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The Toast

Power Speakers of Manatee County Government News Mag

April 2010 What do storytellers and Toastmasters have in common? March Rewind District News: Spring Conference in Fort Lauderdale! The Better You Write It, The Better You Say It And much more...

Toastmasters District 47, Division F, Area 61 Club #1197988

Power Speakers of MCG 1


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April 2010 Issue

Manatee County County Administrator’s Office

Letter from the Secretary Toastmasters Leadership Institute As an officer of Toastmasters, we are required to attend one of these meeting. So back in January a couple of the other officers and myself went to the one in Tampa. I can only speak for myself but I really and truly think that all of us who went really enjoyed going. I know I learned a lot about Toastmasters that I don’t think just going to the meetings would have taught me. I truly think that everyone should go to at least one of these workshops. They are very interesting. Lance Miller was one of the speakers that were speaking at this workshop. He is the 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking. Lance was so entertaining and made public speaking look so easy. The one lesson that I learned right away from Lance was “This is not a meeting, it’s an EVENT. “ The hardest thing about Toastmasters, believe it or not, is giving an evaluation. Yes speaking is hard in the beginning but evaluation never seems to get easier. I attended a lecture on this hosted by Bob Turel. He too was a wonderful speaker and I learned a lot from his class. There are objectives to an evaluation. How you say something is as important as what you say remember this is feedback NOT criticism. How you phrase your evaluation has as much impact on the speaker as the content of your evaluation. Carefully select your words, and attempt to follow these three guidelines: • Speak for yourself and avoid impersonal statements • Substitute judgment words with those that describe your reactions • Do not repeat a point once you have made it. You should make a 3- part evaluation “sandwich.” Giving your full attention to the speaker and speaking from your notes will be more effective if you divide your feedback comments into three sections: Positives (part 1), Improvements (part 2), and then Positives (part 3). If you follow this outline you will see that giving evaluations are a lot easier, or at least they have been for me. It seems that it’s easier to say good and nice things about what people have talked about than trying to figure out how to point out the bad things they have done. Start with a good comment, than an improvement comment and then end on another good comment. It is so much better. I hope this helps you relax when giving an evaluation, I know it has helped me. Remember, Toastmasters is to enjoy the moment, have some fun and to do a little business.

Becky Cresswell

Come and join us and see just how much fun it can be.

Becky Cresswell Secretary

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March Rewind March 5

Best Table Topics- Stephanie Moreland Best Speaker- Mike Hilleshiem Best Evaluator- Paul Johnson

March 12

Best Table Topics- Mike Hilleshiem Best Speaker- Renee Isom & Becky Cresswell Best Evaluator- Liz Jones

March 19

Best Table Topics- Rossina Leider Best Speaker- Stephanie Moreland Best Evaluator- Rossina Leider

Mike Hilleshiem

Paul Johnson

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Best Table Topics- Paul Johnson Best Speaker- Sharon Tarman Best Evaluator- Moonlin Johnson

Renee Isom

Becky Cresswell

Sharon Tarman

Liz Jones

Rossina Leider Moonlin Johnson

Stephanie Moreland 3

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Member Profile Olga Wolanin How long have you worked for Manatee County? I have worked for Manatee County for six years Title and department? Water Quality Compliance Supervisor, Utilities Department How long have you been a member of Toastmasters? I have been a member of Toastmasters since July 2009. How did you find out about Toastmasters? I learned about Toastmasters on iNet. Why did you join Toastmasters? I joined a Toastmasters Club to improve my public speaking and leadership skills. Since English is my second language, I wanted to learn how to communicate effectively to deliver my message free and clear for everyone in the room. One thing I learned so far is that if I speak just a little bit slower – people can understand my accent a lot better :-) What do you like about the Club? I like that club members are very caring and supportive. I learned a lot and witnessed amazing progress of the fellow members. After every meeting I feel inspired. What is your goal? My goal is to become a better communicator and leader. Any awards received or working on? I have received the Best Table Topic and Best Speaker award, but one which makes me proud the most was the Best Evaluator award. I am working on becoming a Competent Communicator. Why should employees join the Toastmasters? Employees should join Toastmasters to improve their communication and leadership skills. It’s a great opportunity for employees to better themselves, make progress in their careers and everyday lives. What tip would you give regarding public speaking? It’s always important to have a good eye contact with your audience. Also you shouldn’t rush through your presentation, take your time and make sure people understand your message. What do you do in your leisure time? I love to paint, enjoy traveling, love photography and live theater. I also like beach, boating, scuba diving and long walks with my “puppy”. Favorite type of music? I like different kinds of music (not big fan of Country or Rap).

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Craig Harrison, is the founder of LaughLovers Toastmasters in Oakland, CA.

DTM = Distinguished Toastmaster

Power Speakers of MCG News Welcome to the Club! New member Jane Casey from the Manatee Sheriff’s Office has joined the club! Welcome Jane!

Upcoming Meeting Locations To prepare Toastmasters to speak in a variety of settings aside from the standard conference room, Power Speakers of MCG will be conducting their weekly meetings at different work sites in the County. Come by and visit us on: April 9, 2010 Utilities Building 4410 66th Street West Bradenton, Florida 34210

Member Corner The Glory of the Story by craig harrison, dtm

Toastmasters and storytellers have much in common. Each group entertains, informs and inspires listeners, and receives applause in return. In fact, many Toastmasters clubs are dedicated to the art of storytelling, and Toastmasters conferences and conventions often offer sessions dedicated to this topic. Conversely, many professional storytellers belong to Toastmasters clubs and use club meetings to polish their craft and develop new material. As an active member of both communities, I’ve come to believe each group has valuable lessons to teach the other. Five things Toastmasters can learn from storytellers: 1. Vocal Variety Stories often feature characters, each with a unique voice. Tellers develop the ability to make different characters distinct by

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using vocal variety, inflections and nuances, as well as pitch, volume and accents. In your next speech, instead of describing dialogue, actually deliver it using different voices for each participant. 2. Stage Presence Many Toastmasters find themselves tethered to a lectern, planted in front of a microphone or glued behind a table. They rarely make full use of the stage or podium. Storytellers take advantage of their space, moving upstage, downstage, to the left or right – to say nothing of kneeling, teetering and more. Expand your speaking platform. Own the stage area and use it to further your presentation. Inhabit your environment. 3. Imagery Storytellers paint vivid verbal images of scenes and settings. They use literary techniques, such as metaphors and strong adjectives, to convey color and detail. So should Toastmasters. Sometimes Toastmasters give the facts and little else. Storytellers excel at all the particulars that build dramatic effect: the sights, smells and sounds of scenes; the nuances and subtleties of situations; the specifics of settings. Each adds to the power of a piece. Use imagery evocatively to enrich your speech, Table Topic or opening and closing thought. 4. The Power of the Pause Storytellers understand that the pause is a valuable mechanism for building drama, adding suspense and imbuing key words and sentences with added meaning. Pauses signify to audiences that something profound, important or special has been – or is about to be – said.


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Professional speaker and storyteller Lou Heckler is known as a master of the pause. He expressed its poignancy well: “The main reason I love to use pauses is that they turn the monologue of the speech into a dialogue with the audience.” He says a pause draws the audience in. “While the audience is not really speaking, the pause allows them time to consider what’s going on in the story and makes them guess what comes next. Right or wrong, they’ve had a feeling of being on stage with you and it really links them to the rest of the presentation.” You can do this, too. Review your speech script or outline and look for key spots to introduce pauses for heightened effect.

ture, voice and gestures, as well as employing elements such as surprise, shock, mystery or suspense.

Guest Corner The better you write it, the better you say it. by philip yaffe, cc

Have you ever heard the adage that communication is only seven percent verbal and 93 percent nonverbal? If so, I recommend you ignore it.

5. Setting the Stage Every story is different. Like Toastmasters, storytellers “paint” through body language, gestures, facial expressions and vocal variety. While Toastmasters are often given guidelines and manuals to help them structure their speeches, it’s important not to be too rote in using speaking techniques or too rigid in following strategies and suggestions. Each time a storyteller takes the stage or begins a story, he or she has a blank canvas on which to paint.

Excluding pure entertainment, the objective of most speeches is to convey information, or to promote or defend a point of view. Certain tools, such as vocal variety and body language, can aid this process. But they communicate only emphasis or emotion.

“Since we are not in a theater that provides lights, sets and music, setting the stage is 100 percent up to us,” says veteran storyteller Judith Black of Marblehead, Massachusetts. “We must create the environment we want to share our work in.” Black, a Circle of Excellence inductee of the National Storytelling Network, says the most important aspect of your performance is engaging the audience: “Rather than hard-and-fast rules whose rigidity could cause a caustic response from hosts or participants, it works best to ask [yourself] a question: What will best help participants become completely invested in the work? Your answer determines the setting you try to create.”

This is why the Toastmasters Competent Communication manual devotes the first four assignments to organizing the speech itself, including a chapter specifically on the importance of words in conveying meaning and feeling. Only in projects five and six does the manual cover body language and vocal variety.

Toastmasters can begin each presentation by setting the stage appropriately – through pos-

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Check out the official Toastmasters video.

Philip Yaffe is a member of the Claddagh Toastmasters in Brussels, Belgium and a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal who teaches persuasive communication techniques.

If your words are incapable of getting your message across, then no amount of gestures or tonal variety will do it for you. Thus, when preparing a speech, your first objective must always be to carefully structure your information and look for the best words or phrases to express what you want to say.

But if writing your speech is the key to success, how should you go about it? Getting Started The problem with most articles and books on good writing is that they are – well, poorly written. This is because they concentrate on the use of language and not on

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the fundamentals of writing itself. The principles of good writing are few, and they’re easy to understand; all too often, the absolute essentials are buried under an avalanche of verbiage about technique. For example, I recently searched the Internet for “clear writing” and came up with a list of “10 principles of clear writing.” Each principle offers good advice; however, the list has a fundamental fault: These 10 principles are not really principles at all, but rather tips and techniques. What’s the difference? Tips and techniques tell you what to do; principles tell you why you are doing it. Understanding why you are doing something, i.e., the benefits you will gain, helps ensure that you will do it consistently. Too often, when we are told only what to do, we follow the instructions half-heartedly, inconsistently or not at all, with disastrous results. During my senior year at the University of California, Los Angeles, I tutored writing to earn much-needed cash. One day, a firstyear student showed me a note from her professor that said, “Young lady, I advise you either to leave my class immediately or prepare to fail it.” I determined that she had been misapplying a fundamental writing principle in her class work, so I explained it to her and had her do a few simple exercises to be certain she understood it. By the end of the term, the expected “F” shot up to a gratifying “B.” This was not an isolated case. In my experience, when students have difficulty writing, it’s generally because they are: 1) unfamiliar with a fundamental principle, 2) inconsistently applying it, 3) improperly applying it or 4) not applying it at all. The same thing occurs with speechwriting. During my 40-year career in journalism, marketing and communications, I have been continually appalled by how poorly top business executives, academics, researchers and other clearly intelligent people express themselves. Learn these principles, the formulas and the tests to better control the words in your speeches:

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1. Clarity. Being clear is not a matter of personal appreciation. Do you find your text clear? You should – after all, you wrote it. But how can you be certain that it will be clear to others? According to the clarity principle, to be clear you must follow this formula: Cl = EDE • Emphasize what is of key importance. Before you start writing you must first determine the main ideas that you want your readers or listeners to take away from your text. This is not always easy. It’s far simpler to say that everything is of key importance, so you put in everything you have. However, unless you do the work of defining what you really want your audience to know, the audience won’t get your point. They will simply get lost in your verbiage and either give up or never realize what they were supposed to have learned. • De-emphasize what is of secondary importance. Next, as you write your text, you must be certain to de-emphasize what is of less importance. Why? Because if you really want your readers or listeners to recognize and retain the key ideas, you don’t want them getting lost in the details. Details (information of secondary importance) explain and support the key ideas. They must never overwhelm them. • Eliminate what is of no importance. Finally, you must ruthlessly eliminate what is of no importance. Why? Because any information that adds nothing to explaining and supporting the key ideas will tend to obscure them, which is exactly the opposite of what you want. 2. Conciseness. In order to be concise, your text must follow this formula: Co = LS According to the formula, your writing should be:


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• As long as necessary – “As long as necessary” means covering all the key ideas you identified under “clarity,” and all the information of secondary importance needed to explain and support them. Note that nothing is said here about the number of words, because it is irrelevant. If it takes 800 words to be “as long as necessary,” then 800 words must be used. If it takes 1,800 words, this is alright, too. • As short as possible – “As short as possible” means staying as close as you can to the minimum. Not because people prefer short text; in the abstract, the terms “long” and “short” have no meaning. The important point is: All words beyond the minimum tend to damage clarity. Subconsciously, readers will continually try to understand why those words are there, and will continually fail because they serve no purpose. Check out the second half of this story in the May issue of The Toast.

Toastmasters International News Mentor a Member Seeking help from knowledgeable and experienced people can help us achieve our goals and avoid making mistakes and wasting valuable time. Such knowledgeable and experienced people are called mentors. What is a mentor? A mentor takes a personal interest in and helps an inexperienced person. The mentor serves as a role model, coach and confidante, offering knowledge, insight, perspective or wisdom useful to the person being mentored. Membership in Toastmasters offers many opportunities, but none so rich and rewarding as the chance to work with a mentor. Most new members join because they have problems and/or needs that relate to speaking and they expect the club to help them solve their problems and meet their goals. But these new members are not familiar with your club. They don’t know what a timer is or what an AhCounter does. Everything that happens in your club is new to them. Yet these new members are expected to participate fully and prepare and present speeches – something many are terrified to do. Moreover, many clubs expect them to

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do all of this with a minimum of instruction and guidance. In unfamiliar situations people need support, personal contact and reassurance. Your new members need someone to explain the program to them and show them how to prepare for various meeting roles. They also need help preparing and rehearsing their first few speeches. Mentors can supply the valuable personal attention and ongoing support new members need.

Questions? Suggestions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Forward your message to Simone Peterson.

A mentor program has many benefits for new members: Learn the program. Mentors help new members become familiar with the CC and CL manuals, club meeting roles and opportunities available through membership. Learn club standards and customs. Mentors help new members learn about the club and its activities. Develop confidence. Armed with the knowledge mentors provide, new members’ selfconfidence increases. Participate more. Mentors help new members become familiar with and enjoy the club and its members. As a result, new members become more involved in club activities. Quickly learn speaking skills. Mentors familiarize new members with the resources available to them and coach them with their speeches, enabling the new members to advance faster. Help for your club’s experienced members, too! Even the more experienced members in your club can benefit from having a mentor. Perhaps you’ve received the Competent Communicator award yet you still want to learn more about some particular aspect of speaking – such as speech organization or humor. If another club member excels in your area of interest, this person could be your mentor and help you to further develop that special skill. Perhaps you admire an officer’s ability to motivate and inspire mem-

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bers. Maybe the officer would be willing to help you learn these leadership skills. With a mentor’s guidance, more experienced members: Further refine skills. A mentor can provide helpful feedback to encourage the member to build upon and perhaps revitalize the skills they already possess. Learn new skills. Existing members can always learn new skills.

Mentors enjoy many rewards! There’s a lot of good that can come out of the experience for those who offer the benefit of their expertise: Learn from those they work with. New members often offer new information and perspectives. Remain productive. Mentors continue to make use of their own knowledge and skills. Do something for others. Helping others is a confirmation of our own skills, but we also feel good about ourselves when we help someone achieve their goals. Receive recognition. Mentors are respected and appreciated by fellow members. The club as a whole benefits! When members experience the positive effect of an activity, everyone in the club benefits: Have more members. Turnover is reduced because members quickly become involved in the club and develop friendships. Have more satisfied members. Members continue to learn and grow and enjoy the club experience. Retain more members. When members are satisfied, they stay in their clubs longer.

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Turning the Tables on Table Topics by craig harrison, dtm

Continued from the March 2010 issue of The Toast.

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The Far Side. Take your topic to extremes. By exaggerating or embellishing, you heighten the seriousness or absurdity, whichever the case may be. This might involve presenting a “What if . . . ” question or “Just suppose . . . ” scenario. If you’re telling a story, it will soon become a tall tale. If your topic has drama, you’ll heighten it to melodrama. Absurdity is actually less threatening to an audience. TOPIC: Should we raise taxes? RESPONSE: “Absolutely. Not only should we raise taxes, but just think of the benefits we’ll achieve when we raise the tax rate to 98 percent. We’ll have all the money we need for programs, defense and government. We can bail out everybody!

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Moderator (also known as Point/ Counterpoint). Rather than take one side of an issue that you may or may not be prepared to argue strenuously enough, take the middle road by representing both sides. This is a safe approach for a Toastmasters meeting and it provides great practice for outside encounters where being noncommittal is preferable. Use a few simple phrases to let the audience know where you’re heading: TOPIC: Should smoking in public be banned? RESPONSE: “On the one hand we all know. . . (45 seconds). But then again, consider the flip side . . . (45 seconds). Choose your ending: Do this. Do that. Do both. Do nothing.”

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You Came From Outer Space. Step out of yourself to respond to a Table Topic. Be an extraterrestrial and put an alien spin on the topic. Instead of being Joe from District 32, answer as if you’re a stranger in a strange land. A corollary is pretending to be someone from another country.

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Already visited a Transcend Time. You needn’t meeting and wish answer as yourself in April 2010. Asto get started in sume the character and sensibilities Toastmasters? of another person in time, real or fictional. Download and fill out the form. TOPIC: Freeway traffic. We want you! Well your stories at least. Stories should be related to: Public speaking Toastmasters A personal story about when you had to get up and speak in front of a crowd Tips, tricks or guides for public speaking Leadership Submit your 400-600 word article to Simone Peterson and you could find yourself in an issue of The Toast!

RESPONSE: “Captain’s Log star date 5419 . . . investigating planet comprised of millions of multi-colored rectangular projectiles traversing established corridors. When mating occurs, infrequently, others pass by slowly, some flash lights and motion along corridor comes to a complete stop.” Play Devil’s Advocate. This is an old favorite of authors, poets and even political candidates. It has built-in counterpoint. Take what you’re given and argue the opposite of what you would normally want to express.

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TOPIC: Should the government spend more money on education? RESPONSE: “No, I say we give some money to the television cartoon producers instead! Let me tell you why. .. ”

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Everyone Loves a Mystery. Build suspense into your response. Leave us with a question or at least some doubt. Paint a picture, but leave a few strokes unpainted. Or set us up to expect one picture before surprising us with another. Give us a twist. Shock us! Introduce speculation, a shadow of a doubt or an unknown element. You might even end on a question or in midsentence.

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When All Else Fails ... Say Nothing (at Length). If you’re absolutely, 100 percent stumped, don’t give in. Speak but don’t say anything. Use a string of openings, small talk, clichés or even gibberish. Remember, content is only part of the presentation. Body language, inflection, nuance and other embellishments all contribute to a successful topic response. Repeat the question, repeatedly: TOPIC: “To Be or Not to Be?”

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RESPONSE: “I thank you for asking me that profound question. To be or not to be. (pause) To BE or not to BE To be or NOT, to be. That is the question. Or is it? Is it or is it Not, that is to Be…determined.” Here’s an alternate response to the same topic: TOPIC: “To Be or Not to Be, that is the question.” RESPONSE: “I’m glad you asked that question. For throughout time, that has been the question. I’ve read it in books, heard it on stage and wondered it myself. To Be or Not to Be? And whether or not you know the answer, or can explain it to others, it is a question you must ultimately answer for yourself…” One contestant I know gave a Table Topics response entirely in chicken: Every utterance was a form of bawk, bawk, bawk. Unfortunately he was disqualified for fowl language! So good luck, have fun and don’t run any of the timekeeper’s red lights!

Toastmasters District 47 News 2010 Spring Conference What better way to showcase the diversity and international flair of our District 47 Toastmasters than to “Celebrate our Nationalities” at our 2010 Spring Conference scheduled for April 16-18, 2010 at the Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. We can hardly wait for you to enjoy the special experiences lined up for our members and guests. We are thrilled to announce that our keynote speaker is 2007 World Champion of Public Speaking Vikas Jhingran! Vikas is prepared to delight us with his powerful speechmaking skills in his keynote address, “The Missing Masala”, where he talks about the special


You’re invited!

He’ll also present “The Charismatic Speaker” and some simple things that good speakers do to elevate their speeches to the next level, as well as “The Emotional Approach to Public Speaking” – You won’t want to miss it!

What: Toastmasters Meeting When: Every Friday Time: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Where: Public Works 1022 26th Ave. E.

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spice that each one of us can bring to a speech.

In addition, we will be treated to the best of the best in District 47 as the Table Topics and International Speech contestants vie for the title of District 47 best speaker. On-site accommodations at the Embassy Suites are available at the rate of $109.00 per night, based on double occupancy. Availability is limited and rooms will sell out! Invest in yourself by registering online today on our website www.toastmastersd47.org. Full Conference Experience Rates: March 8 – March 25 $135.00 March 26 – April 12 $150.00 Registration closes on April 12, 2010 or whenever the conference sells out, whichever occurs first. For A La Carte pricing and No Meals Conference Package, please visit our website at www.toastmastersd47.org Please register and make your online payment at www.toastmatesd47.org. For payment by check, please contact Conference Chair Myrna Brooks via e-mail at mbrooks@ toastmastersd47.org Invest in yourself by joining us and registering today! We look forward to a weekend of networking, learning food and fun. We expect this will be a sold-out event so to avoid disappointment register now! www.toastmastersd47.org

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April 2010 - The Toast  

Everything to do with Toastmasters and public speaking. You can find local, district and internal news updates as well as helpful tidbits o...

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