Teamwork and Leadership

For the past few months in Toastmasters, I have been crossing off bucket-list items. One item is to complete my Competent Leadership (CL) manual. (Yes, I still don’t have my CL award. Imagine that.)

To obtain my CL, I would have to chair a speech contest. It still took a mentor giving me a very strong nudge before I contacted the VP of Ed to sign up to chair my club’s Humorous and Table Topics contest. He responded within the hour: congratulations, I was contest chair!

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Reaching Deep, Being Brave

I have always felt something freeing about having a blank pad of paper and a smooth writing pen. I am free to write whatever I want, however I want, wherever I want. No matter how much I improve on my public speaking, I will always find comfort expressing myself through the written word.

Empty page

Awhile ago, a Toastmaster approached me and asked me to write a story about personal change. Ideally the topic should have been easy: I am in Toastmasters after all, I could have written about all my changes in the past five years and called it a day. But a challenge was put forth: could I write about a change that everyone could relate to, not just the Toastmasters’ audience. I think so…but how on earth would I start? Where would I start? Continue reading

Speaker’s Showcase: The Morning After

My eyes popped open this morning just before my alarm was set to ring. Through the sleepy haze and howling wind outside, my mind asked me: Did yesterday really happen? Continue reading

What Do I Want?

Several months ago I had decided this was it: as much as I loved my current workplace and the people in it, I was going to leave. I wanted to try new things. I wanted to see what else was out there in the big wide world.

Credit: Imagebase.net

Credit: Imagebase.net

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Lessons from New Members

This week I found myself at my home club fulfilling the role of Table Topics Master. It was a role I had done many times before: think of questions (preferably related to the theme), and remember to confirm with timers and evaluators. However on this day one of our newest members, Ming, approached me at the break. Continue reading

Trusting Myself Again

I am standing at the top, looking over the side. Pouring rain and strong winds made the water and snow pellets hit my face so hard I thought this was Mother Nature’s cruel way of giving me a free facial. Visibility had dropped to the point where I could barely make out what the terrain was like at my feet.

I remember what it was like last time.
I can’t do this. Continue reading

Remembering: One Year Ago

It is time. Fall of 2013 and in the Toastmasters’ World, that means the season has started for the Humorist and Table Topics Contests. Thousands of Toastmasters will come together to compete; they will be trying their hardest to make you laugh your butt off, or they will be trying their hardest to answer thought-provoking questions on the spot.

It is almost one year to the day when I stepped in front of my own home club and delivered my own Humorist Speech. I could have never known how far I would get to go.

Before my reign comes to an end at the 2013 Fall Conference, I’d like to hog the spotlight for a little longer and take a quick stroll down memory lane. Please allow me to share the video of my speech at the 2012 Fall Conference for District 21 (Richmond, BC), a speech that would allow me to win First Place at the Humorist Speech Contest.

Ladies and gentlemen, my speech: Mistaken Identity.

I hope you enjoy it.

Introducing…

The other week a new member gave a speech. She engaged the audience, she was passionate about the topic and she educated us on something we knew very little about. There was just one problem: the introduction was short and she spent at least another minute on (additional) introductions before she really got into the meat of the talk. In my opinion, that was a minute she could have spent engaging and showing her passion, rather than on introductions. Continue reading

What I Learned from Toastmasters (Comedians)

“By the looks of it, the contestants at the District Humorist Contest must be funny enough to rival stand-up comedians.”

That was something I said to a friend of mine (at the start of the Humorist journey) as we looked down the long path from club to district. Never in a million years did I believe I would be among them. Over the years (yes, years) of trying new jokes and bombing those same jokes here is my vote for advice I would want to give to others. These are a few of the points I have learned from my experience in the Humorist Contest. Continue reading