We all love a good story. They touch us, they make us laugh or even cry, and they can show us something new about ourselves.
Toastmasters are lovers of good stories. Our neighbouring club, Sunshine Toastmasters Club in Sechelt, is hosting an epic storytelling event. You can read about it and get information about location etc here in the Coast Reporter.
Snow on the Sunshine Coast. It’s not impossible but it is somewhat unusual. We are much more likely to spend the winter months waterlogged and wearing a fleecy under a raincoat. However snow is what we had this morning as we all traveled from our various locations to our weekly Toastmasters Meeting. And it was totally fitting for our theme of the day – Yule is Cool.
The meeting was a smorgasbord of images, memories and the ways that Yule is Cool.
For our Toastmaster of the day, Sharon, what was special was having snow for the season and the feelings that impact her emotionally this time of year.
Bill inspired us with his reindeer cap, a toast to family and friends, and the question, “Isn’t it a time for reindeer?”
But it wasn’t a reindeer that was our four legged visitor. (Although at one point there might have been just a hint of sleigh bells in the air.)
No, it was Katie’s new puppy Sara, complete with her personal and portable home away from home. Of course, there was a chorus of Ahhhhhhhhh’s from the crowd as Sara appeared. Katie was doing her second speech for her Competent Communication manual and Sara was her ‘prop’.
In her speech we heard Katie’s story of “will I get a dog, won’t I get a dog”, and we all know what her decision was!
And this would be a great place to talk about how important language is for invoking images, memory and feeling. In her speech, Katie gave us some beautiful examples:
“The trouble (with deciding to get a puppy) began with the cuteness quotient.”
“Reason flew completely out the window.” (She decided yes just from seeing a picture of Sara.)
“Sara was a 10 week old whirling dervish furball.”
As we continued with the remainder of the meeting, Frank reminded us all about making fruit cake and turning the handle of the old fashioned food grinder to mince all the ingredients. It seems that home made fruit cake (I remember it being made early and packed away in cheese cloth to age) is a dying art, one that Frank would not be sorry to see resurrected.
Patricia’s table topics were both fun and thoughtful, and Johanna in her first time as General Evaluator did a wonderful job, finishing up the last Morningstars meeting of the year.
Patricia Hetherington, a resident of Gibsons and a member of Morningstars, has just completed a major goal in Toastmasters. Read about it in this interview.
How long have you been in Toastmasters and why did you join?
One morning at 7:15 am I saw friends heading to their car – looking like they were happy and having fun. When I asked where they were going at that hour, they said Toastmasters! They also asked, Why don’t you come? I went to the meeting and felt like a duck in water within 5 minutes. I joined immediately. That was 6 years ago.
You just reached a really important milestone. Tell us about that.
I have just completed my ACG – Advanced Communication Gold. It’s a hefty award to earn because in addition to completing 2 speech manuals, there was the requirement to present a Success Leadership Education Session and coach a member in her first 3 speeches.
As we progress through the communication and leadership levels, the mountain gets progressively steeper; it becomes more difficult to earn the awards. ACG has taken me 3 years to complete. During the 2011/2012 Toastmasters year, I was Area 76 Governor which kept my attention more focused on other [Vancouver] clubs, and making it difficult to work on my own goals.
What would you say to someone who was thinking of joining Toastmasters?
Would you like to surround yourself with smart, enthusiastic, supportive folk who are interested in seeing you learn & grow? If so, Toastmaster’s the place to go. It is truly a treasure if you love language, want to polish up your speaking skills as well as leadership skills, meet great people and raise the bar in your life! It’s also fabulous value for a minimal cost.
What’s the next milestone you want to achieve in Toastmasters?
In order to earn my ALS Advanced Leader Silver, I require a 6-month role of mentoring a newly chartered club. Clubs don’t charter all that often so I am keen to find one for the 2012/2013 year. Finishing this mentorship requirement, I will earn my DTM Distinguished Toastmaster [which I call the black belt.] This is a personal goal because I like to complete what I start. The journey to DTM will take me 7 years in total. Sounds like a long time, but it is a challenging process. Most members do not reach this one.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
People complain about our 7:15 am start time. Like a friend of mine, who walked the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage in Spain with me, says, “If we weren’t doing this, we’d be doing something else.” That just about says it. Besides, where else can you have this much fun & excitement this early in the am?
For Toastmasters the various Speech Series are guides designed to help toastmasters learn new presentation skills for communicating effectively in front of an audience.
Our club recently celebrated along with Joan Higgs as she achieved an important milestone in the series. Joan answered the following questions to share her experience.
What’s your favourite thing about Toastmasters meetings?
I love that every meeting is always different, inspiring, and full of friendly laughter.
You recently reached a milestone. What was it and what did you have to achieve to reach your goal?
I just delivered my 10th speech, which qualifies me as a “Competent Communicator”. That’s the first Toastmasters benchmark. I took a couple of years to do it. The toughest part for me isn’t presenting the speeches — it’s making the time to write and practice them well ahead of time. Practice really is the key, as with anything else.
What’s next for you in Toastmasters?
In September I’ll begin working through the manuals I selected for my ACB (Advanced Communicator Bronze). I’m motivated less by the designations than by the opportunities they afford to progress and improve. I chose Persuasive Speaking and The Professional Speaker. Should prove interesting!
Joan Higgs lives in Roberts Creek but doesn’t mind driving to Gibsons for those early Morningstars meetings. A recent graduate of SFU (BA and MA in Social Anthropology), she embodies the credo of “lifelong learning”. Predating and postdating her academic interests, Joan is committed to personal transformation through meditation and self-inquiry.
At Morningstars Toastmasters Club Blog we share our successes, challenges and fun!
Welcome to our two newest members Sue and John who attended for the first time on June 6 as a result of seeing our listing on the Community Calendar in the Coast Reporter.
We like celebrations so we have some congratulations to pass on….
First to Joan Higgs for completing her Competent Communication Manual. That’s ten speeches in all. Well done Joan.
Congratulations also to our newly elected executive for the year 2012. Five positions are being filled by members who joined in the past year. Way to step up!
And finally, congratulations to Sandy, our former VP of Membership who now takes on the role of Area Governor.
Some celebrations bring on mixed feelings. We are sad to see Julie go but we know she is looking forward to her move to Kelowna. And we’re sure that any Toastmasters group there will welcome her with open arms. We’ll miss you Julie.