It's Time to Celebrate!

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
— Oprah Winfrey


It’s been a wonderful year of club growth and personal development. A year of stepping outside our comfort zones and stretching to meet new challenges.

And it is time we celebrated our efforts.

Weegee Sachtjen will chair the last meeting of the 2016-2017 season on June 28. At this brew ha-ha, we will celebrate our club, the members and our own personal achievements. Some highlights include a special awards presentation by Neil Booth and a look back over the year with Johanna Rzepa.

To prepare for the meeting, think about what it is you are most proud of this year. Perhaps it was a speech before the club or a challenge you met head on in your personal life. Be prepared to share your accomplishment in the meeting’s round robin Table Topics!

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.
— Fitzhugh Mullan

Let’s celebrate!

Date: Wednesday, June 28
Time: 7am
Location: 686 Harmony Lane, Harmony Hall


Taking On the Role of Timer

Role of Timer - ToastmastersA hallmark of effective speakers is the ability to express themselves within a specific amount of time. Members rely on the timer to pace speeches and practice adhering to a time frame. The timer is also responsible for tracking every part of the meeting agenda.

The timer’s role is fundamental to the success of every meeting. However, keeping a meeting on time is a shared responsibility between all members of the club. The timer is merely the reference point for the person speaking to know how long they have been talking.

Below are a few tips for the next time you take on the role of timer:

Before The Meeting

  • Confirm the time allotted to each prepared speech with all speakers.
  • Ask speakers for any unique timing cues (especially speeches from advanced manuals that may have multiple parts)
  • Write your explanation of timing in the clearest possible language and rehearse it. For the benefit of guests and new members, be sure to emphasize timing rules and how timing signals are given

Upon Arrival at the Meeting

  • Check that the timing equipment is working properly and that you are comfortable with its use
  • Double check timing on the agenda, in case there were changes for time

During the Meeting

  • When introduced, explain the timing rules and demonstrate the signal device.
  • Signal speakers as to the timing of their speeches and roles
  • Record each members time they used to complete their speeches and roles
  • Give times at the end of the meeting

After the Meeting

  • Return the timing equipment to the sergeant at arms.

The importance of reporting the time aloud to everyone, especially to the speakers, is to allow the Toastmasters a chance to realize how much time they actually spent on the stage – which can be either longer or, shorter than what they expected when preparing/rehearsing their speeches.

Ready to take on timer? Sign up today!


Meet the 2017 – 2018 Executive Team

Nominating yourself, or another, is opening the door to an opportunity to step up and improve your leadership skills while learning the ropes of’s a fantastic way to give back to the club and stretch your skills.

Each of the officers in a Toastmasters club has duties to fulfill in support of the members of the club. Toastmasters clubs have multiple officers both to spread the load and to expand the leadership opportunities at the club level.

Collectively, the club’s officers are its Executive team. For more information on the positions and duties, CLICK HERE.

Morningstars 2017 - 2018 Executive Board

And the new Morningstars Executive Team for 2017-2018 is . . . (drum roll, please):

Board Position Member
President Michael W.
VP of Education Neil B.
VP of Membership Sarah L.
VP of Public Relations D’Arcy D-C.
Secretary PJ R.
Treasurer Sheila C.
Sergeant at Arms Guy F.

Their term of service starts on July 1.

A special thank you goes out to the members of the outgoing board for their hard work, dedication, and communication. They will continue in their positions until June 30.

Congratulations to the new Executive Team! Exciting things await!

What Does That Mean? Toastmasters Acronyms

“I am working on my HPL for my ALS.”
“Only two speeches away from my ALS.”

CC, ACB, DCP . . . Toastmasters toss around an alphabet soup of Acronyms but what do they all mean?

The letters after a Toastmaster’s name on the agenda or their name tent is recognition of the levels they have completed in the Communication and Leadership tracks.

Toastmasters Leadership and Communication Track

The two tracks are not mutually exclusive and many progress through the two tracks at the same time.  Members progress through each track by completing a series of manuals that contain projects and evaluation guides. There are many opportunities for awards and recognition along the way.

Which brings us back to the letters.  Here is a cheatsheet for your quick reference:

Communication Track:

Competent Communication
The 10 speech projects in the Competent Communication manual help you develop your speaking skills one step at a time. When you finish all of the projects, you are eligible for the Competent Communicator award.

Advanced Communication Track
After receiving the Competent Communicator award, you can begin to develop more advanced speaking and communication skills through the Advanced Communication Series manuals. There are 15 in all, each containing five speech projects. Many of the manuals are career-oriented. You choose the manuals you want to complete and the skills you want to learn.

Competent Communicator award; given to someone who has completed the 10 speeches in the Competent Communicator manual; the first award earned in the communication track.

Advanced Communicator Bronze; given to a member who has achieved their CC and completed two manuals from the Advanced Communication series.

Advanced Communicator Silver; given to a member who achieved ACB, completed two manuals from the Advanced Communication Series and conducted TWO speeches from The Better Speaker Series and/or The Successful Club Series.

Advanced Communicator Gold; given to a member who achieved ACS, completed two additional manuals from the Advanced Communication series and conducted a presentation from the Successful/Leadership series, Success/Communication series or Youth Leadership.

Leadership Track:

Competent Leadership

This is the core of the Leadership track. The Competent Leadership manual features 10 projects that you complete while serving in various club meeting roles. An evaluator will give you feedback on each project, helping you to improve. When you complete the manual, you are eligible for the Competent Leader award.

Advanced Leader Program

After earning the Competent Leadership award, you can further refine and develop more complex leadership skills by completing projects in manuals that are part of the Advanced Leader Program.

Competent Leadership award; given to a Toastmaster who completed the Competent Leader’s manual; the first award earned in the Leadership Track.

Advanced Leadership Bronze; given to a Toastmaster who received the CL & CC awards, served at least six months as a club officer*, participated in a district-sponsored club officer training and conducted two presentations from The Successful Club Series and/or The Leadership Excellence Series.

* Club officer roles include: President, Vice President of Education, Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Public Relations, Secretary, Treasurer and Sergeant at Arms.

Advanced Leadership Silver; given to a Toastmaster who has achieved ALB, served a complete term as a district officer**, completed the High Performance Leadership program and served successfully as a club sponsor, mentor or coach

** District officer roles include: District Director, Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, Public Relations Manager, Administration Manager, Finance Manager, Division Director & Area Director


The Distinguished Toastmaster award is the highest recognition a member may receive. The DTM recognizes a superior level of achievement in both communication and leadership. To be eligible for the award, you must have earned the following:

Advanced Communicator Gold or Advanced Toastmaster Gold award
Advanced Leader Silver or Advanced Leader award

Other Acronyms

HPL High Performance Leadership award
PRES President
VPE Vice President Education
VPM Vice President Membership
VPPR Vice President Public Relations
SEC Secretary
TREAS Treasurer
SAA Sergeant At Arms


District 96? Division H? What Does That Mean?

Agenda_May3_MyKindOfTown_Elections“Welcome to MorningSTARS Toastmasters Club 1248 of Area 73, Division H, District 96, Region 1 of Toastmasters International.”

The above is the welcome and intro for many meeting chairs and it appears across the top of our agendas. But what does it mean?

Here is the breakdown:

Club 1248
1248 is the number assigned to our club when the organization was chartered through Toastmasters International. Club 1248 is located in . . .

Club 1248 is located in . . .

Area 73
Toastmasters clubs are grouped into AREAS consisting of 4 to 6 clubs max. Area 73 encompasses the three (soon to be 4) clubs on the lower Sunshine Coast: Morningstars, Sunshine, Beachcombers and Coastmasters (soon!).

Area 73 is part of

Division H
AREAS are organized into DIVISIONS. There are four areas in Division H (69, 72, 72 & 76). Division H includes the Sunshine Coast, Squamish, Whistler and North Vancouver.

Division H is grouped into . . .

District 96
DIVISIONS are grouped together to form DISTRICTS.  There are 9 Divisions (B, D, H, J, L, M, N, S & T) in District 96, and there are two Districts in BC (96 & 21).

District 96 is in . . .

Region 1
DISTRICTS are organized into groups called REGIONS, the largest administrative grouping. There are seven districts in Region 1 (2, 9, 15, 21, 26, & 96) which stretches from “Nebraska to Alaska.”


Region 1 of District 96 of Toastmasters International

Growing at District 96 Spring Conference

D96 2017 Spring Conference Re-cap by Area Director, Sheila Cameron 

“Oh! The Ways You’ll Grow!” was the conference theme, and I am so pleased with the growth experienced by our Area 73 members. We had representatives from every Sunshine Coast club at the event, and we all shared our experiences as we rode the ferry home together.

MorningSTARS sponsored two first-time conference attendees. What a fabulous benefit to our members’ educational experience. Take a look at all the ways we grew!

D’Arcy from MorningSTARS was immediately struck by the friendly energy that fellow Toastmasters extended to her. During the Evaluation and International Speech contests, she focused on observing the many different styles of delivering a speech—and became inspired to stay true to her own style.

Lance Miller

Sarah from MorningSTARS brought home a quote from 2005 World Champion, Lance Miller’s education session: “Speak from your heart; that’s all that matters.” She also appreciated the helpful tips he offered about Life Force, Message, and Mechanics. 

Jennie from our nearly-chartered “Coastmasters” club, came for the latter half of the day. She found a lot of positive energy to keep her uplifted throughout the afternoon and evening.

Maureen from the “Sunshine” club was drawn to hear Lance Miller. She finds him engaging, and she received validation for her feeling that the “club is the most important thing” in Toastmasters.

William from Beachcombers (and MorningSTARS!) experienced a lot of growth. As his second straight year on the District stage, he found this year much less stressful and noted that, as you get more humbled (by losing), you’re increasingly better able to deliver your message more effectively. He delivered a knockout speech and—unfortunately—received an overtime disqualification. 

And me? Oh! I grew! I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to be the Test Speaker for the Evaluation Contest. It was thrilling to deliver a speech to such a supportive audience and then receive eight evaluations full of encouraging feedback and great suggestions. Every speaking opportunity gives me greater confidence, and I’m so glad I took this chance to increase my own growth.

Next up is the International Convention being held in our home District at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Aug 23-26. Volunteers receive a great discount on the whole conference. 

Or you may choose to attend only the World Championship of Public Speaking finals on Friday, Aug 25 at 8pm. General admission $75USD; Reserved seating $120USD.

Chair, Fellow Toastmasters and Welcome Guests

It’s the most popular opening for a speech, Table Topics response or the explanation of a role during a meeting.

Chair, Fellow Toastmasters & Most Welcomed Guests - Greeting

Why do we use this greeting? Glad you asked. Here are a few of the popular reasons Toastmasters use the greeting:

Attention Grabber
The greeting is to cut through the noise in the minds of the audience and bring attention to the speaker. Think of it as the dimming of the lights before the movie or play starts.

The greeting is a way for the speaker or role to acknowledge the audience. It’s a way to say, “Thank you for giving me the floor.”

Buys Time
It is often at the very beginning of a speech or role that nerves are at their strongest. As the speaker searches for the words or topic they wish to discuss for Table Topics, this brief introduction buys them time.

Establishing a habit, routine or structure often helps with nerves. Shaking hands and delivering the greeting helps a speaker to mental segway into their presentation or performance. It allows them to slip into their speaker groove.

At the Front? After an Intro?
When do we say the greeting? At the very beginning of the speech? After a brief intro?

Well, it depends on you and your speech.

The first words you speak to your audience lays the foundation for your speech. This is the point in which you will build and layer the various elements of your speech. It is your chance to grab the audience’s and pull them along on your wild ride.

For most of our speeches, it is recommended that you use one of the many speech opening techniques. This can be a compelling question, sound effect, vivid description or a shocking fact. Then pause, do the greeting, and ease into the remainder of your speech.

Note: Particularly for contest speeches, it is urged that the greeting is said within the first thirty seconds. The chair during contests remains standing until the greeting is uttered by the contestant. After thirty seconds, the chair will sit and some judges note the incident.

When the greeting is best at the beginning is when you are making a Table Topics impromptu speech, performing your meeting role or delivering one of the speeches designed to enhance the club experience (Successful Club, Better Speeches or Leadership Excellence).

Play with the greeting and see what works for you. It comes down to comfort level and the impact you are looking to make.

What are your thoughts on the greeting? Discuss in the comments below!

The Power in a Handshake

Toastmasters Handshake Meeting Protocols

If you have attended a Toastmasters meeting, you have witnessed what appears to be a “secret handshake.”  If not, it goes a bit like this:

  1. Toastmaster Chair announces a speaker.
  2. The speaker approaches the Chair, shakes hands and takes center stage.
  3. At the end, the speaker turns to the Chair.
  4. The chair approaches the speaker. The two of them shake hands and then the speaker takes their seat.

 That’s it. But the simple procedure carries more than just common courtesy. 

Why We Shake Hands
Shaking hands is how Toastmasters transfer control of the speaking space. The chair says, “The floor is yours” with the contact. At the end of the speech, the speaker transfers it back with an unspoken, “Thank you. Back to you!”  

But wait, there is more!

The handshake is a brief connection between two people that helps ground the speaker while demonstrating professionalism. 

A good handshake (hands are aligned, equal grip pressure and steady eye contact) can be empowering and reassuring to a new speaker. 

It’s a simple ritual that often gets overlooked, often at the end of the speech or role. Our thoughts are focused on the speech we just delivered, gathering our props, and enjoying our moment of “I’m done.”

Next time you step up to take center stage, take a moment to remember the power of the handshake for it is so much more than just a courtesy.

Area 73 Shines in Division H Contests

Area 73 Mobile Cheering Section
Area 73 Mobile Cheering Section

It was a dark and rainy day but that didn’t stop a van full of Sunshine Coaster from venturing into North Vancouver for the Division H Contests on Saturday afternoon. 

The third level of International Speech and Evaluation contests were held in the Alpha meeting room at the Arc’teryx headquarters in Deep Cove.  

It was here that the stage was set for five Evaluators and six International Speech contestants to demonstrate their mad public speaking skills. 

There were three people from Area 73 who rose to the challenge: William B. (speech, Beachcombers), Weegee S. (speech, Morningstars) and Kyle H. (evaluation, Morningstars). 

With every level of the competition, a contestant is pitted up against a new set of peers and a slightly bigger audience as partners, friends, and family come to watch. For this contest, Sheila C., Johanna R., and Weegee’s husband, Mike, helped fill the chairs (and a couple of roles!) with Area 73 energy. 

And it helped.

Area 73 walked away with three of the top three placements in the two categories.  

Congratulations to William for his FIRST place win and to Weegee for her THIRD place win in the International Speech Contest. 

Congratulations are in order for Kylie for her SECOND place win in the Evaluations contest!

At this level, the first place winner in each category goes on to the District 96 Spring Conference. It is a one-day extravaganza held at the BCIT Downtown Campus (555 Seymour Street, Vancouver) on May 13, 2017. Registration and information is available at

It was an excellent day of speeches, evaluations and Area 73 fun! 

3 Clubs Compete in Area 73 Contest

Speech contests are a Toastmasters tradition. Each year, thousands of Toastmasters around the globe get competitive, demonstrating their skills in the Humorous, Evaluation, Tall Tales, Table Topics and International speech contests.

On Tuesday, April 25, three of the Sunshine Coast area Toastmasters clubs came together for the Area 73 International Speech and Evaluation contests at the beautiful Sechelt Arts Centre.

Surrounded by art from the local high school, four competitors for the International Speech Contest and two participants for the Evaluation contest took center stage.


William B. (for Beachcombers) talked about a lesson he learned after an unfortunate incident with a horse.  MorningSTAR Ben R. shared his journey as a presenter and how Toastmasters helped take his skills to the next level. Weegee S. talked about the day she shattered her basic existence in aisle 6. Maureen M. (Sunshine Coast) encouraged us to be the change by talking about one of the reasons she joined Toastmasters.

COntest2For the Evaluation Contest, PJ R. delivered a powerful speech about an “out-of-body experience” that reveals how we change, grow and shift courses in life. Baili C. (Sunshine) and Kylie H. (MorningSTAR) shared their unique perspectives on the speech and offered well-rounded suggestions.

Behind every great contest is the real winner of the competition: the volunteers who helped make it a success. Without them, the contest would not occur. A special thank you to the Chair (Neil B.), Chief Judge (Sheila C.), judges, timers and ballot counters.  Without their manpower, 30,000 contestants a year wouldn’t be able to test their public speaking skills.

A special thank you to the volunteers and the audience members. A huge shout out to the contenders!

Another fantastic contest in the books!

International Speech Placement:
1st: Weegee S.
2nd: William B.

Evaluations Placement
1st: Kylie H.
2nd: Baili C.

The top two winners in each contest will continue to the Division round, which will be held on Saturday, April 29 at 1pm at Arc’teryx HQ (2220 Dollarton Highway) in Deep Cove.

Wish them luck!