Monday, March 1, 2010
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Prop me up
Over the past five years, after critiqueing many speeches, I have observed that props distract from speeches.
Most winning speeches exclude the use of props. In contrast, I have predict that if a prop is included in a Toastmaster speech, then the speaker will lose the speaking contest.
This is because props limit our imagination. As speakers, we have the opportunity to conjure up images in the minds of our audience. We can describe a fire truck, and a cat up a tree with a child crying in despair at the situation. Our audience can feel the circumstances and emotionally support the child while the fire truck hurries to get the cat down from the tree.
Yet, I observe that as soon as a tangible prop comes on stage, the spell is broken. Suddenly we are focused on a speaker and a ladder and logistical complications, including climbing up the ladder and so on.
If you want to speak well, and win speaking contests, then learn how to create images in the mind of your audience. Get inside their minds. Do not resort to using props. Even if you are well intentioned, props are not a substitute for the real skill of creating images in the mind of your audience.
You are doing a disservice to your audience when you resort to using props, and are likely to pay the price by losing a speech contest as well. (Of course, there is no need to share this advice with your fellow contestants.)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Topic for Toastmasters 2009 International Speech Contest
Our club contests need to be complete in District 53, by Feb 27 which only leaves six weeks from this writing to organize, schedule and host our club contests. I have not written a word of my speech yet.
I have observed that speeches with a theme to encourage us in the audience to take step we would not normally take, or are scared of, seem to be the most powerful speeches. Darren's speech in 2001 encouraged us to take the chances in life, feel the ouches and fall forward in spite of failures.
In 2000, Ed Tate took a stand and confronted the rude passenger in the airport. His speech includes the lines "If not now, then when. If not me, then who?"
Craig Valentine reminds us of the value of forgiveness in his "Snakebite" speech. We hurt ourselves when we withhold forgiveness, yet our tendency is to hold onto the past hurts longer than we should.
Which brings me to thoughts for my topic this contest season. What should I do, but don't like doing? I should drink less coffee, eat healthier, exercise regularly, read more widely and enjoy my family more. Now which of these are appropriate for a winning speech topic? I don't know yet.
How about you. What topic will you choose for this 2009 International Speech Contest? Post your thoughts below.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Giving you permission
However, there is usually no reason to get permission. You don't need permission to try something new. Just because your family, or friends don't give you permission to be yourself and try new experiments, should not deter you.
Today, by the power vested in me as the master of this "Pow'Rful Blog", I hereby give you permission to go out and be the best you can be. Go an explore new worlds in search of great riches - or at least give that speech which is nagging in your head to be spoken.
You have my permission. Go forth and conquer.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Privilege of evaluations
This Toastmaster is putting in the effort and is striding towards becoming an advanced communicator. It was really hard for me to find areas of improvement in his performance.
I wanted to provide good feedback as my contribution to this great speaker. I admire his efforts and progress. I was able to offer only a single contribution for improvement.
It is hard to find areas of improvement for good speakers. And this is exactly the value that we each bring to Toastmasters - putting in the mental effort to think, think, and think of ways that good speakers can improve.
I was very tempted to just say "You can't improve - the speech was perfect". I often hear this in speech evaluations, which is simply not acceptable. You can always find something to suggest a speaker change in a speech performance. The speaker may not have thought of your suggestion, and it may spark off other ideas for the club.
The next time you are given the privilege of doing an evaluation, then make your contribution back to Toastmasters. You receive so much from the Toastmasters program, the one way that you can give back is through thoughtful evaluations. Good speakers especially need you to make the effort and find one thing that can be improved. Don't let yourself and your club down. Take the privilege of your evaluation seriously.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Our Vice President of Education took the lead and organized the whole event. This is just one example of leadership training that Toastmasters provides. One can define leadership as the process of getting things done with the help of other people.
Planning, Leading, Organizing and managing a team of volunteer Toastmasters to successfully host an Open House is just one opportunity to develop Leaderships skills in your Toastmasters club. The greatest benefit of Toastmasters is the emphasis we place on supportive and constructive feedback. After the open house, our VPE received feedback in her Competent Leadership Manual on how she did and identifying possible areas for improvement.
If you are looking for current and pragmatic leadership training that goes beyond memorizing text books and studying the troop movements of military officers , then take a leadership role in your Toastmasters club. You will be surprised at the quantity and quality of training waiting for you at a nominal cost.
Toastmasters Fall 2008 District 53 Conference
Thursday, October 2, 2008
How to retain new members in Toastmasters clubs?
To improve your situation, assign a mentor to each new member. As President of a smaller club and having filled various officer roles in the past, I have experienced the same universal problem.
The way to improve the situation is usually to ask more experienced members to guide new members through all the technicians roles and the first 3 speeches. The challenge is that seasoned members become worn out from always mentoring new members.
Also, mentorship is not all that it takes to keep members.
Mentoring increases retention, but members also leave for other reasons such as finding that the challenges of public speaking are just too much for them, the TM program consumes too much time or have higher priorities. You can't solve these personal decisions through mentoring.
Mentoring new members helps to retain members and eliminates some of the reasons people leave Toastmasters, such as:
1. Not understanding the meeting roles
2. Not feeling welcome in the club meeting
3. Not knowing where to turn for answers and guidance
Try to get a mentoring committee together so that the full load does not fall on your VPE. Also, try to find creative ways to mentor. We used a teleconference every week for new members and covered a different topic on each call. This allowed 3 seasoned TM's to lay the groundwork for mentoring the 10 new members.
We also often overlook the benefits that the Mentor gets out of the relationship. As a mentor you learn how to provide information in small doses so that your mentee can absorb your wealth of TM knowledge at a moderated pace. This trains mentors to be effective mentors as business leaders and mentors as well. You can also look for mentors outside your club. Perhaps your district officers can assist with conference calls, or a nearby club has members willing to assist?
In summary, Mentoring will increase retention, but is not the silver bullet. Even so, I recommend that you work to institute a mentor program.
Be a better speaker
The answer is simple, although it takes some effort. It requires the new Toastmaster to invest time to develop, rehearse and present new speeches. You can only become a better speaker by practising the craft.
Then you get to a point where mere rehearsal and practise is not enough. If you limit yourself to only seeking advice, instruction and feedback from your fellow Toastmasters club members, then you are holding yourself back. To grow exponentially, you need to seek out advice, instruction and feedback from the best speakers in the world.
But how can the average Toastmaster afford coaching from top-flight professionals? Top speaking coaches charge over $10,000 per day.
I had this same problem. I was at a crossroads in Toastmasters in 2006. I had outgrown my club and the feedback from my Advanced Toastmasters club was only as good as the club members. I was about to quit Toastmasters when I found out about the best speaking membership program in the world.
Learn how you can get advice, instruction and feedback on public speaking, especially geared to members of Toastmasters. Sign up for this inexpensive program and then you will find new inspiration along your Toastmasters journey.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
How to Give a Better Speech - Proven and Practical Speaking Strategies That Anyone Can Use
This is the product that I wish had been available when I started my Toastmasters journey in District 53. I made many mistakes over the past four years and there is no reason for you to make the same mistakes.
Purchase this CD today and get the best lessons that I have learned from 20 years of public speaking crammed into a packed 65 minute audio CD. You can't go wrong for this price.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Triple Crown Winner Again
Have you considered the coveted TRIPLE CROWN ? It is doable. What is holding you back? Is it the fear of growing too much, too quickly as a speaker?
Monday, September 15, 2008
D53 Fall 2008 Educational Session - Panic To Power
If you attend this session on October 11, 2008, you will learn the Swift and Simple Speaking Strategies that anyone can use.
Specifically, we will cover the following public speaking techniques, that public speakers can use to overcome the fear of public speaking:
1. Physiological and Psychological tips and tools to eradicate the fear of speaking in public.
2. The Ten X Phenomenon
3. The benefits of "You are in my house" attitude.
4. Diaphragmatic breathing,
5. Foods to avoid before making a presentation and,
6. How to prepare for the "moment" before a presentation.
Three lucky participants will also win a free "Panic to Power" audio CD (which alone is worth the price of the conference, if you ask me).
If you are going to be in the area on October 11, 2008, then come on down to the District 53 Fall conference, and learn the Swift and Simple Speaking Strategies that anyone can use, to go from "Panic to Power" on the platform and banish your fear of public speaking forever.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
How could I improve this speech?
How can I improve this performance? Post comments and let me know your thoughts.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Getting the most out of your Toastmasters Journey
When I joined Toastmasters in District 53, I thought that all the benefits of the Toastmasters program was available in my club meeting. I realized that there were many other clubs around the world, but missed some critical points. And wow - did I miss huge opportunities in my Toastmasters Journey to this point.
My fellow club members Toastmasters did not have much more experience than I did, and we did not comprehend the abundance of opportunities available beyond the club role of timer, speaker and general evaluator. I did not know about the Champions EDGE program which I have come to recommend to every Toastmaster who is serious about learning the craft of public speaking.
I have made this video to pass on my what I have learned about what I did not know when I joined Toastmasters. I wasted my first year in Toastmasters because I did not even know about the opportunities available. This video guides and emphasizes to all new Toastmasters to get the most from our journey together.
Please forward this video to everyone in your club, so that we can share what we have learned in Toastmasters so far.
Friday, August 8, 2008
The Winning Speech - Friday humor
I am competing in the Humorous contest to learn how to improve my humor, because humor is the key ingredient in making any presentation enjoyable. In fact, I believe that you don't need humor in your speech, unless you want to be invited to present again.
Please post comments, if you have encountered stupid questions that I could possibly use in my speech. Some friends have already helped me with suggestions, and I need a lot more stupid questions for a winning speech.
A friend shared this stupid question which I will try to work into a future version:
My all time favorite stupid question was when I was a nanny for triplets. On many occasions I was questioned about them being triplets. The onlooker would say "triplets, how neat, how old are they?" I responded with "Seven years old". The next question was usually "All of them?"
Here is a one liner that I like : If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he homeless, or naked?
Sunday, July 6, 2008
How to write a 5-7 minutes speech in 5 minutes
What do you do in this situation? Do you offer to fill Jill's slot? Most people immediately become intensely interested in their shoes while the Toastmaster calls for a last-minute speaker. Are you like most people?
If you want to distinguish yourself from most people, then this podcast is for your. In this podcast you will learn how to create a speech with my simple and easy 5 minute speech preparation process.
Right-click to download the mp3 from here.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
CIGNA receives Toastmasters Award
Friday, May 16, 2008
Author's forum at District 53 Spring Conference
I am honored to participate in the Author's forum Panel discussion at District 53 Toastmasters conference on 5/17/2008 at Holyoke, Mass.
Croix Sather, Bo Bennett and Kerri Kannan will join me.
Attend this session if you want to learn how we write our books, get inspiration to write your book, and have a rare opportunity to ask questions directly of four successful authors.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
April 9, 2008 is HR Day
District 53 Toastmasters has declared Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 as "Human Resource Professionals Day" and we have created a special page on our District website specifically for HR Professionals. It has links to several web-based resources as well as articles & case studies showing how Toastmasters can help develop communication and leadership skills within a company.
The web page, http://www.district53toastmasters.org/HR-web-resource.html, has more information about HR Day.
As you read this blog, please inform your HR representative of the benefits of Toastmasters. Toastmasters is the most cost effective Leadership and Communication Training Program that I know of. It is also a lot of fun, which is why I advocate the Toastmasters program so strongly.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
What was the lessons learned?
1. None of the winning presenters used PowerPoint. This is a shame. PowerPoint presentations leave memorable images for the audience. This lack of PowerPoint usage opens the door wide for a future contestant to outsmart, and outshow the competition.
2. Every contestant learns, grows and stretches their own speaking skills. You cannot compete in a Toastmasters District 53 Area contest and come away without being a better speaker for having competed.
3. Contests are well-run, thanks to a contest script that our Division B Governor assembled. I have attended contests where the introduction was something like "Welcome to our contest. Let's start. Contestant #1 is Joe Soap. Joe - give your speech". Now that we have a script to follow, every contest that I attend is fair, consitent, and well-run. The lesson learned here is that we can all benefit from documenting a procedure such as "How to run a good contest" and then making the procedure available for all contest leaders to follow as a standard operating procedure.
How can these lessons help you in your life?
Friday, March 28, 2008
Spring Contest Season - 2008
Next week is the last Area contest that I am involved in. My term as Area Governor has exceeded my wildest expectations. I gained experience and grew leadership skills in this role. If you are thinking of taking on an officer role in Toastmasters, then don't be shy. You will grow and gain as you step out of your comfort zone and become more involved with the organization.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Mentor, coach and presenter restraint
The vastness of education that Toastmasters provides is overwhelming for most new members. As a mentor I find that new members can only absorb small pieces of information at one time, and so we focus on learning one new role at at time, such as Ahh counter and Timer. Then working on one aspect of public speaking at a time.
Mentoring is a balancing act. On one hand, you have so much information to give and on the other hand you don't want to scare new members off by conveying the impression that a good speaker needs to follow 101 rules for an effective speech.
The same is true when coaching a client. I have so much knowledge and passion about using PowerPoint to improve their business results that I would love to impart all relevant knowledge at once. But using mentoring skills taught in Toastmasters, my clients benefit more with small, actionable improvements in Presentation skills. I encourage clients to present regularly and persist in making small impovements in their presentations.
Your audience benefits from your mentoring experience when you do the following in your PowerPoint presentation:
1. Realize that you cannot impart all of your expertise in a single presentation. .i.e. Do not create 97 slides for a 20 minute presentation.
2. Assess what information is most beneficial to your audience, at this time. Then write this down in 10 words or less. This is the purpose of your speech.
3. Create your presentation around the purpose of your speech, using PowerPoint as a visual aid to support your message.
Your audience benefits from your restraint when they walk out of your presentation, having understood the purpose of your message and with one or two actions to implement.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Project Management Opportunity in Toastmasters
When you enjoy a club speech contest, you don't see the days of preparation. A successful club contest is the result of careful planning and execution of the plan. The contest leaders must lay out a plan, get the forms ready and call on people to fill the roles. Contestants need to create and rehearse speeches. All of this starts weeks before the contest.
Planning a speech contest at your club or higher level is the cheapest Project Management training that you can get anywhere. I don't understand why so few people step up to lead the planning committee and take on the role of Contest Chair. (As a bonus, Toastmasters gives you feedback and credit in the Competent Leadership Manual).
If you want to drastically improve your Project Management skills, then volunteer to organize your club speech contests. This is the cheapest Project Management training you will get in your life, and certainly fulfilling when you experience your well-run contest.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Contest season is underway
I believe that ProSpeakers is leading the way because most Toastmaster clubs are in the planning phases of club contests. Club contests must be complete by March 21 in District 53.
I am honored to server as Area B2 Governor for 2007/2008. One of my responsibilities is to organize the Area Contests. To fulfill this obligation, I am busy planning Area B2 Contest which will be held on April 1, 2008 at CIGNA in Bloomfield, Connecticut.
When I joined Toastmasters, I did not realize the magnitude and import of contests. I saw a club contest held every once in awhile (I did not realize that we held contests every six months), and then I did not hear about contests until the next club contest came up.
As Area B2 Governor, I have insight into the tremendous planning and leadership opportunities that contests provide. From February through May and from August through November each year Toastmasters from all over the District are planning and holding contests.
As a club member you only see 5% of the contest effects. But the other 95% of leadership opportunity is waiting for anyone who is looking for leadership training. Step up and join us. Volunteer for a club chair position to get credit in your Competent Leader manual. Then become a club officer next year, or Area Governor. (Oh yeah, on a side note, you will experience the pleasure of participating in a well run contest and the 2008 World Champion of Public Speaking may just come from your club).
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Division B Club Officer Training - 2/16/2008
Tips that we heard today, for club officers who missed this event:
1. Successful Vice Presidents of Education have a spreadsheet of some form to schedule meeting roles in advance.
2. Successful Vice Presidents of Education also have a spreadsheet to track member progress towards Educational Awards. VPE's use this tool to call up members and say something like "Joe, I see that you haven't spoken in 2 months. I miss the humor in your speeches and your vocal variety. We have an opening at our next meeting for a speaker just like you. Can I put you down on the agenda?" To which Joe usually responds "Gulp!! Why sure".
3. Leadership includes sometimes pushing people along when they are distracted and not working towards the goals of the group.
4. Theme meetings are a must. Clubs get bored of the same old, same old meeting format. Some suggestions for your club meetings - April 15, the last day for filing taxes in the USA. A backwards meeting. Start with the General Evaluator and work backwards. My home club had a backwards meeting in Dec 2006 and we are still talking about it.
5. "Don't leave home without it" That is, do not leave home without your Competent Leadership Manual. Get credit for every role that you fill at your Toastmasters Meeting.
6. Have a greeter at the door. Attendees today testified that they joined Toastmasters because someone made them feel welcome before the meeting through a phone call or email, and when they walked into the meeting. Make guests feel welcome, and you have a member. (Remember Maslow's Hierarchy of needs? We are social beings and want to belong to clubs)
In summary, we had a fantastic training session today for District 53 Toastmasters in Hartford, Connecticut. We worked with leaders in all shapes, forms, sizes and backgrounds. Although we are from many countries and cultures we have a common commitment to provide the environments for our club members to find their voice.
Oh yeah, we also practised our public speaking skills again - and I marvel at the improvements made by today's presenters. Toastmasters works. Join your local club.
Friday, February 8, 2008
What happens at a Toastmaster Meeting?
1. Lots of applause.
2. Fast paced progress through the agenda.
3. Many speakers. Prepared speeches, Table Topics, and Evaluations.
4. Although everyone seems to know what to do and what is going on, the new Toastmaster is
mystified as to how everyone knows which ritual to perform at the given time.
Along my Toastmaster journey, I was told that watching a Toastmaster meeting resembles a hunter looking over the veld.
At first, everything is peaceful. Then a tail pops out above the grass and the tail begins to move. The hunter watches the tail go back and forth, sometimes in a straight line with purpose, and sometimes in random movements. Puzzled, our hunter investigates and find that the tail is attached to a warthog who is following a trail.
When our hunter was looking over the grass, a moving tail made no sense. But watching a warthog work resolutely towards a goal makes perfect sense.
A new Toastmaster has the same impression at a well-run club meeting. Many seemingly unrelated activites are merely the tail in the grass, indicating a group of individuals working resolutely towards improving communication and leadership skills while having fun.
The next time you see activities that don't make sense to you, but the participants are growing and having fun at the same time, remember the tale of the warthog tail. Then investigate to see if you can find the warthog, because you may just want to and join in the fun at Toastmasters.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Crowns and Princesses
Vikas Jhingran - 2007 WCPS, in Hartford
Vikas is coming to town
Friday, January 18, 2008
District 53 Division B Winter training
Wow!!! Talk about success. Over 70 officers trained last night. We had a lot of fun and shared a lot of information. You could feel the energy and excitement in the room - and also could feel the heat from so many officers in the room :)
Thanks to the Division Governor, our Area Governors and especially the dedicated club officers who attended.
If you are involved in Toastmasters, or any volunteer organization, how can you get members from different chapters together every few months to share ideas and inspire each other? What forums can you use outside of training events?
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Mickey, Minnie and buddies
What is interesting about this trip is:
1. It is the first time that my wife and son are flying domestic. We have travelled to South Africa three times since 2001, but we are neophyte domestic travellers.
2. It is the first time we are visiting Disney World. We have heard so much about Mickey's town, and we are excited to see it.
3. The accommodations and the whole trip is already hurting my wallet. Wow!! This is one expensive trip, and we haven't even left home yet :)
4. This is the first Christmas that we are away from home, in the 13 years we have been married. We are always at home for Christmas as part of our family traditions. This year we don't want to be at home anymore and are tired of inviting people over who don't reciprocate our generosity. So, we are taking "Us" time.
This afternoon we took Freddie to the kennels. My son could not hold back the tears of being without his tail-wagging, toy chasing companion for the week. Oh well.
I hope to have many stories to tell after this trip. (And I will try to squeeze in a visit to a Toastmaster Club if I can slip away from the family)
What stories have you accumulated from vacation trips. Any stories directly from Walt Disney's playground?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Toastmasters - A journey of self-discovery
This was an "Aha" moment for me. Morgan says that if Toastmasters leave the program after 10 speeches they are missing one of the most important benefits of the Toastmasters Program. After 20 years in Toastmasters, Morgan has found that Toastmaster is a journey in Self-Discovery.
I have heard that Toastmasters helps people to learn who they are and to become comfortable with being yourself. Morgan articulates this thought clearly.
So, if you are in Toastmasters, continue to speak and follow your journey in self-discovery. This is a hidden benefit of the Toastmasters program, that you will gain in addition to specific public speaking skills.
Also, I urge you to join the EDGE program. This is the best investment you can make as a presenter.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Photos from District 53 Fall Conference
Humorous Speech Contest: left to right, Brian Cavanaugh, "Dare To Believe" Guy and Nana Danso
Table Topics Contest: left to right, Liz Trendowski, Marv Cross, and Kate Zap
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Capturing Gavel Francis
Jim Parsons Division F Governor and Bethlehem Club member, Jaimini Bhatt (CIGNA), Christa Rivelli, President of Bethlehem Club, Wayne Botha (CIGNA,)John Parla (CIGNA) and Christina Van Hoesen, Area F6 Governor and Bethlehem Club member.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Toastmasters District 53 Fall Conference and contests
Croix Sather did an incredibly good job of pumping up the energy during the whole day and even had Toastmasters dancing on the stage.
Marvin Cross won the Table Topics contest. I am glad I was not a judge in this contest, as it was a close race.
I attended a panel discussion on how to win contests with four winners of contests held in previous years. In one hour, we got the results of 20 years of expertise and experience regarding contests. Invaluable information.
Level of competition in the Humorous Speech Contest was very high. Any of the contestants would do well on the world stage - oh wait, some of the contestants have already been on the world stage. Again, I was spared the agony of judging for this contest - thank goodness.
Three years ago when I joined Toastmasters, I had no idea that District Conferences existed. Last Fall I stepped outside my comfort zone and attended my first conference. Yesterday I renewed old acquaintances, and I realized I was among friends at the conference. Did I mention that I love Toastmasters, and you should join if you are not already a member.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Triple Crown for 2007/2008
Monday, October 1, 2007
Area Governorship - Leading in a volunteer organization
And compete they did. It was a very good contest this evening.
I am amazed with Toastmasters. So many people work together with strangers to keep this organization functioning. Truly amazing.
For me, personally, I am learning leadership skills as an Area Governor. It seems that as a club officer I was only concerned with filling the roles for the next meeting. Now as Area Governor, I need to be concerned with planning out about 1 to 3 months in advance. For the first time in my life I am applying the theory I learned in my MBA, namely that the higher you go in an organization, the longer into the future you need to plan.
Our next events are the Division B Contest on Oct 11 in West Hartford and then the District Conference on Nov 3 in Fishkill, New York. Then we have Winter Training and the Spring 2008 Contests. We will also watch the DCP plans for each club start to fall into place over the next few months.
Area Governorship is a blast, now that I am getting the hang of it. I have been in the job 3 months now, and learning to lead in a volunteer organization is fun when you have a good team of club officers in your Area. And I have the best team working with me in Area B2!!!
Have you experienced Toastmasters yet? If not, why not? Post one good reason not to join Toastmasters for the Communication and Leadership training.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Hilarious Area E2 Contest
Next week is our Area B2 Contest, with ten contestants scheduled to entertain us as they compete for the Table Topics and Humorous speech trophies.
Monday, September 10, 2007
What do Backhoes, World Peace and Customer Service have in common?
This contest season is the best one so far in my Toastmasters Career, because it is my privilege to serve as Area B2 Governor in District 53 this year.
As you read this snippet, think - which is your best contest season, and why? Oh wait, this is a great question for the Table Topics speech at the next level :)
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
How to merge slides from a team of presenters?
I am sharing the stage with other Project Managers at a presentation in two weeks time. We have each created our slides and submitted them. The meeting planner is consolidating our slides into a consistent template. We are likely going to have a consistent template with more text than I would like to have.
You know how I preach that slides should have photos, and no or little text? Well, my co-presenters have varying levels of PowerPoint Presentation skills. The challenge I face is that although I advocate photos, stories and thorough preparation, I don't know how to convince my fellow speakers to follow my lead so that we have a consistent presentation.
What are you thoughts? Have you been in a similar situation, and how have your resolved it?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things & How do you choose goals?
The discussion in the hallways around office blocks is already turning to predictions of snowfall and skiing opportunities. Last year we had the BBQ running in January and very little snow which resulted in a disappointing ski season.
Last night I gave the final speech for my Advanced Communicator Silver Award in Toastmasters. Wow!! When I started in Toastmasters three years ago, I had no idea of how the Communication track worked. I was dead scared of speaking for a full minute at table topics. My first Table Topics response was a lengthy 17 seconds. I never imagined that I would attain Advanced Communicator Awards. It has been a fun trip in Toastmasters so far, and this is just the beginning according to the experienced Toastmaster that I speak to.
I am constantly amazed at the people who make up Toastmasters. I am Area B2 Governor this year for District 53. I was over at Talcott View Club today training this years club officers. Nice people and very enthusiastic. It was fantastic to share our passion for Toastmasters. Every Toastmasters club I visit and every event leaves one phrase in my mind, namely Ordinary people doing extraordinary things. If you don't know about Toastmasters then let me provide a short explanation.
Toastmasters International is a volunteer organization, primarily geared towards helping people overcome their fear of public speaking. However, as soon as you become involved in the organization, you place yourself in the way of leadership learning opportunities. If you step up and take a role as club officer, or Area Governor, or event coordinator, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by the nicest people in the world. Ordinary people, with jobs, families, sick children, studying part-time, committed to developing themselves through Toastmasters. Ordinary people, just like you and me, doing extraordinary things. If you are not a Toastmaster, then look up a club close to you and pay them a visit. I will be surprised if you don't sign up on the spot so that you can get the basketful of learning for a very low annual fee.
Now that Dodging the Bullet Points is published and the orders are rolling in, I have to decide on my next commercially viable project. I am considering writing a book that focuses on positive reinforcement for team members to achieve superior project outcomes to help Project Managers across the globe. Also running in the competition is a book to help fathers prepare for the many challenges and opportunities when raising a son with a Learning Disability. I was not prepared for these challenges, and may be the least qualified father to be in this role, but I already have 11 years of experience to share with new fathers that are new to the role. The final contender in this race is a book on general public speaking, to complement Dodging the Bullet Points, and Panic To Power Audio CD.
To help select the project that will take six months of my life, I created a template with weightings. The selection criteria include the "Six Musts" of a new book from Dan Poynter. Dan Poynter lists these "Six Musts" in his self-publishing manual. Also included are the criteria that Marc McCutcheon says we must judge each "Great idea for a new book" against. After weighing the criteria, I need to take a decision. I have heard that "You need to give up good goals to reach Great Goals". I want to create all of these books, but only have limited time, so I need to decide which one is the Great Goal. I will report on this blog which project got the green light…
How do you decide which good goals to let go of, so that you can embrace the Great Goals in your life? Post your comments, and let us know.