Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Importance Of Having Something To Say

A sure sign of the Apocalypse: newspaper pundits are starting to say Donal Trump might just have a chance in the upcoming American presidential elections.

Why? How can this be? The combed-over, pandering extremist views of The Donald seem to be the only views being expressed and heard by the American electorate.

As Clifford Orwin, professor of political science and senior fellow of Massey-College at the University of Toronto, says in a Globe and Mail column this morning “Mr. Trump is the anti-Clinton”.Donald_Trump_by_Gage_Skidmore

Clinton’s campaign has been a disaster so far. Going back to Professor Orwin he says Hilary is a “terminally boring candidate, without ideas, without vivacity, without a sense of humour” or “a single arresting idea”.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, throws out provocative ideas all the time.

In other words, The Donald has something to say and says it all the time. Hilary, if she has something to say, isn’t saying it much and certainly isn’t being heard by anyone.hillary-clinton-head-andrew-burton-getty

That’s one of the key points of public speaking…you need to say something and you need to say it in a way that people listen and not just hear!

At Toastmasters we have a saying: Tell us what you’re going to say. Say it. Then tell us what you said.

Irwin says Trump is the second coming of Teddy Roosevelt. “There’s no telling where it will end.”

International Conference Highlights

The District 86 Blog has Cathy Herschel, DTM, our public relations manager’s report on the annual Toastmasters International conference which took place last weekend in Las Vegas.Page-9A-Roger-Caesar

District 86 was represented in the World Championship of Public Speaking by Roger Caesar who made it to the semifinals.

Well done Roger.

Highlights from Mohammed Qahtani’s winning speech at the World Championship of Public Speaking is available on You Tube.


Another great article in this morning’s Globe and Mail. This time it’s on mentoring.

In “Three tips for successful mentoring” author Stephanie Dixon, a Paralympic athlete with 19 Paralympic medals and now assistant Chef de Mission for the TO2015 Parapan American Games, says the best training you can possibly have to become an effective mentor is to be the beneficiary of mentoring yourself.Stephanie+Dixon+Paralympics+Day+7+Swimming+oHagszajPSbl

At First Oakville Toastmasters we introduced an enhanced mentoring program a few years ago and the benefits have been obvious and welcome.

Every member at our club is given the opportunity on an annual basis to request a specific mentor or to have a competent mentor assigned to them.

As president of First Oakville I asked our immediate past president to be my mentor for this season. I’ve been a Toastmaster for 23 years now and I still see a great benefit in having a mentor.

Mentors and mentees can work in different ways. I had one mentee a few years ago who almost exclusively communicated through e-mail. I was sure this wasn’t going to work but it did. Any time my mentee had a question he emailed me and I replied and then at the next meeting he’d flawlessly carry out his assignment.

Read this article on mentoring and join (or rejoin) a Toastmaster club in your own community. First Oakville Toastmasters meets in the Knights of Columbus Hall on Wallace Road in Oakville. Our first meeting is Sept. 10 and arrive at 7:15pm.

(Unfortunately there appears to be no link to this Globe and Mail article online.)

The One Thing That Determines Your Success as a Leader

That’s the headline to an online article at the Connection Culture website. This article written by Randy Conley should be a must-read for all Toastmasters as it clearly answers the question: What makes a good leader?cropped-tm-promo-e1398146250649

Conley has narrowed the answer down to one thing and that’s trust.

Or you can Google the word “leadership” as Conley did. Google returned 138,611 hits. That’s a couple of years of reading!

According to Conley trust is more important than titles, power or position.

At Toastmasters we say we build leaders but how do we really do that? We do it by trusting in our elected executive and volunteer event chairpeople to do their best and to be ready to ask for help if they need it. We learn to support our leaders as they learn their leadership skills and they grow as leaders because of our support.

We learn leadership by taking action and stepping in to help. Be a leader at our club.

Vocal Fry And Sounding Confident

In a recent Globe and Mail article called “A confident tone of voice can speak volumes in itself” columnist Leah Eichler writes that women who try to sound like their favourite pop stars risk betraying themselves when it comes to business.

Trying to sound like celebrities such as the Kardashians, Britney Spears and Katy Perry is called “vocal fry” and its users sound like they are trying to garble their vowels.images-2

Vocal fry enthusiasts end up sounding as less competent, less educated, less trustworthy, less attractive and less hireable according to one US study of the practice.

Feminist writer and one of the smartest people on the planet IMHO, Naomi Wolf is quoted in an article in The Guardian urging young women to resist the hoarseness habit of speaking in this affected manner.

At Toastmasters we find ourselves falling back on all kinds of affectations and bad habits and men and women are equally prone to these mistakes.

A few speech evaluations by friendly and supportive fellow members can do a lot to help any speaker sound more confident with lots of conviction in their speaking voice.

My club, First Oakville Toastmasters is getting ready for its first meeting of the season on Sept. 10. Check for a Toastmaster club in your community at Toastmasters International.

Are You A leader

@Lifehack is a wonderful site for all things to improve your life.

A recent post was sent to my by one of my best friends John who lives in Colombia. John and I have only met in person once at an international conference but we communicate via email, Skype, telephone and even Ham Radio on a weekly basis and have done so for years. Thus the power of the Internet.imagesimages

So Matt Duczeminski, the author of the @LifeHack article, asks the following 8 questions:

Do you go above and beyond?
Are you optimistic?
Are you open to change?
Are you decisive?
Are you accountable?
Are you passionate?
Are you intrinsically motivated?
Are you willing to learn?

Check out Matt’s article at @LifeHack.

Who knows what you might learn about leadership?

Cellphone Etiquette

Have you ever noticed that when someone starts to speak at a meeting they put down their cellphone (or tablet or close the lid on their computer)? And then, when they’ve finished speaking and it’s your turn they pick their cellphone or tablet back up or reopen their computer?

That’s what happened to me at a small group meeting last night. As I was beginning to speak I was astonished to see the person who had spoken before me get engaged by something on his cellphone.  I felt really disrespected

As much as I hate to consider myself the heavy in these situations, I as nicely as possible asked the gentleman to please put away his cellphone. I have a story that he wasn’t too happy with me but he did grudgingly comply.

And sure enough a latecomer to the meeting played with his electronic device in the last half of the meeting. I wasn’t the chair of the meeting so I just caved on this second cellphone incident.

Cellphones are tools just like hammers and saws are tools. You wouldn’t keep hammering or sawing if somebody was speaking to you so why isn’t some folks think it’s okay to keep playing with their phone?

At Toastmasters we soon discover that speaking is only half of the communications track. The other half is listening and you can’t listen and play with your phone if you want to give the speaker your full respectful attention.