Tag Archives: Peter West

Area 52 Humourous Speech & Table Topics Contests @ First Oakville Toastmasters

Autumn Greetings,

First Oakville Toastmasters has the privilege of hosting the upcoming annual Area 52 Humourous Speech & Table Topics Contests.  Members and guests are welcome to join our Club this upcoming Thursday October 24th 2013 during our regularly scheduled meeting time, starting at 7:15 until 9:30pm.  

Our own David Webster will be representing our Club #2245 in the Humourous Speech Contest with his presentation that had us hootin’ & hollering!  Peter West is our Club’s selection for the Table Topics Contest, for his ability to think quickly and coherently on his feet.

They will be up to some stiff competition from other Area 52 Toastmaster Clubs Oakville Trafalgar, Glen Abbey, Horizon & Mighty Oaks.  The winners of these Contests will move on to the next level at the Division contest at Dundas’ Town Hall November 8th.  From there, Division winners will compete at District 86 Fall Conference November 22-24th, 2013 in Collingwood.  All are welcome to share in the fun!

~Eleanor Hayward VP PR

humourTable Topics



Submitted by Linda Rossi, CTM

Toastmaster Linda Rossi

Last weekend I attended the District 86 Fall Conference in Niagara Falls, ON. I would like to share the highlights of the weekend, which began on Friday night with a mix and mingle reception followed by live entertainment.

The official opening ceremonies were bright and early Saturday morning with the Parade of Banners. I proudly ushered our First Oakville #2245 banner to the front of the room along with my fellow bearers and the banners were displayed for the rest of Conference up high against the walls for all to enjoy.

The opening keynote speaker was Peter James, DTM and the name of his presentation was entitled “Heart of Gold”. Peter began by having the audience clapping in unison to get everyone in an upbeat, enthusiastic mood. His speaking style was full of verve and commitment and his message was three-fold: recognize the value that you possess, then increase your value through more education and life experience, and finally, that you absolutely MUST share your knowledge and experience with others. I walked away reflecting how to apply each of those items in not only my Toastmasters career, but in my personal life outside of Toastmasters (the truth is that they blend into one sometimes, don’t they?).

The bulk of Saturday is devoted to workshops. There are 12 offered in total and here are summaries of the three I attended:

Workshop Session #1 – I Don’t Have Time! by Greg Lewis, ACB, CL

Yes, another time management workshop and to be honest with you, not my choice. I found myself in the front row because I was assigned to introduce the speaker (as an Activator). Greg’s presentation, however, was superb! His approach was to first prioritize the different parts of our life that require time; family, job, Toastmasters, errands, etc. Then build your agenda allocating your time accordingly. If family is #1, then block in the time commitments for family first, and continue down the list. Have a list of items that are not time sensitive so that you can fit them in whenever time allows. Some tips for managing: always block in time for the estimated duration of the appointment or task, not just the time of initiation, designate particular times of the day for reading emails, making outgoing calls, and only receive incoming calls if it is during a time that you have agreed to. This eliminates constantly being interrupted when trying to complete a project or task. Finally, he emphasized the importance of taking the time out each week to review and adjust the schedule as necessary. This workshop was definitely worth my time!

Workshop Session #2 – Brand”I”fication: Ready or not, you’re a Brand … by Molly McCoubrey, CC

This workshop was full of information about branding ~ from the history of branding to current popular branding. The workshop leader definitely knew her subject matter well since she is a marketing professional with Loblaws. Many of her examples, of course, revolved around the President’s Choice brand to illustrate the how branding has been used to expand customer base. Molly then turned to our ‘personal’ branding. This involves letting others know what is unique about us personally. It is the uniqueness that sets us apart from others and gives us the edge over competitors. The benefits are that if we represent ourselves well, other people and/or like-minded projects will come to the fore automatically. Interesting workshop, lots of reading recommendations on personal branding. If anyone would like a copy of the bibliography, I would be happy to forward it to you.

Workshop Session #3 – Create Winning Seminars by Jacques Brunet, ATMG, AL

Jacques Brunet has an excellent reputation at District 86 because of his extensive knowledge and his effective presentation style. He offered many different tips about creating winning seminars including; how to select a great title (always a great idea to start with a number, such as, Top 3 Ways to ….), best day of the week to do a seminar (always best to avoid a Monday or Friday), the best time for a Q&A period (just before your close so as to not distract from your final pitch), plus much, much, more. Even though I do not see myself needing this in the foreseeable future, I found it quite interesting. If you would like more information about Jacques or are interested in purchasing his educational material, please let me know.

The Communication & Leadership Award Recipient was Betty-Lou Souter. Betty Lou is the Chief Executive Officer, Community Care, St. Catharines & Thorold, and is responsible for the overall management of the agency which provides emergency food and clothing, medical and dental assistance and shelter to the less advantaged in the communities of St. Catharines & Thorold. In her most gracious acceptance speech, Betty-Lou inspired everyone present to find a way to make the community where you live a better place for all. Her selflessness was admirable, and once again I walked away wondering what I could do to help those around me.

It goes without saying that both the Humourous and Table Topics contests were highly anticipated and did not disappoint. It is amazing to see first hand the amount of talent we have in District 86.

The conference ended on Sunday with Keynote Speaker Jamey French, DTM, presenting Fly from Fear to Faith. Jamey told a very personal and inspirational story of a very traumatic time that he and his wife Molly endured ten years ago. It was the power of positive thinking, analytical and listening skills, plus the many other skills learned at Toastmasters that actually made the difference in dealing with their tragedy. I would be happy to share the details with you if interested. A perfect way to end the Toastmasters conference.

Next week, in Part 2, I will explain the many benefits you can gain by not only attending a Toastmasters conference, but also participating. There are countless ways to volunteer at the conference ~ from working the registration desk, to introducing the speakers, giving the invocation at one of the many meals, to serve as a judge or counter for the contest … more to come!

Finally, the next conference is at the Delta Meadowvale in Mississauga in April. Remember, you do not have to come to the whole conference. In fact, you can attend a contest alone, or just attend the Communication & Leadership Luncheon, etc.

I hope this has represented the conference in a way that makes it look worthwhile and appealing. I certainly feel attending the conference is for the good of all Toastmasters!

Another Great Night!

Yes, it was another great night at First Oakville Toastmasters. Our Chair for the evening was able to capture the atmosphere of the evening in his blog today. Please click on Toastmaster Blog and enjoy!

Toastmaster Peter West

Another Home Run!

Submitted by Toastmaster Michelle Gillies

Congratulations to all who attended our First Oakville Toastmasters meeting on Thursday May 6th, 2010. Whether you were a member or a guest, you had the time of your life.

This was no ordinary meeting by any standards. There was definitely an energy level unlike any other. In fact, one of our guests when she spoke, pointed out that she had come to the meeting dragging and exhausted and was leaving energized and refreshed.

Marion West lead the way as our Chair and somehow managed to keep everything running smoothly. OK, occasionally she had to rein someone in (you all know who you are). As always it was done with the grace and charm that is Marion’s trademark.

We had a wonderful toast to a Canadian, some great table topics, a funny if not a little risque joke, a slightly awkward word of the day, three wonderful speeches and some fine evaluations.

Toastmaster Peter West aka: The Auctioneer

Why was this meeting so special? The laughter, the fun and the Auctioneer, that’s why. It was our annual clean out the stuff you have at home and come buy everyone else’s stuff auction. On behalf of everyone I would like to thank Toastmaster Peter West for giving us a night to remember. He was funny, he kept things moving as fast as he could, he kept us involved and spending money that I don’t think any of us realized we were spending. Bidding higher & higher on things we weren’t really sure what they were. And enjoying every minute of it. In the end we raised over $500.00 dollars for the club and we were all shocked. Had our ever diligent Chair not finally brought the auction to a close (as I said, with grace and charm) we would probably still be there bidding on the furniture in our meeting room.

It was a wonderful evening for all concerned. Thank you Peter for stepping up to the plate and hitting a home run!

The Proroguing of our new business session‏

I am sorry to say that I missed the meeting of First Oakville Toastmasters held Thursday March 4th/2010.  We shall join our members in a discussion already in progress, started by Toastmaster Peter West in his blog. I would invite any further discussion to take place in the comments following this post. Toastmaster Michelle Gillies

Submitted by Toastmaster Donald Knowles:

This blog entry is in response to Peter’s recent blog and my short response.

First Oakville Toastmasters is becoming a victim of its own success. We are approaching 50 members again. We had 3 guests last night and if they join up then we will be at 50 members, again. A few Q&A may be in order

1) What is the purpose of Toastmasters? To provide an adult night school process where people can learn public speaking, presentation skills, and leadership skills in a supportive and friendly hands on environment.

2) How involved is the Toastmaster Education process? 4 levels on the communication side; CC, ACB, ACS, ACG and 3 levels on the leadership side; CL, ALB, ALS.

3) Are there any special conditions for these certificates? The ACG requires mentoring someone to the first 3 speeches. All the other requirements are for speeches and presentations. The ALS is different as you must be a sponsor, mentor, or coach for a new club. This may be why we do not have anyone with an ALS designation in the club.

With a membership count of 50 it becomes impossible to service everyone with 5 speeches a year. This means that it will take over 2 years to complete 1 level. With only speaking every couple of months it becomes very difficult to develop proficiency. Having 4 speakers a night is proving to be logistically troublesome given that most people do not want a 2 ½ hour meeting. Next year will have at least 4 new CCs in the club. So that means more people giving longer presentations. An important but unappreciated fact is that the meetings are held in the largest room in the Quality Hotel and it will only hold 35 in a U table configuration. I don’t think that everyone would want round tables of 8 on a steady basis, at least not until we offer coupons for chiropractic work on the neck.

So here are the tough questions. Who is happy about the current level of service? Should 1OV start to consider a split? Who would be willing to venture forth? Who would stick with the current club.

Dialogue would be appreciated. Please speak up and let everyone know what you think.

Donald Knowles

First Oakville Toastmasters

V.P. Education

Submitted by Toastmaster Val Clements:

My fellow toastmasters,

This is the great thing about toastmasters.  The open forum.  I have read Toastmaster West’s blog and I welcome his opinions.
It would be great to satisfy everyone’s desires.  To be honest I was thinking more of letting Michael achieve his project rather than Peter’s propensity for new business.
As I said, I’ve read the toastmaster’s blog.  Would I do anything differently……….no.

Best regards

Submitted by Toastmaster Matt Wagner:

To First Oakville Toastmasters,

This is better than Reality Television.

This is why I go to Toastmasters and not stay home on Thursday nights to watch television.  No cable fees and far more entertaining.

A message to the newer members.

Before you wonder what is going on here, I just want to say that the combined numbers of years, as Toastmasters for Val and Peter, is well near 35 years of experience.

It is best to just watch them circling.

Surprisingly, this is what makes this club what it is – people expressing themselves well and with passion.

Where do you learn to swim better?  In shallow water or deep water?

To Iryna – Happy Woman’s Day.

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!