Monthly Archives: February 2015

Five Mindfulness Techniques

I did a speech on mindfulness recently and it seemed to have struck a chord with some members.

So when a buddy of mine (He’s in Colombia not Columbia – you had to be at a recent meeting of First Oakville Toastmasters to appreciate this difference!) sent me a link on Five Mindfulness Techniques That Will Improve Your Relationships And Make You A Better Leader I knew I had to share it.

Just keep breathing…deeply…slowly…mindfully 🙂

I Object!

An objection to the consideration of a motion can be raised by any member so long as debate hasn’t begun nor has any subsequent motion has been stated.

Last night, new member David rose to ask a question. Not only is this permitted, it’s recommended whenever you aren’t sure of what is happening during a business session.

The business session procedures should always be fully transparent and understandable to all members. If, at any time, you are unsure of what is happening or what you’re being asked to vote on then stand without being recognized saying “I rise on a point of parliamentary inquiry.”

If you’re not sure of what’s happening, it’s very likely you’re not alone. Rising on a point of parliamentary inquiry is a service to your fellow members.

Now back to the objection to consideration.

The mover of the objection does not need to be recognized by the chair and there is no need for a seconder. No debate is allowed and a vote is taken immediately.

The objection to consideration is encouraged when a motion so violates the rules that it shouldn’t be allowed to be debated.

In my opinion the motion to say “woo woo” when the word of the day is heard offends the decorum of the Toastmaster meeting as does the unfortunate practice of banging on the tables when announcing the winners of the evenings table topics, evaluations and speeches.

But what is worse is the motion is much too much like a similar motion to rap on the table whenever the word of the day is used which was defeated two weeks ago. Again beyond my personal preference to act with some decorum, this motion was made by a member who lost the last vote on a similarly worded motion and thus it is clearly out of order and should not be debated.

Now if someone who had voted last time again the motion which was lost can bring forward a similar motion but the losing side as only one crack at the bat and if they lost their motion (which they did) then they don’t get to keep resuscitating it in slightly different forms over and over again.

To the matter of the 2/3’s in the negative vote, this gets very interesting.

It appears we haven’t been doing it right!

When an objection to consideration is raised, it is not treated as a motion which requires a vote! The vote is directed at the main motion (which caused the objection) and the vote must be 2/3 against the main motion.

So when an objection to consideration is voiced, the chair should immediately say:

“There is an objection to consideration of this motion (meaning the main offending motion). Those in favour of considering this motion say “AYE” (Pause). Those opposed to considering this motion say “NAY”.

If it appears that the AYEs have it (These are the people who DO want to discuss the original motion) the chair says:

“The “AYES” have it by more than one-third vote and the motion will be considered. Is there any discussion on the motion that we…(restate original motion).

If it appears that “NAYs” have it by a two-thirds vote and the motion that we (restate motion) will not be considered. Is there any other business.”

While an audio vote is quite legal I’m pretty sure that someone will yell “Division” which is a request for a counted vote. A wise chair will then redo the vote asking the Sgt.-At-Arms to record a formal count as what happened last night.

Despite our voting on the objection rather than the offending main motion the count remains that only six people wanted to discuss the motion to say “woo woo” and 14 said they did not. Abstainers are not counted in the vote but maybe counted if there is a requirement to reach a quorum often needed for such matters as changing a constitutional clause.

So last night we had 14 who essentially said “Nay” to discussing the main motion and six who said “Aye” to discussing the main motion.

The requirement of 2/3 in the negative (not wanting to discuss the main motion) was reached and the motion was removed from the table and was not discussed.

There is another strategy that can be applied here.

After someone stands and moves a motion which so offends the rules that it should not be debated, anyone else can immediately rise (but must be recognized by the chair) to move “To Lay On The Table” the motion before us. Laying on the table can’t be used immediately after an objection to consideration has failed as the assembly has already voted on the issue and the move to lay on the table is not allowed.

Laying on the table (or to table the motion) essentially takes the motion off the table and allows it to die a slow silent death avoiding debate and voting.

So what does this all mean?

Parliamentary procedure as set out in Robert’s Rules of Order are relatively simple instructions for groups who wish to work together to make decisions that affect the members of the assembly.

It allows the voice of the minority to be heard, while the desire of the majority is carried out.

These rules are not intended and nor should they be used to hinder the decision-making process or to seek unfair advantage over other members of the assembly.

Even if you don’t understand Robert’s Rules of Order they still apply to you and serve you as a paid-up member of the club. It is up to your chair of the evening to ensure both fairness of the process and protect your rights as a member.

If you ever find yourself sitting on a school board, a board of directors for a company, non-profit or charitable agency you’ll want a working knowledge of Roberts Rules.

Evaluation Tips For First Timers

Next week is First Oakville Toastmaster’s Evaluation Contest.

The evaluation contest is open to all members and if you’ve been a member for a few months and watched some evaluations, you might consider entering even if you haven’t done an evaluation yet at a club meeting. Talk with your mentor about whether you’re ready or not.

So here are some tips for newcomers to evaluating someone else’s speech.

Before we even begin our evaluation there are quite a few things we can do to prepare. Remember when you’re evaluating a speech, you’re being entrusted by the speaker to tell it as it is but also to be helpful and supportive. If nothing else be kind and be positive.

So for me, this means I evaluate people at the level of where they’re at and not at the level of where I wish they might have been. It’s important to evaluate the speech you heard and not the speech you wanted to hear. I give stronger evaluations to the more experienced speakers and warmer evaluations to the newer speakers.

It does a speaker no good whatsoever if you offer suggestions that don’t relate to what was presented. This is especially true if you strongly disagree with the subject matter or the conclusions the speaker reached. That’s not part of the evaluation to question the speaker’s conclusions or motives!

All evaluations should begin by saying something positive and warm about the speaker and his or her speech. “How wonderful to see you take the lectern. Your smile lit up the room” would be a pretty good start.

Then use one of the tried and proven structures of “content, language and delivery” or “heard, saw and felt” and add a summary (absolutely necessary in this contest) at the conclusion and tell the speaker you look forward to their next speech.

During your evaluation add your own observations as to eye contact, vocal variety and volume, gestures and use of notes and that should fill the time nicely.

Do not run your evaluation into the red light as you’ve only got 30 seconds by that point and you need to end the evaluation now or risk being disqualified by time.

Remember to keep the focus on the speaker and do not add stories about how you would have done (or did) something similar as the speaker. This is a great failing of my evaluations as I find myself talking about how I did something. This never goes over well and doesn’t win contests.

At the end of the night, whether it’s a regular club meeting or a contest, find a moment to personally congratulate the speaker and thank them again for speaking. That warm glow after an evaluation should not because they got roasted but rather they got toasted by a great evaluation.

Amazing Charter Party 2015

Huge congratulations to President Adrian Scott and his first-class Charter Party 2015 committee team members for one of the best run Charter Party’s in living memory!_DSC9679-1

With 95 tickets sold the room was filled with current Toastmasters, former Toastmasters, their friends and guests including our District and Area Governors.

On one of the coldest nights of the year with the thermometer falling to more than 20 degrees below C, the party guests warmed the room with their laughter, good fellowship and anticipation of the International Speech Contest.

After a delicious dinner that was served promptly and on time (always a big Toastmaster thing) the International Speech Contest featuring myself (Peter West), Deborah Bartucci, Mark Molder and John Boating (who spoke in that order) faced off against each other.P2140583-1

As someone who has won this contest three times, I was soundly and rightly beaten into the ground by my fellow contestants who all brought their A-game. In my opinion any of these speakers on any given year could have won first last night but unfortunately three of us came up against a man on fire and Mark Molder’s passion and energy easily carried him over the line in first place.

Hard on his heels, Deborah Bartucci took second and John and myself retired to the bar…just kidding !_DSC9716-1

Our DJ for the night was particularly good (Black Tie Entertainment) and I’d highly recommend them for any event where you want classy and professional DJ services. Honestly, they were that good.

Thanks to Contest Chair Hal Shaw who kept us on time and entertained while Chief Judge Dale Fisher and his crew tallied the votes.

One thing I noticed last night was a preponderance of new members who came out to their first Charter Party. Well done new Toastmasters. (That’s Sam, one of our newest members with John one of our most seasoned on the ticket desk.)_DSC9631-1

And finally a tip of the Toastmaster hat to one of our newest Toastmasters and a man who only arrived on our shores just over a year ago from South Korea. Luke Jin has volunteered to be the club’s Sgt.-At-Arms and I think not only should we thank Luke when we see him next but be ready to offer a hand which I’m sure Luke would appreciate.

All in all, President Adrian and his team did a great job last night.

For more photos, please visit the First Oakville Toastmasters Flickr site.

Message From the VP of Membership

Club elections are inching forward; maybe you are interested in running for VP MEM and asking yourself what’s involved with holding this position?

I love being VP MEM. Often, I am the first contact that a prospective member has with our club. Information requests come in via our website and when someone comes to one of our meetings, s/he feels welcomed because a contact has already been established.

The VP MEM introduces guests to other members, helps them feel welcome, and spends time with them during the break or after the meeting to answer questions, and explain our club life. It is already at that time that the visitor gets an inkling of the rewards, and commitments, that go along with being a Toastmaster. Spending time with a guest creates a connection; the visitor realizes our interest in growing the club with quality members, and appreciates the opportunity to ask questions.

Once a guest has applied for membership and has been voted in, the VP Membership registers the new member with Toastmasters International, holds the Induction Ceremony, and welcomes the new Toastmaster with handing over the “New Member Kit.”

Apart from these duties, the VP Membership encourages members to promote the club, initiates membership drives when needed and, as part of the Executive, aids in determining the club’s future.

Think of your Toastmaster goals in a wider sense – not just about public speaking; are your leadership skills yearning for a top up?