Tag Archives: Donald Knowles


October is Toastmasters Month and Don Knowles from First Oakville Toastmasters came by the FYI studio to talk with Joe Ferroni about Toastmasters basics and events taking place throughout the month. TVCOGECO – truly local television on Cogeco Cable.
Please follow the link to watch Donald’s interview.



Sharing the Experience ~ District 86 Spring Conference ~ A member’s view point.

Submitted by Toastmaster Donald Knowles

Toastmaster Donald Knowles

What an amazing time!!!

I am more than a little shell shocked, more like shock and awe, at hearing Mark Hunter speak. Matt has always said that public speaking was a performing art. Well, I just watched a Tony award winning performance. Or, more correctly, a TM world championship winning performance. It is probably going to take me the rest of the summer to synthesise and assimilate what I saw and heard. Mark Hunter is the 2009 TM World Champion speaker from Australia and he spoke twice.

The first time was at the Friday night First Timers session. This is a session put on by District for the people who are attending their first conference. It is a staged mix and mingle session to ease people into the process. Mark gave about 10 minutes of welcoming to the Newbies. 10 words into his welcome it became abundantly clear that this man was good; very, very, good. From a SCD (structure, content, delivery) point of view that 10 minutes was worth the price of admission.

The second time that Mark spoke was at the Sunday Brunch. He discussed in significant detail his first speech, Face to Face, Eye to Eye, Heart to Heart. He then gave the speech, followed up by more discourse and 15 minutes of Q & A. Mark then discussed more thoughts on speech making, including quotes and references, and delved into his championship speech A Sink Full of Green Tomatoes. This is where the shock and awe sets in. I have heard a few speeches in the last 3 years but nothing even close to this. Reduced to 1 word, that 1 word would be exquisite. On to other things.

After the First Timers session there was a Magic Show by the Great Gerard, a Toastmaster, which was very good. After that came a hypnotist. This person, Paul Anthony, ran way too long, about 45 minutes over. Paul was very good at what he could do, but his Don Rickles sarcastic approach did not work for me. He stopped being amusing as he took control over people’s subconscious selves and repeatedly turned them into mindless performers to the mirth of the assembled masses. I left early. I am told by people who stayed how late he went.

Saturday was much better with; the Banner Parade, Opening ceremonies, Workshops, luncheon with various award presentations, the International Speech Contest, the Business Session and then the Governor’s Ball. It was a busy day.

The workshops were informative, the awards luncheon was tastefully done, and the speech contest was very, very good. Gregory C.N. Smith won, Frederique Herel was second, and Annette Lavigne was third.  In the business session Meri McCartney was elected DG, Avis Brodie was elected LG Education and Training, Janice MacDonald was elected LG Marketing, Katie Chida was elected Public Relations Officers, Paul Lynott won Gvr for Divison A, Liv Cools-Lartique B, Myrna Bartha C, Suzette Leeming M, Ian Horne N, Fraser Parry S, Melanie Jessup W, and Justin O’Donnell L. All spellings are approximate. Chris Czerwinski, the AG from Area 52, didn’t have a chance for Divison Governor for L. He didn’t do much promoting and did not even have a picture on the web site. Justin, on the other hand, was constantly promoting and worked very hard for his win. The last item of the day, the Governor’s Ball was another very well run dinner meeting.

Sunday dawned blearily early with a workshop, the Evaluation Contest, and the Sunday Brunch with the grand finale of the Keynote Speaker. The competition was won by Harry Ansara with a flawless evaluation befitting a DTM. Second Place was by Katherine McLean and Julie Boyer of Trafalgar placing third. A remarkable performance by Julie who has only been a Toastmaster for about 7 months.

Thoughts. A highly commendable project carried out extremely well. To be sure there were assorted professionals sprinkled in the soup mix but it was all done by volunteers. Very impressive indeed. The food was good, the hotel was well situated for me, the presentations useful, the speeches well done, the key note was awesome.

Overall, a very good example of Toastmasters. I have no idea if this was the norm or an exception as this was my first Conference. That being said, I am looking forward to the next one in November, if not for the fun then for comparative purposes.


Note: Details have been corrected.

The Charter Party!

Toastmaster Donald Knowles

Submitted by Toastmaster Donald Knowles

It was a wonderful night.  The room was wonderfully laid out.  Not too big, not too small, just nice and cosy.  Everyone was dressed up and there was a palpable air of relaxation.  The bar tender must have slipped a little Prozac into the drink mixes.  The head table was piped in and introductions were made.  It was a nice touch to have the current District Governor Doreen Hilllier in attendance. 

The door prizes commenced early and continued often.  The food was indeed very good.  The service was also very good.  It is so nice to be in the presence of culinary pros.  Michelle let me know that the Atrium does Sunday brunch, which will be worth looking into.  The speeches were very good as usual.  I learned a lot last night about microphones.  If the speaker is miked then they do not need to stress the vocalisation so this changed the vocal dynamics of everyone present.  Interesting.  Congratulations to Marion, John, Deborah, and Hal for participating in the contest. We had about 52 years of accumulated TM talent on the stage last night.  Congratulations to Marion for her win and the best of luck moving forward in the Area contest.  Our President, John Smissen will be the alternate if Marion cannot go forward.  Hal changed his speech from Jump to Four Letter Words, which was well received.

The magician was very good and everyone enjoyed his banter.  Gerry was very restrained as an audience “volunteer” .  I am sure that I was not the only one present who was wondering how that was going to play out.  Being the pro that he is, Gerry didn’t upstage the magician.  But it was fun considering the possibilities. 

The DJ has serious equipment and a very good music selection.  He had obviously done this before and handled the volume adroitly. 

This was my first Charter Party, and all in all, it was a very enjoyable evening.  It was a also a successful evening for the committee; John Smissen, Deborah Bartucci, Katherine Ryell, Linda Rossi, Michelle Gillies, Iryna Linkova, Daniel Bruch, and yours truly .  In about 7 months or so, we will need to start again.  After participating in number 53 I am looking forward to number 54.  For those who missed it, it was a very good TM evening.  Forget the disclaimer, it was a very good evening, period.

Yours in Toastmasters



Many thanks to Toastmaster Peter West for all the wonderful photos of our evening. Below you will find a sampling, but I suggest you visit the site he emailed to us all so you can see the whole set. They are truly treasures!


Oh,What A Night…February 4,2010

submitted by Toastmaster Donald Knowles

Toastmaster Donald Knowles

Well, what a night last night (February 4) . The VP. Membership was away on business and a guest needed some help. Many thanks to Ann McNicholl for looking after Shannon. I was running around helping Iryna pay some bills and Ann graciously took over. Then Mme. Ford signs up, then Kim signs up, and then Tyler signs up. Three new members, but these ones are different. One is a past member and 2 are rookies, but they were at the evaluation and judging workshop the night before. Talk about keeners. I just might loose my spot as the resident “A” type.

I haven’t cracked the books today, but I think the latest round of members has kicked us over 50, again.

Advance Notice. With 3 new members hungry for roles I will be redoing the schedule this weekend (February 6 and 7).

We are starting to wind through the second half of the year. If you are not working on your CL manual the question is why not? A lot of what you do in the club at a meeting can be counted towards your CL designation. It is not just TM “stuff”. The projects help you learn leadership and facilitation skills. In the current environment of leaner and meaner knowing more skills is not a bad thing. I embraced the CL process because I am older and more expensive than others in the work force. Anything that helps me upgrade my skills to stay ahead of the layoff curve can only be a good thing. Some things are not new, but there Is nothing wrong with a refresher from time to time. Something to think about.

Enjoy the weekend and see you all back at the shop next Thursday.

Anyone want to take over the Chair for the Evaluation contest? I have only run 3 but am willing to share my limited understanding. Something to consider.

Yours in Toastmasters.


Area 56 Workshop Tuesday February 3rd, 2010

Submitted by Toastmaster Donald Knowles

Toastmaster Donald Knowles

The training last night at Skyway was quite interesting. Judy Suke took the 10-15 minute Evaluate to Motivate material and extended it to a 45 minute discussion. The lady is a very comfortable speaker and a past master of humour. She knows what works and knows how to work it. Judy covered all of the material in the evaluation process. Copies of the material will be presented to the club on Thursday February 4th.

Avis (pronounced Ahvis) Brodie then came up and took everyone through the judging process. Again, a very comfortable speaker who has worn her delivery down to a smooth process. Avis covered all the material on the International Speech Contest judging ballot and then went into details of dos and don’ts. There was great audience interaction during both sessions. I believe that there is a movement afoot that in order to judge a contest outside of the club that person must have taken a judging workshop. Which means that the 45 people in attendance last night can expect a phone call. I know that I already have.

It was very interesting to participate in intra club activity, both in seeing how other clubs do things their way, and to meet other people. I think that I will do a lot more of this in the future.



Competent LeaderShip Manual Made Easy

Submitted by Toastmaster Donald Knowles

Donald Knowles

For ease of use, here are the Competent Leadership manual minimum requirements for each project.

For Project 1; 3 out of 4 tasks are required.

For Project 2; 2 out of 3 tasks are required.

For Project 3; 3 out of 3 tasks are required.

For Project 4; 2 out of 4 tasks are required, but Time Keeper is mandatory.

For Project 5; 3 out of 4 tasks are required.

For Project 6; 1 out of 6 tasks is required.

For Project 7; 2 out of 4 tasks are required.

For Project 8; 3 out of 4 tasks are required, but Chairing 1 of either a Public Relations Campaign or a Membership campaign is mandatory.

For Project 9; 1 out of 3 tasks is required.

For Project 10; 3 out of 7  tasks are required. Both General Evaluator and Toastmaster  are mandatory, plus 1 of the remaining 5 tasks.