not tight, it's not organized to make important change. Commitment slows things down in the short run, but ultimately aligns interests.
If your club still needs to submit dues, please do it today (or tomorrow). If you are using a credit or debit card, dues can be submitted by a club officer via Just be sure to get them paid before the deadline of October 1st.

Toastmasters is about making "important change" and you can demonstrate your commitment to your personal development by paying your dues.

In other words, now is the time to "Put your money where your mouth is" !

Monday, September 28, 2009

Winter Toastmasters Leadership Exchange

Did you attend the TLI events this past Summer? If so, you will recognize the tune that accompanies the video below...

If you do not see the video below (after giving it a couple seconds to load), try clicking here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Speaking to the media

We have all seen it on TV... the interview on the courthouse steps with a million microphones all crammed in front of the attorney's face.

How many of us would be able to handle such a situation? What if we practiced it at a Toastmasters meeting as a TableTopics exercise?

Here are some pointers that I got from a recent e-newsletter from TJ Walker, a speaking consultant who helps people craft their message for the media ...
Preparing your Message for the Interview
  1. Don’t talk to reporters without giving yourself time to prepare the message.

  2. Don’t dodge questions!

  3. Answer the question in eight seconds or less and bridge back to your main message for the next 25 seconds or so.

  4. If a reporter asks you a complex, detailed, five-part question, focus on answering the one question that leads you back to talking about your message points.

  5. When listening to a reporter’s question (and you must listen very carefully), don’t think about how your vast database of knowledge can provide 10,000 new facts to answer every nuance of the reporter’s question. Instead, focus on how you can honestly answer the question in a way that allows you to talk about one, two, or three of your message points.

  6. Remember, questions don’t matter. The subject matters.
Now, you just have to come up with some scenarios to serve up to your club members as TableTopics !

Here are some suggestions ("torn from headlines", so to speak) ...
  • CEO indited for misappropriation of company funds
  • Celebrity arrested for ...
  • Tradeshow TV reporters asking about your newest widget
  • Politician caught ... (too many possibilities here)
  • Evangelist asked about his role in the organization
I'm sure you can think of even more!

Have Fun with it !
(and help your club learn to cope with the media)

Dave Wheeler

Friday, September 04, 2009

Writing your contest speech...

Michelle Russell over at wrote an interesting article about writing ... which could very easily be applied to your speech for the upcoming Humorous speech contest.

Michelle's article is titled, "Write with a Knife" and she suggests...
... Write for yourself, edit for your readers ...

1. Find the spine of your content and stick to it
2. Cut the first paragraph
3. Don’t over-spice your words
4. Watch out for “creep-in” words
5. Cut exaggerations
6. Find a more precise word
7. Reuse the leftovers
To learn what she means by each of these suggestions, check our the article by clicking here.

Have you signed up for your club's Humorous or Evaluation contest?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Word of the Day...

This Word of the Day comes from the Norwalk (CT) Toastmasters via their new Area Governor, Peggy Jean.

The word is Insouciant which means: in a lighthearted, unconcerned manner: nonchalance.

Here is the entry from Merriam Webster online...

  • Main Entry: in·sou·ci·ance , noun, : lighthearted unconcern : nonchalance

  • Pronunciation: \in-ˈsü-sē-ən(t)s, aⁿ-süs-ˈyäⁿs\

  • Etymology: French, from in- + soucier to trouble, disturb, from Old French, from Latin sollicitare — more at solicit

  • Date: 1799

in·sou·ci·ant \in-ˈsü-sē-ənt, aⁿ-süs-yäⁿ\ adjective

in·sou·ci·ant·ly \in-ˈsü-sē-ənt-lē\ adverb

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

If I were a "Mad Man" (from AMC's television series)

Have you ever wondered what you would look like as one of the characters in the AMC series, "Mad Men"?

No, me neither... but it was fun to check out their site and build a 1950's style avatar.

Check out mine...

I think the tie is a nice touch !

Very professional ... great for presentations (see below, left) !

Not sure about the hair and the smile though...

It is certainly better than when I was "Simpsonized" last year...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Official Car for District 53?

I was coming back from a weekend in New Hampshire and the number on this car caught my eye...
I knew that I had seen it somewhere before, but I could not place it until I got home.

By then I realized that it was an imitation of "Herbie, the Love Bug" (click here for the wikipedia explanation).

Should this be the "Official Car for District 53"?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

TLI # 3 - University of Bridgeport, Sat. July 25

We had a great time at the Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) event last Saturday at the University of Bridgeport's Dana Hall. The event was attended by almost 100 people and the feedback we got was incredibly positive.

Special thanks to Steven Rashba and Ward Thrasher from the University of Bridgeport who helped us get the facility and set it up for such an outstanding event.

Also, the presenters were wonderful... Ute Brinkman, Norm Thibodeau, Peggy Jean, Richard Peck, Don Logie, Don E. Smith, Pat Wilson-Perkins, Jay Discount, Marsha Kiley, Brian Cavanaugh, Andre White and Rich Couture.

Click here for a slideshow of pictures from the event !
(Thanks to Arnie Grot for taking the pictures)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pictures from AG / DG training 2009

Here are some of pictures from District 53's training session for Area and Division Governors in June 2009. (Did you know that Area Governors and Division Governors had their own training session?)

Next up... Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) at 4 different locations !

Hope to see you there !

D53 LGET, 2009-10
Move Forward !

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Down to the wire for this Toastmasters Year !

Important notice as the Toastmasters year draws to a close ...

Club Officer Lists ... due at TI by 6/30/09

Distinguished Club Goals... all submissions (e.g. CC's, AC's, member applications, etc.) must be at TI by 6/30.

Since TI no longer has a grace period for things postmarked by 6/30, clubs should be sending in their new member applications by Wed. 6/24 for regular mail or use a faster delivery method if it is sent after that date.

It takes a long time for mail to get to Toastmasters International in California.

You do not want to work all year and then be disappointed that you did not meet your goals due to a delay in the paperwork.

Send it in NOW !

Use online submission at for whatever you can (e.g. educational goals) and fax in membership applications to TI at 949-858-1207.

Don't delay !

Do it today !

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Words of Wisdom

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Bill Miranda
Subject: RE: Words of Wisdom
To: Dave Wheeler

you may use, but give credit where credit is due. . .Bobby Bloom.
On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 5:32 PM, Bill Miranda wrote:

Thought the following true story was worth sharing and repeating. Hope this finds everyone well.

There we were…..stuck with nowhere to go, nowhere to hide and all bored to tears. Myself, Tim, Don and Scott all sat trapped in a conference room at the Millennium Hotel in Downtown Chicago.

For the last couple of years I have been attending a series of Sales Forum's of sales leaders from different industries and companies and this was by far the worst. The speaker was the Sr. Vice President of Sales for a company that all of us had heard of but will go nameless in case one of you has a friend, relative or happens to know this gentleman.

So why were we bored to tears? Because he talked about the one subject that none of us cared about, spent money to hear or travel hundreds of miles to listen to. Although it was our least interesting subject obviously it was the speaker's favorite subject. The subject was himself!

I couldn't believe it and I can't exaggerate how bad this presentation was. He had a slide deck that was no less than 25 slides and the first 8 slides were dedicated to this man up to and including a picture of himself on vacation displaying his burly white legs and whiter bare feet as he smoked a hookah pipe on the roof of a Middle Eastern restaurant.

He spent so much time talking about his background and his supposed successful turnaround of four operating divisions that when he finally got to content that the sales leaders in the room cared about he had ran out of time and had to click through the slides in rapid fire succession. It was a classic mistake that many of us have made before; we sometimes speak so much about what we care about that we are oblivious to the cares of our customers.

We don't always spend the time talking about us personally but how many times have you given or been part of a presentation where we simply go into our song and dance about the features and benefits of a product only to find out nothing about the needs of our customer or what they care about? If you've ever started a presentation by asking no less than a half dozen questions about the objectives of your customer, than I can guarantee that you are guilty of this! Every meeting or presentation should be started with a number of questions before the meeting and during the start of the meeting to get a feel for what is one the mind of the customer and what their priorities are for your product or proposal.

Make sure that each and every account call is focused on the one thing that matters most to the customers…..the customer. Whether in the business of sales or in your everyday relationships if all your focus is on yourself you'll find yourself a very unsuccessful sales person and a very lonely individual.

Bill Miranda

Monday, June 15, 2009

Newest Toastmasters Club in District 53 .... Route 1 Toasters at Affinion Group in Norwalk, CT

Please welcome the newest Toastmasters Club in District 53 .... Route 1 Toasters at Affinion Group in Norwalk, CT !

Special thanks to Mary Beth Schroeder and Brian Lessard who initiated the club and worked to get them to their current 25 members!

An added note... they have a strong team of club officers in place and have added at least one new member at each of the past few meetings. They are definitely on their way to being a strong club !

Congratulations Route 1 Toastmasters !

Dave Wheeler
D53 LGM, 2008-9
Be The Change You Want To See !

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Region 7 Conference- International Contest results

Sherri Raftery from District 31 has a good post with the results from the Region 7 Toastmasters conference on her blog...

Unfortunately, District 53's representative, Nana Danso, did not make the top 3.

Dave Wheeler
D53 LGM, 2008-9
D53 LGET, 2009-10

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bridgeport Toastmasters in-the-news !

The University of Bridgeport has a nice article on the "News & Events" section of their website about the involvement of their students with the Greater Bridgeport Toastmasters club (click here).

UB is also where we will be having one of the Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) events on Saturday, July 25th !

Hope to see you there !


Monday, May 25, 2009

What's going on with Dave Wheeler?

Dave Wheeler has discovered ... and is becoming an active "tweeter" !

What does that mean?
It means that you can "follow" him and receive super brief updates (up to 140 characters) or other "tweets" from him via your own twitter page.  Visit to sign up for Twitter and then search for "theshot92" to find Dave' updates.  (It is free.)

Why?  What will I get?
Depending on who you are following, Twitter provides quotes, life updates and insights that range from the profound to the inane.  In other words, choose who you follow wisely... but then you probably already knew that from real life !

Why is the media making such a big deal about Twitter?
Twitter is part of what is called "Social Networks" or "Social Media".  In other words, it is an online way to connect with people and spread "the word".   (Whatever "the word" means for you and people who think like you.)  Other sites that are often mentioned as part of the "Social Media" are Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.  (Dave is on Facebook and Linkedin too, in case you are interested.)

Try it out and let us know about your Social Media experience !

You might be surprised what you find.

Dave Wheeler
D53 LGM, 2008-9
D53 LGET, 2009-10

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What are you doing with your Cognitive Surplus?

The video below introduced me to the concept of "Cognitive Surplus" and got me thinking... What am I doing (or going to do) with my own "Cognitive Surplus"?

In short, the gist of Clay Shirky's speech is this...

In the industrial revolution, people were drawn into cities; productivity created a boom in free time (vs. the old agrarian lifestyle) and the "opiate of the people" (to steal a concept from another historical figure)  was GIN (or at least it was for London, which Clay talks about).  The boom in free time (and time to think about things) is what Clay calls a "Cognitive Surplus" and in the industrial revolution it was eventually deployed by society in the form of libraries, schools and other institutions which helped society.

He goes on to point out that, [in the post world-war growth of mass media and business growth], productivity of our business systems has continued to grow and the replacement for GIN is television.  (specificically, according to Clay, TV sitcoms).

His question is ... how are we, as a society, going to use our growing "Cognitive Surplus" (instead of just watching more sitcoms on TV)?

Clearly, Toastmasters is a great choice and the good news is that you don't have to give up sitcoms "cold turkey".  There are now DVR's which will tape your shows and play them back (without commercials) so you can attend your evening Toastmasters meetings !

What are you going to do with your Cognitive Surplus ?

Friday, May 08, 2009

World Champion comes to D53 !

Shera Cohen and Springfield (MA) Toastmasters organized an excellent event last Thursday evening featuring the 1962 World Champion of Public Speaking, Bob Garton. 

There was also television coverage (channel 22) as shown by the YouTube video below.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

How to deal with the stress of the current economy...

Tony Robbins on Today Show
The link below shows Tony Robbin's appearance on The Today Show yesterday....

He makes some great points very quickly but his best point is right at the end... and it emphasizes why we should all start to think about our next role within Toastmasters !

How are you going to challenge yourself over the coming Toastmasters year?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Working on your CC/AC/CL/AL?

Don’t think you’ll have time to finish all your speeches by the end of the Toastmaster Year?

Well, Division A wants to say “YES you can” and to help you, we are pleased to announce our

Year      End       Super meeting
Speech-a-Thon and Membership Drive

Saturday, May 30th, 2009 9:00AM to 3:00PM

King of Kings Church
543 Union Ave
New Windsor, NY

The day will consist of two Toastmaster meetings, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This will provide an opportunity for up to 12 people (6 each in AM and PM) to give a speech and up to 12 people to serve as Speech Evaluator (for CL). 

Also, up to 10 people (two each role) can serve as Toastmaster, Timer, Grammarian, Ah-Counter, and General Evaluator (for Competent Leader). (Note, there will not be Table Topics, just speeches). Roles will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. The event is open to all Toastmasters and all Toastmasters are invited to bring guests (AKA potential members) as well. Membership information and forms will be available. Agenda is as follows:

9:00AM           Registration/Gathering/social time

9:45AM           Welcome and Introductions

10:00AM         First Meeting starts

12:00PM          Lunch  / Registration for PM Session Only Attendees

1:00PM            Second Meeting starts

3:00PM            Wrap up

There will also be prizes for:   

  • Club with most attendees, 
  • Club with most guests/visitors attending, 
  • Area with most clubs (percentage of total in area) participating, 
  • Farthest traveled, and more. 

There will also be a Silent Auction and 50/50 Raffle. 

 COST: Meetings are FREE!!!

 An optional $5.00 pizza lunch will be available at the site or you can go off site

If you’d like to participate, please email  Registration Chairman Andre White at dtxr2001 [at] and ask for the applicaiton form.

It will be a lot of fun !  Don't miss it !

Monday, April 27, 2009

An interesting TableTopics Question... had a recent post about a "new Stonehenge" in Georgia which ends with a question that would make for an interesting TableTopics session ...

In 1979, an anonymous group erected a massive stone structure in Elbert County, Georgia. This modern-day stonehenge is more than twenty feet tall and arranged to serve as a calendar and a clock. Its slabs have instructions in eight languages for reconstructing society after the collapse of civilization. The instructions are more philosophical than technological, but perhaps nonetheless prudent:

If you were composing brief instructions for survivors of the collapse of civilization,
what would you write?

The original article in Wired magazine has additional background ... which could spur additional questions for your TableTopics session, such as "Where did this structure come from?" and "What does it do?".

Have you found something interesting that you have turned into a TableTopics Session? If so, please leave a comment below and tell us how it went !

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Multiple Magazines ... as a Marketing Tool !

Did you know that if you are a member of multiple clubs, you will get multiple copies of the Toastmasters magazine?
If you are already a member of multiple clubs, that is probably not news to you ... but have you been leveraging those extra magazines into PR for your clubs?

Toastmasters International will, according to this webpage, ...

... the magazines can be shipped directly to an address of your choice.

Simply contact World Headquarters and ask to have that extra copy redirected to another address. It can be sent directly to a local library, friend or business associate.

To make this request, please send an e-mail to with your name and club number as well as the new name and address. A staff member will make sure your magazine gets a new home.

Toastmasters also has another good suggestion before you start sending magazines to your mechanic, and doctor and dentist and ...

It’s always a good idea to ask permission of any office staff before leaving
The more places that have a Toastmasters magazine where someone is waiting, the more likely it will find its way into the hands of someone who could become a member of your club !

Give it a try !

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Remembering Robert J. Benn, ACS

Division F Mourns the Loss of a Great Toastmaster - Robert J. Benn, ACS

On Friday, March 20, one of our fellow Toastmasters,
Bob Benn, passed away. Bob Benn was an Area Governor and an active member of the Washington County TMs Club #9988 in Fort Edward, NY. He had earned the TM recognition level of Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS) in 2007. The District offers its sincere condolences to Bob's family and Toastmaster friends.

DG Karin Von Känel writes, "Bob joined Toastmasters many years ago and I had the privilege to get to know him when we both served on the District Leadership team in 2005-06. Bob was the Area F4 Governor in upper New York state. Bob was extremely active in Toastmasters and just recently completed a Youth Leadership Program. I will always remember Bob for his insightful comments." Link to his obituary.

Monday, March 16, 2009

World Champion Public Speaking Pro Coming to Springfield, MA

From: Shera Cohen
Date: Mar 15, 2009 9:28 PM
Subject: World Champion Public Speaking Pro Comes to Springfield

To all Toastmasters, Friends, Guests, and the Public


Springfield Toastmasters Club

presents special guest


Thursday, May 7, 2009

7:00pm - 8:00pm

The Glass House

1380 Main Street, Downtown Springfield

(free on-street parking
and adjacent parking lots

Mr. Garton earned the title of International Champion in 1962.

He is one of only 68 Public Speaking Champions in the world.

He later became a Senator for the State of Indiana for over three decades.

for information

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interesting book... timed for contest season !

They timed the release of this book perfectly... right near the beginning of the International Speech Contest season !

What do I meant? Rich Hopkins has a book about the 2008 International Speech finalists and as another Toastmasters blog said...
The Finalists:2008 is a compilation of the stories of the 2008 Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking Finalists and their path to the big stage.

The 2008 Finalists included:

Rich Hopkins
Robert MacKenzie
LaShunda Rundles
Martin Presse
Colin William
Charlie Wilson
Katherine Morrison
Henry Flowers IV
K. Loghandran
Jock Elliot
You can get a free pdf copy by signing up on Rich Hopkin's web page...

Who will be the next World Champion?
How about You !?!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Slack Time... Toastmasters Time !

Seth Godin (one of my favorite bloggers) wrote an excellent post that finds a silver lining in the current economic situation...

A lot of corporations have seen dramatic decreases in revenue and have cut back projects as well. In many cases, this is accompanied by layoffs, and so everyone is working far harder.

But in other organizations, and for a lot of freelancers, there's more time than work. In other words, slack time.

Assume for a moment you don't have money to develop and launch something new. So, what are you going to do with the slack?

What can you build over the next year that will take time now and pay off later?
If you were laid off, you definitely will have some slack time. You can only look for work so many hours in a day... there will have to be some extra, if only in the time you would not have been commuting.

Seth suggestions two things...

1. Learn something. Become an expert.
2. Earn a following and reputation.

To these two things, I would add ... join Toastmasters !

Seth, as a speaker, you should know that 3 is the magic number ... and Toastmasters is where speakers practice their magic!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Presentation / Meeting tips ...

Kevin Wortman, winner of the District 53 Evaluation Contest last Fall, sends us some ideas about presentation / meeting skills that he picked up at the blog, SixMinutes.

Tips for increasing your "speak-up" rate

1. Let go of perfection
...A perfect thought that never gets expressed is useless.

2. Have a goal for the number of times you speak up at a meeting
...If you currently don't speak up often, commit to speaking up at least once at every meeting you attend.

3. Experiment with speaking first
Once you've mastered speaking at least once at every meeting, make it a point to speak first or as early as possible in the discussion.

4. Voice your support for what other people say
The research shows this is useful and it's a relatively easy and low-risk way to express yourself.

5. Get used to interrupting people if you have to
In some aggressive corporate cultures this is the only way to get heard. ...Here's how I do it. I say "Can I just interrupt you there?" Then as soon as they've stopped speaking, I make my point.

6. Use a formula to help you structure your thoughts
A formula will help you think on your feet and you'll come across as credible, organized and persuasive. An easy formula to use is PREP. PREP stands for Point, Reason, Example, Point. Here's an example of how to use it:
  • Point - Speaking up can enhance your career
  • Reason - People who speak up are perceived as being competent and intelligent leaders
  • Example - Richard Backstrap has just been promoted for the second time this year. He speaks up a lot - but he's no more competent than the rest of us (note: fictional example)
  • Point - Speaking up can enhance your career.
As our district governor, Karin von Kaenel, often points out, "Toastmasters is about going from not having a voice to having a voice" and speaking up for yourself is obviously part of that process !

Thanks Kevin for bringing this to our attention !