A year of achievements!

In our final meeting this season, A+ rated meeting, we had fabulous speakers, terrific evaluations and prestigious awards:
** Our Area Director Renata Noronha handed the area trophies and recognized First Oakville Toastmasters for winning all 4 District 86 – Area 36 contests this season. Congratulations Toastmasters Peter West​, Adrian Scott, John Boateng and Mark Molder​ (our president) for your achievements.




** Toastmaster Adrian Scott was named Toastmaster of the Year. Congratulations to Adrian for this well-deserved award for your multiple achievements throughout the Toastmaster season.



** Toastmaster Scott Richardson was awarded for Top Attendance. ThankYou for your permanent commitment.

** Five of our members, Zulma Garcia​ (our club VP of PR), Cheryl Boxall-Etherington​ (our incoming Treasure), Adrian Scott, Linda Rossi and Rosa Rodriguez​ (our Vp of Membership), received new designations on their Leadership and Communication tracks.

First Oakville Toastmasters celebrated our President’s Distinguished Club award, the highest designation a club can be awarded.


Congratulations to All Club members and to the outgoing executive committee Toastmasters Mark Molder, Rosa Rodriguez, Petra Dubec, Zulma Garcia, Luke Jin, Sameet Batavia, and Scott Richardson, for your hard work, experience, and dedication.

See you in September with a whole new executive and new goals to be reached!




5 Quick tips for the “newbies”

by Petra Dubec

I was a newbie 2 years ago. As I reflect on the past 2 years somehow it feels like I have been a Toastmaster for ever. I think this is due to 2 main reasons: 1. Great encouraging environment, which creates the feeling of belonging; 2. Learning and growing – you soak it up like a sponge. Every week I still pick up something new.

You have joined – congrats! Now what? Here are some tips that helped me kick off my TM experience:


You’re probably wondering what it means to speak for 5-7min. I know I was.

Based on average speaking speed (130wpm) 5min = 650 word, 7min = 900 words.

My challenge was filling the minimum time requirement, but aim closer to the 5min mark as most people go overtime.


Easier said than done. Lot of my tension was in my jaw and neck, which I realized after my first speech, as I had a stiff neck the next day. Jaw exercises are helpful, I’m sure you can Google the best ones for you but below is a simple one I benefited from:

Open your mouth wide, and shut it again. Repeat 5 times.

Make a buzzing sound with your lips together, but don’t clench your jaw.

As funny as this sounds & looks, the pros in Hollywood do this, so go ahead relax your jaw muscles and feel like a super star.


There are huge benefits talking to the more experienced Toastmasters and I find they are such wealth of encouragement and Good Company. So arrive early to meetings and work on your social skills – try to talk to someone you do not know yet or don’t usually talk to, challenge yourself. In my experience it’s always proven to be a win /win situation (we’re all curious and take interest in other peoples’ lives). Get involved in committees to plan different events and practice your leadership skills. We all have something to offer and you’ll be surprised how many talents you’ll discover you have and how many you’ll gain from the experience.


Mentors are priceless; they will share their experience with you and pass on what worked for them. Most importantly they will guide you and help you achieve your goals. Besides their great advice, meeting with your mentor will force you to write down your goals and help you to work towards them. Working from your first manual is just a tip of an iceberg. So talk to your VP of ED or get someone you feel comfortable with and ask them to be frank with you. You need to take the initiative and express interest. Be open to suggestions.


What’s the worst thing that can happen? No matter how your 1st couple of speeches will land, it will be a gauge to measure yourself against. The lower it is, the higher you can climb. You’ll get great feedback and you’ll remind us of our own starting line, which we’ll appreciate.

Remember – we all have been there, so just have fun, the learning will follow!



Fiat justicia*

Sometimes our business sessions can seem overly pedantic and technical. This is especially true when we’re debating a contentious or even provocative motion.

So why do we practice parliamentary procedure?GavelClub.gif

Right now, two school boards in the GTA (Peel and York) are embroiled in heated controversy and meetings of the boards have been chaotic with disorderly protests resulting in police being called.

The disruption of public meetings (or private meetings of company boards, clubs and organizations) by unruly protestors doesn’t just affect the contentious matters at hand but are an affront to the democratic process itself.

In other words somebody thinks that outshouting or threatening people with whom they disagree is an okay thing to do. It isn’t at least it isn’t in a democratic society.

Why should you care? And, what does this have to do with Toastmasters? 

As a member of a club you have a duty to participate in the business of the club. You’ll find the rules for parliamentary process in a book called Robert’s Rules of Order.200px-Roberts_Rules_1st

Certainly we vote in an executive (a topic I will return to soon) to serve the club and is trained by District to handle the day-to-day work of keeping our club running but the executive isn’t empowered to be a decision-making group. Decision-making is up to you, the individual club member.

Your vote in club issues is of vital importance to the health of your club. 

Past president Adrian Scott got me thinking about due process after he sent me an email with an attachment from Food Allergy Canada that outlines the organization’s concerns with a forthcoming decision by Toronto City Council that affects its members.

Here’s a link to the statement on the group’s website.

You’ll notice that Food Allergy Canada is advocating action to help influence the Toronto  city council vote on the adoption to stock epinephrine in Toronto restaurants and other public places. In the email the author describes the process of how this particular motion was deferred to a committee and then returned to council with a recommendation and now is ready for a vote.

This is politics at its best.

First, you convince an elected member of a decision-making body to make a motion that supports your interests. (At our club any member can make a motion.) Then, as the issue requires input from a technically informed committee, the motion is sent to them for a specific period of time.

As the report from the committee is returned and the issue is scheduled to be debated again, you and your organization reach out to the committee members asking them to support your point of view.

The motion is again brought forward for debate which will now include the report from committee and it will be either adopted or lost depending on the vote of all members of council.

The alternative is either anarchy or rule by imperial fiat neither of which are desirable or fair.

A chairperson who neglects to court the assembly’s support of any decision (If there be no objection I declare…) will find themselves unable to proceed as calls of “objection to consideration” will force immediate votes of confidence by the members.

While it is true “a chair gets away with what a chair gets away with” there is a limit to the goodwill and willingness of any assembly to go along with decisions they have not been invited to debate and vote upon.

The minority have a right to be heard (and heard fully) while the majority have the right to rule. You may not like it but it is fair and applies to when it be the king (or chair) or the lowest, most aggrieved and humble citizen.

*Let right be done.

What Happens When I Don’t Show Up?

It’s that season again when meeting chairs find they are scrambling to put on meetings where members either haven’t shown up or failed to find a replacement by leaving the search to the last minute.

We go through this problem every spring (Is it the nice weather?) and every year we come up with the same solution. (Call on the mentors to get involved with their delinquent mentees.)

For the most part the problem of no-shows is confined to new members (Sorry if this offends any newcomers but it is what it is.) who don’t appreciate the magnitude of the problems they create when they don’t show up or wait until the last second to find a replacement.

It means the chair can’t print their agendas until the last second. It can also mean that the chair, the Toastmaster, the GE, the VP of Ed., your mentor and maybe even our club president get dragged into finding a replacement because you didn’t fulfill your obligation of finding a replacement. (These are busy people in their own lives and they’re not your parents.)

This showing up piece is part of the educational and leadership learning that takes place at First Oakville Toastmasters. There are lots of other clubs that aren’t so fussy and maybe that would be a better fit if you are a habitual offender.

But before you go, consider what letting down your fellow club members says about you? Not a pretty picture is it? (And, one truism I’ve learned is how we are in one thing, we are in all things. So if you’re a no-show at Toastmasters, you’re likely a no-show in other areas of your life.) At Toastmasters you get a real opportunity to change yourself and change your world. This is a gift of immense value.

When you consider the people you’ve let down at the meeting are potential new employers for you or new associates who might have written a letter of recommendation for you in your personal job search it becomes pretty obvious that these are not people you want to disappoint.

So how do you make certain this never happens to you again?

First call (or get) your mentor for help with your upcoming assignments. Read your speech if you have to but show up when you’re scheduled and do your best. Your fellow members will see that you’re struggling and they will help you. (If you don’t show up nobody knows if you need or even want some help.)

Don’t blow off what may seem like minor roles like greeting. Our greeters are our first-line offense when it comes to attracting new members. (We need to find at least 10 new members annually to qualify for the Distinguished Club Program.)

Every role in Toastmasters is important regardless of whether you are listed on the agenda or not. But if you are listed on the agenda and you don’t show up everybody knows. There’s no place to hide at Toastmasters and sooner or later the VP of Education will remove your name from the upcoming schedules.

And if you do show up and do the work, what does that say about you?

It says you are a person whose word can be trusted. You do what you say you’re going to do. You’re excellent executive material. You will make a fine mentor for newcomers. Maybe one day you’ll accept the role of president or area or divisional director.

But most of all, you’ll know yourself as someone who can count on themselves to show up and get the job done.




Evaluation Contest 2017

What an amazing night at FOTM!
Special Congratulations to our clubs most consistent winner of the Evaluation Contest Marion Schaefer West who once again took first place!

Marion faced an outstanding crowd of evaluators Petra Dubec, Mikael Gatje, Alonso Mendizabal, Mark Molder , Linda Rossi, Adrian Scott, Peter West.
Well done all of you!!

Also big Thank you to Toastmasters Allan Osborne-Chair contest, Dale Fisher-Chief Judge, Alexandra Howard-Test Speaker, and to all of our FOTM members and guess who made this learning experience possible.
Marion and Mark (who took second place last night), advance to represent our club at the upcoming area 36 evaluation contest.
Looking forward to it!

#Toastmasters  #Oakville #PublicSpeaking #Leadership

International Speech Contest – FOTM

International Speech Contest club level at First Oakville Toastmasters will be on Thursday, January 12, 2017 – 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Winners continue competing through the area, division and district levels, and why not.. two additional levels — semifinal and the World Championship of Public Speaking!

If you want to beat Aman, you’ve better start preparing now!





Knights of Columbus – 1494 Wallace Road, Oakville, Ontario L6L 2Y2

#Toastmasters #PublicSpeaking #Oakville

Santa Comes To First Oakville

Did you miss Santa?

If you attended our First Oakville Toastmasters‘s Christmas Party on Thursday Dec. 8 at O’Finn’s Irish Temper Pub you didn’t.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On top of great food, great fellowship, silly games, Christmas music and festive drinks we also had Santa drop by to help distribute gifts and spread great cheer. (Raffle tickets to a bunch of great prizes raised well over $200 for the local food bank.)

Learning how to be a public speaker doesn’t have to be an ordeal. At First Oakville Toastmasters we’ve been developing world-class public speakers while having a fun time doing it for 60 years.

Meetings at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Wallace Road start up again on January 5. Plan to arrive around 7:15 pm.

Don’t take our word for it. Just ask Santa.

Photos are available on the club’s Flickr gallery here.