Tag Archives: Hal Shaw

“Like watching a basketball game in the dark”

Submitted by Toastmaster Hal Shaw

Toastmaster Hal Shaw

Mentor: A wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

A few years ago, I recall a freshman at 1st Oakville commenting that after a few meetings, it was a bit like watching a basketball game in the dark…he knew there was a lot going on, but he wasn’t sure what much of it was all about!
As new members regularly join 1st Oakville, more of the seasoned members are being called upon to act as mentors to these “fresh, vibrant, green shoots” of toastmastering. Here are a few of my observations that I hope will help 1st Oakville maintain and improve upon the high standards set by our predecessors and mentors.
As “wise and trusted counselors”, mentors need to take an active interest in their mentee’s progress, more than asking “how’s it goin’ ” when we occasionally show up at a meeting. At the outset, try to establish how you think you can help, and more importantly what the new “grasshopper” would like help with. Weekly phone calls discussing upcoming roles, what happened at last week’s meeting or recounting experiences and anecdotes that give the new member a better sense of what we’re all about, all come under the job description.

Corrective action, in almost all cases, will become necessary at some point. We all make mistakes (otherwise, we never learn) and it is the job of the mentor to identify these in a tactful manner and to offer constructive suggestions for improvement. Overlooking deficiencies to “spare one’s feelings” shackles individual personal growth and weakens the fabric of the club. A few obvious examples include lack of preparation for the assigned role, last minute email pleas for substitutes, or spotty attendance. Along with the privilege of calling yourself a Toastmaster, there is a set of responsibilities beyond giving a few speeches.
In most cases, the recipient of your advice will appreciate the guidance. In some cases, we should be prepared for the prospect of the “I’m not sure this is for me” conversation or as I like to call it, “Darwin does Toastmasters too”
As mentors, it is our task to ensure new members understand what they can expect out of 1st Oakville and what their obligations are as well. So, they don’t feel like they’re just watching a basketball game in the dark.

“Remember, free advice is usually worth twice what you pay for it! ”

~30~

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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

Donald

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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!