Monthly Archives: December 2011

Toastmaster’s Parties – Past and Future

What a wonderful evening we had at our Toastmasters Christmas party last Thursday. The organizing committee led by Elaine Collins did a remarkable job and created an evening with a magical theme around a scene in Mrs. Claus’s kitchen and we, the audience, were her dinner guests. There was Santa and Mrs. Claus, reindeers, Elves and a fabulous Grinch with pet dog whose name still to be determined.

Thank you to the planning committee and all those with roles during the evening.

Everyone played their parts with energy and enthusiasm, there were lots of laughs, music and games, and we even had a hilarious table topics session. I particularly enjoyed watching Lili Cretu have so much fun delivering hers. She had us all in stitches.

There really was a great Toastmaster atmosphere in the room,. This was one of the best Christmas parties I can remember and part of the success came from the strong support we had from members. The room was full with over 50 people in attendance all looking to have a fun time as always. Everyone participated in some way to make the evening a hit.

Special thanks to David Locke who entertained us at the beginning of the evening with his trumpet playing and then played piano and led us in carol singing at the piano downstairs to close out the evening. David also took on the challenge of whipping our flash choir into shape through nine hours of practice. It was well worth it as the singing was one of the highlights of the evening for me.

Also my thanks to Peter West and Mike Cauterman who spent the entire evening watching the party through their cameras to record the evening. If you were not able to attend the party, go view the photo’s on Peter West’s site to get a glimpse of what transpired. Thanks also to the Quality Hotel staff; the food and service throughout the evening was great!

With the Christmas Party behind us, our next big party is just around the corner.

As I write this, it’s literally nine weeks to the Charter Party! The organizing committee has been hard at work since October and has a fabulous venue and agenda ready for the event. With the Christmas Party as an example, this club knows how to throw a party and have fun. All we ask of you is to support the club and come to the party. Don’t miss out on this one.

Pencil the 11th February into your diary if you haven’t done so already.

Toastmasters International’s focus is around “Where Leaders Are Made” and one thing leaders do is plan, make decisions, organize, direct and delegate. Participating or leading a committee gives you an excellent opportunity to practice these skills and watch others do the same. It’s a great learning opportunity and a very rewarding experience when it comes together and works well.

Take the Christmas Party planning as an example. How do you put an evening together like that? How do you get ideas for a theme? How do you delegate?

In this example, the chair (Elaine Collins) did an excellent job at pulling ideas out of us, leading us to a decision on a theme then delegating or asking for volunteers for certain rolls and having regular follow-ups to keep everything on track.

Everyone felt involved and empowered so that it was a positive experience for all. In essence, with great leadership, and when everyone’s pulling in the same direction, you get a great result. So if you want to improve your leadership and planning skills, jump in when there’s a call for the next committee

District 86 Fall Conference Report

Fellow Toastmasters:
I had the distinct pleasure of attending the District 86 Fall Conference in London last weekend.  As suspected, this conference was full of valuable workshops, inspirational speeches and good old-fashioned fun!

There were many highlights, one of which was witnessing Leo Gadhoury participate in the Humourous Contest.  To refresh your memory, Leo came to First Oakville to practice his humourous speech as winner of the Lakeshore Division Humourous Contest.  He visited a few other clubs as well to gather all feedback to improve his presentation prior to the District Contest.  Needless to say, he took all advice seriously.  The speech presented on Saturday was full of histrionics, excellent timing and improved text.  Leo was confident, utilizing the stage beautifully and immediately established rapport with the audience.  I could not help but smile as I acknowledged the growth and development of his speech right before my eyes!

You may be interested to know that the phrase for Table Topics was “But Santa, I Can Explain!!”  It was a challenging but excellent choice of topic!

The opening keynote speaker, Gregory C.N. Smith, ACS, ALB  offered a very simple and powerful message.  The title of his speech was ‘Specific Intent’.  The summary of his  message is: 1)decide what you want, 2)decide what you are willing to exchange for it, 3)set you mind to it and 4)go to work.  Gregory also has a book available from Toastmasters International entitled, “Life’s Loudest Secrets”.  I did purchase the  book and it  is worthwhile, but watching him live and in person made his message even more compelling.

One of the three workshops I attended was ‘Take the Fear Out of Impromptu Speaking’.  The presenter, Fraser Perry, DTM, offered a very animated presentation and explained the acronym that has assisted many of his fellow Toastmasters.  The acronym is: A STEALTH FOE.  Here are the words that represent the acronym:  Age, Sex(Gender based), Training, Education, Association or Affiliation, Literacy, Trauma, Health, Family, Obsession andEthnicity.  Mr. Perry suggested that by using this acronym, it is quick and easy to find a point of reference to the table topic assigned.  He also offered these ‘Never Do’ suggestions:  Don’t apologize, ramble, over invent or direct humour at a specific group in the audience.

The Communication & Leadership Award Recipients were Jane Roy and Glen Pearson.  They have been involved with the London and Area Food Bank for almost 25 years and are currently the Co-Executive Directors.  They have also travelled to Sudan several times to tackle the issues of famine and slavery bringing with them the news media to raise awareness of the horrors of slavery.  Jane and Roy remain tied to the area and continue to focus on building of schools, water projects and medical clinics in the area.  In Glen’s acceptance speech, he pleaded with the group of Toastmasters at the luncheon to take the effective and impactful usage of words and put them to work in the community.  Turn the words into action for the good of all.

Fellow Toastmasters, I hope that if you have not yet attended a conference this article entices you to do so!  Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.  The next conference is in May, 2012 at the Sheraton in Richmond Hill, Ontario. 

See you there!!

Best regards,

Linda Rossi
VP Education
First Oakville Toastmasters